Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9: Freefall, issue #2

As Buffy continues to try and carve out a ‘normal’ life for herself in San Francisco and move past the world-changing events in Buffy Season 8 , the repercussions of her decision to destroy The Seed continue to haunt her. Meanwhile, a series of bizarre deaths plague the city as unidentified bodies start popping up, sometimes in droves, much to the puzzlement and dismay of the local police who are more than happy to point the finger at a slayer.

After the excitement and anticipation that surrounded the release of the first issue in this new series I was interested to see where the second issue would take the story. Whedon has made it clear that he intends to take Buffy back to her roots, but I wonder if perhaps he is caught between a rock and a hard place – if he takes the stories and characters back too far it feels regressive but if he strikes out in new and different directions he is accused by fans of ‘ruining’ Buffy. Stalemate.

His plan to rediscover the Buffy of the television series is screamingly obvious in this issue but sadly it does feel a little like something we’ve all seen before: the tension between Buffy trying to survive in the ‘real’ world, balancing work, flatmates, financial concerns, and trying to keep the forces of darkness at bay is harks back to TV-era  Buffy. Hopefully though, in the issues to come, the writers will find their own niche that balances fresh ideas with the themes and humour that originally launched Buffy into pop culture history.

This issue feels quite slow moving and doesn’t seem to cover much narrative ground, almost like a bridging issue. In fairness the first issue had a lot of energy and humour, while issue two has been left the unenviable task of setting up the overarching story to come and establishing the major players in the story. Now that the groundwork has been laid, perhaps the pace will pick up in issue three.

Joss Whedon’s absence in the scripting department is, sadly, very noticeable. It just doesn’t seem like anyone can quite match his tone and wit. Nevertheless Chambliss has a crack at it and does an okay job.

Georges Jeanty’s pencils continue to create a series that is fun to look at, although a little too cutesy for my taste. He does an admirable job with various demons and vampires that must be fairly challenging to draw as recognisable from the television series. Michelle Madsen’s colours are vibrant and compelling throughout and complement Jeanty’s style perfectly.

Verdict: This second instalment didn’t grab me the way the first did but it sets up some of the themes of the series. Hopefully things will pick up again in issue three. 6/10

 Bernice Watson

Script: Andrew Chambliss

Pencils: Georges Jeanty

Cover: Steve Morris/Georges Jeanty

Dark Horse, out now

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