- Posted by Johanna on May 27, 2008 at 7:54 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: written by Joss Whedon; art by Georges Jeanty, Paul Lee
- PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Books; $15.95 US
Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer don’t need me to tell them about The Long Way Home. They know that creator Joss Whedon is writing this new comic series as if it were “Season Eight” of the TV show, picking up from where he left off on-screen. That means all the favorite characters are back, although sometimes in very different circumstances.
This volume collects five issues. The first four are one story, with two old enemies backed up by a secret government group dedicated to taking down Buffy, because they don’t like power in hands other than theirs. There’s also a mystical organization branding its followers which may or may not be related. As you can tell from that description, there’s a lot going on here, with plenty of personalities involved. Buffy’s leading a group of hundreds of slayers, aided by Xander as mission leader, while Willow’s rejoined them to help with Dawn, who’s now a giant.
Very little of this is explored in depth yet. Instead, the emphasis is forward movement, building excitement, with questions presumably to be answered in future issues. As you’d expect, the voices are perfect, and the dialogue’s the best part of the book. The plotting is episodic, because the comic’s written to take advantage of cliffhangers, so reading several at once in this volume doesn’t really replicate the month-to-month experience. The likenesses, by artist Georges Jeanty, are right-on, and he does both talking and action well.
Also in this book is the stand-alone story “The Chain” (illustrated by Paul Lee), which explores what it means to be a slayer. It tells the story of a girl selected to imitate Buffy for strategic reasons, sent underground to rally forces against a greater enemy.
There’s plenty of demon-hunting, nerd references, wisecracking asides with fan in-jokes, symbolic nightmares, and threats that teach lessons about growing up and relationships. It can’t match the best of the TV show, not without the contributions of the actors providing nuance to the dialogue, but it’s a darn sight better than much of season seven and many of the other adventure comics out there today.