Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8: No Future for You
Writers: Brian K. Vaughan / Joss Whedon
Artists: Georges Jeanty / Cliff Richards
Distributed By: Dark Horse Comics
Reviewed by Justine Manzano
So, once upon a time, I reviewed the first installment of the graphic novel equivalent to a new season of one of my favorite shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That installment, entitled “The Long Way Home” (check out the full review for a more detailed explanation of the story arc) was both cheered and jeered by me, but despite the occasional jeers, I happily awaited the next installment. And when I received it, I was happy to view the cover – On the cover was Buffy (of course) along with once rogue vampire slayer and now somewhat reformed vampire slayer, Faith. Since Faith has always been one of my favorite characters on the televisions series, I figured the writers would have to try to make a story with her bad. So, I gave it a shot.
In this segment of the story, which contained issues 6-10 from the monthly comic book series, begins with Faith, who is quickly growing tired of being the person who the group of new slayers and their helpers call on to do their dirty work. Faith, having been a murderer of humans (not demons, which is mostly okay in the Buffyverse) has dealt with the tough gray area of the underworld. So, whenever something dicey needs to get done, the group calls on her – in the opening scene, her now ex-boyfriend Robin calls on her to kill a family full of vampire children. When Faith returns home from this mission, she discovers her former Watcher, Giles in her apartment – this is the key to my big question of where he had been for the first installment, hence solving the mystery of his absence which had made me so angry in the first segment. Giles has an offer for our rough and tumble hero(ish) chick – if she completes one very serious, very dangerous mission, she is free to bail to wherever she wants to go. She’ll never have to slay again. The mission? Kill one slayer who is bent on taking over the world and using her powers for evil. The catch? Not event the fact that she’s a human. The target is Lady Genevieve Savidge, a girl of great importance in British society. This leads Giles to teach Faith the ins and outs of such society – it’s like Eliza Doolittle – if she chose to stab the professor with a fork – while also offering the emotional complexity, witty commentary, and, of course, violence that is customary in any outing involving these characters.
The bonus issue at the end, “Anywhere But Here,” follows best friends Buffy and Willow as they play their game of imagining better situations for themselves as they travel to see a demon that lives between dimensions. As they talk to this demon, however, he begins to reveal things about their friendship they never knew, ultimately leading the revelation of a betrayal that could potentially alter their friendship forever. Also, Dawn continues to be a giant and confides in Xander about how she got there.
So, I liked both of these stories. The first one was interesting because it answered a lot of questions I had from the first installment while opening up some new ones. The Big Bad of this comic series, The Twilight, is back and continues to haunt, which is good because it’s an interesting concept. I still find it annoying that Dawn is a giant and, though the reason pays the story back a bit emotionally, the metaphor pales in comparison to the chilling “Sometimes when you sleep with a guy he turns evil” metaphor of Buffy and Angel’s relationship, or any other metaphor that sprang up from the television series for that matter. There is a little bit of annoyance involved with the fact that the gatekeeper in “Anywhere But Here” is named Robin, when there was a prominent character in the series and, worse, in this very comic with the same name (albeit they are different sexes). Yes, I get that sometimes in real life you will meet more than one person with the same name, but in a story, if there is no reason for it, it shouldn’t be there. And there is no reason for this one.
Still, despite my complaints, the art in this comic is beautiful and the cover art is quite true to life. Storyline-wise, I think that “No Future For You” comes out on top when compared to “Long Day’s Journey.” The characters were dead on, the tone much less cartoonish and the plot very interesting. I can’t wait for number 3 – and Joss? Can you turn Dawn back into a normal sized person so I can quit my whining? This is all I ask.