Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight #20

I think it’s kind of silly to review single issues of series — I don’t really see the point of it, unless they’re the first issue or somehow special. This I thought this deserved recognition on its own.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Season Eight #20

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I got into the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer pretty late in the game, but due to some post-college ennui and constant reruns on FX, I started watching right before Season 7 began. I caught up pretty quickly and found it to be a great show.

I don’t worship at the altar of Joss Whedon. I like him well enough, but I am not one of those who believes he can do no wrong. As much as I love Buffy, there are parts of it that trouble me or just didn’t work. Still, I think it was a great TV series and I still enjoy watching it.

According to Wikipedia, there were plans for a Buffy animated series in 2002. It was to follow Buffy’s adventures around Season 1 of the series (Dawn was going to be included). The talks continued until 2004 when due to a lack of interest, the project was dropped.

This was a sad thing.

The comic series has never interested me enough to pay for it — fine to flip through in the bookstore but I don’t really like the art and it moves slowly. I like the attempt, but it just hasn’t worked for me.

Yes, we’re now getting to Season Eight #20. Written by comic-book favorite Jeph Loeb (who also was one of the executive producers of the failed cartoon series) with art by Eric Wright (who was one of the designers on the show), “After These Messages … We’ll be right back!” shows what could have been.

It’s a lot of fun. It’s a pretty quick little story, but it’s joyful to see Buffy back to being Buffy — just a normal teenager who happens to kill vampires. She’s making quips with her misfit friends, rolling her eyes at Giles and getting out-of-sorts when she encounters Angel. Loeb’s tone is perfect — he has the rhythm of the early show down and it’s playful and fast. Wright’s art is delightful and yes, I’m going to say it — animated. This feels like a cartoon. Along with the saturated color palettes that shift to suit the mood, this only makes me long for the animated series that never was (and sadly, probably never will be).

While the TV series always balanced humor with horror, it did become more and more angsty as the years went on. This is the Buffy I like. If there Buffy comic like this, I’d be buying it (hint, hint, Dark Horse).

(I like the variant cover better, which is why I used it in the link to Things From Another World. I actually didn’t even know it was the variant cover when I bought it at the comic book store. I’d read about this issue a couple of weeks ago but honestly, if I hadn’t seen this cover, I probably would’ve forgotten I wanted it.)

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