A Crash Course in Buffy The Vampire Slayer

In order to keep myself busy and prepare the world for the release of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comic on March 7, I’ve taken the time to compile this handy guide explaining where the television series left off and where its going under this new format. I’ll try not to go off on too many tangents and provide the necessary one may need if they wanted to pick up this comic and have never seen the show.

Mind you, I’m not a comic geek. I don’t own 1000 comics, hell I don’t own 100. I like comics. I’m intelligent enough to know the stories and the characters that have been transformed into blockbuster movies over the past seven years, but they never influenced me as a child. The closest thing to a childhood influence, outside side the world of George Lucas, for me was Buffy. I started watching in 1997 and never stopped. I fell in love from the first episode I saw. I felt a connection with the characters, I was immersed in the story and I knew right from the get go that this was no ordinary show. Ten years later I’m still enthralled by it, so to have it continue in comic book form is going to be not only a continuation of what I love, but an immersion into a completely new medium. I’m rather excited.

It’s About The Mission

Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended its seven season run on May 20, 2003 after five successful seasons on the WB and two on competitor and now partner UPN. The series chronicled Buffy Summers and her time spent living in Sunnydale, California a town built on a mystical gateway to hell (also known as a Hellmouth). Buffy’s success as the slayer was rooted firmly in the fact that she did not act alone as slayers before her had almost always done. With the aid of her two friends Willow and Xander, her Watcher and high school Librarian, Rupert Giles, and a hand full of other allies, Buffy fought the good fight every Tuesday night keeping evil at bay and showing us what the world is like through the eyes of a teenage girl with superpowers.

Over the course of seven years Buffy faced many real world and mystical hurdles. Her first love, a vampire with a soul named Angel, turned evil after their first sexual experience and began killing her friends. At graduation, the mayor turned into a giant demon and was hellbent on devouring the class of 1999. Buffy went to off to college and learned how much the world can change your first year on your own. She faced hell-gods, a mystical addition to her family, singing demons, possessed beer (let’s forget that), the loss of her mother, zombies, demons, pretty much anything you can think of. Hell, she even died for a summer. And through it all, she grew. Buffy isn’t a story about a girl, it’s a story about a girl becoming a woman. It’s about growing up. It’s about facing demons and monsters, some of them internal. And it’s a story everyone can understand and appreciate.

Season 7 – Placed Ever So Gently In A Nutshell or Summarized on a Whiteboard (Highly Suggested Viewing)

The last season of Buffy, pitted said Slayer against a being known as the First Evil.

What is the First Evil?

The First Evil is unlike any foe in the history of the series. It is said to be the embodiment of everything that is evil. It has existed since the beginning of time and unlike all past foes, lacks corporeal form. That makes kicking its ass next to impossible. The First Evil is unable to harm or be harmed. Its striking feature rests in its ability to appear as any deceased individual, which it uses to influence others into doing it’s bidding. But, the First Evil doesn’t act completely alone. The First’s minions, known as Bringers are robed, monk-like individuals with their eyes carved out and as one character points out “are quite mobile for blind people.” Later in the series, it operates with the assistance of a defunct preacher named Caleb who crimes are so atrocious that he can temporarily merge with the First Evil.

So what is this First Evil’s big plan?

To erase the Slayer line and unleash an army of demons on the world.

The Slayer Line?

As Giles once put it…

“Into every generation a Slayer is born. One girl, in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will have the strength and skills to hunt the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer.”

Slayers come and go and when you see what they’ve got to face, who can blame them? When a Slayer dies, a new Slayer is chosen and the power passes on to her. Buffy died once, she drowned, and a girl named Faith Lehane was called. Since Buffy didn’t stay dead (she was resuscitatedby her friend Xander) there were now two active Slayers. One rung beneath the Slayer are Potentials, girls with slightly heightened skills and senses who have the ‘potential’ for becoming the next Slayer. The First Evil’s plan is based around this lineage. It seizes on the opportunity to erase the Slayer line from history by first killing all the Potentials and then doing away with Faith and finally Buffy. Without Potentials to receive the Slayer’s powers, the line stops. Ergo, no more Slayers.

Wow, that’s impressive! What else can you tell me?

Whilst deciding how to do battle with a foe that can’t be fought, Buffy deals with a newly ensouled Spike, the reopening of Sunnydale High School (conveniently located atop the Hellmouth), and the discovery of a fantastic satanic manhole cover in the schools basement that leads down into the Hellmouth itself.

What is down there?

A horde of unsightly and horrific creatures known as Turok-Han who are like the Neanderthal version of Vampires.

Sounds like Buffy has a lot on her plate. Please, continue.

As the series draws to a close, the Slayer and her allies hatch a plan to meet the First Evil and its army head on by descending down into the Hellmouth. Utilizing the power of a mystical slayer weapon known as the Scythe, Willow performs the ultimate spell and disperses the Slayers power amongst all the the Potentials, thus activating all of them and providing Buffy with an army to fight with. Spike also fulfills his destiny by filling the chamber with sunlight, thus vanquishing the army, as well as himself, and initiating a chain reaction that turns the Hellmouth into the world’s largest sinkhole. Buffy and the others escape with only a few soldiers down.

How does it all end?

The final shot in the series is of our heroes standing above the crater that was formerly Sunnydale and wondering, “What are we going to do now?”

So what are they going to do now?

That’s where Season 8 picks up. While Buffy ended in 2003, its spin-off series Angel continued for another season. Through Angel we got clues as to what the Sunnydale crew was up to. Spike was brought back from the dead and joined forces with Angel, Willow and her girlfriend Kennedy were all over the globe; Brazil, the Himalayas and even another astral plane, Buffy and Dawn were residing in Rome where Buffy was dating an individual called The Immortal, and Xander was in Africa. Andrew had become a Watcher-in-training and apparently one of Rupert Giles ‘top guys’. We also later learned that Angel and the others were no longer considered allies of the Slayer due to their affiliation with the evil law firm Wolfram and Hart.

Wow, that is a lot to digest.

It is and that’s all you get for now. This weekend I’ll compile everything that’s known about Season 8 and maybe talk to some people in the know. Till then, thanks for reading.

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