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Whedon discusses the end of Buffy Season 8, drops hints about Season 9

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #40

With the release today of Buffy the Vampire Slayer #40, the conclusion of the sprawling Season 8 storyline, creator Joss Whedon says he’s already looking forward to a more “down to earth” Season 9.

“I got very excited when I had a comic book with the idea that I could do absolutely anything,” he tells Etertainment Weekly‘s Shelf Life blog. “We hit a lot of beautiful notes and I’ve got a lot of great writers working [on the comics], and I’m very proud of it. But at the same time, it’s like, yeah, ‘You can do anything’ is not really the Buffy mission statement. The Buffy mission statement is, ‘What does this feel like?’ So I wanted to bounce it back a little bit to the real world.”

Be warned: The interview contains spoilers for Season 8, so if you’ve been picking up the collected editions, you’ll probably want to avoid that link.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer will relaunch late this year, coinciding with the return of Angel to Dark Horse. The publisher has said that the new season will be “a little tighter, a little more concise” than Season 8, which took nearly four years to complete.

Related: Dark Horse has a list of retailers who are marking Buffy Summers’ birthday — it’s today! — with special events.

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Comments

28 Comments

PLEASE just let this book end.

I loved Buffy. I own every season, and even all of the 5 seasons of Angel.

But while Season Eight in the comics started out fun, it became a meandering mess right around the whole Harmony has a reality show nonsense.

The plot over the last few months has just been absurd with artwork so sloppy at times, half the characters look alike. It went from being a book you read to a book you endure.

Yes, shame on me for getting all the issues. I just really wanted to get the full story, that’s the inane completist in me, but this whole Twilight thing really fizzled to me and that last issue (#39, I have not yet read today’s #40) was just so rushed it was tough to tell what was going on at times.

It’s a shame to me, too, because, like I said, it started out strong, but somewhere along the way seemed to lose some of the things that made the show so much more grounded and “real” at times.

Of course, this is just my opinion. I cannot speak for everyone, or even anyone else, just myself.

But I kind of just want it to get while the getting’s good, instead of trying to squeeze too much from the stone.

Charles – I agree with your opinion, almost to the letter. For some reason – whether it be for lack of interest, or attention, or whatever – I’ve found it difficult to totally ‘get’ what has been going the last few months. At the end of the day, I don’t think I really know what’s going on.

And part of that is due to the fact that Buffy moved from a fantasy / horror genre with a foot in reality to the super hero genre and all its trappings. In the past, despite all the fantastical things going on around her, Buffy still seemed grounded in reality – at least to a degree. The back part of this comic series, however, has left all reality to the side. We are in pure fantastical full on super hero mode with flight and all, and now, Buffy doesn’t seem so special. All she’s lacking is a secret identity and a cape and she’s part of the super hero genre (which I enjoy mind you, but NOT for Buffy).

Here’s hoping Season 9 brings back a Buffy that is more heroine rather than super heroine.

Joss manages to wrap up Season 8 on a good note. Not a great note, but given the mess this series was at time, that might have been impossible. But he also does a good enough job that I am once again excited by the prospect of another series. That might just be my unending enthusiasm for all of Joss’ projects (minus his Marvel comics). But I really do feel like he’s on the right track again, that he still loves these characters, and that he still knows what to do with them.

Agree with the other comments that the second half of this series has been a mess. I usually love Joss’s stuff but I’m surprised he went so off the rails on this book and turned it into something almost unrecognisable as Buffy.

I still plan on getting Season 9 but this time it’ll be in trade format.

Yea, I dropped the series once Buffy started to fly…

I agree with the above comments. It’s like Joss pulled a George Lucas and forgot who his characters are and how they behave. I felt Buffy was taken right back to her season 3 mentality, which is not who she was when the show ended. Buffy grew so much through the show, and the gimmicks (Buffy having a lesbian relationship, Buffy and Xander possibly having a thing) were so ridiculous. I feel like the creators/writers of this comic were living out the fantasies they wanted to see on the show and didn’t get. And the romanticized relationship she has with Angel in the comic does not follow her progression as a character, nor does it feel right in light of what happened with Buffy and Spike by the end of season 7. Sadly, I’m the kind of person who loves Buffy so much, I can’t stop myself from reading the comic, even when it ruins my images and opinions of my beloved characters.

