Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume 1: The Long Way Home
What can I say about this?
One of the unique things about the TV show was that it made the writers famous. Part of that was the fact that it came into its own at just the right time to be one of th first shows to really take advantage of DVD with all the interview extras. But it still reflected the quality work of the writers themselves.
And the great writing continues. The comic book does not disappoint in the writing, nor in the quality of the story.
But it is insufficient.
No one just cares about the story when it comes to drama. It is fine when someone wants to make a movie or TV show based on a comic. That can work. But the opposite?
The actors matter.
Who goes to see a school play without any relationship at all to the actors? TV is different. Sure. But after a few successful seasons it is simply human nature to care about the craft of the people pretending to be the people in the story. You can make fun of fanboyism (and fangirlism–fanpersonism) all you want. But the only alternative would require that we all be uncaring apathetic sociopaths. We care about our performers. If that can be true for a single play, then the emotional intensity is exponentially greater in the case of a multi-season TV show. It can reach stupid heights precisely because of the power involved. You can’t watch someone at their work over an extended period of time and not care about them.
So, seeing a TV show transformed into a comic book really doesn’t satisfy. In fact, the better the story the writers give you, the more you feel sorry for the actors and actresses because they have been left out. Why wasn’t Nick Brendon ever allowed to play a cool Sergeant Fury character? It just seems unfair.
But the story seems pretty good. It lets you know by the second page that all that stuff about Buffy and “the Immortal” was never true. And, while it begins with a definite story arc, it also has stories (or at least one out of five, in this case) that is a standalone.
The situation is that Buffy is now the head of a huge underground organization of fellow slayers (after season 7 there is no longer one chosen one). They have money and communications and technology like never before. But the new situation attracts new enemies (as well as old who collude with the new).
(I’m half tempted to try to find who to ask to get the book deal that bridges from the end of season 7 to this episode. The story begs for a prequel.)
It looks like it will be interesting. Without giving anything away, the major issues seems to be power and paranoia. Buffy has now unleashed a new order in the world, naively thinking this just means more help fighting demons, vampires, and other monsters. But others understand that a new order is always a threat to the old order.
Usual caveats. The level of morality is roughly that of Friends (or just about anything else on Television right now). The magic is a lot more problematic than that of Harry Potter.