Review: Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #1

Check out this advance look at Joss Whedon bringing his signature character back for another season at Dark Horse.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #1

Buffy The Vampire Slayer is back for Season 9 and I’m interested to see exactly where this goes. In the inaugural issue of the new arc, writer Joss Whedon takes a break from being an Avenger to write (alongside Amber Chambliss) an issue for the woman who launched his career. At the end of Season 8, after a battle with Angel over reasons entirely too convoluted to get into, Buffy cut off all the magic in the world, thus rendering witches without magic and magical folks out of luck. Buffy managed to keep her powers, though they don’t explain how or why.

Buffy 9-1 opens the morning after a party where Buffy got so drunk she nearly went off the deep end. This is mainly an introduction issue, allowing us to get back into the groove with Xander, Dawn, Willow and Spike. Buffy has two new roommates and is trying to bury her guilt over cutting out the world’s magic by overdoing the happiness bit. The issue plays off of Buffy slowly remembering all that happened as well as introducing the new players in the game.

First, we have some weird dreadlocked demon that escapes from his weird oozing prison before his captors can stop him. Meanwhile, two cops are trying to figure out why perfectly healthy young girls are dying from absolutely nothing. Does this tie into what Buffy did at the end of Season 8? Yeah, probably, though Whedon does a nice job of shrouding the arc in mystery.

The end of issue 9-1 is the real enigma here. After all the post-party remembering, the team gets down to the nitty gritty during one of Buffy’s patrols. Something is coming, stalking Buffy and out for a bit of revenge in the name of magic. As usual, nobody knows what it is, but it’s the newest big bad. The very last page is weird, even for Whedon. I’d explain it but it wouldn’t make any sense. I’m guessing issue 9-2 will clue us into the joke.

Art-wise, Buffy 9-1 is a lot of who cares. My real problem with this series is the art is always haphazard and possessed of a real factory-like nature. It’s clear that the artists on board have skills, but it’s all very impersonal. I would love for Dark Horse to assign a truly kick ass artist to Buffy and let that person stay on the book for a whole run. It might help give the series more of an identity.

However Season 9 ends up, I can’t help but feel the concept and idea of Buffy The Vampire Slayer is faltering. For one, the dialog and whole vibe of the series is extremely 90s; it doesn’t feel as if Buffy ever moved forward. One the flipside the story arcs have gone completely over the deep end. The freedom of being in print has opened up Buffy and her gang to things that are new and exciting but often lose the quiet and cool nature of the original idea. I’m sure many are just in love with the idea that Buffy lives and for them Season 9-1 will be a good time.