(Please keep in mind as you read this review that I am a huge Joss Whedon/Buffy fan, having watched the show from its first episodes on YTV to this latest comic issue… so I’m speaking from a place of great appreciation and love.)
This is it. The end. After 4 years of Buffy comics, this is the last issue.
Until Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine, which is already confirmed.
The last issue of this phenomenal run of Buffy comics is okay. Not amazing. Not bad. The story is good. The art is good – though Georges Jeanty’s pencils feel a little off here, especially on the faces, which he has always nailed perfectly before.
If I really had to describe it in a Whedon-way… this issue feels a lot like the final episode of Season Four, where the big climax was the episode before, and this is the “after”. Except that episode had Twin Peaks dream imagery, Giles/Anthony Stewart Head singing, and the big reveal of the First Slayer. Like that episode, this issue also has a big reveal, detailing how the Buffy mythos ties into the Fray mythos – the futuristic spin-off of Buffy. Okay, but the fact remains that this whole issue feels forced and laboured, lacking the usual snap and banter that brings Joss Whedon’s character’s “alive”.
The last page of the book features an epilogue by Whedon himself, and after reading it any self-respecting Buffy fan will not be able to contain their excitement for Season Nine. Even though none of what I described above is dispelled by the epilogue, the purpose of this issue becomes abundantly clear; Whedon describes what is in store for Season Nine, which sounds to me like a return to what made the show so amazing and fun to watch in the first place. So, issue #40 is not the best read from the Season Eight run, but it is most definitely a great setup story for what is yet to come.