Since I’m catching up, I thought I’d do a mass post with 2-4, and a second with 5-8 (or 5-7, and then 8 since it’s the finale). It makes things easierSince I’m catching up, I thought I’d do a mass post with 2-4, and a second with 5-8 (or 5-7, and then 8 since it’s the finale). It makes things easier. So if you see this review posted multiple times in multiple places, that’s why. Anyway, I’m a rather late “Buffy” convert (but a longtime Whedon fan), and I’ve had a LOT of catching up to do. But now that I’m up to season 8 (which has been split between fans as awesome and awful), I think I’m finally prepared to tackle things.
Ever since I read the first book in 2008 for the eighth season, I was wondering “wtf, how is Buffy suddenly gay?”. Not that I have anything against that, but it was just kind of a drastic jump. Volume 3 answers that question, kind of, in true Joss Whedon fashion. Keyword here being ‘kind of’, as Buffy evades the question when asked. Only after Willow’s talk with Satsu do we kind of learn what motivated Buffy to start going into the arms of girls (well, only Satsu so far, but you get the idea), and it’s an angle that I hadn’t really considered. It’s not romance-driven, but survival-driven, and I think that Whedon & Co. deserve some credit for talking about this kind of unpleasant reality that a lot of people take advantage of (think of fuck buddies and the like, and then multiply the stress on you times a thousand at least, and then you’ll get why Buffy’s running to the gals). I love that the “Buffy” franchise has always been LGBTQ-friendly, and hell, was one of the first on primetime television to really talk about it once Willow came out in the late ’90s, and it’s good to see that they’re continuing the trend, even if it’s not all about romance. And Buffy redeems herself again for apologizing to Satsu in terms of what might be called leading her on. I really loved that.
I have to say, the issues with Dracula and Xander together were some of the best Whedon-related interaction material I’ve ever read – I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a long time. I mean, I was actually crying I was laughing so hard. Dracula’s continual comments about Xander’s “moor” were hilarious. And I like that there are characters of color being featured in positions of power, and then again, this was always something that Buffy did even when it was on the air. It’s been so long that I’ve started to take that for granted in terms of my television viewing, even if it hasn’t come too very far from what shows like “Buffy”, “Ellen”, and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” started promoting when I was still a kid.
And I’m so glad they brought Fray into the mix with volume 4 – I was wondering if they were going to do that after I read Fray before I read volume one of season eight of Buffy back in 2008. They’re so similar, and I remember wondering “well, what if those two were put in the same room – what would happen?”. Now we have our answer, along with why there are no slayers aside from Fray in that future. I really enjoyed volume 4 the most out of the lot so far, though three wasn’t too far behind. A slow start to the season, but still really great. Loved it!
(Crossposted to librarything, shelfari, and witchoftheatregoing.wordpress.com)...more
**spoiler alert** This is my review of volumes 5-8, since it just seemed like a better idea to review the rest all in one shot.
So I hear that there’s**spoiler alert** This is my review of volumes 5-8, since it just seemed like a better idea to review the rest all in one shot.
So I hear that there’s been a season 9 approved now (for comics)? Someone correct me on that if I’m wrong, but either way, I am very excited. Volumes 7 and 8 were the best of the entire season, hands down. But volume 6 is what really got the ball rolling again (I could have done without the whole Harmony sub-arc, but as it added to the story, meh, I’ll take what I can get). The idea that everyone hated the Slayers even though they were saving butts right and left was a delicious one, a very Whedonian one, and very well executed. But the Big Reveal on this season’s big bad definitely took me by surprise, though in retrospect, it probably shouldn’t have. I should know Whedonian plots when I see them.
Hm. The idea of not just Buffy, but Angel being the vessels to the will of the universe/destiny/whatever and change was really great. I think I liked that part the most. They were always my favorite pairing for the show, mostly because they played so well off of each other. And in the comic, that continues, even if the change to Angel’s character hasn’t progressed too much from what we last saw in both TV series. He’s still conflicted, angsty, resolving to be good, but accidentally screwing it up – except this time, it’s a world-destroying universe-ending screw up. Faith willing to work with him at the end of the season makes full use of her name and how she’s become a little more humble under Giles’ tutelage over the years when Buffy is too upset to really do anything. Faith’s role in all of this isn’t as large as Buffy’s, but when it comes down to the end of the season, it’s just as important, if not more (as it’s setting up for season 9).
And can I just say how much I love Spike and the Bugs? I love Spike and the Bugs SO much. That was the best part of the first half of the last volume. And the steampunk ship. That was glorious.
It’s hard to write a review for the end of this season without spoilers, so this review is going to be short. All I can tell you to do is to read the whole season, even if it only got really good around volume 6 onward. I can't do it justice with a halfassed review with no spoilers. Yes, it really was that good.
