Buffy season 8 started out as an exciting new development in the history of comic books. Where Television had disappointed fans by ending a popular show, comic books would pick up the slack and give the official account of our heroines continued adventures, brought to us by the actual TV writers who made us fall in love with the Buffmeister in the first part.
How did they deliver on that promise? Grading on a curve (as we have to do for today’s America) I would give Buffy season 8 a B-, though in my heart I’d have to say these are C books at best.
WHATCHOO’ TALKIN’ BOUT’, UNKIE
There are three big flaws to Buffy Season 8. The first is the artwork.
Apart from Spider-Man dying/getting unmasked/getting magically divorced or other milestone comic books like Superman and Batman’s Massachusetts wedding (coming up in this week’s Batman #703) Buffy season 8 was the highest profile comic book for the past three years…so why didn’t it have a superstar artist?
Don’t get me wrong, the artist was fair, but not great. The fact that I’ve read all of the issues and still can’t remember the guy’s name is indication enough that the artwork was not the book’s selling point. In a comic about petite blondes and brunettes stabbing bloodsuckers, it’s VERY hard via the artwork to keep all the characters distinct.
The second big problem was “Events and Press.” You can tell that the creative team felt they had to deliver a twist at the end of each comic, but by the twelfth twist your left bored rather than floored. (SPOILER ALERT) Issue #35 ends with Spike arriving…but of coarse he does…there’s few characters left in the Buffy verse to make a cameo, so who else was going to pop in? Ad in the fact that many of these twists (SPOILERS AGAIN) such as Buffy dabbling in bi-sexuality or the reveal of Super-villain Twilight as a former main character were highlighted in the press before the book was on the shelves. Short-changing your loyal readers for ink in the press is a short term win, long time loss strategy..
The BIGGEST problem, however, was pacing. Talented writers like Jane Espenson turn in scripts with good one liners but bad overall flow. The transition from TV writing to comic book writing must be daunting indeed, because Buffy season 8, under the pen of top tiered TV talents comes across as a clunky, ramshackle buggy barely sustaining itself under its own weight.
They want to do a Buffy season 9, and I’m down with that. Good shows take a while to get great, comics can get the same grace period…but PLEASE Mr. Joss, fix some of the flaws or you’re going to kill your good-thang like an over watered cactus.
WHAT ELSE WE GOT?
Highlights this week include a new series by “The Goon’s “ Eric Powell, Billy the Kid’s Old Time Oddities and the Ghastly Fiend of London #1, which will feature new Goon backup material. Dark Horse also has Empowered Vol. 6, which is MANDATORY reading for perverts and Amerimanga junkies.
Batgirl #14 promises me a team-up of Batgirl and Dracula…and also implies sexual tension between Supergirl and Batgirl through its cover, so sign me up for that!
Amazing Spider-Man #642 is as good a jumping on point for Spidey fans as we’re going to get…but is it too little too late? My money says “I’ll give you one last chance, Spidey.” Same goes for you New Avengers #4 and X-Men #3.
I might just pick up that IDW Zombies Vs. Robots Adventure HC…but then again I might not. DANG, I am one fickle pickle.