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Joss Whedon – BtVS S8 Vol. 8: Last Gleaming

July 28, 2011

92. Last Gleaming by Joss Whedon, Georges Jeanty, Scott Allie (2011)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, Volume 8

Read my review of volume:
1. The Long Way Home
2. No Future For You
3. Wolves at the Gate
4. Time of Your Life
5. Predators & Prey
6. Retreat
7. Twilight

Length: 160 pages
Genre: Fantasy

Where did it come from? The library.

Started/Finished: 12 July 2011


Summary: The creation of a new universe at the end of Vol. 7 opened up the floodgates of demons pouring into the old universe. It turns out that all of the demons are primarily after one thing (apart from killing, mauling, and eating as many humans as they can): the Seed, which is responsible for the separation of the universes and is also the source of magic in the world. So Buffy & Co. have to get to the Seed first… but once they find it, what exactly are they going to do with it?

Review: Whoo boy. In my review of the utterly insane and mostly nonsensical Vol. 7, I said “I would really appreciate it if Joss (or someone else) would take the reins and keep the whole thing from plummeting straight over the crazy cliff.” And, surprisingly enough, he did! Well, mostly. The direction that the plot took at the end of Vol. 7 isn’t something that even the most skilled writer could turn around in the space of one more volume, but given what there was to work with, I think Whedon took it in the best direction he could. He did cover a LOT of plot points very, very quickly, however, to the point that I was spending a lot of mental energy trying to make it all fit together in a logical fashion. I never quite got there, even after a few read-throughs, but at least the remaining plot holes are Sunnydale-crater-sized rather than entire-universe-sized. I also think I missed a lot by not reading the Spike or the more recent Angel comics, too; the fact that Spike shows up on a giant gold zeppelin piloted by huge cockroaches is just laid out there in this volume without any kind of explanation.

But, despite the “Whaaaaaa??!? Ooookay.” nature of the plot, there were a number of parts of this book that I liked. There are some simply wonderful character moments, with Buffy & Spike’s reunion (complete with the entire unresolved weight of what went down at the end of S7) at the top of the list. Everybody sounded like themselves, and a lot of the dialogue is just as sharp and witty as it ever was on the show. And, of course, Whedon can’t end a season without some major game-changing twists, and season 8’s finale’s got a few doozies. Unfortunately, I was too wrapped up in trying to understand the plot, so I think some of them didn’t have quite the emotional impact they should have, but they (for sure) left me eager to see where things are going to go from here. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Scooper Speaks, Stella Matutina
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2011 11:15 am

    I did an itty bitty bit of low-level poking around (since I didn’t want to run into spoilers), and I don’t think Joss did provide the backstory for Spike’s gold zeppelin or any of Angel’s stuff in the other comics. From what I read, it seems like just threw ’em into this one. A bit odd, to my mind, especially since it feels a lot more like “there’s more of this story elsewhere and it’s pretty important” than “yeah, we’re coming in in the middle, but you don’t really need to know all the ins and outs of the beginning.”

    • August 1, 2011 10:26 am

      Memory – That’s really, really weird, because you’re right, it definitely feels like Spike and Angel’s backstories should be relevant to at least the beginning of this volume.

  2. July 28, 2011 9:09 pm

    I’m reading this bit by bit at the moment and I’m struggling with it. Aside from the odd bit of dialogue brilliance that is so obviously Joss the rest of it isn’t particularly inspiring.

    • August 1, 2011 10:27 am

      Elfy – The more I think about it, the more I wonder if there might have been some season-long pacing problems. I mean, I understand wanting to cram a lot of stuff into your season finale, but I think in this case, it might have been better to stick to a slighly smaller scale but given each individual piece more time to really have its effect.

  3. August 1, 2011 7:28 pm

    Okay, so I’m about to display my ignorance for all to see: there are Buffy graphic novels? I suddenly got into Buffy last fall, and I’ve been renting it and Angel from Netflix (I’m up to Season 6 of Buffy and Season 3 of Angel). But now I’m confused. Did Joss Whedon write these graphic novels after the TV series ended? Or do they go along with the TV shows?

    • August 1, 2011 7:38 pm

      Emily – Yup! (to the first and second questions.) This is “season 8”, so it picks up again a few months(?) after the tv show ends. There’s one comic, Fray, that Whedon wrote while the show was going on, but it’s set in the far, far future… but it also ties in to Vol. 4 of Season 8, so should be read, too.

      I think there are also Buffy comics that are set during the time course of the show, but I haven’t read any of those yet.

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