ADVANCED REVIEW: Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Season 8) #1 (SPOILERS)
This new Buffy comic book series picks up where the last season of the show left off. Joss Whedon is back at the helm, and a great deal has changed since we last saw Buffy and company standing at the edge of a Hellmouth consumed Sunnydale wonder what would happen next...
Just a WARNING: Thar Be Spoilers AHEAD!
I'll do the best I can not to spoil the book for you, but if a revealing sentence or two creeps out along the way...you have been warned...
This first issue, like most comics these days, feels like the first act of the the first episode of Season 8...and in some ways that can be disappointing. Mainly because we get a lot of necessary set-up in these 24 pages, but it's not what I would call a completely satisfying read. Having said that...it is a very good first act, and I'm sure when the first four issues are read in one sitting (where the set up and pay off can be read together) it will be a much more satisfying experience.
Now, let's dig a little deeper here...
Joss Whedon is in full form here, although the exposition at the beginning of the issue slows him down just a bit. You can see the first five pages on Dark Horse's official site, and I have to say, those first 5 pages don't exactly feel like the Buffy we know and love, but starting on page 6, things start to feel more familiar.
In this issue we get an understanding of where Buffy, Xander, and Dawn have been since we've seen them last, and we finally get to see Xander taking on the role that I'd hoped he would play since the series was first running on television in the 90s. His dialog is the first that truly felt familiar, and the first time I could hear the actor's voice in my head delivering the words.
As soon as he and Buffy begin interacting, she began to "sound" normal again too, and suddenly everything felt right. Buffy and Dawn's interaction (dealing with Dawn's "big" problem with a former boyfriend) also felt completely like the character's we've known and loved...although I do hope these two either stop bickering with each other soon...or Dawn finds somewhere else to be. I was tired of them fighting in Season 6. We're in Season 8 now. Enough already.
We also see in this issue the beginning of a mystery that I'm sure will be part of the overall arc of Season 8, and the Military's not-so surprising reaction to Sunnydale being wiped off the map. Again, lots of set up...but good stuff.
Finally, the issue comes to a close with that good-old first commercial break reveal of an old "friend" that I'm sure will be scurrying up trouble next issue.
The Art team of Georges Jeanty (pencils), Andy Owens (inks), Dave Stewart (Colors), and Richard Starkings (Letters...that's RIGHT baby - Lettering is ART and if you don't think so...you try doing it...that'll change your tune but quick!...ahem...sorry...) are all in top form here. The characters look exactly the way I would want them to in comic form. I hate it when characters in comics don't look ANYTHING like their on-screen counterparts...and I hate it EVEN MORE when the characters are obviously traced from screenshots of the actual shows (I'm looking at YOU IDW)...but the artwork in this book is the perfect mix of comic book art and the actor's faces. You can tell who is who by looking at them, but they dont' look so much like the actors that they appear stiff of distracting.
I hope this artistic team has a long run on this book. The artwork works on every level, and I can't wait to see more.
So...in a nutshell, if you're a Buffy fan AT ALL...this is a MUST BUY from the word GO...but don't get yourself over excited about it. It's a very good start, but it is just that...a START.
Don't expect anything more than that, and you should be very happy when you plop down your $2.99.
Final Score: 7 out of 10 - Add it to the Pull List