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Andrew Chambliss – Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 9: Vol. 2-5

June 4, 2014

38. BtVS S9, Vol. 2: On Your Own by Andrew Chambliss, Scott Allie, Georges Jeanty, Cliff Richards, and Joss Whedon (2012)
42. BtVS S9, Vol. 3: Guarded by Andrew Chambliss, Jane Espenson, Drew Z. Greenberg, Georges Jeanty, Karl Moline, and Joss Whedon (2013)
43. BtVS S9, Vol. 4: Welcome to the Team by Andrew Chambliss, Georges Jeanty, Karl Moline, and Joss Whedon (2013)
44. BtVS S9, Vol. 5: The Core by Andrew Chambliss, Georges Jeanty, Jane Espenson, Karl Moline, and Joss Whedon (2014)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 9, Volumes 2, 3, 4, and 5

Read my review of:
Season 8
Season 9, Volume 1: Freefall

Length: 144, 136, 136, 168 pages
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Horror

Started/Finished: 05 May, 25 May, 26 May, 27 May 2014

Where did they come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I realized that I’d started S9 but never carried on with it, and I just finished a Buffy re-watch a month or so ago.

Summary: In Volume 2, “On Your Own”, Buffy has a pregnancy test turn up positive, so she is forced to take a minute to confront the possibility of a normal life, a normal family, whether these are things that she can have, or if they’re things she actually wants, and whether things like “normal” can coexist with being the Slayer, even in a world without magic.

In Volume 3, “Guarded”, Buffy takes a job with Kennedy’s new association of Slayers-turned-bodyguards. On Buffy’s first trial run, they’re supposed to be guarding a tech billionaire, so no special Slayer skills required… but of course, things turn out to be a lot more demon-y than anyone was expecting. We also get introduced to Billy the Vampire Slayer, a young man who isn’t “called” the way Slayers normally are, and is busy dealing with bullying and boy troubles, but decides that it’s his duty to help rid his small town of its infestation of the mindless slavering zompires that are being sired ever since Buffy destroyed the Seed.

In Volume 4, “Welcome to the Team”, Buffy is in the middle of fighting a zompire who is strangely stronger than normal when she is teleported away by Illyria to join a council of beings dedicated to protecting what little magic remains in the world after the destruction of the Seed… magic that is under threat from the Siphon, who seeks to absorb it all to achieve his own dark ends.

In Volume 5, “The Core”, Dawn is in mortal peril – since the Seed was destroyed, Dawn’s history as The Key means she is slowly fading from the world as well. There is a storehouse of magical energy that Willow might be able to access enough magic to save Dawn, but it is not unguarded, since it holds the crypts of the Old Ones. But there’s no way Buffy’s going to let her sister die without a fight… and a fight is exactly what they’ll get, since they’re not the only ones who want to access all that power.

Review: I think Season 9 was a lot stronger than Season 8. Not every single thing Buffy does has to be preventing a world-ending apocalypse (although it usually works out that way) and I think that by keeping her storyline a little smaller and her motivations more focused (figure out life, navigate relationships, deal with a changed world, kill vampires, protect the people you love), the writers managed to keep the series reigned in to a more manageable scope, and kept it feeling more like the TV show and less like a trip to crazy-town. One of the key differences, I thought, was that S8 had a lot of stuff that felt like the writers were doing it because they didn’t have to worry about special effects budgets anymore, so they could have all the special effects they wanted. On the other hand, there was very little in S9 that felt like it was something that couldn’t have been filmed, which is I think how comics should be: a little something extra that we can’t get from TV, but not so much that it loses touch with the spirit of the original series. And the Buffy comics, particularly S9, are good about keeping the flavor of the original. The characters all sound like themselves, even as they grow and change in response to what’s happened in their lives. The patter of the dialogue still flows the same. The characters… don’t quite look the same (in the panels, at least; the cover paintings are quite realistic), but that’s not new to this season, and at least they’re all consistently identifiable (except for Andrew, who in my opinion is probably the character that looks the farthest from the actor). So overall, I really enjoyed these; they’ve got the signature Buffy mix of humor and heart and supernatural ass-kicking, all while sticking a little closer to the types of stories that made the series so great. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: I can’t imagine these comics making a lot of sense to someone who hasn’t seen the whole series and read season 8 (and maybe some other stuff as well; this season involved some Angel references, and probably some things from the other Buffyverse comics that I don’t read that went right over my head.) But for fans of the show, this season is a lot more satisfying than S8.

Volume 2: This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon
Volume 3: This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon
Volume 4: This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon
Volume 5: This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Didn’t see any. Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 4, 2014 4:42 pm

    This is very good to hear! I’ve been holding off on seeking out S8 of Buffy, as it got such mixed reviews from everybody, but now I will read all of it and S9 as well. That will be something nice for me to look forward to.

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