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.
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.
In retrospect, I was destined to be a huge “Daredevil” fan before finally getting around to watching Season 1 (2015, Netflix) of this Marvel Cinematic Universe series. Frank Miller’s 1980s comics that redefined Daredevil into a grim vigilante heavily influenced Eastman & Laird’s invention of one of my favorite comics: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Splinter comes from Stick, the Foot comes from the Hand, and the same ooze that gives Daredevil his heightened senses mutates the Turtles.
Although the centerpiece arc is Willow’s drug-like magic addiction, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Season 6 (2001-02, UPN) is the year that mostly abandoned metaphors and went for straight-ahead, character-driven emotional storytelling.
It took me 11 years since its original airing, but I finally watched “The Body” for a second time as part of my rewatching of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Season 5 (2000-01, The WB). And, although I teared up a bit during the two Anya scenes, I made it out alive.
“Angel” Season 5 (2003-04, The WB) sends the series out with a bang, ironically because it’s a season of intriguing fresh starts. Unlike with the final season of “Buffy” one year before this, Joss Whedon did not intend for this to be the final season of “Angel” (the WB’s cancellation announcement came while episode 17 was being shot).
“Angel’s” fourth season (2002-03, WB), also known as “The Destruction of Cordelia’s Character,” has the same problems as Seasons 2 and 3: It relies so heavily on one serial thread that when something doesn’t work, it can derail the show for several episodes.
More than a decade ago, I declared Joss Whedon my personal god for creating “Buffy” Season 3, still arguably the greatest TV season ever. But one of the reasons I still admire him today is because he’s not perfect (he proved that quickly with “Buffy” Season 4).