Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 – Episode 1

So this morning I awoke to an advanced copy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 in my email in-box. Apparently, The Powers That Be have been listening. Either that or there is some very nice individual who felt my pain at having to wait another week. For which ever reason, I’d first like to say thanks. Now, allow me to get to the review portion of the review. Mind you this post will have SPOILERS, so you might want to wait until next week if you want to stay mondo surprised.

The Cover

The cover is great. With the credits pushed off to the side, there is a real focus on Jo Chen’s beautiful cover of Buffy. Though I’m not a big fan of the title on her shirt, I managed to get over it.

The Episode Summary

The first part of the episode is guided by Buffy’s voice over. She sets the stage for us, explaining how she’s still not used to being called ma’am. We also get information on how many Slayers are active (somewhere around 1800). Like any season premiere of the show, you are dropped right into the middle of the action. Buffy and a squad of Slayers are being dropped by helicopter into a ruined church. As they move inside we see Xander Harris at Command Central in Scotland watching their every move on a series of screens. Xander dishes out orders and keeps the wheels in motion. He tells Buffy, everything is in place, its time to move.

A solid kick to the church door and the Slayers are in. Three massive demons are waiting for them and through a series of tactile maneuvers the Slayers successfully dispatch them. Upon further inspection of the scene, two bodies are uncovered, one bearing a strange scar or tattoo on his chest. Buffy concludes the marks are self inflicted and that these individuals where looking for a fight. She sends the image off to Xander and we call scene.

The next page takes place on a helicopter. Two military officials, one who I would consider High Brass are discussing their displeasure with the recent creation of these female terrorist “cells”, one girl in particular “a charismatic, uncompromising and completely destructive” individual who had no problem destroying her home town. Turn the page to reveal Crater Sunnydale, one massive hole in the So Cal landscape. The military is camped out on the crater’s edge. A team has been sent down into the crater, to search for bodies and take mystical readings. Suddenly, one of the team members is attacked by….

Back at Slayer Central, Xander and Buffy share a scene. The two friends are bouncing ideas back and forth on the strange symbol Buffy found. Xander suggests that Buffy speak to her sister, which Buffy is hesitant to do. The slayer sucks it up and joins Giant Dawn in the castle courtyard. Yes, I said Giant Dawn. Dawn, who now stands at about 60 feet is obviously the victim of some type of magic or spell. Dawn has absolutely no desire to speak with her older sister and insists on confiding only in Willow. The girls begin to quarrel and Buffy storms out tossing one of the best lines in the issue at Dawn.

Alone on a castle balcony, Buffy tells us how she misses her home, her mom, the Gang, churros, and most of all sex. “Great muppety Odin, I miss that sex.” One wonders if that sex she’s referring to was with Spike. She then expresses her frustration over Dawn and her secret, knowing that Dawn’s sexual encounter with a boy at school is what resulted in the growth spurt. Most of all, she’s pissed that Dawn won’t talk to her about it.

The final act takes place at an undisclosed military location. The same Top Brass is conversing with a military scientist. We are informed that two individuals were recovered from the Sunnydale Crater (almost a year after the cataclysmic event). Subject One is a female, and Subject Two is some horribly deformed male. the scientist hypothesizes that they stayed alive by feeding on “whoever else was trapped in the crater.” The females first words upon extraction were, “I’m going to help you kill her.” She demands, in exchange for cooperation, access to all magical hardware, a weapons lab for her “boyfriend”, and lots of cheese. By this point any Buffy fan should know before they turn the page that the female, Subject One, is none other than Amy Madison.

The Review

I’m extremely impressed with every page in this comic. The art was great, the dialogue was classic Whedon as was the story. I’ll admit, first I was a little overwhelmed by the action, it was alot to take in. But the scene with Xander and Buffy researching the symbol definitely felt like old times. I could hear the actors in the dialogue I was reading.

I’ve always felt that Season 7 of the show was an excellent place to end the series, leaving it open for a film, tv movies, or some form of continuation. The best part of the finale was that it set the stage for something grander, and that’s what the season 8 comic is going to do. The comic can work on a scale that the show never could have afforded. And it is no doubt going to blow the mind of any fan.

In similar regards to the finale, I thoroughly enjoy the theme of dealing with the effects of changing the world. All of us want to do that, but very few ever consider the repercussions of something so colossal. I’m glad to see Whedon addressing this.

Favorite Page

17. Buffy’s scene with Xander.

Favorite Line

Giant Dawn: I could squash you like a flea.
Buffy: Your butt looks big in those giant pants.

Conclusion

I couldn’t be happier with the first issue. My only complaint was that it ended and I have to wait another month to see what happens next. I’ll certainly be grabbing a copy when it is released on the 14th. I’m looking forward to seeing some other character appearances in the upcoming issues, especially Giles, and some twists and turns that only Whedon can pull off.

