Review: Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 8 #29 by Jane Espenson, Georges Jeanty and Andy Owens

b1It’s war, but not as we know it. The Buffy clan have gone all unilateralist on their magic stylings in order to hide, only to find themselves found and targeted by armed forces with no Slayerness, spells or supernatural forces to defend them. So what do the girls do?

Man up.

b3This issue of Buffy Season Eight is an NRA member’s fantasy comic, with the girls and the guys getting to grips with guns ‘n’ ammo ‘n’ grenades ‘n’ bazookas’ n bayonets ‘n’ stuff. It’s a remarkable shift for the comic, mirroring the TV series when it suddenly flips the board over and suddenly you’re not playing chess, but Twister.

So, got to say, I wasn’t expecting a war comic when I picked up Buffy, Howling Commandos -style cover or no, but that’s kind of what we get. However it’s not so much a tonal shift that the book completely becomes Garth Ennis War Comic, there’s a lightness of touch in the writing and the art that doesn’t hit you with the horrors of war but keeps the story moving, skimming over the realities being presented. But even that has a subtext, the light silhouettes of soldiers on both sides looking more like paper soldiers than anything else. Is this the way Buffy is seeing people now? And what do you know, the book concludes with a Hiroshima/Nagasaki allegory.

b2Oh and there’s good jokes. This is a Buffy comic after all. It comes with the territory. Oh go on, just have one – “I’m starting to think there’s a reason no one’s written a suspense novel where the conflict is wolves versus tanks”.

The comic book Buffy has often sold itself on the fact that it can do things that the TV series just couldn’t afford. But I never really took to the Buffy riding a dragon stuff. Having an all out military war on a hillside with tanks and stuff, that’s more like it.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #29 is published from Dark Horse Comics today.