Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8, Episode 2: The Long Way Home, Part Two
Written by Joss Whedon; Illustrated by Georges Jeanty
Well, this is better than the first episode - a lot better actually, in virtually every way imaginable, although the first few pages did give me cause for concern. The plot is, initially at least, rather disjointed, flicking between various locations and attempting to draw parallels between the lessons of three different “teachers” to the junior Slayers. The first of these is Giles, who makes a not unwelcome return, although he seems to be both written and drawn more like the Giles of Season 1 than the more rounded, developed character who emerged later during the show’s duration. The second of these is Buffy, who, for some reason, looks rather unlike Buffy in these panels (although she certainly talks like Buffy). The third, alas, is Andrew, who is annoying even in comic book form. Actually, I thought he was Jonathan reincarnated at first, given the manner in which he is drawn, but as soon as he opened his mouth I found myself convulsing in horror as memories of Seasons 6 and 7 came flooding back. Actually, while we’re on the subject, why is Andrew serving as a mentor to the Slayers? Why is he qualified to do this? Why isn’t he in jail yet?
Elsewhere, the army nonsense continues to give me worries that Season 8 is going to be another Season 4-style clumsy amalgamation of science and magic, although it consumes less than three pages in this particular episode. There are some amusing lines of dialogue, and a couple of panels in which Georges Jeanty’s artwork comes impressively close to capturing the essence of the characters as embodied by the actors in the TV series (the manner in which Buffy tucks her hair behind her ear on page 15 is very Gellar-like). There’s also a genuinely unsettling dream sequence which, if filmed, would have been highly effective. Oh, and there’s Giant Dawn taking a bath in a highland loch… although she looks considerably less emaciated than Michelle Trachtenberg.
I’m sufficiently interested in the story now to want to see how it develops. The final panel promises some interesting pyrotechnics in the next instalment (although I’m not quite sure why Willow is dressed as a ye olde medieval wench, Once More With Feeling style). Whedon even has the balls to mention Tara’s name in this episode (in comparison with Season 7, where it took until Episode 7 for that forbidden word to be uttered). There’s also a fan letter at the end of the comic where a young lady named Alissa warns the author, in no uncertain terms, that she will have his head on a pike if he doesn’t bring back her favourite witch. Given that they posted this letter, I have a feeling they’re going to go somewhere with this.