Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Angel & Faith, & Spike: Season Nine by Joss Whedon: Graphic Novel Review

Title: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Angel & Faith, & Spike: Season Nine
Creator: Joss Whedon
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Audio or Book: Book
Reason for Discovery: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer television show

NOTE: There are spoilers for Season Eight in the blurb. There are no spoilers in the review.

From GoodReads:

Season 8 ended with a bang that cut the world off from magic—culminating in another set of world-ending problems. Buffy has left her best friend, Willow, powerless, and brought an end to a millennia-long tradition of superpowered girls. By day, Buffy is a twenty-something waitress with no real direction, and even though magic is gone, she’s still a vampire Slayer by night. Bigger problem? Vampires are becoming an epidemic . . . of zompires! 

Last year, I read the craziness that was Buffy: The Vampire Slayer Season Eight. The story got a wee bit out of control and got a bit too epic. The story also suffered from wanting to follow about fifteen characters. Luckily, Joss Whedon learned from his mistakes.

My favorite change to Season Nine was that several characters received their own books. Buffy had five books, Angel and Faith had five books, and Spike and Willow each had one book too. Breaking up the Buffy-verse make each book tighter and more focused. Season Eight felt a bit scattered with random standalone stories that came out of nowhere. With different characters having their own books, I felt more guaranteed that my Buffy comic was going to have Buffy in it.

In addition to appreciating breaking up the characters, I loved that Buffy: The Vampire Slayer Season Nine (and the other series) returned to basics. The story focused on how the aftermath of the showdown in the final arc of Season Nine affected Buffy and her Scoobies. Season Nine didn't take us around the world or into different dimensions but that was okay, because the Scooby gang was doing what it does best: fighting vampires and dealing with age-relevant crises. Unlike in Season Eight in which I felt like I was missing important details, because I had forgotten plot lines from the Buffy television show and never finished watching Angel, Season Nine felt more manageable. In Season Nine, I recognized all of the characters immediately, and I understood why events were happening (for the most part). Also, I found these plots to be more relate-able. Buffy and the gang were not only dealing with vampires but also being adults and managing grown-up life stressors. I will admit that I was a bit disappointed that the creative team wimped out on a particular storyline that could have been really fascinating. Besides this one issue though, I did enjoy all of the stories. 

I know I keep focusing on the Buffy comic; however, my praise goes out to all of the Season Nine books. I am much more of a Buffy fan than an Angel fan, so I did enjoy Buffy more than Angel & Faith. Spike was good as well; however, his tale was only a standalone book. I didn't feel like I got too much out of it besides a fun ride.

Overall, I enjoyed Season Nine much more than Season Eight. The writing was tighter and stronger. The characters returned to their inner-Scoobies. I liked seeing my beloved characters stretched and pulled in new ways and meeting new and fun characters (like a new slayer!). 

I give this series a 4 out of 5.
Very Good

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