Whedon Comics

Review: Buffy Season 9 – Freefall TPB

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Freefall Trade Paperback collects the first story arc of Season 9. It was written by Andrew Chambliss, with art by Georges Jeanty. The story follows Buffy as she attempts to keep her life together as a waitress and lone slayer in San Francisco. She must constantly deal with the repercussions of her actions in season 8, when she ended the earth’s connection to all magics. Although vampires still have their super strength and abilities, any newly turned vampires become zombie-like, half brained, “zompires”.

The story focuses on Buffy, who is under police investigations after dead bodies of slain vampires begin appearing (usually, they just turn to dust). Soon, Buffy meets Severin, the young man responsible. He has the ability to kill vampires and take their strength by touching them. However, Buffy may be falling into a trap by trusting this mysterious man too soon. Just like in the television series, there are side stories going on with the supporting characters such as Xander, Dawn, Spike, Willow and the SFPD. Chambliss does a great job balancing these side stories with the main narrative.

After coming off of Season 8, which was so massive in scope (ie: giant battles and dimension-ripping sex), “Freefall” again feels like a Buffy episode. It is more focused on the characters relationships and struggles. We can again identify with Buffy as a girl who is regretful, alone, and working a dead-end job (as opposed to her previous role as a self-important slayer and leader of an army). It’s great to see such a character change in Willow, who is now stifling her resentment towards Buffy at the loss of her magic powers. There is also a lot of classic Whedon humor and dialogue. One of my favorite moments of the book is when a terrifying new demon threatens Buffy that it is “time for you to pay…” The reader must turn the page before reading the punchline, “…your student loans!” This is a perfect example of great panel layouts which utilize the medium of comics well; building suspense and humor as the reader turns the page.

The art in this series, drawn by Georges Jeanty, is nothing short of perfect. The essence of each character is captured perfectly. The San Francisco scenery makes the reader feel as if they are truly in the city. It isn’t too cartoony, or too realistic. Just like the series itself, the art takes itself seriously while still being playful and fun. It is also great to see new demons and creatures being created with complete creative control, where they were once hindered by makeup and budget during the television show. The action scenes are also very fluid and easy to follow.

Overall, Freefall is a great beginning to Season 9. It is easily accessible to dedicated fans and new readers alike.

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