I didn't really think much of it at the time, but today, as I drifted in to pick up my comics, I spotted the first issue and thought I'd give it a try. I never bought into the whole Buffy the Vampire Slayer as great TV, never bought into the whole hidden messages within it, and never actually bought into the whole supposed feminism of the series. Sure, you could see those moments: the musical episode was great, monsters to fight in teenage years, and Buffy was always top of the fighting food chain at the end of the day, but at the end, there was never enough made of these elements to make any of the subtext consistent for fully developed thematic concerns, or to make interesting arguments within those themes. Instead, what developed was a very patchy series, which for the first three years of its run, averaged well, but which, over the following years, become more and more patchy, until, finally, you were waiting for it to simply be put down, and ended in a way not too embarrassing. (This, sadly, is the opposite of what happened with the companion show, Angel, which was at its strongest when it was canceled at the end of season five.)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer the comic, then, takes place after the end of season seven, when Buffy has blown up her home town, and is now running around with over five hundred versions of slayers--females who are genetically gifted with strength and speed and cuteness to fight vampires and other such monsters. As issue one of season eight opens, Buffy and a trio of slayer girls, are dropping out of the sky to take out a group of your generic, castle dwelling monsters. Behind the scenes, however, Xander, still supporting his eyepatch, is feeding information to Buffy and monitoring other groups, giving the impression of being the brains behind the brawn. As with what was the great flaw of Whedon feminism theme in the Buffy universe, Xander, and Giles, and the Watcher collective who are predominantly male, serve to undermine the positive representation of females in the show, as Buffy is ultimately reduced to being nothing more than the muscle who must rely on men to do her thinking. That's just an aside, incidentally, of why I always thought Buffy failed as a great text of feminism.
At any rate, the first issue deals with the relationship between Buffy and Xander and their new set up. Dawn features briefly, and of Willow and Giles, there is only a mention, but I imagine that they will show up shortly, for Whedon has, actually, crafted a nice introduction into season eight of his world. The dialogue is witty and the art by Georges Jeanty is dependable, and easy to follow (though it surprises me that Whedon didn't find a more high profile artist for the gig--still, there is nothing wrong with Jeanty's art, and I liked it well enough). If you're a bit undecided about the comic, due to the suckness of the final seasons of the show, I reckon the issue is worth the look. Hopefully it won't degenerate into a horrible mess, but I guess only time will show (and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it must be said, always started its seasons well).