Kemper's Reviews > Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Retreat

Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Jane Espenson
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Apr 10, 2010

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bookshelves: comics, tv-movies, horror, vampires

Buffy's battle against the evil forces of Twilight (hee) continues. In the last volume, an inexperienced slayer's attempt to take out a vamp on TV created public sympathy for the bloodsuckers who are now seen as poor innocent victims.

Now that Buffy and her slayers have been outed and are public enemy #1, Twilight uses his military forces with help from witch Amy and skinless Warren to mount an attack on the slayers' HQ in Scotland. They manage to escape but Buffy is convinced that the only way to survive is to hide, but that means erasing all traces of magic that could be tracked. She leads her crew to an old friend, Oz, who is living in a remote monastary and has learned to control his werewolf tendencies. But will Buffy's people (especially an increasingly edgy Willow) be willing to give up their powers?

Mainly written by Jane Espenson, a veteran Buffy and Battlestar Galactica writer that I like a lot, I thought this was some of the best characterizations and dialogue yet in the post-show Buffy comics. There's some great stuff here, including Giles and Faith finally returning to the main group and the return of Oz.

But I had a big problem with he story. Whedon always had a strong theme of female empowerment in Buffy. That was the whole point of the show and having it culminate with the creation of an army of slayers was brilliant. But having Buffy decide to make her people powerless when confronted with danger doesn't make a lot of sense. She's got reasons to be nervous about the future of the slayers and Willow, but it seems stupid for all the slayers and Willow to survive by being weak. Some of the characters do comment on this contradiction, but it really seemed to go against the grain of what Buffy has always been about. Especially when the slayers have to start using guns and other modern weapons to fight because that really cements the image that Buffy is running a private army instead of a group of women called to fight evil.

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