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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 8 #14

writer: Drew Goddard

artist: Georges Jeanty

The unpredictable has grown predictable. Not that this issue isn't entertaining and likely satisfying for hard-core Buffites, but plot twists and supposed sudden revelations have a tired feeling. Of course, after years of a show that consistently defied expectations in its storytelling, it's only natural that we'd start being able to make some calls. If you're unconventional, eventually it becomes conventional.

Focusing on the Demon Axe, which actually first appeared in the far future of Joss Whedon's Fray before entering near the end of Season 7 on television, the story pits Buffy and her team against a group of Japanese vampires determined to do something dire with the mystic weapon. While that's not predictable, particularly, writer Drew Goddard hasn't really done anything with the change of culture. Once they power up, all vampires look alike, and only the kindergoth attire and the stolen power to become mist set them apart.

Yes, even that unique power isn't. It was stolen from Dracula, who has temporarily allied himself with the Slayers to get revenge. He's an arrogant and vaguely fey character injecting new life into the mix, alternately dismissing and loving Xander as his confidante. Meanwhile, Xander has devolved into being little more than a Woody Allen stand-in.

For just an instant, the plot turns in the climax of this issue moved me, but more out of reflex than genuine connection. Finally, the team makes use of Dawn's giant status - a bit made clear on the cover of the book, so that's no spoiler. And that's fun, no question about it.

But haven't we kind of gotten used to Buffy the Vampire Slayer having some depth, some truly affecting shocks, some subtext? Now that the newness of having "the 8th season" has worn off, shouldn't this book really be more like what made the television series great, not just good, instead of merely wallowing in being able to show special effects television couldn't afford?

Oh, I'm in it for the long haul, because it's fun. It's just not inspiring me right now.

Hey, write to us and let us know what you think!

Derek McCaw


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