I really liked the 40 Season 8 Buffy comics and have to disagree with these comments. Season 8 hit a lot of good beats, that complement the tv series nicely. I particularly like Giles’ sacrifice in #39, and how it builds and how it is in character with Giles’ decision to kill Ben at the end of Season 5, ‘cos Buffy couldn’t. It is also a repetition of the death and dying theme, with Buffy’s deaths and Joyce’s – this moment really struck home with me.
Other cool beats include seeing Oz again, Willow in the future, Angel as Twilight, Xander and Dawn/Buffy triangle. Having Season 8 now, I get more from the tv series. For 40 comics, that’s a pretty memorable achievement. They could just be 40 comics long forgotten in my long boxes, but they’re not.

I have yet to read #40, but this series devolved horribly. I agree with the assessment that it became a series to endure. It was all right until they went to Tibet. Then the story and the art just went off the rails.

This series doesn’t make me forget about the show, or the quality issues of the series, but I have no desire to buy any more of the Buffy comic. And this is from someone who went to a midnight opening of this comic.

First half of season 8 (Long Road Home, No Future for You, Wolves at the Gate, Time of Your Life) was great.

But the series went off the rails during Predators & Prey. In concept, Harmony as a reality TV show star is interesting; in execution, the series jumped the shark. Having a solid arc of fairly disconnected filler killed the momentum of the series. And the next arc, Retreat? It was boring. So the series treaded in mediocrity for an *entire year*.

Things got back on track with Twilight and the reveal of his identity was perfect. But who was still buying the book by the time things got interesting again?

Finally, the Last Gleaming was really just kind of a confusing mess. I’ve read the issues twice and I still don’t really understand what happened or why Giles died.

I understand the complaints about some of the arcs, though, I think Whedon has owned up to those. However, I don’t agree that Joss forgot who his characters were, or how they behave. Nobody knows these characters better than he does. I also don’t agree that the art was sloppy. I think Jeanty was spot on, and particularly brilliant with issue 40. Issue 40 was heartbreaking and beautiful, and anyone who has not read it certainly should. Further, anyone who is refusing to read it out of spite is just doing a disservice to themselves.

I agree with most people here about the first half being great (up to the Fray crossover) and the second half being weak. I was ready to make #40 my last Buffy issue, however, the issue was great and it seems that the direction the series will take in Season 9 will be more Buffyesque, therefore I am going to give season 9 a chance.

I read #40 last night and it was a better ending than I’d expected.

Rob, I like Jeanty’s art a lot of the time, but at times it looked rushed, and some of the characters seemed to be indistinguishable. Giles death scene made me feel nothing for a character I loved because it was laid out in such an awkward way that I had to read it a few times to tell what was going on in the panels and how exactly it all went down. Some pages of characters the faces weren’t even finished it seemed and Andrew would look like Xander without an eyepatch and different colored hair. Them all wearing a lot of the same stuff didn’t help, I imagine. The backgrounds, however, were by and large, wonderful.

I, too, don’t think Joss forgot who they were, but I feel he let the characters get a bit too much away from themselves throughout the run (although he didn’t write every issue).

What I mean is, as I and someone else had stated, part of what made Buffy work was the element of “realism” even with magic and super powers, as well as, frankly, the budgetary constraints and other consideration of the shows.

Spike swearing isn’t out of character, but it came off as “Well, I’ll just put the little %#^@ icons in to show he’s swearing just because in this medium I can do that,” rather than just stick to the TV motif of “bloody” and “balls” and the like.

I’m not offended by the faux swearing at all; I just feel that while Spike would totally have a trenched mouth, for all the years he was on the show we never heard him drop an F bomb, but now you have a comic where you can “hide” it with $^%&# and it just seems unnecessary to me. Same with any of the characters really. Again, I’m not offended by any means, but for this book with these characters, I didn’t buy it.

Nor did I buy some of the more outlandish sci-fi settings and elements that also seemed to say, “We couldn’t do this on TV, have Buffy fly around and Spike in a spaceship full of sentient bugs, so let’s throw it in there.”

It became too much like a regular superhero comic in many respects.

