We all remember those tragic days; they will live on in history as a moment of great fandom disappointment. Of course, I’m talking about the days that Buffy, Angel and Firefly were all canceled. It left a hole in our hearts, leaving us wanting more and more. For a while, we gave up hope. That is, until 2007, when Joss Whedon surprised us all with the announcement that Buffy was coming back, but not in the way that we thought.
In 2007, Joss decided to write season eight of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now, I love Buffy, I really do, but dear god, season eight was awful. It felt nothing like the show at all. I think the biggest reason behind this is that Joss was working with comic books instead of a TV show. This meant that he could do whatever he wanted with no real budget restraint. So he went bigger. Literally. Dawn was cursed by a demon to be like, 20 feet tall. It really felt like it was no longer the story that I fell in love with. It was not an everyday girl trying to balance a normal life with vampire slaying. There were no parallels to real life using the stories that I could connect with. However, there is one thing that remained pretty much the same: Dawn was still annoying.
Buffy and the other Slayers create an organization that hunts down vampires around the world, and for some reason they are basically SHIELD, and Xander is Nick Fury. Not even joking, he had the eye patch, the outfit and everything. And Spike is now in possession of a space ship (no, I’m not joking about that one either). I love Joss Whedon, I really do, but damn, this was definitely his worst attempt at a comic book. Another thing that really bothered me was the character “Twilight.” As much as I wish it was, it was not a jab at the movies, unfortunately. Twilight was set up as this new Big Bad that Buffy and the Scoobies had to defeat, but his identity was unknown, the secret was building and everyone was ask “Who is Twilight?” Then when it was revealed who he was, it was kind of a let down. Even though the person it was was only possessed by a magical spirit, it still seemed like a big lead in to nothing. Twilight is essentially trying to unite everyone who is against the Slayers. He’s convinced the government that the Slayers are bad and that vampires are not.
Alright, season eight wasn’t too terrible, it still had that Joss Whedon wit and charm we all know and love, and the characters are still the characters from the TV show, and it managed to foreshadow the events of Fray. Buffy even travels to the future and meets her! I was so glad he brought back that world and that character, I loved it! It’s just the plots were too ridiculous for Buffy. Warren Mears somehow survived his flaying! That, I think, is what pissed me off the most. And once again Joss brought no emotional pain to his game this go around. However I don’t think Joss can be 100 percent blamed for this one. Like the TV show Mr. Whedon worked as the executive producer, he would outline the story and let other writers write the story, then Joss would come back and write a few issues. One of the writers was Brian K. Vaughn, the guy who created the Runaways! I guess it was his way of repaying Whedon for taking over for him all those years ago. I really wanted to love season eight, I just wasn’t feeling it this go around. However, season nine steps it up more than I ever could’ve thought.
The problem with doing a retrospective on a guy who is still writing is the fact that not everything he has written is complete yet. Season nine of Buffy The Vampire Slayer is still being released to comic book stores.
Season nine has been pretty good overall, we still have the same character, same wit and charm, but a new status quo due to the fact that there is no more magic in the world. I swear Joss must have read the worst fan pairing in the world, because Dawn and Xander are now in a relationship, and honestly it is kind of gross. Whoever had the bright idea to make Xander/Dawn should be ashamed of themselves (No offense Mr. Whedon!). The group now has to deal with a new threat jokingly called “zompires” and Willow has to deal with the fact that there is no more magic in the world. This is actually very emotional because that was Willow’s whole identity for years, and now it’s gone.
Season nine also touches on some very deep issues which I was hoping Joss would finally bring up. There is a story arc where Buffy finds out she is pregnant with Spike’s child. They talk about getting an abortion and it is handled in probably the most adult way any medium has dealt with the subject. It seemed to cause a major uproar amongst certain groups of people who probably don’t even read comic books.
Joss Whedon torments the reader with the death of a very major character who has been in the Buffy Universe since season one, and that was shocking. I’m glad he did kill off the character too, because without it the rest of the season would not have meant as much. Other than that, there’s not much else going on in Buffy season nine right now. It’s pretty good, and is rumored to be going for 25 issues. I would highly recommend it.
As well as continuing Buffy in the comics, Joss also decided to give Angel the same treatment with Angel: After the Fall and Angel and Faith. “After the Fall.” is literally set minutes after the series finale of Angel, and it shows the epic fight between the forces of good and the forces of evil in L.A. Angel even befriends a dragon, which was kinda awesome! The story also brings a few characters back to life and turns others into puppets, again. So there really isn’t much to talk about when it comes to After the Fall, other than the epic fight scene at the beginning it’s just kind of bland. Angel and Faith was a spin-off of season nine. In the series Angel and Faith, it focuses on the titular characters sharing an apartment together. Actually, that sounds like a really bad sitcom. However, it was rather entertaining and had a connection to season nine, it was more connected to Buffy than the TV series Angel had been, which was interesting. Overall, a good series to read along with the season nine comic, but not too necessary.
Well, kiddies it would seem we are at the end of my extensive look at the comics of Joss Whedon. I must sadly inform you that our Joss Whedon retrospective will be coming to a close soon. Next up Emily will give us a look at modern day Joss!