Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #6

Even knowing he represents a lot about when and why the show fell apart, Spike remains my favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer character, so I was glad to see more of him in this issue, the start of a two-part story with big implications for Buffy. (Someday, I’m going to find out how he wound up riding around in a spaceship staffed by cockroaches.)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #6 cover

As shown by the variant cover by Georges Jeanty, this issue also features a flashback to significant incidents in the life of Nikki Wood, the 1970s slayer (and mother of Robin) who was killed by Spike. Her presence helps explore the nature of romance and relationships once you bring in slayers and vampires and prophesied purposes.

This is the kind of Buffy comic I want. It reveals important additional information about past characters, and it moves the cast’s lives forward in significant ways. We’ve seen the show and the comic try to treat Buffy as an adult before, but she always falls back to seeming like a teen. Perhaps that’s because that’s many people’s favorite version of the character, during those three TV years in high school, but it might also be because it’s hard to write a fantasy adventure character who struggles with real-life complications in a believable way.

This issue is a glimpse of what the show was at its best, using monsters to tackle real-life issues. Spoilers follow for a tough subject that will cause a lot of discussion.

Buffy, after letting loose at the party that opened this series, doesn’t remember everyone she’s had sex with, and when she winds up pregnant, she has to decide whether she’s ready to have a baby. That’s why Nikki’s example is so significant; Robin is the only child of a slayer we’ve seen in the series.

I appreciated the way her uncertainty and number of sex partners wasn’t handled in a judgmental way. This topic, whether to have an abortion, has shown up in popular media before, but usually, the pregnancy turns out to be a scare or an accident occurs, making the actual decision unnecessary. We rarely — none that I can remember — see a sympathetic character actually deciding to go through with it. We need those kinds of examples, especially from someone who’s written by Andrew Chambliss as demonstrating a great amount of self-knowledge of her strengths, weaknesses, what she’s capable of, and most importantly, what she can’t do.

Fundamentally, this issue is about communities, about finding friends and relatives that will support you through difficult situations. That’s the best part of Buffy, and on a fannish level, I was glad to see Spike as the person she turned to when she most needed help with a difficult task.

8 Responses to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #6”

  1. Caroline Says:

    Totally agreed! I haven’t been reading the other season 9 comics, but I was curious enough to pick this one up and was impressed with it for the same reasons. It does feel like a grownup version of the best stories the show used to tell, and I bet if Whedon had a show on the air now, he would be pushing a sympathetic pro-choice storyline in the same way.

    (FWIW, ‘Friday Night Lights’ & ‘Six Feet Under’ have both done storylines where young characters went through with abortions, though neither of those is the same kind of property as Buffy).

  2. Johanna Says:

    I figured there must be some, although both of those shows wound up on pay channels (DirecTV and HBO), which likely gave them more leeway. Were the characters in those cases presented sympathetically?

  3. Dave Says:

    IIRC, Spike got the spaceship staffed by cockroaches in the 2010 Spike series from IDW.

  4. Johanna Says:

    Yeah, I’m trying to figure out whether I want to spring for the two hardcovers collecting those eight issues. I wish there was one big paperback with that run.

  5. Corey Bean Says:

    Degrassi High & Degrassi: The Next Generation both had good storylines involving characters who chose to have abortions.

  6. Johanna Says:

    I’ve heard that show was really forward-looking in a lot of ways, although I’ve never seen it.

  7. How Free Comic Book Day Began » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] event began, looking back from its tenth anniversary. Also appearing are Georges Jeanty (artist on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Zack Whedon (Serenity). It’s more marketing than history, but it’s also a great […]

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    […] As I asked about here, this summer I found out where the insects and their ships came from. They’re in the Spike: […]




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