"The thing about changing the world… Once you do it, the world’s all different.” With these very appropriate words, begins season eight of Buffy, in its latest reincarnation as a graphic novel. Well, I strongly concur and might even supplement that the thing about changing my favorite TV show into a comic book… Once it’s drawn, it’s all eerily different; and also a bit shocking. Resilient a reader as I am, I quickly overcame this minor trauma and started to enjoy the new comic-flavored adventures of the Scoobies (i.e. Buffy & sidekicks); though, I kept longing for those evasive, fleetingly tangible shards of the old Buffyverse essence.
The world has definitely changed for Buffy and friends, following the apocalyptic ending of season seven on TV. Hometown Sunnydale is now a huge crater in the ground. Buffy is no longer alone nor is she the only slayer in the whole world – she commands an army of slayers now, hundreds of girls trained in the art of slaying.
The core members of the old Scooby gang are all still here, each doing their part in fighting evil. Xander manages the slayer squads from a remote command central placed in an old castle in Scotland. Willow is even a more powerful witch than ever. Giles trains the hundreds of newbie slayers, and Dawn is a giant. Distressful as it may be to have been cursed into a giant by an angry ex-boyfriend, it comes in handy when squashing enemies in battle.
Sworn enemies to make their re-appearance in this volume are evil-crazed witch Amy and her supernatural boyfriend fiend, who are obsessed with killing Buffy. We are also introduced to a new military organization, much like the ‘Initiative’ from season four. This new army-like institute is somehow affiliated to a secret cult, whose members are marked by a strange sign – a star rising on the horizon – carved on their chests; these guys – military and cult – they are not at all on Buffy’s good side.