Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight #21

Written by Jane Espenson
Penciled by Georges Jeanty
Inked by Andy Owens
32 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

I actually feel bad for most people who have worked on other licensed comic books in the past, or plan on doing so in the future, because they’re almost certainly going to be compared to Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight. It certainly doesn’t hurt matters that tv show creator and front-runner Joss Whedon has written some of the issues and is "executive producing" the rest, but it’s been more than just that—the comic is showing such a nice freedom to do anything and everything that it’s hard for a fan of the show to not get sucked into its pages.

Harmony’s back! Just because she’s a vampire doesn’t mean that she can’t still live the life she always wanted, going into clubs and rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, right? When paparazzi catch Harmony sucking the blood out of a D-grade television star, for many people it would be the end of the line. Harmony, though, is launching an entire career out of it. Now if only she can handle the latest Slayer to receive her powers, Harmony might get what she’s always wanted: a second season of her very own reality show.

I have to hand it to Jane Espenson, in that "Harmonic Divergence" at a glance looks and feels like it really should be a fill-in issue. A quick side-trip to a forgotten character and situation, a brief pause for the main storylines, that sort of thing. As it turns out, it’s anything but that, with the issue having big ramifications for the second half of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight‘s planned 40-issue run. It never feels bogged down or full of its importance, though. It’s light and fluffy and silly, which is just what the book could use every now and then. Espenson nails the flighty nature of Harmony really well, and more than almost any other issue of the comic to date, I felt like this could really be an episode of the television show.

Georges Jeanty continues to impress me with his art in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight; it’s very hard to not only make art in a licensed comic look enough like the actors to make the studios happy, but to simultaneously make the art feel lively and non-posed, but Jeanty does just that. He’s got a knack for likeness that makes it seem so easy (it’s not) that I wouldn’t be surprised if other artists out there are cursing Jeanty’s name. The big fight at the end of the comic is swift and lively, and I like how he draws the new Slayer’s face with a look of determination in both good and bad times.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight continues to be a fun series, and this issue is no exception. If you’ve been thinking about giving it a try, it’s a perfect place to take a look and see if you like it. (Just be warned, you’ll then want to run out and pick up the collected editions to catch up quickly.) For those who’ve already been reading the series, this definitely pays off and makes things even more interesting for our main characters. I’m quite pleased with the end result, and I think you will be too.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com

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