Again, some liked those added elements, which is totally cool. To each his own, and all that. For me personally, however, it was at times too jarring a jump from the more grounded nature (and, again, that’s grounded as much as a show about vampires and slayers and witches and such can be) of the series.

The whole Xander/Dawn thing seemed too gimmicky (as did the whole Buffy experimentation thing, which was a fantasy of MINE, not hers I’d reckon! lol). Dawn had puppy dog eyes for him as seen in her first in show appearance, but he always saw her as a kid sister and was at collegiate graduate age when she was in high school (considering that in Season 7 of Buffy she was at the new Sunnydale High and Xander graduated the old one in Season 3) and while the age gap isn’t huge, it still, to me, seems unlikely that he’d do that, considering his past dealings with her and his affection, both as a friend and formerly as more, for Buffy, and especially after just recently losing Anya who he loved despite the failed wedding and losing the one he was all about earlier in this season.

Twilight was annoying because I believe Scott Allie himself said that they hadn’t left any clues to figure out who he was and that they hadn’t exactly known from the beginning it was Angel. Then, to me, it’s not a good “mystery.” A good mystery is one you can reasonably deduce from the facts and circumstances, as opposed to just guessing and wishing, or, in failing to do the former, can go back and see the trail of breadcrumbs like at the end of Usual Suspects for instance.

I think overall it tried to do too much, tried too hard to be grandiose to the point where it seemed to write a check it couldn’t quite cash.

I’m still going to give Season 9 a try because it seems like they’ve addressed what people didn’t care for and are trying to pare it down a bit in scope.

Charles, I don’t disagree at all with your assessment of things in season 8 getting far too grandiose and “big budget”. Again, after reading Joss’ statement at the end of issue 40, it seems as though he’s owning those decisions.

As far as the gimmicky-ness of Buffy’s experimentation and Dawn and Xander getting together… I guess I just don’t see the gimmicky part. To me, both situations came across as ill-advised and impulsive, and therefore directly in line with previous behavior. Buffy’s love life is supposed to be a train wreck, and Xander has always bad romantic decisions. I had no problems with either.

I also don’t disagree with you on the Twilight reveal. The faux swearing… I really didn’t notice. I guess it’s a non-issue for me.

On the art, however, we will have to agree to disagree. I think Jeanty has been perfect through the entire series. I understand your complaint that some face were harder to distinguish in some panels, but with this type of line art, you’re going to have that. To me, all of the big panels, that is to say important or iconic ones, left no doubt as to which character was which. Jeanty’s style isn’t highly rendered or photorealistic, and I’m okay with that. I would take him over some of the other lightbox tracers we currently have working in the industry. I think that if you go back and take a second look at some panels you will find some faces that are barely rendered at all. I think Jeanty deliberately under-renders faces in the background to bring your focus naturally to the foreground. Who knows, I could be wrong.

That’s cool, Rob.

We just have different takes on the art, and your explanation of the style definitely isn’t something I thought about before. I just knew that a few times, I’d see a character walk in and it was only through the words that I’d be like, “Oh, that’s Giles.” I can’t recall if he did the Riley reveal (not the one-shot) but it took me a minute to recognize who he was, this despite owning all the seasons and stuff because in a purely visual medium you naturally lack the inflection and intonation of someone’s voice which, of course, I’d have recognized. You are right, though, I’d take this over someone like, say, Greg Land, any day!

As far as the relationships stuff goes, I do get what you’re saying. To me, it just seemed like too much, too close together, without a lot of precedent. Sure, Xander’s love decisions have been poor (Mantis teacher, Vengeance Demon, etc), but I couldn’t see him going after his best friend’s younger sister, especially having seen their interactions for so many years.

I wasn’t creeped out or anything, just kind of left scratching my head. I mean, he used to want to bang Buffy and he BABYSAT this chick! lol And, yeah, she grew up hot I suppose, but still. This has B Movie Porno/Lifetime Original Movie written all over it! :-)

In any case, it was good talking with you. Nice to be able to discuss things, in agreement and disagreement, in a civil manner with someone on a message board!

Be well.

