Does your busy life keep you from picking up all the books you want? Do our (mostly) spoiler-free reviews leave you scratching your head at what you missed? Don’t worry; PoP! is here to fill in the blanks on the stories that were TL;DR
With the beginning of the Joss Whedon-penned conclusion to the Buffy Season 8 in comic shops this Wednesday, here’s a quick refresher course to catch you up on what you’ve missed or forgotten about.
Buffy, Season 8 (the story so far)
In story time, Season 8 begins about a year after the final episode of the Buffy TV show. The “Season 8″ series began in March of 2007, and will continue until issue #40, which should be released in January 2011. Yes, this is slightly longer than 40 issues of a monthly comic should take.
It’s a Whedon-produced continuation of the Buffy story-line, ultimately featuring eight distinct story arcs all conceived by Whedon. The first was scripted by him, then Brian Vaughn (Y: The Last Man, Lost), then Drew Goddard (Buffy TV series), then Whedon again, then two by Jane Espenson (Buffy TV series, Battlestar Galactica), then Brad Meltzer (“The Book of Lies,” DC’s Identity Crisis) and then finally Whedon himself. Each arc featured a stand-alone issue at the end penned by Whedon as well. Volumes 1 through 6 available now at comic shops and bookstores, with volume 7 expected on October 6th. The final volume will most likely be released after February 2011, but no date has been announced.
With no effects budget to worry about, George Jeanty, Karl Moline and Cliff Richards’ art takes Buffy and the Scooby gang everywhere imaginable. All corners of the Earth (Scotland, Japan, Tibet, Rome, Cleveland and more), the future, and several lower and higher dimensions. The gang is fighting demons that are bigger and more elaborate than any seen on the show before.
… did it happen?
After Buffy empowered all of the potential Slayers at the end of Season 7, she and the Scooby gang are now a tactical organization fighting vampires and demons on a global scale. Operating in groups around the globe, directed by Xander & Buffy at their main headquarters in a castle on the Scottish moors. With so many slayers operating around the globe, the government and remnants of the Initiative have decided that Slayers are a threat to human society and have aligned themselves with a masked supernatural villain named Twilight. Yes, ironic.
… is it important?
Because it’s Buffy. Even more so, because unlike many of the other Buffy comics that Dark Horse has put out, this one is 100% from the brain of Joss and as canon as the TV show was, plus written by many of the same people that brought you the show.
Lots of new Slayers, including…
- Satsu: From Japan, lesbian and in love with Buffy. She wakes Buffy from a sleeping spell with true love’s kiss, and Buffy goes all “college freshman roommate experimental lesbian” with her.
- Renee: Presumably from America (maybe Canada, who knows?) that’s attracted to Xander, which is reciprocated by him. This is a Xander relationship, so you can image how this goes.
- “The General:” The driving force behind the US military’s campaign against the Slayers. Seemingly given carte blanche to do whatever he needs to hunt them down, including excavating Sunnydale and launching military operations around the globe. He was spurned into action by Buffy and the Scoobies doing slightly irresponsible things like robbing banks that held old Nazi war money so they can fund their new global operation. Works for Twilight.
- The Big Bad, “Twilight:” He can fly, he’s super-strong, invulnerable and using everyone he can to make life miserable for Buffy, the Slayers, and any other kind of supernatural being. He’s gotten the General to think that There’s a coming war between humans and the magical, and anything magical wants to end the human race. Plus, he’s has intimate knowledge of Buffy and a secret agenda (that we’ll get to).
… is featured?
Pretty much everyone from the series, including
- Faith: Broken up with Robin Wood, the two of them now watch over the Hellmouth in Cleveland. Faith is initially tired of the Slaying game and wants out. She accepts an offer from Giles to kill another rogue Slayer, but afterwards decides that she’s not ready to quit yet. She and Giles (now on the outs with Buffy over his unapproved “wetworks” mission) go globe trotting to hunt out other potential hot-spots and deal with them in ways that Buffy may or may not approve of.
- Amy & Warren Mears: Surviving in the crater rubble that is Sunnydale, the two crazy lovebirds (she’s still a witch and like cheese, he’s still skinless but saved from death by her magics) work for the General and Twilight.
- Xander: Still one eye, still the only consistent male presence in a large group of girls, now head watcher and chief of Buffy’s operations in Scotland. Vacationed with Dracula after Sunnydale imploded and apparently still has a “special relationship” with him (Dracula calls him manservant, Xander still calls him Master).
- Dawn: Should be at Berkley going to college, but instead shows up in the series first as a giant, then a centaur, then a little doll. Her boyfriend Kenny is a “Thricewise,” and cursed her into three magical transformations after she cheated on him with his roommate. Her lifelong crush on Xander is realized when his relationship with Renee ends and the two of them get together. Much to Buffy’s sudden disappointment.
- Willow: Still has the potential to be the most powerful witch on the planet, still with Kennedy and thanks to the trip to the future depicted in the Wheedon-written Fray miniseries (about future Slayer Melaka Fray) Buffy takes, possibly destined to go evil once again and outlive everyone by about 200 years.
- Oz: Former werewolf, current husband & father living in Tibet. The gang hides out with him when they need to get rid of their magical enhancements in order to stay off Twilight and the General’s magic tracking radar after they make Slayers public enemy #1.
- Andrew: Runs the Rome branch of Buffy’s Slayer outfit and set up the double of Buffy who’s partying in Rome and dating the Immortal (so yeah, that wasn’t Buffy in the Angel episode”The Girl in Question). Still making videos, still a bigger nerd than Xander.
- Buffy: Now a general to an army of girls around the world and feels the weight of it. Lonely and feeling out of place, the conflict with Twilight puts her off balance. After Slayers are “exposed” as being a threat, she takes the group on the run and tries to find a way to cut them off from their magical powers. It works for a little while, but they’re still found by the General and Twilight’s army and have to recover their powers in order to survive. However, once re-powered, Buffy is now even stronger, can fly and is apparently getting power from the other Slayers that are dying.
- Angel: Secretly Twilight! Yes, Angel is the Big Bad yet again and everything he’s done has been to focus Buffy’s attention so that she can fulfill the destiny (that Giles had heard rumor of but did not think was true) that is for the greatest of all Slayers: to join with someone (as in sex) and create a new, greater universe formed by their will. Angel, as Buffy’s “true love,” was picked for this by this potential new universe. When Twilight is revealed as Angel, the two screw like super-bunnies (complete with sonic booms) and breach into the new universe that responds to their thoughts. The problem: now that there’s a new Universe, ours is going to have to die. Portals to lower hell dimensions open up all over the world and demons spew forth to destroy the Earth. In true Buffy fashion, she decides to turn her back on her supposed destiny and returns, with Angel, to try to save the world.
- Spike: crash landing in a spaceship in the middle of the Scooby gang’s apparent final stand against hordes of demons in Twilight’s lair, he arrives at the end of issue #35, promising an end to “this Twilight crap.” We can only hope, Spike.
Lots of Slayers, at least 206 of the about 1,800 in the world, including Renee, Xander’s almost love interest. See? Typical Xander relationship…
Now Buffy, Xander, Dawn, Willow, Kennedy, Angel, Faith, the General, Warren, Amy, and the critically injured Andrew have to hope that Spike has the answers they need to seal up the demon rifts and save the world. Again.
Once this story wraps, the Angel franchise of characters will return to Dark Horse (with the promise that all the IDW Angel books will be folded in, continuity-wise) and a Buffy Season 9 (that is promised to be shorter) and a new Season of Angel books will start some time in 2011.