To wrap it up, I’ll just say that I’m definitely looking forward to season 9, and the Faith spinoff (that and more of the Angel spinoff, which I have to catch up on anyway). The end was definitely twisted and a bit of a shock, but considering what happened with Twilight in play, it’s not that entirely surprising. I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.
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Just like the synopsis says – for those looking to star the “After the Fall” series (written at the same time as “Buffy: Season 8″) and are looking toJust like the synopsis says – for those looking to star the “After the Fall” series (written at the same time as “Buffy: Season 8″) and are looking to remember the TV series, this is definitely for you. This omnibus conveniently collects all of the TV-series era comics that were released while the show was still on the air in anticipation of the release of the “After the Fall” series. As I definitely needed the reminder, this omnibus was wonderfully helpful, and saved me some time instead of having to hunt down all of the comics individually. Even if you’re not wanting to get caught up with the new series, this is still a great compilation of the comics of the old series.
I think that out of all of these, “Strange Bedfellows” was my favorite if just for the “So, how do you feel about vampire hookers?” question within the first few pages of the story. It bought back some of the better memories of the “Angel” series, and helped me reaffirm my love for Whedon’s characters and their fun misadventures. They don’t always have to be witty, but damn, these little episodes can be fun. And I do so miss the detective agency and their wacky cases – I guess that’s what hit home most of all. I miss Whedon material on the small screen, and this was just kind of another reminder of that.
I’m not necessarily a fan of the all of the art with these comics, but each and every story supplements the episodes in a pretty important way, now that I think about it. Especially if you’re going into reading “After the Fall” (which I am), I found this set of the old comics really helpful. If I weren’t going into the new season, I might not necessarily dive right in as I’m more of a “Buffy” than “Angel” fan, though that may change with enough time and exposure. With all of the new Whedon comics coming out (speaking of which, the new “Dollhouse” comics are coming out later this month, oh boy!), and you’re a fan, you need to figure out where your priorities lie, I guess, and then go for it.
This is good prep for the new season, but on their own, they’re not as good as the “Buffy” comics, thus the lesser star count. But still, if you’re a Whedon fan, give them a read and see how you feel about your supplementary “Angel” experience. I’d love to hear about it!
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I’m SO glad they finally reprinted one of the three volumes and with all of the one-off comics that hadn’t been published anywhere but in random omnibI’m SO glad they finally reprinted one of the three volumes and with all of the one-off comics that hadn’t been published anywhere but in random omnibus collections from Dark Horse so far. ;_; I really am. Especially “The Other Half”, as I have a huge soft spot for Wash in my silly little heart. The art has been gorgeously updated, now in hardback for the first time, and if you’re a Firefly/Serenity/Joss Whedon fan, this updated version of “Better Days” definitely belongs in your collection.
“Better Days” takes place before “Serenity” (the film) but after the “Firefly” series, and is basically a fun romp with the old gang on a job gone wrong. Well, more like, when is a job of theirs NOT going wrong?
I have to say, one of my favorite part of “Better Days” was always anything with Jayne. Especially when he’s cursing in Mandarin, which Dark Horse purposely doesn’t bother to translate because some facial expressions are pretty much universal. And the references to “The Hero of Canton” made me shriek with joy. If you want to go back to the good old days with the entire team on board of Serenity, “Better Days” is definitely the good fun you want to read. Such shenanigans. (Bonus! If you love River and/or Simon, don’t miss the scene after The Job Gone Wrong with them. It’ll make you wish for a happy ending for them even harder.)
“Float Out” is one of the newly available stories previously only in other Dark Horse multi-author/series omnibuses, and is heartbreaking it not only opens the old wound of the ending of “Serenity”, but it also very briefly shows us how Zoe is holding up after those events. In short, “Float Out” is an epitaph to Wash and all he was, both the good and the bad, and the very silly. I kind of wish that they’d continued it longer than they did when it comes to what’s going on with Zoe (I won’t spoil it for you, read it yourself!), but at the same time, I’ve gotten used to Whedon’s open-ended answers, so I’m okay with it. I guess it just makes miss Wash and his addition to the family of Serenity all the more. Oh, and did I mention? Jo Chen (master of the “Buffy Season 8″ early covers) did the alternate cover for this one, and it’s included early in this volume.
And then there’s “The Other Half”, which is River “proving” herself on a job with not being permanently crazy and saving the rest of the crew from our good friends the Reavers. I’m glad River got her own little side story and props for saving them so many times with her Alliance-induced psychic abilities/psychosis. It ended on such a good note, and I just kind of wanted to hug River forever by the last page. This is another story that takes place before “Serenity”, but not by much, I’m guessing. As no one’s really officially released a canon timeline of the Firefly/Serenity ‘verse, it’s kind of hard to tell.
