My reviews looking back at “Buffy” Season 8 continue as we enter the final stretch of the 40-issue season. We finally learn the identity of Twilight, which only raises more questions. So many questions.
In addition to the 40 main issues and three one-shots, “Buffy” Season 8 also features five “MySpace/Dark Horse Presents” e-comics from the waning days of that social media platform. None of these short stories are essential, but a few of them reinforce this new era where vampires are celebrities instead of monsters.
In addition to the 40 regular issues of “Buffy” Season 8, three one-shots flesh out specific aspects of the saga: what it’s like to be a street-level vampire in this new era, how Willow gets her superpowers between Seasons 7 and 8, and how and why Riley joins Twilight’s organization in order to spy on him. SPOILER WARNING: I will discuss Twilight’s real identity in the “Riley” section.
My reviews looking back at “Buffy” Season 8 continue as we enter the second half of the 40-issue season with several standalones (to borrow TV show parlance), which nonetheless move the narrative forward, and one epic five-parter. SPOILER WARNING: If you are reading these issues for the first time, I will analyze the character of Twilight based on my knowledge of Twilight’s true identity, which isn’t revealed until later in the season.
My reviews looking back at “Buffy” Season 8 continue. SPOILER WARNING: If you are reading these issues for the first time, I will analyze the character of Twilight based on my knowledge of Twilight’s true identity, which isn’t revealed until later in the season.
A few years after “Buffy” went off the air, fans got the exciting news that the story would continue in comics, with Joss Whedon overseeing the project. Dark Horse even labels Whedon the “executive producer,” to provide a sense that this is another season of “Buffy,” in a different medium. Most comics prior to this became non-canon (with some exceptions, such as “Fray”), but while all Dark Horse comics from this point forward are canon (the situation with IDW’s “Angel” and “Spike” is more confusing), are they any good? Let’s begin our revisiting of the post-TV era of “Buffy,” which would eventually expand all the way to Season 12:
Looking for a “Valerian” fix after last year’s movie, “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” I’m delving into the comics that started it all, by Frenchmen Pierre Christin (writer) and Jean-Claude Mezieres (pencils and inks). “The Complete Collection, Volume 6” includes “Hostages of Ultralum” (1996), “Orphan of the Stars” (1998) and “In Uncertain Times” (2001).
The three-issue “Angel: Barbary Coast” (April-June 2010) is part of an unofficial trilogy of IDW comic stories where Angel has a soul but isn’t yet a contemporary hero. This one isn’t as strong as John Byrne’s “Blood & Trenches” and “Angel vs. Frankenstein,” but Byrne sets a high bar, so there’s no shame in that. Thanks to wonderful art by Franco Urru and an evocative portrayal of San Francisco at the time of the 1906 Earthquake, “Angel” fans might want to pick up “Barbary Coast.”
In his first entry in the Buffyverse, comics legend John Byrne delivers the quintessential vampires-and-war saga, “Angel: Blood & Trenches” (March-June 2009). Previous stories had touched on this idea. In the novel “Spike and Dru: Pretty Maids All in a Row” (2000), vampires feast on soldiers in World War II and the Watchers’ Council sends a Slayer to thin the ranks of the undead. In the comic series “Spike vs. Dracula” (2006), Hitler recruits vampires to help his cause. The “Angel” episode “Why We Fight” (5.13) finds Angel and Spike thrown into WWII.
While Joss Whedon himself brought Dracula into the Buffyverse with “Buffy vs. Dracula” (“Buffy” 5.1), comic-book legend John Byrne brought another Universal Monster into the fold with two “Angel vs. Frankenstein” comics – “Heir” in October 2009 and “Fragments” in October 2010. Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” is the backstory for the monster, who calls himself Frankenstein in these comics because he sees himself as the heir of the mad doctor who made him.