Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10
I have read all the canonical comic continuations of the classic cult TV series and only now do I feel entirely confident in recommending the current season.
At the moment, the tale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is in the middle of its 10th Season having been continued when the series went off air by Dark Horse Comics. It would be a shame if any fans of the TV show are unaware of this… because now the comics have gotten really rather good.
Post-TV Buffy and Angel comics: where to start
- Post-TV Buffy:
Season 8 onwards (Dark Horse Comics)
- Post-TV Angel:
Angel: After the Fall (Dark Horse Comics)
The earlier seasons (Seasons 8 and 9) were criticised for being rather bloated in terms of their scale. A criticism that I largely concur with; the concepts were big but I don’t remember feeling much as a result of them. Moreover, the overarching plot within Season 8 served mostly as a ‘hey, take that‘ to the Twilight series – a noble endeavour, to be sure, but the Buffy series can more than stand on its own feet.
Anyway in Seasons 8 and 9, a lot happened.
A lot happened.
If you’re going to wade into Season 10 straight from the Buffy television series, some things will kind of surprise you.
I don’t really want to include many spoilers, but there will be some light ones for the Buffyverse post Chosen below.
When Season 10 rolls in, the Scooby gang is all back together, living in sunny San Francisco and ready to battle evil and/or take on mediocre jobs in an effort to sustain themselves. Overall, the series has become a lot lighter and funnier. Since the Scoobies are no longer scattered in all of the directions of the wind, there’s more of a personal focus on friendships and finding yourself in your twenties. The darkness that pervaded much of the show, especially the later seasons, is toned down. For the most part, so far, the bad guys are no match for our experienced heroes and they tend to be fairly comical and lacking in complex motivation. Still, the comedic moments (of which there are many) tend to hit their mark and for fans of the TV show there’s lots of callbacks. Also, the characters are very faithfully written. Nicholas Brendon (who played Xander) has been writer this season and I feel that this has something to do with his character receiving more attention– which is no bad thing as, to be honest, I’ve been waiting for Xander to grow more as a person since… well, since I started watching the series. In fact, I’d say that there’s a substantial amount of character exploration all round as everyone has been given some dilemma to struggle with.
On another note, there’s a lot of relationship talk. At one point, Buffy even lampshades this saying, that the girls should all attempt to pass the Bechdel test when they go on a spa day. Not that the guys are much better. Spike and Xander have, after the years of animosity, developed a beautiful, budding friendship and yet their conversations predominately revolve around their respective love-lives, or the tragic lack of these lives.
So, if that’d be a turn-off for you, you’ve been forewarned.
Having said that, there is a lot more to the narrative. There’s one particular story arc that runs through Buffy season 10 which makes for a very interesting fantasy plot. The gang have been given a blank book in which they’re supposed to write the new rules for magic. They write the law, and it becomes so, within reason (because, of course, without the big and little bads there can be no “Vampire Slayer”). Personally, I think it’s really cool to have the characters who inhabit the universe in charge of that universe’s Laws of Magic, and just what particular kind of vampire they’re going to go for.
Overall, if you want to know whether you should take a look at this series you should know that in issue #7 Buffy states, in regards to her current life, “it’s like Friends! Love, hilarity and fun in housing we shouldn’t be able to afford!” and I think she’s only being mildly sarcastic. It’s like a comedy drama, revolving around the lives of twenty-somethings, with vampires, werewolves and the whole fantasy kitchen sink.