Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home, by Joss Whedon

When we first heard that Joss Whedon was going to write a comic book series that would serve as the eighth season of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show, we weren’t sold on the idea. The first five seasons of Buffy were awesome, sure, but the last two were such a hot mess we doubted we could trust Mr. Whedon again. Was Buffy still going to be a dour, judgmental grump in too much lip-gloss? Were we going to wade through more irritating love triangles? Would the once-beautiful friendship between Buffy, Willow, and Xander still be an “in name only” thing? Worst of all, would we see more of Kennedy?

Thankfully, none of that proved to be the case. Mr. Whedon hasn’t totally won back our hearts, but the first three issues of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic are witty, dramatic, and chilling. Freed from the restrictions of dealing with real actors, Whedon finally seems to be letting his characters have a little fun again.

The comic series picks up a few months after the final episode of season seven. Sunnydale is a giant hole in the ground, Buffy and crew are working with the thousands of newbie Slayers, Dawn has grown up a bit, and there are evil-doers coming out of the woodwork. Everything seems to be running pretty smoothly... until some familiar (and very, very icky) faces begin to raise hell. (Warning: you don’t want to be eating anything when you read the last page of issue three.)

Surprisingly, the biggest problem we’ve had with the Buffy comic has been the pedestrian interior artwork. Whedon could have chosen almost anybody to illustrate this story, but he went for a mediocre artist with a semi-realistic style. The main characters bear little resemblance to the actors that portrayed them, and it’s tough to even guess the identities of minor characters. That’s particularly problematic during the dramatic reveals, which lose a lot of their punch when you’re busy wondering, “Uh, who is that supposed to be?”.

Artistic quibbles aside, it’s difficult to connect with a thirty-page-long comic book the way that one does with an hour-long TV show. Waiting four weeks for another too-short installment limits a story’s emotional wallop. Still, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series is a very entertaining addition to our comic-shopping roster, and it’s wonderful to spend some quality time with these characters again. We’ve missed them.
Posted by: Julia, Last edit by: Julianka


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