REVIEW: Buffy Season 9 vs CW’s Ringer

Posted by under *mixed, Comics, Television |

We continue our look at September’s “other” number one issues (i.e. books that aren’t part of DC Comics’ “New 52”) with the debut of Dark Horse Comics’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine. The series continues the highly successful transition of Joss Whedon’s television series to comics and it’s arguably everything you’d want and expect. I know it might be unfair, but I had a really difficult time reading this book without considering Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar’s new show Ringer that also premiered last week.

Whedon’s Buffy television series went off the air in 2003, eight long years ago for those of us living in our version of reality. The Dark Horse series is not a reimagining or an adaptation, it’s a continuation of that series and those characters. It’s what comes next for Buffy and her universe and by extension, at least in my mind, Sarah Michelle Gellar. Obviously, comic book heroes have a long history of being timeless and ageless and as a fan I’ve come to fully accept that Batman is not 90-year-old man. However with Buffy, I had a hard time reading last Wednesday’s debut of Season 9 without picturing our heroine as the 35-year-old woman (women?) I had seen her the night before on Ringer.

I didn’t have this issue with Buffy Season 8 and I think a big part of that is because SMG was nowhere to be seen at the time. Had Season 9 been filmed for TV, one could argue that Buffy would be under 30 years old and the character we see on the page would be a little more in line with the actress’ age. As it’s continuing in print some seven years later, I just don’t think she’s the girl for me anymore. That doesn’t mean the book is bad though. An interesting new status quo for the principal characters has been established and a new “big bad” is looming on the horizon. If you’re a Buffy fan that doesn’t suffer my particular psychosis there’s a lot to like.

Artistically, Season 9 brings back the familiar interiors of Georges Jeanty. I’ve enjoyed his work on Buffy in the past and issue one continues his consistent line work. There’s not a lot of supernatural action here, but the two pages introducing this season’s new threat are his best work and I wish there was more of it. It also appears that Jo Chen’s beautifully painted cover artwork will continue to be a staple of Buffy Summers’ comic book adventures. Most of the books in Dark Horse’s Buffy line have had multiple cover images and I have always made it a point to seek hers out. Having her on board assures this book will continue to look great on the shelves.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say a few things about CW’s Ringer given its impact on my reception of Buffy. I’m making an effort to sample a good number of new shows this Fall, and I initially discounted this one after catching glimpses of it while it was recording, muted, as I was worked on other projects. There were a lot of bad production choices, special effects (the boat scene is laughably bad), and Gellar appearing as two different characters together on screen didn’t help. After watching it a little more attentively, I have to say that if you look past those failings and buy into the premise it’s a decent show. There’s danger, mystery and intrigue at every turn and each character seems to have a story to be unravelled.

Even if it’s unfair to assume the characters of the “Buffyverse” would have aged along with the actors that played them, I know that I have. After reading Buffy Season 9 #1 and watching the debut of Ringer, I have to say Ringer is actually more appealing to my more mature sensibilities. In fact, after some serious consideration I think I’m far more likely to add Ringer to my DVR recording schedule than I am to keep Buffy Season 9 on my pull list. Seeing Michelle Trachtenberg as a drug dealing law student on Weeds this season doesn’t help either.

Read more about September’s Other #1s on MyLatestDistraction,
and follow this week’s reviews below.

Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1 / Ultimate Comics: X-Men #1

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  • Whit said,

    As a diehard BtVS fan (though sadly not the printed work continuation) I have to agree that Ringer is more appealing these days than continuing in the Buffy world. I must say that I actually love seeing Trachtenberg on Weeds, however. Watching her grow up and out of one of the most annoying characters on TV (I was NOT a Dawn fan) has been awesome. Love your blog!

  • ptb said,

    Thank you! I may not have been clear about Michelle Trachtenberg. I kind of enjoy seeing her as unsavory characters on Weeds or Gossip Girl, it just makes it even harder to read anything about Dawn in the Buffy comics.

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