Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight, Volumes 2-8 by Whedon et al.: Review

Title: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight Author: Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Series: Buffy the Vampire: Season Eight (Volumes 2-8) Reason for Discovery: I love Buffy.

For a synopsis of volume 1, please see my review of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight: The Long Way Home. This review is a continuation of this series (volumes 2-8). In volumes 2-8, Buffy and her team of vampire slayers and witches are trying to figure out who the "Big Bad" is and why he is causing all of this mayhem. Faith is working with Giles to help the slayers in that special way that only Faith can help. Meanwhile, Dawn is having some growing pains.
 
I am embarrassed to say that I read volumes 2 through 8 back in November/early December and never wrote a review. To be honest, I had a hard time figuring out what to say and how to rate these books. Whedon and his team ended up writing a crazy epic story in these eight volumes. Keep in mind, when I use the word "epic," I mean universe changing, legendary figure sort of epic, not necessarily "awesome." Whedon would never have been able to tell this story on the television, because it is just a little to crazy. In comic form, however, it sort of works. It works in that way of super heroes switching minds with villains and dying in other people's bodies sort of way. You know? It just sounds totally weird to say it out loud, but you can go along with it when you are reading it. This is not to say that I loved what happened in this series. It had a lot of ups and downs, but the crazy epic-ness of it did make for a wild ride.
 
There was a lot that I enjoyed about Season Eight, I really enjoyed seeing my favorite characters again. There were a lot of shout outs, and it made me happy (and sat at times) to see where characters like Willow, Oz, Xander, and Dawn were. I also appreciated seeing a very grand, total blowout story line in the comic, because there was no way a television show would have the budget for what happened in this comic. Buffy and the gang travel the world in this series and a lot of things blow up. The television budget would have been in the red by page two of volume one. I felt that the characters were fairly consistent with how they behaved on the television show, so it was easy to fall back into step with these "old friends." The artwork was pretty good as well, but I felt that the characters weren't always drawn consistently from frame to frame. I can't fault the artists too much for this, because they have to get so many pages out in a certain time frame and draw them to the actors' likenesses, which could not have been easy.
 
There was one other thing that I really liked about this series. At the end of the last volume, Whedon wrote a letter to the readers discussing the series. He talked about the growing pains that went on while doing this series and about learning what works well and what doesn't work well for a comic. Finally, he also apologized for some of the craziness that happened in this series. From what I understand, Season Nine is a bit less "cra-cra" and more like a traditional Buffy story. This apology actually made me like Season Eight a bit more and appreciate it as the trial and error process that it was.
 
There were a few things that I didn't care for in this series. First, the plot was a bit crazy, like epic crazy. It wasn't a bad plot, but it took a bit to wrap my head around some of it. It was not your usual "monster of the week episode." Second, the series felt a bit disjointed. Whedon kept going in different directions with this series. Most of the issues focused on the epic story; however, randomly, a few issues would go off and tell a different tale that didn't always link back up with the main story. Also, some of these issues would have a very different and unique drawing style. If I was just picking up the monthly issue at my friendly, neighborhood comic store, I think I would have seen these tales as fun and be done with it. Because the issues were bound together into volumes, and I read them back to back, the abrupt change in direction threw me at times. I really want to go back and reread these more slowly, so I can appreciate each issue singly instead of appreciating each volume. 
 
Overall, I did enjoy Season Eight even though it was a bit over the top. I am excited to read Season Nine, because I hear that the story is a bit more domestic. I give Volumes 2-8 a four out of five with the understanding that some of the volumes were stronger than others.
 
 

12 comments:

Leigh @ Little Book Star said...
January 3, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Man, I seriously need to watch some Buffy the Vampire Slayer shows. I heard it's amazing and witty. I think I watched one episode before, but I forgot what it was about or what happened. Maybe in the future I'm finally going to have the time and motivation to marathon them.

FICTION STATE OF MIND said...
January 3, 2014 at 2:27 PM

I keep meaning to read these comics but I was worried it would destroy my love of the show. Joss did an amazing run on Astonishing x-men that I love hold this day

Berls said...
January 3, 2014 at 2:49 PM

I'm so back and forth about reading season 8. I adore Buffy the Vampire Slayer... I've watched it a bazillion times and even named my dog Buffy. But I also love the way it ended. And I'm not a fan of reading comics/graphic novels... for some reason they've never really worked for me. So I don't know if I should go for it or not. Your review has me kind of wanting to and kind of not sure LOL I'm solidly on the fence.

Greg said...
January 3, 2014 at 5:15 PM

I have never seen Buffy ( I know, crazy right?) but I've heard all the good stuff. These sound like a lot of fun, sometimes there are things you can do in the comics that you just can't do on TV, some things just work better on the page. Glad you liked them!

Emily Drema Tuallano said...
January 4, 2014 at 3:53 AM

Oooh I've never seen Buffy, but I keep hearing it being referenced in different novels I've read! :) For example, the Need series by Carrie Jones. By the sounds of it, it's pretty epic! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for sharing with us, Pamela!! <33

Pamela D said...
January 5, 2014 at 12:16 AM

Buffy is so much fun. The first season is a bit cheesy, but it gets better from there.

Pamela D said...
January 5, 2014 at 12:19 AM

I really liked that Buffy had a happy ending at the end of the show, so it does make me sad that she has to deal with stuff in the comics and isn't just living the high life. In my mind, Buffy the comic is one universe in which Buffy is continuing to fight evil. There is another universe in which Buffy is just happy. Because this is a different medium from the TV show, I have been able to separate them into two different things.

Pamela D said...
January 5, 2014 at 12:22 AM

I just imagine that this is one possible way Buffy is living her life now. Because it is not a new TV show, I feel more comfortable separating them into two different things. I am glad that I read the comics, but I don't feel that these are a *must* for a Buffy fan. I was able to get the comics at the library, so you could try the first volume and see how it goes.

Pamela D said...
January 5, 2014 at 12:26 AM

I completely agree. Some stories work better on TV, some in movies, and some on the written page. :)

Pamela D said...
January 5, 2014 at 12:28 AM

Buffy is definitely one of those series with a cult following who will include references in their series. Thanks for visiting!

kimbacaffeinate said...
January 5, 2014 at 12:40 PM

I enjoyed the Buffy series, enjoy my friend and welcome to the Buffydom.

Pamela D said...
January 6, 2014 at 6:06 PM

I do enjoy the Buffy series, but I have to keep the series, like Firefly, at arms length. I think if Joss Whedon notices too many people loving his series' he instinctively kills off a beloved character.

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