So, this is it, right?
Well, not entirely. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine” will happen before too long, so this isn’t the end of the story, but it’s the end of the “season” and as such, it’s time for pieces of story to start wrapping up.
Fortunately for all of us, if there’s one kind of story Joss Whedon was particularly good at on the original show, it was the epilogue to a season. With the climax hitting in the previous issue, here we get to see Buffy and company start picking up the pieces of everything that’s broken. And of course, that means it’s time for some recriminations, second-guessing, and glances ahead on what’s to come.
This isn’t the first time that Buffy’s big victory was at least in part a mistake (Angel getting dragged to Hell at the end of Season Two is a popular example), and Whedon does a nice job of exploring the self-doubt and agony that Buffy’s going through as she once more tries to figure out if she did the right thing. Finding out how the destruction of magic is affecting not only spellcasters but also existing and potential Slayers is a good story hook, and it’s fun to see how everyone takes it a little differently. In many ways it’s a brave new world for Buffy and company, now, and it’s good that Whedon’s taking a little time here to explore it.
The other characters get their own moments in the spotlight too, which is appreciated. It’d be easy to push them to one side, but everyone gets at least a small scene. Still, the primary focus is Buffy, and her final rooftop confrontation with some of those that feel betrayed by her actions is a classic “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” scene, one you can just imagine happening on the show itself.
Georges Jeanty’s pencils aren’t the best we’ve seen on the book, but they’re not the worst either. Some of his likenesses are better than others, but looking back to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight” #1, the several year ride on the book seems to have taken a bit of the wind out of Jeanty’s sails. Some of the pages look downright rough, especially the ones with Dawn. Still, there are some moments which I think Jeanty hits just right, like Buffy at the reading of the will, or the two-page sequence of Buffy fighting her attackers on the roof. It’s a nice reminder that when given the proper time and/or motivation, Jeanty can show us just why he was picked for this assignment in the first place.
Whedon has said that when the Season Nine stories begin (later in 2011), that the book will be “a little tighter, a little more concise.” I can’t help but think that’s a good thing. This is a strong ending, but this series in general was drawn out a bit too long to have its proper impact. With a strong conclusion for now, though, at least it’s ending on a positive note.