With all the brouhaha about the DC Comics Universe relaunch, I forgot to be excited about Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9. But once I saw it in my stack at the comic shop, I knew I would have to read #1 before I left the parking lot. (Yes, I read it before Batwoman because I’ve known Buffy longer and I’m loyal that way.)
At the end of Season 8 (spoilers ahead if you’re not caught up), all hell broke loose in a very unusual way. And by that, I mean mid-air sex between godlike Angel and Buffy that spawned a new universe that threatened to destroy the one we already had. Buffy, being Buffy, eventually chooses helping her friends over eternal bliss and super-sex, and saves Earth by destroying The Seed of all magic. In the process, Giles gets killed and all of the witches, including Willow, lose their powers. (Joss has promised a Willow miniseries about her obsession with getting them back.) Evil beings like vampires that were already around didn’t go anywhere, but the whole end-of-the-universe threat is gone. And Buffy is the only Chosen One.
What that does for Buffy, in essence, is to take her back to the early days of slaying, when she lives a normal-ish life during the day and goes on vampire patrol at night. As Season 9 opens, Buff is a waitress in San Francisco. Dawn and Xander live together. Willow has a new girlfriend, Aura (I doubt she’ll be around long). Spike is still sulking and skulking around in the dark. Angel and Faith have their own comic. Riley is still present — and I still don’t know why.
Buffy takes advantage of the drastic reduction in the demonic threat level by partying hard; we first see her in the throes of a post-blackout hangover, wondering what happened. (She thinks she and Willow might have slept together.) A series of flashbacks gives us the picture: Buffy has a new apartment with two roommates Anaheed (a girl) and Tumble (a guy) and they had a huge housewarming party with copious amounts of alcohol.
I won’t give away the plot (at this point I’m not sure what it is anyway), but someone is dead and Buffy’s student loans are due and demons are dancing around a green fire.
Joss Whedon wrote the first Season 9 arc, so I trust that things will get clearer in the next few issues. But I do really like seeing Buffy having a sort of normal life where irresponsible mistakes don’t threaten the world’s existence. And the humor that I loved in the TV series — and the first part of Season 8 — is back in full force. Actually, the whole issue feels more like the TV show than Season 8 did.
I’m hoping that Season 9 marks a return to the snappy dialogue and focus on relationships that made us fall in love with Buffy in the first place. For now, I’m looking forward to issue #2.
Have you gotten your hands on #1 of Buffy Season 9? What did you think?