Title: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Last Gleaming (Season 8, #8)
Authors: Joss Whedon, Georges Jeanty, & Scott Allie
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
Synopsis: The season finale is here! At long last, the Big Bad stands revealed--Angel is back, and it’s tearing the Scoobies apart, testing the limits of their friendship. But Twilight’s unmasking is only the beginning, and Buffy must still face the ultimate betrayal.
Series creator Joss Whedon writes the final story arc of Buffy Season 8, taking his greatest characters to places only he can! Teamed with series artist Georges Jeanty, Joss reunites the dysfunctional gang of Buffy, Angel, and Spike, in the thick of it together for the first time since Season 3, and gives the Scoobies their gravest challenge ever, defending reality itself from the onslaught of demons. It’s the biggest Buffy finale ever!
* Collecting issues #36-40 of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight series.
* This volume also includes the spy-thriller Riley one-shot by Buffy series writer Jane Espenson and artist Karl Moline
My The Long Way Home (#1) Review My Predators and Prey (#5) Review
My No Future For You (#2) Review My Retreat (#6) Review
My Wolves at the Gate (#3) Review My Twilight (#7) ReviewMy Time of Your Life (#4) Review
Review: While I've actually enjoyed this season despite its twists and turns and the unexpected Big Bad reveal, I feel like this last volume - the season finale - should have been significantly more coherent and just... better. I mean, don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed it, but it was just all over the place and kind of a mess.
Since the plot has been kind of wacky this whole season, this volume had a pretty large task in store for it in terms of wrapping up all the loose ends. Buffy and Angel have superpowers and are fighting for magic to stay in this world, but there are demons and other beasties trying to make them leave (I think?). The world that was created by Buffy and Angel wants its parents back and is trying to make Angel force Buffy back into the parallel dimension. The Slayers are fighting a losing battle. Faith is under-utilized. The rest of the Scoobies don't trust Angel (with good reason).
Oh, and the Master is back? And so is Spike, which was awesome. Because Spike is Spike and true to the character created in the show. But I don't understand why the Master came back... because this story would have been completely fine without him. Especially because he doesn't stick around very long. I wish there was more of Spike instead of going off on this random thing with the Master (the incident wasn't terribly random, just the Master being a part of it).
I think it's interesting that this volume ended the way that it did - with a major character death, Buffy making a choice and dealing with the consequences, and all that jazz - and I'm glad that Joss was able to tie everything up. I didn't really think it would be possible after all of the little rabbit trails going on this season, but it worked. I enjoyed seeing all the characters back together, and the heart-to-heart between Buffy and Faith.
I'm excited to see where Season 9 goes, and it seems like it will be more reminiscent of the Sunnydale days. I'm not sure whether this will be a good thing or not, but it sounds like Joss has a clearer picture of where he wants to take Season 9 than he did with Season 9 Especially now that he's gotten used to telling the story in comic book form. I would still recommend this season to fans of the television show, and can't wait to get my hands on Season 9! 3/5.