Normally, this issue of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight” might have been more hotly anticipated, with its unmasking of series villain Twilight. Except, of course, that revelation was “leaked” several months ago, perhaps in an attempt to get people talking about the series again as it moves towards its conclusion with issue #40. The problem is, with that information no longer in the bag, there’s not a whole lot to keep the reader’s attention.
It’s a strange choice to have Brad Meltzer come on board to write this story arc, especially considering how by definition of having it explain “what’s really going on” it comes across as him being little more than a glorified scripter rather than actually plotting out this story. Even the scripting itself isn’t coming across terribly well, unfortunately; Buffy’s reaction to last month’s revelation of where her new powers are coming from feels forced, a negative reaction for the sake of there being one.
As for Twilight and the whole “what’s happening” part of the story, it also comes across as forced. We get pre-unmasking lines such as, “That voice, I know that voice.” Does anyone really talk like that? It feels like crazy hoops to jump through to avoid giving us the answer before the mask gets pulled off that it’s hard not to laugh. And then, once Twilight is revealed, we get lots of, “Don’t you know what this means?” lines instead of anyone just flat-out saying what’s happening. So far as I can tell, the only thing that’s really going on is a whole lot of padding and stalling.
Georges Jeanty’s pencils are more variable than I remember in this story; portraits of Buffy’s face, for example look expressive and on-model without looking light-boxed or posed. On the other hand, some characters look slightly warped and off-kilter; for example, there’s a scene where Twilight is attacked by Faith, only Faith ends up looking like a midget. Jeanty’s normally better than this, and it just adds to the disappointment.
Hopefully “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight” will end with a bang rather than a whimper, and I’m glad that there’s still one final story to come after “Twilight” ends. Because right now, I’m finding myself seriously underwhelmed with the title at a moment when I should be excited, and that’s not a good thing at all.