This is subtitled "Season 8, volume 1", because the events follow on directly from the end of the final season 7 of the TV show, when the world became full of Slayers. So, what did all those Slayers do next? Episodes #1-4 give a clue: they join together to form an army of Slayers battling evil, and not everyone is happy about that. Episode #5 is essentially stand-alone, the story of one of those Slayers.
This is fun stuff, full of the usual smart-mouth jokes, dark events, fighting, underexplained plot twists, and foreshadowing. It progresses the story off in an interesting direction, and I'm looking forward to the next few episodes of season 8.
The world has moved from having 2000 "potentials" to 2000 full-blown Slayers. And not all of those are good. What do you do with them? Giles discovers one who has turned bad, and calls in Faith for help. Episodes #6-9 tell the story of Faith and the rogue Slayer. Then in Episode #10 we learn why Willow is keeping Buffy and Kennedy apart.
This continues to be a great "8th season" of Buffy, with the smart mouth dialogue, dark corners of the mind, and a fair bit of action. The writers have a strange view of England, though.
Buffy season 8, episodes #11-15, continues to tell the story of what happens in a world with 2000 full-strength Slayers. Here we have a single episode where the sinister secret organisation tries to dent Buffy's moral certitude. But the main story is a four-parter where a bunch of super-powerful Japanese vamps discover a way to wipe out all the Slayers. Buffy has to send Xander off to get some very powerful help indeed.
This does the usual mix of clever use of continuity, smart-mouthed one-liners, hilariously funny scenes, and heart-wrenching tragedy, in the way we have come to expect. And it moves the plot forward in significant directions.
The band of Slayers are still in full retreat, desperately fighting off Twilight. Eventually they discover that twilight is tracking them through the magic they are using to hide themselves. So they all retreat to the Himalayas, and Oz's own spiritual retreat, where they are taught how to lose their magic. But then Twilight finds them when they are defenceless...
I've marked this down slightly because it's a bit of a filler, between the beginnings of the retreat and (what I hope is to be) their fight back. Fine, but few added twists (that I spotted, at least).
This is fight back against Twilight, as the Slayers discover who Twilight actually is. Buffy’s role in the battle might destroy the whole planet.
Despite the gravity of the situation, the battle was over rather too easily, I felt, and the artwork seemed a little rushed to me. There were times I couldn’t tell who some of the characters were supposed to be! Now the battle is over, I wonder what the final volume of season 8 will be about?
War. It’s messy, and Buffy knows it. As the Slaver army crumbles against an endless swarm of demons, Buffy joins forces with the US military to put an end to her greatest enemy to date—the mysterious Twilight, who will see this world end to give birth to another.
Spike and Buffy reunite and take the fight closer to home, where everything and everyone will change.
Okay, maybe the battle wasn’t as over as I had thought. There’s lots of complicated stuff going on, with alien-like tentacled and blobby demons, and lots of fighting. It all seems to get a bit out of control, and the coda from Whedon suggests he thought so too, given that Season 9 will return more to its roots.