Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Season 8 #14

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Or – “Giant Teenage Girl In Tokyo?  It’s Stephen’s Dream Comic!”

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No, no, I kid.  Stephen’s dream comic would have Zatanna, a transformer and a vat of pudding.  In any case, Buffy’s war against the Vampires of Tokyo (not to be confused with the Werewolves of London) is heating up, with unlikely alliances, invisible hands, and mystical fooferaw erupting from all quarters.  But Buffy can take at least a cold comfort from the knowledge that things can’t get all THAT much worse…  can they?

BVS1.jpgPreviously, on Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Season 8:  Buffy Summers has always gotten by with a little help from her friends.  Thanks to an assist from her witchy pal Willow, the power of the Slayer has been parceled out across the planet, with hundreds of girls sharing the abilities that Buffy and Faith previously exclusively had.  Having created her own private army of superhumans, Buffy finds herself opposed by a mysterious conspiracy called Twilight.  Recently, her stronghold in Switzerland has been raided by vampires, but not just your average fanged fools.  These vamps displayed powers only seen before in one place: at the hands of Dracula himself!  Amazingly, the Queen of the Slayers and the Prince of Vampires agreed to work together, to track down the cadre of magic vampires who have stolen his powers (in, of all things, a wager over a motorcyel) tracking their prey to Japan, where Buffy’s local slayers have already begun the investigation.

Unfortunately, when they arrive in Tokyo, Buffy and friends find a slayer strung up, with a message written in her own blood: “Welcome to Tokyo.”  Carrying the body back to their base camp, Buffy and Willow strategize about how to capture one of their foes, which is complicated by the whole “turning into mist” routine.  “I’m assuming you’ve considered using Carolina’s Grasp,” says Dracula, stalking in like he owns the joint.  “I mean, you’re not complete idiots, are you?”  The Big D pretty much blows everyone off their tracks, offhandedly tossing out the recipe for a spell, before turning to the dead slayer wrapped in gauze.  “Is somebody going to finish eating this?”  Heh. 

As for the futuristic (annoying) cyber-vamp-wizards, they’re preparing for an all-out assault (and being annoying.)  Their sentry is surprised when a scared girl in a schoolgirl skirt rushes up, crying, saying that she’s lost.  The vampire sees his chance, offering to walk her home, the better to eat her with.  Luckily, the little girl lost is none other than slayer Renee, Xander’s proto-crush, and the idiot finds himself in a binding spell.  He laughs off their attempt to capture him until Buffy douses him in gasoline.  “Every time we try to fight one of you guys, you turn into air.  And it’s really hard to hurt air.  At least, until you remember…  Air BURNS.”  The vampire babbles all his secrets, telling them the location of Buffy’s scythe, giving away the whole plan.  The vampires intend to reverse the Slayer spell, depowering not only the armies, but Buffy as well, effectively taking the slayer out of the equation.  “Please…” he begs after he’s spilled his guts.  I told you everything I know.  You have to let me go.”  Buffy looks stern for a moment, flicking her lighter open.  “I never agreed to that.”  The Scoobies walk away as the vampire burns to the ground behind them…  that’s hardcore.

Back at Slayer Central West, Buffy briefs her general/lover Satsu on the plan, telling her that Satsu needs to stay at headquarters and help the girls who worked for Aiko (the fallen slayer) to bury her and deal with her loss.  Satsu blatantly refuses, explaining that she’s the best fighter on the squad, and there’s no reason for her to stay behind, unless Buffy is trying to avoid her, or protect her.  “I not following your orders…  I’ll see you on the battlefield. Ma’am.”  While Buffy tries to deal with the sexiness of being called ma’am, Renee and Xander prepare to battle, while Xan explains his unorthodox plan.  “Let’s count tonight as our first date.  Then, our next date will be our second date.  And the second date is always more relaxing…”  I have to admit the boy has a point.  She refuses, but kisses the hell out of him anyway.  “Now you don’t have to worry about what happens at the end.”  Dracula, Buffy and company set out for battle, but their primary goal isn’t to win, but indeed to regain the power of the scythe.  To that end, Willow snaps her fingers, fires a little mojo into the sky, and summons…

…a nineteen year old girl.  Granted, she’s 80 feet tall or so, but she’s not really all that scary at first.  “Hi,” says Dawn.  “I mean… Roar?”  She roars again, and starts smashing buildings as a diversion.  Buffy sneaks in, prepares to attack the head techno-vamp, when Willow suddenly realizes that things aren’t right.  Buffy’s hand goes right through the blood-sucker, and she cries out, “Guys!  It’s a…”  Before she can finish, Xander is splattered with blood, and a horrible noise fills the room.  “I believe the word you’re looking for is, ‘Trap.’ ” gloats the head vampire, as he holds aloft Renee, impaled on Buffy’s own weapon.  As Vinnie Vega would say, “To be continued!”  This issue sails by, with writer Drew Goddard hitting all the right notes, especially in the wonderful scene between Xander and Renee.  Of course, since Xander might be happy with a woman, bad things are about to happen.  George Jeanty once again manages to balance the likenesses of the actors with a knowledge of how to stage a comic book scene, especially in the moments with giant Dawn going Godzilla all over the city.  It’s a very solid 4 out of 5 star comic book experience, with some nice action, and a star turn by Dracula.  Buffy Season 8 maintains it’s streak as an always-gossip-worthy comic experience…

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