Saturday, December 13, 2014

New Rules: Buffy Season 10 Wins

At the end of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer Season Eight comics/graphic novels, Buffy destroyed the the source of all magic on Earth called the Seed of Wonder. Almost instantaneously magic died out. At the end of Season Nine, Buffy and the Scoobies came together to create a new Seed to save Dawn, Buffy‘s magic-breed sister. In turn they generated a new, restarted system of magic on Earth. It’s fresh. It’s new. It’s un-evolved and raw. Magical creatures, and those who use magic, can kind of wield this untethered magic and make things up as they go.

However, one consequence of this new system of magic arrives in the form of vampires who can walk in sunlight, and shape shift into various other monsters linked to classic vampire mythology (like bats, vapors, wolves, etc.). They're many. They're harder to kill. And they've taken it upon themselves to wipe out your standard variety vampire as they go about creating “new rules” on Earth.

With magic begging to be rewritten, Buffy and the Scoobies (I actually dislike referring to Xander, Willow, and the others as that) have to come together to properly reclaim the state of affairs. And the key to doing so appears in the suddenly blank pages of the “slayer handbook," best known as the Vampyr book.  The book is like a manual to all things vampire, magic, demony, and Slayer-ish. When a few monsters and demons take interest in the book, Buffy and the Scoobies realize that they have to protect it from those who want to use it to rewrite the laws of magic to their own nefarious liking.

And that's the nutshell version...

I have got to say that I really loved New Rulesand that's besides the fact that I'm a die-hard Buffy fanatic.  The truth is that I could keep up with what took place in New Rules, and that's a testament to some improved focus and writing.  I enjoyed Season Eight and Nine, but I had a problem: I was always overwhelmed by the branching stories (some sprung from spin-offs) to the point where I couldn't follow along with all things overarching.  Seriously, some of the storytelling in Season Eight and Nine were like ADD manifested. The character of Spike piloting a spaceship. Dawn as a centaur. That one chapter where future slayers jumped into the past to kill Buffy.  Oh, and a few character mis-directions headed toward some unprofound conclusion.  Then there were some chapters/volumes that were amazingly well-done (Season Nine's Freefall), but ended abruptly before the focus changed in the proceeding. It was just so much going on at one time, and I'm sure a complete back-to-back re-read would work. Nevertheless, so far New Rules feels so much more contained and paced. Also, it had that same classic Buffy humor and fun, without too much of the excessive wackiness that I kind of rolled my eyes at in previous volumes.

While there were some storylines that tied in from spin-off graphic novels featuring other characters in the Buffyverse, that didn't take away from the set-up of New Rules as the opening of Season Ten. I just hope everything remains consistent through each proceeding volume. It’s so much better when the story is simple, and not about the writers making every little thing they can be possible in the comics that couldn't be done on TV.  Buffy has always been about wit, character, choices, sacrifice, and heroism–among many other things.  To me that's enough and everything.  Not so much spaceships and the occasional fairy.  

I won't spoil anything, but the super exciting bonus of Season Ten is that past characters emerge in the battle to reclaim (or snatch) the rules of magic.

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