Joss Whedon 101: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight

When it was announced years ago that Buffy’s adventures would continue in comic format, fan boys and girls were set a-frenzy. The last time we saw Buffy Summers, in the show’s finale, she had defeated The First, a primordial evil, while simultaneously sharing her power with potential Slayers worldwide. Joss Whedon’s original goal of spreading the message of female empowerment through Buffy was then literally (in canon) and metaphorically dispersed to the masses. The show ended with triumph as well as tragedy, seeing Spike incinerated with a mystical bauble provided by Angel — only to return in full force on Angel, and Anya bifurcated protecting the addictively pathetic Andrew. As some characters died, the remaining heroes (Buffy, Giles, Willow, Xander, Dawn, and Faith) and their fans were uncertain as to what would happen next.

Whedon’s answer was to provide a canonical Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight in comic book form. Joss oversaw the entire storyline and ensured that fans would be happy with the writing by employing fan favorites; such as Steven S. DeKnight, Tim Minear, Drew Goddard, and Jane Espenson, as well as celebrated non-Whedonverse writers like Brian K. Vaughan. The totality of the work resulted in an overarching story that not only mirrored the dramatic tone of the original, but allowed for a grand, epic storyline which finally realized Buffy’s global appeal and influence.

Season Eight saw many things come to pass, in a nutshell (spoiler warning!): The Scoobies now oversee over 2,800 Slayers from a Scottish castle. The massive network of Slayers faces a masked foe named Twilight, who leads a global attack on magic. Amy (former rat) and Warren (rescued by Amy and now sporting a perma-skin-suit) are among Twilight’s allies. Giles and Faith — much to the chagrin of Buffy — team up in order to save lost Slayers and carry out Giles’s secret mission. Dawn is a giant (due to a curse by an thricewise demon ex-boyfriend she cheated on). Buffy has a lesbian encounter with a Japanese Slayer named Satsu.

Xander begins an intimate relationship with a Slayer named Renee, who is run through with the mystical scythe by a renegade vamp who has transmogrification powers stolen from Xander’s old pal/nemesis/master Dracula. Dracula and Xander avenge her death. Dawn is a centaur (same curse). Buffy skips into the future, meets Malaka Fray, and kills future Willow, who is now back to her old Dark Willow ways. Willow, in present time, is sleeping with an odd snake lady named Saga Vusuki/Alluwyn in another dimension, unbeknownst to Kennedy. A renegade Slayer named Simone has banded together violent Slayers who think they are above the law. Dawn is a doll (curse over!). Oz has a baby. Andrew is now part of the family. Harmony is a reality TV star whose shenanigans lead the world to support vampires fully. Buffy thinks she may have feelings for Xander, but he is now in love with Dawn. Things are about to get crazy… Buffy gains super powers and finally faces Twilight, who we find is actually…wait for it…Angel! The two are overtaken by the mystical influence of Twilight, which is actually a universe willing itself into existence. They have a lot of sex and give birth to a universe.

Buffy abandons the universe when it becomes apparent that all of her friends (and the rest of the world) will most likely die in the creation of her and Angel’s evolution. Spike shows up in time to inform Buffy et al., in typical Spike truthful-yet-snarky fashion, that Twilight and the end of the world can be destroyed by protecting “The Seed of Wonder,” the original source of all magic. If Twilight’s multi-dimensional forces are able to remove the seed, the world will crumble. Buffy’s negligence makes Twilight (who is both the universe and now a freaky magic Chimera) mad, so it overtakes Angel and leads him to attack Buffy.

Willow visits Saga Vasuki/Alluywn who tells her that the seed can be destroyed, which would save the world, but all magic would be obliterated on earth. Willow chooses not to inform Buffy about this and instead tells her that she must protect the seed at all cost. Spike and Buffy find that The Master is the protector of the seed. Buffy kicks his ass. Then, Spike and Buffy take on Angel. Giles brings the scythe to the underground cave where the fight for the seed takes place. He and Xander discuss the likeliness of stopping Twilight/Angel…

Dear reader:

Joss Whedon’s importance in contemporary pop culture can hardly be overstated, but there has never been a book providing a comprehensive survey and analysis of his career as a whole — until now. Published to coincide with Whedon’s blockbuster movie The Avengers, Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion by PopMatters (May 2012) covers every aspect of his work, through insightful essays and in-depth interviews with key figures in the ‘Whedonverse’. This article, along with previously unpublished material, can be read in its entirety in this book.

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