The second volume of “Buffy Season Eight” was really fun to read, thanks to its lightweight story arc, which directs the spotlight on Faith – our misunderstood, and for a while now, reformed slayer.
Late one night, Faith gets a phone call from ex-lover Robin Wood, and it’s not a booty call as she first suspects. Wood asks her to slay-to-rest a bunch of child-vampires. Sure, they’re as murderous a demon as any other, but not just any slayer could take on such a task. As bitterly noted by Faith, she’s the one that people turn to in order to get dirty jobs done, dirt cheap.
Faith gets home from her PG mission to find Giles waiting for her. He too has a dirty-slayage job, one he cannot assign to his radiant blond girl, Buffy. Should Faith carry out this special task, she will be granted a new identity and an early retirement plan. But is bailing out from this second-rate hellmouth in Cleveland really what she wants?
The dirty-job, if you’d wonder, is to take down a gone-wrong-turned-evil slayer. This bad slayer, Miss Genevieve – or Gigi to her scarce friends – is a rich British heiress. Her only confidant is an evil warlock, who’s carrying around a spell book marked with the mysterious twilight sign. Since Gigi is protected by both magic and wealth, Faith has to let Giles transform her into a high society undercover girl, just in time for Gigi’s fancy-dress party.
Now, we all know that Faith has her own demons to fight, metaphorical and not. Her past still haunts her, especially the one where she’s Mayor Wilkins’ girl. A slayer falling for an older, evil, fatherly type? Completely diggable. Faith wants to help Gigi rather than kill her.
At the end of this arc we also get a glimpse of the mysterious Twilight guy. He is depicted – spoiler alert – as a masked super-villain with no distinct facial features (’cause of the mask). It seems that Twilight has slayers, warlocks, and the government working for him. Things look dire for our girl Buffy.
Story by Brian Vaughan is engaging, and unfolds rapidly. Witty script maintains the fast and sarcastic talk-style that is both unique and typical to each character. There are some minor glitches though. Evil Irish warlock for instance, sounds too much like Spike – with ‘luv’ and ‘bird’. I mean these are holy trademarks of Spike, not all people of the British Isles speak that way… right?
The last chapter of this volume is a one-issue story arc by Joss Whedon called “Anywhere But Here”. This story has so much of the old Buffy essence, and I simply loved it. Buffy and Willow are headed (airborne!) to see some kind of an oracle-demon, one who walks between realities, scrambles space and time, and all that what.
The demon reveals that the purpose of Twilight is to bring the age of magic to an end. In a strange way, that’s the slayer’s life goal achieved, since demons on earth will end too. The demon also shows the two best friends, the hurtful lies they told each other, while in a secondary plot we see Dawn confesses her own lies to Xander. The story ends – spoiler alert – with Buffy and Willow sadly walking away in separate paths.
The art by Georges Jeanty (who penciled most of the volume) has its shining moments in some lovely panels, where you can find accurate depiction of familiar characters. In some other panels though, I have to say that the art is less precise, faces tend to be sketchier (and some noses seem… broken).
So hey, pleasant surprise! Second volume was better than the first one. Stories were more coherent, and the characters believable. The comic is not the TV series (which is very hard to live up to) but so far, getting better by the volume.