Monday, September 12, 2011

Buffy Season 9 starts this week, but is it the Buffy we know?

At the close of Buffy’s eighth season, Dark Horse had a surly and vocal fanbase on their hands. After four years of experimenting with the Buffy formula, Joss Whedon himself made a solemn vow to get back to basics. Well, we’ve read our review copy and we’re ready to spill the beans. Do we think Joss made good on his promise?


Review over.


Kidding! I’m kidding!  Jeez, put the stake down, lady!

Okay, without spoiling the issue more than it already has been elsewhere, here’s the skinny. The majority of the first issue takes place during a party at Buffy’s new digs and the hung-over day that follows. Other things happen, too, but why spoil the surprise?

While Christos Gage takes more of a third-person omniscient approach with Angel and Faith, Buffy’s first issue, while not a straight up first-person narrative, is very much filtered through Buffy’s perspective. As a result, the issue either lives or dies by how well the reader relates to Buffy and by how well she relates to everyone else.

But who is Buffy now? Gone are the days of stoic, general Buffy and, while she continues to work through her own guilt over the consequences of Season 8, primarily this Buffy is all about putting her best foot forward. She’s reconnecting with old friends, she’s making new friends, and she’s taking furtive steps to rekindle things with all her serious ex-boyfriends who aren’t named Angel. Also, she’s very, very drunk. Shucks howdy, is she drunk.

If anything, Buffy seems most like her season four premiere self here – mostly upbeat, but easily dragged down by her own confusion about where she’s supposed to go next. Drawing that comparison segues us nicely into a big question this issue raises.

Is Buffy ever going to grow up? The issue shows us that the rest of the ensemble has matured. Not Buffy, though. After everything she’s been through, she’s still repeating her classic behavior of retreating back into her child-like self where it’s all jokes and deflection. It’s not time to pass judgment yet since this is only issue one but, at the moment, we’re hoping we see some real growth and maturity from Buffy in the months to come.

On the whole, the comic raises more questions than it answers. Instead of questions like “Who is Twilight”, however, we’re dealing more with stuff like “Can Buffy and Willow still be friends” and “Who’s the mystery guy that lives next door”. Indeed, there are hints and mysteries revolving around many of our character’s interrelationships. There are larger things happening, too, but those take a backseat to the personal fare.

The Twilight arc, boiled down, involved Buffy letting herself get out of control and then having to backtrack to figure out what she did and how to fix it. The story in this issue is very similar, just on a much smaller scale. That’s what Joss promised at the end of Season 8 and, with issue one, he’s kept to that promise. We’ve traded macrocosm for microcosm and it feels good.

All in all, not too shabby. You’ve got our interest, Dark Horse. What’s next?


Luca said...

Arrivederci! I'm Italian and you made me laugh! :D

Lionel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lionel said...

Had to delete my previous post due to a error.

I really enjoyed season 8 but I got to admit that everytime I hear about Buffy not wanting anything to do with Angel and here where you say that 'and she’s taking furtive steps to rekindle things with all her serious ex-boyfriends who aren’t named Angel.'It just really upsetting to the point where I'm getting more and more turned off on Buffy's book in season 9.

I'm also getting more and more resentful of Spike being there in Buffy's book and the idea of the return of spuffy while Angel is shut out with the no crossovers between Buffy and Angel themselves thing.I'm at the point now where I don't know if I can take two years of this and I'm ready for season 9 to be over before it has even begun and move into season 10 with hope the setup being different at that point.

I've loved everything I've heard and seen about Angel & Faith and that part of season 9 and I really liked the first issue.But nothing I've heard or seen about Buffy's book has excited me and in many cases the interviews,previews,reviews and info has been turnoffs.

I'm going to read it of course but it's really a terrible feeling actually dreading every piece of news or anything about Buffy's side of season 9.I'm actually dreading Wed. where I was looking forward to the first issue of Angel & Faith and I'm expecting that unfortunately all season for the next two years.Looking forward to each issue of Angel & Faith while dreading each issue of Buffy.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the review! Sounds interesting! I'm only a bit sad that Buffy is still acting immature - I think she probably is depressed due the terrible damages that her ex-lover Angel caused to her! I hope Spike and her friends will help her to start living a new life.
Lionel - the "B/A home" is burnt and buried deeper into the ground – I hope this time for good! I don't wanna any crossovers with Angel! No MORE Buffy and Angel together again! Angel is good in London with Faith, far away of Buffy. I want to get MORE Spike in Buffy's book! Spike always was more funny, more sexy and more interesting character than Angel.
The only think that I dislike about Buffy comics is the artwork inside. The artwork of Angel&Faith is much much better.

Anonymous said...

Start of your review - NICE.

Every time that we have seen Buffy in a Drink Out-of-Control mode is has been nothing but BAD NEWS for her. I have to say that all the preview images I have seen for this issue far have made me feel nothing but sad for Buffy. This idea of Buffy being the life while all based on having to get there by heavy drinking makes a great contrast to what she must be feeling inside.

I will off course give the new series and writer and Joss Whedon's next phase for his great character plenty of time to win me over. But I just don't get what this need to run the character down so much is coming from. We go from beating down Buffy to make her a God to Buffy beating down herself into a drunken foolish woman who will not even be able to remember what she did. I get the metaphor and I sure hope that this time around Joss Whedon will let Buffy learn those hard and high lessons of life.

Bryant Dillon said...

Can't wait!!!

Kaaren said...

My grammar addicted self is in conflict! I was reading Season 9 # 1 & there's a sentence that's bugging me! HELP. Check out the scan of the comic on my blog.

Kaaren said...

Whoops, link did not work.

Link, take 2