One of the best TV shows ever, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, lasted for seven seasons and then sadly went off the air in 2003 – but it didn’t end there. Buffy creator Joss Whedon continued the story in the Season 8 comic book series, written by him and illustrated by Georges Jeanty. It’s no secret that I am a massive Buffy fangirl, yet in spite of that I never checked out the Season 8 comic – until now. I loved how the show ended and didn’t want the comic to ruin my Buffy love, but I finally broke down and bought the first volume of the comic, “The Long Way Home.”
The comic picks up shortly after where the show ended, with Sunnydale destroyed and Buffy and the Scoobies training the hundreds of new Slayers. The comic’s storyline is classic Buffy, which is fantastic; you’ve got demons, witches, mysterious organizations and all of that Buffy goodness. But, what made the show so amazing was more than the excellent story and hilarious dialogue, it was the actors themselves and the way they delivered and portrayed every unique character, sadly the comic doesn’t have that going for it. “The Long Way Home” has everything the show did, except for the tone the actors set, which in my opinion is what made the show so incredible.
Keeping in mind that this is in fact a comic and should be looked at separately from the show, I did my best to enjoy the comic as its own separate entity. But still, it didn’t feel like Buffy. While the artwork itself is beautiful, the illustrator could have made the comic significantly better by incorporating the character’s personality into his art. It would have felt more Buffy-like had Jeanty studied facial expressions and body language, but instead every character in the comic is stiff and robotic with the same bland expression on every page. As a colossal comic junkie I know damn well that a talented artist can make characters look animated without actually animating them. Had Whedon chosen one of those artists instead of Jeanty then Buffy Season 8 would have really shined, and it would have made old Buffy fans much happier.
So, it goes without saying that I was seriously disappointed by the “The Long Way Home.” The cookie-cutter characters on every page destroyed the Buffy tone, which is sad because it’s so easily fixed with a decent illustrator. However, the story was awesome, it was totally Buffy, and I loved it. The story makes up for the cold feeling the artwork gives off, which is why in spite of my disappointment I’ll continue reading the Buffy comics.