Buffy the Vampire Slayer Review: Season 8 Vol. 2 Hardcover
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 Vol. 2 Hardcover Review
Is there anything better than adding a new hardcover to your shelf? For those who collect issues, HC compilations are a boon. It allows you to enjoy a good chunk of the story together, without disturbing (or possibly damaging!) any original single issues. The Buffy Season 8, Volume 2 HC compiles issues #11-20 as well as the Willow – Goddesses and Monsters one shot. This tome includes a cover gallery by artist Jo Chen. If you’ve been keeping up with the new Buffy comic since its release you know how breathtaking Jo Chen’s painted covers are.
Vol. 2 contains the multiple one shot stories and arcs including:
A Beautiful Sunset (issue #11) – Written by Joss Whedon – Art by Georges Jeanty
All out slayer party and tying up loose ends of the previous arc. Buffy brings Satsu with her to destroy a vampire nest and reveals she knows Satsu freed her from sleeping beauty mystical coma. Buffy tries to Peter Parker her way out of real human connection with the, “people who get close, get killed” defense. Twilight jumps them both, and in true uber-villian fashion throws them around while announcing the next steps in his plan. On my re-read of this (and knowing Twilight’s true identity now) the frame where he grabs the scythe and says “I know that move, Slayer,” is a call back to season 7 when Buffy bifurcates Caleb with the scythe. This is also the first issue where Buffy learns her enemy can fly. And this contains my favorite “Damnit, Joss!” moment of Season 8. Twilight almost lifts his mask to reveal his identity, but just has an itchy neck.
Wolves at the Gate (Issues #12-15) – Written by Drew Goddard – Art by Georges Jeanty
Japanese vampires! With Anime demon powers! Also, the return of Dracula (who is also Xander’s bromantic bff?) And the arc begins with Buffy’s heavily publicized tryst with Satsu. The scythe is stolen right from the gangs castle hideout and our heroes pursue these vampire menaces all the way to Japan. Dracula agrees to help track them down, with all the folksy racism one would expect from a being centuries old. There are traps, ambushes, and Xander’s slayer love interest is killed before him. Dawn the Giant gets her Godzilla on and ends up battling a giant mecha version of herself (only in Japan.)
For those of you unfamiliar with Drew Goddard he wrote some of my favorite episodes of both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. He also wrote multiple episodes of Alias and Lost as well as the films Cloverfield and Cabin in the Woods.
Time of Your Life (issues #16-19) Written by Joss Whedon – Art by Karl Moline
The first official crossover between Buffy and Fray. Fray was one of Joss’ first comics and published by Dark Horse from 2001-2003, set in the future where vampires exist as mindless killing machines and a slayer hasn’t been called for centuries. The art in the “time of your life” arc is also the original artist of Fray, Karl Moline. In this timeline, Willow has outlived all her companions and exists only as the mysterious madwoman in black (looking like a cracked, damaged version of Darth Rosenberg from the end of season 6.) Mystical bombs assault the slayer keep, time is bent and nearly broken, and Kennedy wears an excellent Marzipan shirt from Homestar Runner. I loved that Joss brought us back to this far-flung future and that Buffy gets to meet her 23rd century counterpart. It’s in this arc that we first see Willow summon Saga Vasuki, her chaotic magical mentor.
After these messages… We’ll be right back! (issue #20) Written by Jeph Loeb – Art by George Jeanty and Eric Wight
Buffy gets zonked and ends up in the body of her 16 year old self. We are also treated to a story in the art and style of the proposed “Buffy the Animated Series.” Reading this issue was a lot of fun but also puzzling as the why no studio or network picked up the pilot. Very disheartening, the sales of Buffy Season 8 alone should be enough to prove the market is still there and the fans would love a series.
Willow: Goddess and Monsters (one shot) Written by Joss Whedon – Art by Karl Moline
Part of what makes large anthologies so great is you can put issues in the order of story, not just the order of release. Before you ever even have a chance to ask “who was that weird snake woman?” you can dive right into to the Willow solo story that gives all the exposition on their relationship. This issue originally debuted close to a year and a half after we saw Willow’s first real encounter with Saga Vasuki. For story purposes, I’m glad it was placed here.
If you’re a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and you’ve kept up with the single issues you won’t find anything new here. The reason to purchase is an investment in your collection (it sits nicely next to the Vol. 1 hardcover.) If you haven’t read the issues and only read the trades or hardcovers, this is required reading and you’ll be extremely pleased to get your hands on it. Either way, thanks to Joss Whedon and Dark Horse it’s a great time to be a comic reader and a Buffy fan.