Thursday, September 27, 2012

Comic Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8: V3

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 8: V3: Wolves at the Gate by Drew Goddard

Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics; 1st edition (November 12, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595821651
ISBN-13: 978-1595821652
Series: Season 8; Volume 3
Stories: A Beautiful Sunset, Wolves At The Gate: Part 1, Wolves At The Gate: Part 2,  Wolves At The Gate: Part 3, Wolves At The Gate: The Conclusion
Source: Purchased from Books-A-Million
First Sentence: "Once upon a time...I did something good."

Mini-Review: Volume 3 adds that bittersweetness that makes Buffy so memorable.

Vampires that, at will, can transform into wolves, panthers, insects, or fog invade the Slayer base of operations in northern Scotland, and not only walk away unscathed, but in possession of Buffy's scythe, the symbol of Slayer power worldwide. Buffy and the Slayer legion travel to Tokyo in order to learn more about their dangerous new foes, as Xander journeys to Transylvania to solicit the only person they've ever known to possess such power: Dracula. 
* The celebrated Buffy Season Eight continues with Drew Goddard (Cloverfield, Lost) writing Wolves at the Gate, with Joss Whedon continuing his role as executive producer, and Georges Jeanty as series artist. 
* Includes the stand-alone issue written by Buffy creator Joss Whedon, "A Beautiful Sunset".

In normal Whedon fashion and just like any good Buffy episode, Wolves at the Gate will make you laugh and break your heart on the same page.Working to truly deepen the story and its characters, I think this Volume was really a stand out for character development.

I was really glad and very surprised to see a return of Dracula. I always thought that episode frm Buffy was funny and was so happy to find out that Xander stayed in touch with "The Master". This comic started with Xander's connection and continued to star him until the very end. I love that each volume in the series seems to want to deepen a connection with a character and this one was all about Xander. See, in it Xander loses someone close to him and I think this is important. While Anya's death in the series was heartbreaking, it happened while she wasn't with Xander. I think it was painful that way because it seemed like maybe something could have been renewed after but it never happened. In this one, we get to see the taste of how things might be for Xander and then it is savagely riped away reminding us in a very Whedon fashion that this is war and people die. Seeing that scene between Dracula and Xander and truly understanding how much they bonded was intriguing and almost brought me to tears.

Though this is really Xander's volume, we do get quite a bit of Buffy's emotional state too. Whedon's "A Beautiful Sunset" really dives into Buffy's psyche and her sorrow over whether she made the right choice. She made herself an army but it has cost her so much to do it and it's so big that she really can't control it. This is also the infamous volume in which *spoiler* Buffy takes a walk on the Willow side of things and sleeps with a woman. I thought this was an interesting move and while it didn't bother me, I'm not sure if it was true to her character. I guess she just seemed so overwhelmed with all these girls that I'm surprised she looked to one for a lover. Again, it didn't bother me that she did, I was just surprised with her state of mind that she went for it. *spoiler end*

I also thought that the story did a good job of building up the epicness of the battle and made it seem like it's a fight that the slayers could lose. I appreciated that I wasn't sure how the battle was going to turn out. I think this is a precident set by the show and I'm glad that that uncertainty (really, that anything goes including Buffy's own death) carries into the comic series. I'm worried about the crew constantly and the writers don't put them in easy situations. I thought that Jeanty's artwork looked a lot like the characters and I'm generally not confused by who is who which is saying something.

Over all, I think this was a strong edition to Season 8 and added some of that bittersweetness that we are accustomed to after 7 seasons on the air. The familiar faces and the new ones added a lot and there was some really great character growth.

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