Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer #8

Apart (Of Me) Part One

Script: Andrew Chambliss & Scott Allie

Pencils: Cliff Richards

Covers: Phil Noto/Georges Jeanty with Dexter Vines and Michelle Madsen

NB Spoilers for issue 7

 

After making the shocking discovery last month that not only is she not pregnant but she is, in fact, a robot, Buffy and Spike go in search of some answers.

Frankly, I have to admit to feeling a little betrayed when they revealed last month that, after all her soul-searching, Buffy was never pregnant or even human. Well, maybe not never human but certainly not during her pregnancy scare. It seems like a disappointing trend in comics to have events of great emotional weight happen (like, oh I don’t know, the death of a major character perhaps?) and then undermine them in subsequent issues with a retcon or other plot contrivance. The problem is that this not only undermines the events themselves but also robs the reader of their credulity, making it difficult not view similar events in the future with jaded cynicism.

In the case of Buffy’s pregnancy this was doubly true as it was such a controversial and important issue that was under discussion. Now, I know the point could be made that, regardless of whether it actually came to pass, Buffy did face the difficult decision of whether to go through with the pregnancy and she did make her choice. But having her turn out to be a robot just seems like a great big get-out clause so that the creative/editorial team don’t have to face any reader backlash from those who are morally opposed to abortion. A plot point that started out as a roar of support for a woman’s right to choose seemed to end with a whimpering backtrack.

This issue, as usual, is packed with pop culture references including one to Blade Runner. This month, however, a casual read revealed two Dark Horse logos buried in the art and a nice big Avengers plug. Given the release of Executive Producer Joss Whedon’s Avengers feature film this month I thought the blatant name dropping came across as overly self-referential and a little disingenuous.

Taking over from series regular Georges Jeanty on pencils this month is Cliff Richards. As someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy Jeanty’s style I’m usually the first to relish a change in the art but I found Richards’ depiction of the characters even harder to identify than Jeanty’s.

Overall I found a lot not to like in this issue and in the direction that Season 9 has taken in general in recent months. Hopefully things will get back on track shortly. 4/10

Bernice Watson

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