Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the TV version, premiered my senior year of high school. At that time in my life I was a big flaming hippie. Eschewing television and pop culture in general, I spent my time practicing meditation, singing with the choir, and hanging out in downtown Kansas City in smoky coffee shops trying to be Very Very Deep.
Oh how times change. After several of my friends wouldn’t shut the hell up about Buffy, I began watching it this year. Yes, it took me until I was 31 years old to watch and enjoy a television show that was designed for me and my age group when it originally aired, back in 1996.
Since then I’ve consumed most of Whedon’s repertoire, and yes, I have to admit that I have joined the hordes of devotees, though I will try to maintain a critical distance so that I can fairly analyze the work. As for the Buffy TV series, my favorite season is six, my least favorites are seven and one. So that should give you some background into my preferences and style, if you know your Buffy. After it went off the air, Buffy continued as a comic book.
Buffy Season 8: A Very Brief Recap
Buffy Season eight was, well, much different. Joss Whedon talks about how having an unlimited budget caused him to do some pretty freaky–and not entirely well received–stuff with the plot.
I read all of season eight because the characters kept their essential personality traits that made them so likable in the show, and I thought it was kind of fun to explore this open-ended world in that context. It didn’t suck me in the way the previous seasons had; however, I did look forward to getting my season 8 episode collections in the mail.
As you probably know, our leading lady indulged in some bi-curious sex and Willow explored inter-special affairs. Buffy season 8 ended with an interdimensional fuck fest between Buffy and Angel, Giles died, Xander and Dawn hooked up, and Willow’s power was taken away. So season nine begins in this context.
Buffy Season 9: #1
Season 9 begins with Buffy waking up hungover after a raging party at her apartment. She works at a coffee shop in San Francisco, and after Xander and Dawn kicked her out their apartment, she now lives with two hipsters somewhere in the city.
Most of episode 1 is about Buffy trying to remember or repress what happened at the party (did she try to seduce Riley?), and it’s obvious that she’s unhappy with her life. Willow tries to talk to Buffy about taking responsibility for destroying the seed of magic, and Spike also jumps in to warn Buffy about some impending doom. But Buffy isn’t interested.
Subplot one: people are dying, but there’s no wound or other indication of how exactly they’re dying.
Subplot two: evil slayer Simone drives into San Francisco, presumably to make Buffy suffer for–well, whatever it is everyone always wants to make Buffy suffer for.
The comic ends with Buffy, Willow, and Spike encountering a demon who wants to make Buffy pay for…(wait for it)…her student loans.
I love the cover art of season 9 #1. However, much like season 8, the inside art (is that the right term?) is decent, but not amazing. Spike and Xander always look great, closely resembling the actors who portrayed them, but everyone is only a vague resemblance.
Buffy is doe-eyed and skinny, wearing clothes that are quite a bit more revealing than they ever were in the television show. In one scene, where she’s getting into Riley’s van, there are some gratuitous images of her extremely short skirt riding up. [Edit: In episode one of Buffy season one, she wears a skirt that is comparably as short; however, there are never any gratuitous bending over moments.]
While it’s not any more extreme–probably less so–than portrayals of women in other comics, I do find it a little annoying and not very true to the character.
As I mentioned above, Season 8 didn’t really suck me in the same way the TV series did, and so far I feel pretty ambivalent about Season 9.
I’ll continue to review Buffy Season 9 as each episode is released.