I remember being a kid in the ’90s, watching television and seeing commercials for the WB show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and thinking “What is that crazy show?!” but never once watching an episode. That is, until I got Netflix in the summer of 2010. The whole seven season series was (and still is) available for instant streaming, and Matt Rhodes suggested we check it out! He probably later regretted this because I was hooked immediately. Any time he would suggest watching TV, all I wanted to watch was Buffy. Needless to say, we flew through the series, and I felt as if my world was shattering with the destruction of Sunnydale, the death of Spike, and a new reality in which there are slayers sprouting up all over the place.
Lucky for me, and for all other Buffy fans out there (but mostly me), Joss Whedon had decided to continue the series as a comic through Dark Horse Comics back in 2007, so I didn’t have to wait years to pick back up with my favorite characters. I just had to wait for my eBay purchase of every single issue of Buffy Season Eight to arrive in the mail. So, in case you missed it, here’s what happened in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight.
Buffy Season Eight is broken up into seven main story arcs with several issues/episodes here and there which provide back story, comic relief, and some side stories.
“The Long Way Home” (issues 1-4) catches us up with Buffy and the gang (now accompanied by thousands of new slayers) in Scotland. Dawn is a giant, one-eyed Xander is a watcher to masses of slayers, Amy is a mess, somehow surviving Sunnydale’s destruction, a floating/flying mysterious new villain named “Twilight,” skinless Warren somehow alive. The return of Warren evoked a “WHAT?!” out loud, and “Twilight” made me question whether I was reading Buffy, or the awful teen novel series about sparkly vampires, but alas I read on.
“No Future For You” (issues 6-9) brings Faith into the picture, killing kid-vampires; as well as Principle Wood, and Giles wearing a Yellow Submarine sweatshirt (um, awesome!). Faith goes undercover in the UK where she has to kill another slayer who wants to take over as “Queen” of the slayers by taking out Buffy.
“Wolves at the Gate” (issues 12-15) starts out with Buffy having a lesbian experience with Satsu, another slayer, who lifted a spell on her with true loves kiss (Sleeping Beauty much?). A gang of Japanese vampires who have stolen Dracula’s powers break into the castle in Scotland and steel the scythe. The army of slayers head to Japan to wage war on these vamps (who are planning to make all slayers human again), take back the scythe and kill all of the vampires.
“Time of Your Life” (16-19) turns giant-Dawn into centaur-Dawn, and Buffy gets sent into the future in New York where she meets a slayer, Melaka Fray. Fray and Buffy fight because they are both being fed different information, and Buffy ends up having to kill Dark Willow, who is centuries old. We learn that Riley is a double agent, telling Buffy he is her inside man when really he is working for Twilight (this really pissed me off, I was actually mad at Riley, a fictional character!).
The next several issues are all singles, in which Buffy has a cool cartoon dream where we see classic Buffy characters like Cordelia and Principle Snyder, Vampire Harmony gets a TV show on MTV, a rogue slayer causes chaos in Italy, and centaur-Dawn becomes doll-Dawn, then her normal self again.
“Retreat” (issues 26-30) takes everyone to Tibet to be trained how to hide their magic by Oz who has learned to suppress the wolf inside. Twilight, Amy, Warren, Riley, and the military are trying to track them, in order to attach them. Xander and Dawn become a couple (umm, what?) and all of the Wiccans and slayers lose their powers. When Twilight and villain crew show up, they are forced to fight back with regular human strength and military weapons. They summon three wrathful goddesses who end up hurting people on both sides of the battle. Buffy somehow gains the ability to fly, and we learn that Riley was actually a good guy after all!
“Twilight” (issues 32-35) bring us Buffy with super powers (she is literally faster than a speeding bullet), power which she is absorbing from other dying slayers around the world, and Twilight has kidnapped Faith, Giles, and Andrew. Buffy pokes fun at the awful Twilight series (thank god!), and we learn that under his mask, Twilight is actually Angel. Buffy tries to fight him, but they end up glowing, floating, kissing, and fucking. Giles explains that the events are the universe responding to the change in the slayer-demon-vampire balance. Buffy and Angel fuck their way to a place called Twilight, a new reality where they are meant to evolve a new race and a new world, but (typical) Buffy decides to return to her friends and family in the lower plane, where Spike has returned with a bunch of insect peons.
“Last Gleaming” (issues 36-40) concludes season 8. Spike reveals that they must dig up the Seed of Wonder, the source of all the magic in the world, in order to stop the demons which were released when Buffy and Angel’s fucking opened the new dimension. The seed is being held/protected in the rubble of Sunnydale, by The Master. Angel is consumed by a Twilight demon, which leads to him killing Giles (NO!!!), and Buffy destroying The Seed with the scythe in her devastation. The world is now without magic, except for the slayers and demons whose magic is within them. Buffy works at a coffee shop in San Francisco, sleeping on Dawn and Xander’s couch. Many slayers around the world feel betrayed, as does Willow. The world has definitely changed this time, and Buffy is responsible, as usual.
Overall I had some mixed reactions to Buffy Season Eight, but it ended with a bang (pun intended) and I would rather have a less than perfect Buffy continuation than none at all. The cover art is FANTASTIC throughout the season, and if the artists had the time and money to make all the art that perfect, reading the issues would feel and look just like watching episodes. In case you missed it, Buffy Season Eight was a little rough, but it was Buffy, and I’ll never say I didn’t like it. I personally can’t wait to see where it goes in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine!