back with the gang

I found out a little late that Joss Whedon was doing an official “Season 8” Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a comic book series. It took me a while to obtain them all, as issue two proved a little elusive. I was determined not to read them out of order.

This morning I sat down and read all of the eight issues out so far. It’s fun.

Not only is it great to reacquaint myself with the characters from the show, but it’s cool to see how Whedon imagined a world full of slayers. Without the restrains of special effects, wardrobe, setting, and acting costs, Whedon is free to do whatever he wants with the series.

Georges Jeanty’s artwork is lovely – his action sequences are kinetic and he evokes the old characters well. Dave Stewart’s colour work is perfect for the tone of the series.

The story is only really getting on its feet, but so far it’s interesting that the action has switched to Europe. Sunnydale is a big crater now, so there’s no going back – well, except when you’re on a rescue mission. I particularly like what Whedon has done with Xander – he’s all grown up, and yet retains an endearing geek-boy element. I’m not sure about the Dawn plot-line, but I’ve never been hugely convinced of Dawn anyway – although she has had her moments. Willow seems to have ejected a chunk of angst, which is a relief, but she’s being made to face up to her past transgressions in a new way. Buffy is trying to cope with the responsibilities of being the most famous slayer in the world without too much moaning, and she’s accumulating a new set of enemies at a fast rate.

However, what’s really interesting is Faith. She’s always been one the more complicated characters in the Buffy universe, and she was at the heart of some of the best episodes of the series. Whedon stopped writing the comics scripts after the sixth issue, and now Brian K. Vaughan is on board, and he is tackling the current Faith story (“No Future for You”). Whedon continues to oversee the storylines, and thus far the changeover has been seamless.

Vaughan’s coming up with the snappy lines, and I’m enjoying his take on Faith and her mindset. The fight between Buffy and Faith at the end of the eight issue was particularly good. Sometimes people won’t let you pay for your sins.

Thus far it’s thumbs up for me. It’s entertaining, well-written, with beautiful artwork, and the old gang is once again in a lot of trouble. There’s ample opportunity for the minor characters to pop back in, and already we’ve seen a number of them put in an appearance.

It’s made me want to re-watch some of the Buffy episodes, which is a good sign.