Here’s a quick summary of Issue #1:
The issue opens with Buffy waking up after a night of partying, unable to remember what happened. We see a flashback showing Buffy throwing a party at her new apartment in San Francisco. She has two roommates, Anaheed and Tumble, and is introducing them to her friends. Dawn, Xander, Spike, Riley, and Andrew all make it to the party, and everyone seems to be genuinely enjoying themselves.
Through various flashbacks, we see some of the events of the party as Buffy tries to piece together the events of that night. The party goes well. Spike warns Buffy about a cryptic evil coming to challenge her and decides to form a band with Tumble. There’s a chicken fight in the pool. Dancing on table tops. Cops showing up. Cops also dancing. All the good stuff!
There’s also a couple questionable scenes, one of Buffy alone with Xander, and one with Buffy alone with Riley that seem to hint at the possibility of romantic actions having taken place. I smell red herring.
Meanwhile, as Buffy parties, odd events take place. We see a pair of detectives investigating the woundless body of a young girl and mentioning three others like it. There’s also a scene where a demonic humanoid escapes some sort of magic-based prison that has weakened since Season 8.
The issue ends with Buffy not clear on what exactly happened the evening prior. She and Willow go on a nearly pointless patrol and pick up Spike along the way. It becomes clear that things are not completely settled between the Slayer and her best friend, when suddenly a demon jumps from the shadows shouting, “Buffy, you will pay... your student loans!” Priceless!
Jo Chen’s cover (of course)! Jo Chen is one of the best things that every happened to the Buffy-verse. Too often in the past, Buffy was marketed with clunky and embarrassing publicity shots that portrayed the show as childish and one-note, and these were fans’ only options when considering a poster to help celebrate their slayer addiction. Now, with the forty-plus images Chen has created, the series has true artwork portraying Buffy in all its epic beauty and a chance for uber-fans to hang something Buffy-related on the wall, sans embarrassment... or at least sans most of the embarrassment. The cover of Buffy: Season 9 #1 is no different, starting us off on the new season with an amazing shot of our Slayer in a classic superhero pose, perched on top of the Golden Gate Bridge, as she surveys her new home. Awesome!!!
Buffy decides to party! While I didn’t feel that Buffy: Season 9 #1 hit with the same force as Angel & Faith #1, part of that had to do with one book being filled with death, demons, and redemption and the other book having a shindig take up most of the issue. Don’t mistake me here; I think the party was a fantastic idea! The tone of the two different books is, well... different! The party was a great way to provide an opportunity to check in with all of our favorite characters, have a few laughs, and focus on the relationships between the Scoobies. It was also a great tone to set for Buffy: Season 9 and give us the hint that, even though tragedy is surely on the way, this season should be a bit more “fun” than previous ones. Also, Buffy danced on a table and flashed her undies a bit in her drunken state, and I will promise Georges Jeanty my first born for that piece of heaven. (Given Xander’s recent maturity announcement, I feel it is only appropriate that I step in to fulfill that job of immaturity and perversion.)
Buff’s new home in San Fran! I really like the new locale, especially knowing this will be home base for the series for a bit. Georges Jeanty does a great job portraying the iconic city, making it both recognizable and visually exciting! Did I mention Jo Chen put Buffy on top of the Golden Gate Bridge? Like she’s freaking Batman or something! Awesome!!!
The Big Bad is student loans! Because they truly are evil and they’re coming to get you.
Ensouled vampire + reformed slayer > drunk slayer. As I stated above, I think this issue had the appropriate tone for a Buffy comic, but that doesn’t change the fact that Angel & Faith was a number one issue that hooked you for at least a few more issues. I don’t know that the same could be said for Buffy: Season 9 #1. While I’m sure there’s a rabid fan that plans to pick up every issue, I find it hard to believe that someone who’s on the fence would necessarily find this issue exciting enough to commit to the rest of the season. God @#$%, Angel & Faith #1 was good!!!
Buffy’s fidelity issues. I have a feeling that the suggestive scenes involving Buffy and Riley, Buffy and Xander, and even the off comments from Spike are all red herrings. I don’t think she slept with any of them or even tried to. Still, Buffy seems a tad needy and eager to prove how awesome she’s doing, and these are not the signs of a good thing. It’s not Chambliss’ writing that’s bad here - he’s setting up some great drama - but it’s rough to see Buffy struggling so much with her new life and the repercussions of her destruction of the Seed. Here’s hoping she makes her way though the wilderness.
Which one is Andrew??? I’ve always been a Jeanty defender, but I will admit that I had trouble telling which one was Andrew in this issue. Eventually, I got that he was the long haired guy who arrived with Spike and Riley, but, for a while, I was convinced that the detectives we saw examining the body were Andrew and Satsu. Sure made for a confusing read.
The buzz seems to be that the fan base is pretty happy with this issue. Many feel that Whedon, Chambliss, and the rest of the team have been taking their notes from Season 8 into account, and they like the feel of the first issue. Some did bring up that they felt Angel & Faith was stronger, but no one seemed to consider this a serious problem.
Slayer roofie??? The one comment that caught my eye was a post in the comments at Whedonesque regarding the possibility that something supernatural happened during the course of the party, and this is why Buffy can’t remember it and is drawn so noticeably haggard at the beginning of the issue. This could be a possibility given the mystery surrounding the events of Buffy’s night. Who knows? She did visit the cranky neighbor, Heinrich. You never know...
That’s it for now, Scoobies! It sure feels good to be getting my Buffy fix again! Here’s hoping you’re feeling the same way!
’Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer