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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Nine #1

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Nine #1

Credits

  • Words: Joss Whedon
  • Art: Georges Jeanty
  • Inks: Dexter Vines
  • Colors: Michelle Madsen
  • Story Title: Freefall - Part 1
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Sep 14, 2011

In the aftermath of Season Eight’s earth shattering events, Buffy is back and she’s…drunker…than ever!

Joss Whedon returns to comics this week with a continuation his most recognizable character, Buffy Summers, and the further adventures of her demon slaying ways. You have to have lived underneath a rock for the past decade or more to have never heard of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, even if it was a disparaging remark about someone never giving the show a chance due to its “stupid” title (hint; it was supposed to sound silly). 

Buffy is the Chosen One, imbued with the power to hunt and slay vampires, and various other bumps in the night. With her group of hilarious sidekicks, they save the world over and over again. In the conclusion of Season Eight, Buffy saved the day by literally killing our realm’s connection to magic. No more witches, no more fairies, and no more monsters (save for the ones stuck on this side already). This was a major status quo shift and put into question every aspect of Buffy’s universe. Whedon wisely uses this opening issue to explore that very feeling of uncertainty. Where does Buffy go from here? 

For Buff, the answer is to simply start living a “normal life.” She gets roommates in a tiny apartment, throws a party, and gets so wasted that she can’t remember everything. It literally comes off as being away from home for the first time and not knowing how to expel all the anxiety from change. For most people, it’s called freshman year of college, but considering Buffy always had the world on her shoulders, she seems to be trying too hard. 

Whedon, along with regular series artist Georges Jeanty, structures the issue with the framing sequence of Buffy’s hung over regret. We start with her waking up in pain and follow her throughout the day of recovery, slowly seeing glimpses of the night before. Some things are revealed (didn’t have sexy time with Willow) and some left dangling (what happened with her and Xander in the bedroom), but the general theme being that she is trying too hard. Serious things happened and it may be time to start dealing with it.

The story jumps around a lot, between the present, past, and a few foreboding scenes with monsters that have yet to gain context in the first issue. Jeanty and his art team do a wonderful job of keeping together a very purposefully frantic comic. There may have been a rough spot or two where I had to make sure I didn’t skip a page, but it never diminished the overall enjoyment. It almost added to the undetermined and mysterious aspects of the story. What actually happened and what’s after Buffy are two very big questions that Whedon kind of answers. The latter question he answers with hilarity, but we fans know that that’s just the red herring. There’s more coming and this book plays with those expectations.

After a slightly meandering third act to the last “season,” I’m happy to report that Season Nine kicks off with fun, originality, and an utterly new direction for the characters. It’s not different to be different, but actual new territory for our characters. The best part of this book is that they handle these changes like real people would – flawed.

If you’ve never given Buffy a chance, issue #1 of this season is a fun place to start. Jeanty’s work is top notch as always and Whedon writes in his playful “calm before the storm” mode.

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