It's been a while since I last looked at Buffy
Season 8 because the most recent storyline, Jane Espenson's "Retreat," has been the longest of the season at five full issues. And contrary to the promises at the end of the last arc, the world still knows about vampires and Slayers, but I'm really not clear on how this has supposed to have happened so smoothly. As the idea was introduced in "Harmonic Divergence" with its reality show for Harmony, I guess the lack of reaction is a comment on celebrity culture, with humanity being relatively blase about the supernatural since it provides us with more gossip fodder, but it seems a major shift to introduce to the Buffyverse for the sake of a gag.
Maybe I should leave these Buffy
multiple-part stories until all the issues are out rather than reading them every month, because I seem to have a lot more trouble following the arcs here than I do on comics like Hellblazer
or The Unwritten
. Re-reading the whole story again today I enjoyed it a lot more than I did on first reading each issue, but I'm still not convinced by the arc. Especially the central premise, which sees all the Slayers trying to completely get rid of their magical powers because that's how Twilight is tracking them. Again, Buffy wanting to not only hide but make herself and the others powerless seems rather drastic, not to mention out of character.
This time around the controversial couple that get together are Xander and Dawn; obviously at the age the characters are at now the age gap isn't as big as it seemed when the TV show was still on, but Xander still remembers seeing Dawn grow up so there's a bit of an ick factor. But I think Buffy's lesbitarian interlude ten issues ago has made me immune to getting too shocked by these developments.
The big plus about the story is that it's written by Jane Espenson, always the TV series' funniest writer and still coming up with so many great lines here - there's a shameless pun on the word "yak" that had me laughing out loud, and not many people would have got away with. And while the central premise isn't one I can really buy, there's some nice developments along the way, including discovering Riley has been a double agent spying on Twilight. Speaking of whom, I had this sudden thought this morning, that what if Twilight is Hank Summers? We've had pretty much all other candidates show up at some point, and although Buffy's dad turning evil would be bit far-fetched, it's slightly less so than a nice-but-flawed man from the first two seasons who then completely vanished from his daughters' lives and didn't even come to his ex-wife's funeral.