THE CHALLENGE: Binge-watch and review every season of Buffy to celebrate Dark Horse Comics' release of "Buffy Season 10" on March 19 and "Angel and Faith Season 10" on April 2. So far we've done:
Buffy Season 1 (and an overview of why we love Buffy)
Buffy Season 2
Buffy Season 3
Buffy Season 4
Angel Season 1
Buffy Season 5
Angel Season 2
Buffy Season 6
Angel Season 3
Buffy Season 7
Angel Season 4
Angel Season 5
Buffy Season 8
And herein endeth the binge. I'm kind of sad. Like, "what do I do now?" sad. The good news is, as of Wednesday, April 2, there is new Angel and Faith on the shelves at my local comic shop, and Buffy Season 10 issue 1 is already downloaded on my iPad for convenient reading. Yay! Dear readers, I'll try to keep up with these and review monthly as possible.
After the chaos of Season 8 and all the magic being sucked out of the world, what's a slayer to do? Well, go crash on Dawn and Xander's couch in San Francisco and figure out her next move. That move includes trying to restore magic to the world and fighting a new breed of zombie vampire, dubbed "zompires" by Xander.
Meanwhile, a repentant Angel, faced with what he did as Twilight, is working with Faith to set things right. Chief among these is trying to bring Giles back to life, and going about collecting pieces of his soul so he can restore him. This also involves getting the band back together and a trip to the hell dimension Quor'toth with Connor as his guide and Willow in tow as she tries to restore magic.
The vast majority of this season seems to center around fixing the aftermath of Season 8, which is really my only major gripe with it. Season 8 was epic, it was cosmic, it changed things and took risks. Season 9 tried to put those things all back together, like a giant ret-con. I guess that's to be expected, the same way Marvel's "House of M" event made major changes to their comic universe, and then they spent the better part of the next several years dealing with the repercussions of "No more mutants."
The upside is it's also a more personal season. While I miss the big and the flashy, the small and personal was what was at stake. One of the major consequences of not having magic is that Dawn is dying, so it's a race against time not just to defeat some Big Bad or make Willow powerful again, but to save Buffy's sister.
Buffy also had to tangle with an unplanned pregnancy and whether or not to have an abortion. Wow. Seriously. Not since Joyce Summers died did a major life issue like this so impact Buffy. And I appreciated the social commentary, especially since I was catching up with this storyline about the same time of the Wendy Davis filibuster and huge rallies in the Texas Capitol that so many of my friends and I were involved in.
Overall rating for Season 9: 6.5 out of 10.
I complained about the Buffy tv series missing that Whedon magic. Well, with him off making Avengers, and Much Ado About Nothing, and Agents of SHIELD, and Avengers 2. . . the comics miss some of that magic. Andrew Chambliss does a great job in the Buffy comics, as does Christos Gage in Angel and Faith. But Season 9, issues 1 and 2 of Buffy which were written by Whedon himself. . . they're just absolute magic. Ain't nothing like the real thing.
And that's really my only major gripe. Otherwise, the series is excellent and compelling and a better comic series than most,
What's most impressive here is the art. I love how the comics are drawn, and this also goes for previous Season 8. (No offense to the IDW Angel run, but it was. . . . just not the same. Let's leave it at that because I don't want to rip on it too much.) With both Buffy and Angel and Faith Season 8, they're both recognizable as Buffy-properties, but they've got their own style and artistry. A huge shout out to Georges Jeanty and Rebekah Isaacs for their artwork on these books.
This book is made for binge-ing. It's much easier to catch up via trade paperback because waiting an entire month between books is killer, and far worse than waiting a week for a new TV episode. But it's a sacrifice worth making.
And with magic restored and things back to much the way they were, I can't wait to see what's in store for Season 10.
Buffy Season 10 and Angel and Faith Season 10 are both available now at your local comic book store or online. Thanks Dark Horse for keeping the magic coming.