Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8 vol. 1: The Long Way Home

Writer(s): Joss Whedon
Artist(s): Georges Jeanty
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
ISBN: 978-1593078225
Price: $15.95
Page count: 136
Year Released: 2007
Status: in print
Original Source: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 1-5
Other Collected Edition(s): n/a
Genres: adventure; fantasy; horror; humor; romance/relationships; suspense/thriller; teen/young adult
Recommended for Fans Of: Buffy the TV show
Possibly Objectionable Material: nothing more objectionable than on the TV show
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Also in This Series: followed by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8 vol. 2

Plot Summary
Buffy Season 8 takes place a few months after the end of the television show. Buffy and the rest of the Scooby gang have brought together nearly 500 of the 1800 Slayers (who were "activated" by Willow at the end of season 7) and formed a paramilitary unit divided into 10 squads that operate all across the world, working as ever to defeat the forces of darkness. Xander is the coordinator of these squads, working out of the new Slayer HQ (a remote castle far from Sunnydale), while Buffy leads the squads as the über-Slayer.

So what's the "big bad" for season 8? There are actually two, depending on your point of view. The first is a mysterious cult known as Twilight, which seems to be targeting the Slayers specifically. The second is the U.S. military, which is cleaning up the remains of the Sunnydale crater and considers the Slayers, as led by Buffy, a terrorist organization.

My Own 2 Cents
I'm torn as to whether I would recommend this to a fan of the Buffy show who doesn't otherwise read comics. As with any other work of art that is translated into another medium (a novel into a movie, a movie into a TV show, a TV show into an opera, etc.), there will be those who hate it in its new form, because the form, by definition, is different--and some people just want what they love to stay the same.

Buffy will always be Buffy, of course, regardless of the medium. This first volume of "Season 8" was written by Joss, so the writing is not fundamentally different than any of the episodes he wrote for the show. Subsequent issues will be written by writers Joss himself has either picked or at least approved (and Joss didn't write every single episode of Buffy anyway), so those issues will not be fundamentally different from the show. But the comics medium isn't television. Thus, certain elements in "Season 8" are more fantastic (e.g., Dawn turns into a giant, Willow flies, thousands of zombies attack the Slayer HQ) than the show was capable of, because it doesn't cost anything extra to draw a thousand zombies versus a dozen. And this is where the differences between the two media lie--in the "budget," if you will. This comic book version of season 8 is not the season 8 Joss would have written for television, because some of the things that occur in the comic book would have been impossibly expensive to accomplish in a live-action TV show.

Then there's the fact that Buffy and the rest of the Scooby gang are drawn, not played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, Nicholas Brendan, etc. They look the same, but they are, of course, not the same.

So what I'm saying is this: As a fan of the show, you can acknowledge that this comic book is similar to, but not exactly like, the show--and then you can either accept it and enjoy the comic book for what it is, or you can't. If you can, I think this first arc is enjoyable. If you can't, I hear Joss is working on a new show....