4.5 out of 5

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

~ by Kurt Thomas Hunt on March 7, 2007.

8 Responses to “Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 – Episode 1”

  1. I’m not going to recap the plot of the issue yet again here. You can read above if you want that. I will however give opinions. This is widescreen, big budget, summer movie Buffy. However, as with most summer movies, there is a lot of action, but an equal amount of writing problems. I like Joss Whedon, don’t get me wrong, but I expected more.

    First of all, there’s a difference between paying homage and stealing ideas. Xander making a Nick Fury joke is an homage. How can a guy be in charge of a “secret” organization while wearing an eye patch and not make a Fury reference. However, I feel that the solitary male who watches multiple screens of his team on a mission has been overdone. From the Weatherman in Stormwatch, to Oracle, to Mockingbird (Villains United) to too many other names, it’s overdone. Granted Xander has never been the front line leader. He’s no Captain America (or else he’d be dead! Ouch. Too soon?), but he is a well rounded character that doesn’t need a reused gimmick. The Xander that we all know and love is the one cracking jokes with Buffy while staring at a creepy scar symbol.

    Secondly, part of Buffy’s story was admitting to making mistakes and learning from them. Joss should take a lesson from his creation. This three Buffy thing, one of which is a fake currently dating the Immortal seems like an easy out to cover up an unpopular scene on Angel. You made a mistake, admit to it, but not in this garbage ret-con kind of way.

    Thirdly, 9/11 was five and a half years ago. Most of us are tired of it being used, veiled or not, as a sub plot. All that needs to be said is, hey this girl and her friends are powerful and they may have destroyed a city. We’re scared of what’s next so we’re going to track her down. There is no need to bring in the words “terrorists” and “sleeper cell”. The problem with bringing real world problems into the comic world is that inevitably we will ask, “why doesn’t (insert character’s name) take care of this problem?” Bin Laden should not be mentioned in Superman, because Superman can’t remove a real world threat as easily as Brainiac.

    Finally, where exactly does one buy giant pants? If Dawn grew to gigantic proportions due to sex then she would, in theory, be naked. Therefore, nothing should have happened to her clothes. Will Buffy cross over into the Fantastic Four and ask Reed Richards for some unstable molecules brand clothing? Or am I giving this too much thought? There’s always been a part of Buffy that was based in the real world, and this moment took me out of that place. All I ask is for Dawn to be clothed in circus tents instead of brand name clothing. Come on, when has the Gap ever had clothes for girls over 100 pounds? To say nothing of a girl that’s 100 feet tall.

    Don’t get me wrong, I did like this comic. But it can be better. Even in this age of DVD box sets and graphic novels the single issue/episode can be something special. The issue lacked a reason why behind nearly every page. I realize much of it is to set up later issues, but at the end I felt like yelling, “he’s making it up as he goes along!” Why is this happening, Joss? Why did that happen? And he replies to me, “I don’t know yet, but doesn’t it look cool?” Well, yes, it does look cool but I need more than looks in my comics. I need to feel, I need to care. If I wanted things that looked pretty but had nothing to them I’d buy 90’s comics out of the 25 cent bin. You are one of the best writers that the geek culture has right now, but you still need to show it every so often. In the end I felt like I was reading fan fiction season 8, not something official. I’ll be back next month to see where it goes, but remember, there are many shows cancelled after only a few episodes. There’s a difference between “make them wait” and not giving them anything at all.

    Kevin
    hellionsmagazine.com

  2. Thank you for the review — I had wondered how the continuation of the Buffy Universe would pan out.

    Blessings

    Mama Kelly

  3. Thanks for the recap. I coudn’t help myself – I had to read your spoilers. I’ve preordered the issue (though it looks like it’s been pushed back to the 21st?), and can’t wait to read it. It sounds like classic Buffy all grown up.

  4. Hold on just a second! Can somebody please fill me in on just exactly what this Buffy Season 8 is all about? I logged in to my WP account and the first thing I saw was BUFFY SEASON 8 EPS 1 REVIEW and I was like WTF! I’m a huge fan of Buffy and Angel so I had to come check it out.

    Obviously it’s a comic and it’s set some years after the Season 7 finale but I don’t know anything else about it and who is involved in the project.

    I apologise for my ignorance but I’m based in the UK so that may explain something. :wink:

  5. I just need to know where to get my hands on this comic!?!?

  6. whoa.. i really can’t stop myself from reading this entry. though it spoils the excitement of grabbing the copy myself. LOL!

    well, i guess i have to wait till ur next blog post next month to discover what will happen next. thanks anyway!

  7. Well, I think the new comic book series is awesome. It’s hard to keep up with the new characters and the new terminology sometimes…(Thricewise???) but other than that, I think it’s awesome.

  8. […] This is a response to the review at WindyHarbor […]

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