Lastly, there’s “Downtime”, another tale before “Serenity”, with hilarity of the snowbound and venereal disease sort, and once again, Jayne takes the cake with being the most hilarious, closely followed by Zoe and Wash as the must adorable couple, and River, as…well, the most kick-ass. There’s an afterword by Adam Baldwin, the Man They Call Jayne himself, talking about his manly feelings about the series, the film, and its cancellation, and more supplemental cover art by Jo Chen to boot!
So really, this is a treasure trove of (somewhat) new stuff with the Serenity crew. I’m glad I didn’t buy the previous softcover version (I’d bought all of the issues of “Better Days” when they were on the newsstand, and since the previous edition didn’t have any extras, I hadn’t and still don’t see a point in buying that edition) because now I have the chance to own a second hardcover edition of the “Serenity” comics. “Downtime” sets things up for the final volume (so far), “The Shepherd’s Tale”, which is all about Book (and the big secret he’s been holding throughout the series, film, and comics thus far). I really hope they release a hardcover copy of that volume as it’s just as lovely as this one.
Dark Horse, great work as usual with catering to the fans. It just makes us love you (and your products, therefore giving you our money) all the more. Let’s hope that the signal never stops, and that like “Buffy”, this series continues to get love (and occasional goodies, like this volume) for years to come.
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First, a huge thanks to Dark Horse for putting this awesome book up on NetGalley for the (reviewing) world to request and read! I was really pleasantlFirst, a huge thanks to Dark Horse for putting this awesome book up on NetGalley for the (reviewing) world to request and read! I was really pleasantly surprised when I saw it up there – I just had to request it. And you know what? This one book collects all five of the original issues that make up the “Epitaphs” mini-series and all of the awesomeness contained therein. And yet, while you get the “complete” story of how the Rossum mindwipe thoughtpocalypse starts, it doesn’t exactly end where the show picks it up at the end of season 2 (spoiler alert!). All I know is one thing – I still want more on the thoughtpocalypse adventures with Mag, Zone, Griff, Alpha, Echo, and the others.
However, I know the chance of more of “Epitaphs” being written and released is slim to none. Which is saddening, but what we’re given is absolutely awesome material – and I’d expect no less from the badass Whedon-Tancharoen team (they did help end season 2, after all, with their scripting) and I’ve come to like Chambliss a great deal with “Buffy: Season 9″. I don’t think it needs to be said that if you haven’t seen the end of the first season, you’re going to spoil yourself, but if you’re just starting season 2, you’re in luck! This won’t really spoil you, but it builds on the material given to us in the unaired thirteenth episode of season 1 and a nice chunk of the last episodes of season 2.
All of the spoiler warnings said and in place, Whedon, Tancharoen, and Chambliss go into some very, very dark places with the genesis of the thoughtpocalypse, and shows us the buildling of Neuropolis (which we only get a look at in the series after Echo and her ragtag bunch of ex-Actives and other friends and foes when they actually infiltrate it), which is literally built on the ruins of buildings that the Rossum-created Butchers have totaled in their rampage across the globe (or in this case, Arizona). We also get some good information on where our favorite characters who worked in the LA Dollhouse as staff were when the Thoughtpocalypse hit, as well as how that affects the anti-Rossum cause.
But I think my favorite part was Alpha’s redemption – or rather, how it happened, and how it almost didn’t happen at all. I never thought I’d come to love Alpha as much as I do, but thanks to this much-needed installment, I got a look into his very real suffering with all of the people in his head. Everyone loved (me included) Alpha as the villain trying to steal the sleeping beauty-like Echo from the LA Dollhouse, but this shows how he tries so very hard to reform himself, as well as his continuing love for Echo and how he has to deal with all of that.
Oh yeah, and the fact that he still has quite a few murderous personalities in his head doesn’t really help the reform process.
But I found myself cheering for him like I never did before, and it was a really satisfying experience. “Experience” is the only way to describe any Whedon production, and “Dollhouse”, regardless if in TV or comic form, definitely is no exception to that idea. “Epitaphs” just contributes and completes the “Dollhouse” experience and really is a must for any Whedon/”Dollhouse” fan. Hands down. Though I just want more misadventures of how the thoughtpocalypse goes down (I wanted to see more Topher, for one thing, in this volume), overall I’m pretty happy with the end results, and I highly recommend it.
“Dollhouse: Epitaphs” is out in North America on April 11th, 2012, so be sure to pick it up then. It’s made my best of 2012 so far list, so really, this is a miniseries you can’t miss!
