Sunday, April 15, 2012

Buffy Season 9 #8, Or Hey We Were Just Kidding

This is a tough post to write.

I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I love Joss Whedon.  A lot of people love the current direction of the comic series, which is canon and often has matched the quality of the television show.

I do not love where this comic book is going.

The pregnancy/abortion storyline that sprang up recently seemed to offer a true evolution for the series and for Buffy herself.  I thought the approach was a little too literal but it offered an enormous opportunity.  The last two issues have squandered that opportunity, and frankly, the series' credibility with me as a reader.

I'm a writer and it's not my intent to judge the merits of other writers, especially ones as gifted as Joss Whedon.  So this will be the last of any such post where I do anything other than offer what I'm reading/seeing as a prompt or guide for my own writing or yours.  If there is a lesson here, it's simply not to play games with your reader.  I feel that the last two issues put Buffy through the ringer for no reason save to raise the subject of abortion.  That just doesn't work and the bizarre gobbledy-gook that Andrew spews in issue 8 to explain away why a robot thought she was pregnant has to be the clumsiest attempt to throw dirt on a narrative fire I have seen.

It may turn out Buffy is pregnant, and this is one of a series of endless complications, but it doesn't matter.  The reversal cheapens what came before.  Buffy says it herself:

'It turns out it's just more bizarre Slayer crap.'

The comic book is doing more acrobatic tricks than a Russel T. Davies episode of Doctor Who.  That's not Buffy; Buffy is straight forward, honest emotion through the lens of a genre that Joss Whedon proved could sustain just about anything.

Except this.