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The Long Way Home (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Vol. 1) Paperback – December 1, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
"The Long Way Home" picks up some time after the end of the 7th season. Buffy Summers is leading an army of awakened slayers in surgical strikes against demons worldwide. Instantly, the reader is greeted with a feeling of complete comfort in the old "Buffyverse"; the dialogue is so spot on you will hear the original actor's voices in your head as you read. Sly references to past events abound: Xander, still sporting his eyepatch, fancys himself a Nick Fury-type commander and fills the pages with geeky references, Dawn is suffering some very literal growing pains, Andrew makes us question his sexuality and continues pontificating at length about "Star Wars", etc; hardcore fans will not be let down. Villains with scores to settle return, including at least one you seriously never expected to see again. Each returning character is given the coolest possible introduction to the comic medium and if it possible to cheer while reading a book, you will.
The art is more than a little bit endearing, stylish, and cool. And the covers! Good God, the covers! Each month I spend what seems like minutes on end admiring the jaw-dropping artwork that greets me before I can even turn a single page. I will boldly declare the cover art of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8" to be the best of any comic I've ever seen. Long may it continue.
The story is something much more epic than anyting that could realistically be portrayed on a television budget. The settings are varied and as cool as they come, the battles are large in scale, and the cast is expanded leading the series to become more of an ensemble than ever. Misleads (usually romantic) that make you gasp are dangled in front of your eyes and then expertly diverted in a way that will make you smile about being had. Well done, Mr. Whedon. The creatures are no longer limited to men in costumes and low-budget CG, the demons are large in size, and others are just odd, such as an underground colony of slug monsters and fairies. This adds yet more depth and possiblities to the story.
Issues #1-4 chronicle the actual "Long Way Home" arc, while #5 is an excellent self-contained story about a slayer chosen to serve as one of Buffy's several doubles. It is arguably the strongest issue in spite of the fact that Buffy isn't even in it and the supporting cast only make token appearances. It's a real testament to Joss Wheson's great storytelling skills. And did I forget to mention the excellent humor that peppers each issue? Well, I guess that goes without saying, doesn't it?
Even if you have never read a comic in your life, this is a great time to begin. "Buffy: Season 8" is off to a fantastic start and if you missed
the boat, thank God for trade paperbacks. If you are already a comic fan then you know what the potential here is and you can rest assured that the hype is warranted. Next stop: "Angel: Season 6".
Did you think it was kind of lame when we learned in "Angel" that Buffy was off bopping in Italy with the powerful Immortal? She wasn't. Whedon handily explains that away -- without messing up the continuity even a bit.
"The Long Way Home" is the first story arc of the new series, and it takes us to the Scottish castle where Buffy hangs her hat as leader of a Slayer commando unit, where Xander acts as a new Watcher and ops coordinator, where Willow takes care of both mystical and technical affairs, and where Dawn -- still kind of whiny, damn it -- parks her very, very, very large sneakers.
Without giving too much away, I'll say that Buffy is hit with a magical assassination attempt and the American military takes an unfriendly view of the Slayer army, which strikes where and when it sees fit without respect to international boundaries. And, to round out the book, there's the very touching and well-imagined stand-alone tale about a very special Slayer with a very unique assignment.
I was pretty sure that nothing would fill the large Buffy-shaped hole in my heart. I'm not sure a new comic series is as good as a new TV series or a string of big-budget films (hint, hint), but it does a far better job than I could have expected. With Joss at the helm, you know the story is good and the specific voices of his beloved characters sound exactly as they should. The art, by Georges Jeanty, falls just short of photorealism; it's beautiful stuff, well drawn and fluid, and the characters are instantly recognizable as the actors who portrayed them.
Buffy the Comic Book has been hit-or-miss over the years. This new incarnation is a bullseye. I can only hope the creative team, led by Whedon, can maintain this outstanding level of quality.
by Tom Knapp, Rambles.(net) editor