Charles,

I totally get the too much/too fast sentiment. I can’t say that I disagree. I guess the way I rationalized it was this:

Buffy experimenting was a function of her isolation and loneliness in this big castle surrounded by girls, and Xander. Neither the experimentation nor the gratuitous humpfest with Angel sat well with me. But I think that’s because my being so invested in the character causes me to cringe with every awful romantic decision Buffy makes. I want Buffy to be happy and loved, but she’s a tragic hero and it’s not to be. Emotionally you struggle with the thought of her dieing alone, but her poor decisions also make her human.

The Xander/Dawn thing I chalk up to Xander being weak, plain and simple. He suffers an emotional blow in the beginning of the season (as does Dawn) and retreats to the familiar and safe amongst all the craziness. Dawn does a little of the same herself, but Xander should be the one to know better. I think we see a little of ourselves in Xander, so we sometimes project onto him, and wish he would do better, or step up, or whatever. At the end of the day he’s just Xander, and he’s always had kind of a “woe is me” trait to his character. It makes him human and endearing, but also frustrating.

Maybe I’m overthinking this, but who knows. I think it’s that Joss and the writing staff on the show did such a great job of making human, fallible characters. I am looking forward to a hopefully more subdued arc in Season 9. Stick with it, because I think it will get much better. Great chatting with you as well. I appreciate it.

I have to say, I agree with most of these comments. ‘Buffy’ and ‘Angel’ are my two favorite series, and I was more than excited when Season 8 was announced, but then was very disappointed. A majority of this season has felt very flat and uninspired to me. I think the artist is talented, but he shouldn’t be sketching for ‘real’ people. Most of the time I had to look for text clues to figure out who was who. I remember when Riley was brought in, I thought ‘why is Andrew working for Twilight.’
Bring Angel in as Twilight made no sense to me, and seemed to totally disregard the fact he had grown since Season 2. Not to mention the Buffy flying.
Finally, killing Giles was totally unneeded. He’s a core character from the series, and had a minimal role in Season 8…basically he showed up, lectured some new slayers, only to be largely ignored…then he hung out with Faith, made Buffy mad at him (again)…then showed up, half cocked at the last minute to be killed for no reason. While I respect Joss Whedon, I feel like he relies a bit too much on the ‘I can’t figure out how to use this character anymore, so let’s kill them.’

I have been buying all the Season 8 comics and I have not read one of them yet! I was waiting till I had the whole season so there would be no waiting for the next one as I finished each one. No matter what reviews everyone gives here I am still going to enjoy every moment of this season because no matter what it took for them to find their footing in changing format from tv to comic all I care about is that Buffy is still going!! You know Joss won’t take long to find his groove and everything will be wonderful Buffy again!

finally its here!!

see EMMA caulfield in her new wild short film!!
A MUST SEE FOR ANY TRUE BUFFY FAN!!

DONT PANIC ITS ORGANIc- TEASER!!! with A midget and ghosts!
The hilarious downward spiral of a frustrated woman’s night as she tries to relax at home after a hard day. The short is elevated by surreal animation, cringe worthy what if scenarios and good fashioned T and A.

http://FunnyOrDie.com/m/566g

I semi agree with most of the comments, but despite a few crazy branches in the road to the end of ther he season, I’m still a fan! Very interested to see the aftermath of Giles death. Come on season 9! Cheers Joss

OK I must say. I LOVE THE STORY so far. I stopped reading it when Dawn turned into a half girl half horse . Not because i didnt like it but because I hate WAITING for the next issue to come. So i decided not to buy anymore until they all came out. And now I am Looking at all Buffy and Angel DVD sets. trying to caught up to the comic books. I hate that i stummbled onto this site lol because I read a few reviews of what others had to say and I GET VERY UPSET HEARING PEOPLE TALK CRAP. Get over it im just happy that Buffy is still being continued. But i also hate that i read to much lol. meaning i heard Angel was twlight and something happens to Giles. LORD what a spoiler. lol.

anyway i am looking forward to get into the comics as soon as i get the last Vol. of Buffy. and Angel. so im wondering because Angel is the one that has me confused. if he is twlight then does buffy show up on Angels comics. I saw spike too lol. I cant wait to get into this.. lol

I wish that Joss would think about the video game world with Buffy. There is a new Back To the Future game where it continues the story right were it left off in the end of part 3. something to the same game play would be very nice. with detailed into story more then game play. I think it would take less then four years in the whole comic book world and Buffy then would go Green lol.. =) get it.. no more paper all electrical. lol but the comics is a good idea since well no one stays young forever… lol at least in cartoons they are drawn young lol… anyway my 2 cents.

Wow so I’ve been a Buffy fan for YEARS. at first I completely hated the comics. I didn’t even get to Buffy’s girl/girl thing but the I was hearing all the buzz about that so I started up the series again.

I just want to say being around the same age that Buffy is during this season it’s very probable that she’d hook up with a chick. She’s young, she’s stressed, and all the men in her life have messed her up someway or another. So it’s not odd that she’d try it. Sex is sex and we know that she’s had casual relationships before (*cough*Spike, Parker*cough*) so I really don’t understand why everyone got so upset.

Anyway I have three more comics till I’m done (although I know the whole Giles thing, I was bad and read spoilers) and I have to say at this point in the series I want MORE.

Yes the comics were lacking for a while, yeah it was odd when Buffy started to fly, BUT I feel it’s not that far of a stretch. It makes sense that things would go this way since they destroyed the hellmouth and I say bring on season 9. I can’t wait =]

Andrey Zaritskiy

March 19, 2011 at 9:17 am

God, I really like Buffy, all the episodes, all the comic books. And I hope the Joss (or someone related) will read it and do ANYTHING. Please, start to make new episodes. I mean, comics are good, but it would be much better to see our Scooby gang again. I miss them. But, if it is impossible, make 3-4 more comic seasons. I can’t wait till the season 9!

Bety Kudelková

April 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Hey, please tell me, where can I find these comics books. I am from czech republic and I really want to see them and know how it continues. Please tell me. Thanks.

Bugger off haters! Maybe its not what you want, but it’s better than anything else out there! Whedon Rules!

I completely disagree. I read the series and it pulled me in as if I were watching the show. I thought it was perfect.

I started reading the comics as soon as they came out, and I eventually lost interest. Not being a comic reader, I had trouble following the plot. Plus, by the time the next issue came out, I couldn’t remember what had happened before.

Now that the volumes are compiled in books, I’ve read up to No Future For You. I like the series! It does get very confusing later on, though. Everyone else has already made comments about this, so I won’t repeat.

The one thing I don’t agree with is that Dawn and Xander is icky. I saw it coming in Season 7, and I’m not really sure why no one else did. They’re perfect for each other!

First of all, a five or six-year age gap is not that significant.

Secondly, they understand each other. Xander loves strong, independent women, but he tends to pick ones who are also outspoken to a fault. They pick fights with him all the time, plague him with questions and demands, and repeatedly embarrass him or emasculate him in front of his friends. Dawn is a strong woman now, and we’ve seen that she can be outspoken like her sister. But she’s much softer, much more vulnerable, and she makes Xander feel like a man.

As for Dawn, she’s always been an outsider in Buffy’s world, as her sister keeps here carefully isolated from harm’s way. She feels abandoned, insignificant, and misunderstood. She’s always been a touch jealous of Buffy because of the ease with which Buffy gained everyone’s respect and attention. But Xander makes her feel like a grown up, really understands her deepest thoughts and insecurities, and genuinely believes she’s amazing. Plus, by taking someone that Buffy wanted romantically, I think the rift between the sisters will finally heal. Buffy will begin to see Dawn as someone on more equal footing with her and accord her more respect. And Dawn will stop feeling so inferior to her sister and therefore stop sabotaging their relationship with snide remarks and obstinacy.

It’s perfect! I don’t see why everyone thinks it’s so horrible.

Dawn came into this world crushing on Xander, now shes grownup and she get her Xan-man.

Ok I’m a huge buffy fan too! I love the comics too! But I’m afraid to read season 9 :’(…. Does any one know if the scooby gang will come back together because I hate seeing the friendships lost! Please I just need a peace at mind and if someone knows why Giles left almost everything to faith and just the book of vampyrs to buffy please let me know because I thought they had such a father daughter kind of bond and it doesn’t make any sense that Giles is doing that to her… Also what is going on with buffy and willow I always feel like they r going to just drift away and lose friendship. Please tell me that I am wrong because this just doesn’t sound right! :(

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