Close at the heel of Dark Horse's Angel & Faith comes Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9, continuing the story left off in the Season 8 comic book continuance of the popular television show. Season 8 left a lot of fans with mixed feelings about how the characters were being treated and where the story was going. Does Season 9 get us off to a start that will put the Buffyverse back on track? Um, maybe?
When last we saw Buffy and the Scooby gang, the universe's plan to be remade by way of Buffy and Angel having sex was ended when Buffy decided to destroy the seed of creation. Little bit convoluted, I'll admit. The repercussions of Buffy's actions mean that magic is gone from their world. No new slayers will be called (Until Fray comes along) and anyone who takes their power from an external source (Willow) is officially de-powered. Without the weight of the world on her shoulders, Buffy has disbanded the slayer army and has decided to live the quiet life in San Francisco. How's that working out for her? Surprisingly well, relatively speaking. The first issue revolves around a party to welcome Buffy to her new apartment. We meet her roommates, Anaheed and Tumble, and touch base with the Scoobies. Of course, Buffy gets wasted and the party gets a little loud and . . . that's it. No monster fights. No fights at all. Just a really loud party. Like I said, it's all relative, but for Buffy this is a very quiet life.
That's not to say there aren't monsters. Some demons show up here and there, but, for the most part, they have nothing to do with Buffy or the story this issue tells. Intermixed with Buffy's drunken flashes of memory are little glimpses of other characters and actions that are probably not going to make sense until several issues in. Everything is scattered and mixed up amidst what happened last night, what happened today, and what is happening elsewhere. Linear chronology is not this issue's strength.
Having said that, it's not a bad issue, just one that's a little hard to follow. The dialogue still has the same wit and charm that one has come to expect from the series, just make sure you are not expecting anything else. Because all you're going to see is characters chatting away. Still, I have come to expect a little more than just chatting and loud parties from Buffy. I was looking forward to an issue that would really hook me into what's going to follow in Season 9 and, unfortunately, this just was not it. It certainly is not a bad book and I am still looking forward to seeing where Joss Whedon and co. are going to go with this series. Even so, I can't help feeling that a more diverse mix up of story elements would have made for a stronger issue.
But hey, Spike and Tumble are going to start a band. So, that should be cool.