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**spoiler alert** Oh, the art for this one! I absolutely adore all of the art for "Angel & Faith" so far. But those who are new to the series shou**spoiler alert** Oh, the art for this one! I absolutely adore all of the art for "Angel & Faith" so far. But those who are new to the series should definitely read ALL of "Buffy: Season 8" as it pretty much picks up from the end of the last issue/TPB and goes from there. Nevertheless, this is a GREAT spinoff, and I'm really happy it happened. I've always had a soft spot for both Angel and Faith, so it's great to see them teamed up. If you're a Buffy fan or just a Joss Whedon fan, you definitely have to pick up the first volume of "Angel and Faith". There ARE spoilers in this review, so read with caution.
What I love most about Whedon projects, no matter what form of media they be in, is that they always pull the rug right out from underneath you at the first opportunity they get. In this case, it's about Giles - if you've read "Buffy: Season 8", you know that Angel-as-Twilight killed Giles within the last few issues. Now, ridden with guilt over what he's done as Twilight, Angel wants redemption, and Faith decides to help him. What's more - he's not going to settle for just replacing Giles in terms of picking up where he left off with the Watcher Files - he wants to bring Giles back from the DEAD.
So whoa. I rarely do spoilery reviews like this, but to see the Whedon/Buffy/Angel team taking such a bold step so early in the game was just an utterly delightful treat. Whedon is known for killing our favorite characters (See the "Avengers"? My point is proven yet again), but now he's taking steps to resurrect one of them - Giles. Which at first earned a golf clap from me, considering he's killed of a lot of my favorite characters over the years (Wash from "Firefly/Serenity" is still very dead), but now it looks like Angel's serious about his bid for resurrection.
What I also love is that in this spin-off, the effects of Buffy and Angel closing off Earth forever to the Magical Realms is still sticking. The ones still left behind - the slayers, the demons, the vampires, the witches - they're all having serious issues adjusting. We get stories of it all over this volume - from the perspectives of both the slayers that'd been under Buffy's command and the demons left behind. It reminds me of another thing that I love so much about Whedon's tales - no one is beyond redemption, if that's what they ultimately want. It has to be up to the Big Bad to want redemption, and to go through with it (even if they have help). The demons have no interest in reform, but Angel does. And Faith always seems in search of finding some kind of redemption, so they make a great team.
I guess you could say that the whole theme of this spinoff is "redemption"/"forgiveness of sins" just by itself. And that isn't a bad thing - Whedon and his team always write the best redemption tales, and they're not done yet. This volume will make you want to root for Angel, Faith, and the rest of the Scoobies more than ever so you definitely have to check it out if you're a fan.
Another thing that was awesome about this volume? Three words: demon fight club. AWESOME.
So for those who are unsure of this spinoff, I say rest assured. This will make a fantastic side-dish to "Buffy: Season 9" and beyond. "Angel and Faith: Live Through This - Volume 1" will be out June 20, 2012 in North America through Dark Horse Comics, so be sure to check it out then! It's definitely worth the read.
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This was another great adventure into one of my favorite spin-offs from the Buffyverse so far. Angel and Faith continue to make a great team, and it jThis was another great adventure into one of my favorite spin-offs from the Buffyverse so far. Angel and Faith continue to make a great team, and it just makes me all the happier that she (and Angel) finally got her/their own storyline. This volume in the series is all about the past continuing to haunt both Angel and Faith, coming back in the present with some major repercussions, and not without some pain involved. Also, a cliffhanger featuring everyone's favorite witch! What's not to love?
What I loved the most - Faith's journey into her own pain, out of it, and back in again. Angel saves her from herself eventually, but the quick dip into Faith's childhood (with a visit from her father) was some of the best insight we've had into Faith's character and how it formed since the show was actually on the air. What has been driving her since a child was really brought out in this book, as well as why she also tends to run from what drives her, making for a great balance between the two.
And then there's Drusilla, one of my favorite vamps from the original series. I'm so glad she's back, even if in this one volume in a limited capacity. The way she was brought back (I won't reveal how) was not only really original, but fun, too. And the length of her appearance in this book was just enough for me to enjoy, and leave her behind again.
What I could have done without: the aunts at the end of this volume. I felt like they were more than just a bit of filler to get to the cliffhanger, and I think that while they added texture to Giles' personal history (which gets a lot of great scenes in this particular book in general, a definite plus for not only the development of his character but of this spin-off in general), otherwise, I didn't really feel like they needed to be there.
Overall? Another great addition to this series, and I'm definitely looking forward to more. "Angel & Faith: Daddy Issues" will be out from Dark Horse Comics on November 21, 2012, so Buffy fans, be sure to check it out! It's definitely a whole lot of fun.
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