Publication date: March 14, 2007 – January 19, 2011
Volumes 8: Issues: 40
Written by: Joss Whedon, Brian K. Vaughan, Drew Goddard, Jane Espenson, Brad Meltzer and others.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is without a doubt a cult series that impacted the way we view female protagonists on television today. Buffy encapsulates not judging a book by its cover, both by subverting it and using it to her advantage.
Though the TV series has now ended with seven glorious seasons, the writers still had more stories to tell. Switching medium to a graphic novel form means not only can more tales of the slayer be told, but also the pesky budgets that limited the creator’s imaginations have disappeared. Talented artists have brought new and big ideas to life. This series has done so well that it has produced several spin-offs, such as Angel and Faith, as well as a further season (currently ongoing).
PREVIOUSLY ON BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER:
Buffy and the Scoobies saved the world once again. In spectacular fashion, fitting for an end to the story, or rather the perfect way to say goodbye to the actors, Spike sacrifices himself to close the Sunnydale Hellmouth. Willow uses the essence of the Slayer’s scythe to make every girl/woman who could be a slayer into a slayer. They’ve changed the whole slayer game. In sad but true news, a moment of silence before reading as we remember the big loss of the final season, Anya “Anyanka” – who didn’t make it through the final fight.
The story picks up some time after the gang has left Sunnydale and sees them spread across the globe. As Giles mentioned in the final episode, “there’s another hell mouth in Cleveland” so Andrew and a group of his own Slayers have ventured that way, whilst Buffy has become leader of a world army.
Willow now has not only her magical powers but also a network of techno-Wiccan slayers aiding the team. Basically Buffy et al have gone from the few to the many.
In true Whedon style, both writers and artists have the dialogue and facial expressions of the actors expertly rendered in the characters. You’ll hear the voices as you read. A special note should be made for the beautiful cover art for the volumes, which capture the actor’s likenesses perfectly and make up for the lack of the theme music as you start each episode/issue.
This season is all about Buffy getting bigger; their world is bigger, the number of characters has increased and their overall power has too. The Slayers are at the top of their game, taking down vampires and general evil above and below ground. This universe just got even richer. One pitfall of this season, depending on what you want from it, it the controversial way the season builds up to big battles. There’s a lot of action with more magic and a little time travel but much of the ‘monster of the week’ that made Buffy so great is lost here to an overarching long story (despite being well told). Some will love that, some might hate it. Always remember though, ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall’, and season nine delivers a very different set of stories.
There are some welcome character returns this season, as well as some devastating losses. The very real, anyone-could-die element of Joss Whedon’s work is still at play, no one is safe! Overall, this season is enthralling, exciting, shocking and there are clear tendrils of future story lines waiting to be explored. If nothing else, it’s more Buffy, Willow and Xander banter. Well worth a read if you loved Buffy or even if you just love comic books.