‘Buffy’ flashback: Season 9 ‘Spike’ and ‘Willow’ miniseries (2012-13) (Comic book reviews)

When Spike and Willow duck out of the main “Buffy” Season 9 series, their solo adventures are told in a pair of five-issue miniseries, with Spike brooding over his purpose in life without Buffy, and Willow seeking a way to regain some of her magic powers.

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‘Buffy’ flashback: Season 9, Issues 11-20 (2012-13) (Comic book reviews)

In this next batch of 10 issues, Season 9 becomes slightly less Buffy-centric, somewhat to its detriment, but Andrew Chambliss continues to be a sharp writer and I trust he knows where the wider narrative is going. The only major misstep in this batch, surprisingly, is when “Buffy” veterans Jane Espenson and Drew Z. Greenberg step in for two issues to tell the origin story of side character Billy.

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‘Buffy’ flashback: Season 9, Issues 1-10 (2011-12) (Comic book reviews)

After Season 8, Dark Horse’s canonical “Buffy” comics do what the TV series did more than a decade prior: split into two series. While “Angel & Faith” go off to do their own thing, “Buffy” Season 9 sets up shop in San Francisco and welcomes excellent new lead scribe Andrew Chambliss, who had written for “Dollhouse.” Here are my reviews of Issues 1-10 of the 25-issue Season 9.

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‘Angel’ flashback: ‘After the Fall’ Issues 9-17 (2008-09) (Comic book review)

After the “First Night” interlude (Issues 6-8), IDW’s “Angel” returns to the main storyline of “After the Fall” having lost its momentum. Although still plotted by Joss Whedon and scripted by Brian Lynch, the arc feels like it is treading water, with a lot of talking. It also doesn’t help that Franco Urru is mostly absent from Issues 9-14, as he was working on “Spike: After the Fall.” Before his return for the grand finale, there’s a shortage of dynamism in the panels.

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‘Angel’ flashback: ‘After the Fall’ Issues 1-8 (2007-08) (Comic book reviews)

Seeing the success of “Buffy” Season 8 and learning that Brian Lynch’s pitch for an “Angel” “Season 6” lined up closely with his plans before the TV show was canceled, Joss Whedon launched “Angel: After the Fall” in 2007. Although it makes some of IDW’s previous work hard to fit into the continuity, it goes without saying that it’s great to get Whedon’s canonical story of what happens to Angel and company after the cliffhanger of “Not Fade Away” (5.22).

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‘Buffy’ flashback: Season 8 ‘MySpace/Dark Horse Presents’ short stories (2009-10) (Comic book reviews)

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.

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‘Buffy’ flashback: Season 8 one-shots (2009-10) (Comic book reviews)

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.

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‘Buffy’ flashback: Season 8, Issues 21-30 (2009) (Comic book reviews)

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.

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