Well I hate to say this but I was disappointed with the first issue...I really dislike Jeantry's cartoony style art. There were some nice moments, still kind of confused about the Xander/Buffy moment and what it was attempting to imply...I'm guessing they just were talking (I hope so). Angel and Faith got off to a better start.
I don't think it implies anything other than Xander having something bothering him, which he doesn't want Dawn to know, but which he might or might not have told Buffy about. The quasi-shippy vibe was a mislead - they tease readers a lot, like in the morning after scene where Buffy first believes she slept with Willow. And the rest of the issue seems to play with teasing who she might or might not have slept with. I bet the answer is, nobody. It sure isn't Spike either - I think his "after last night" comment is just teasing her about having acted in an embarrassing way and maybe having come onto him drunkenly beyond her attempt at flirting when he first came to the party ("Is there any chance I could make you beg?") and how she's not the one to call him "Stalky the Clown" after that. There's no way anything really happened between them, and as for Riley, Buffy might not have even made a pass at him - she doesn't even remember if she did, and if she did, it wouldn't have gone anywhere. They also tease us that she might have slept with the neighbor, but I doubt that's the case, either, and it certainly wouldn't explain why everyone talked about "last night". It's probably just Buffy doing things like dancing on the tables and such (maybe she did take her clothes off at some point as someone suggested...).
Regarding Xander: her greetings at the door could be as a bit flirty, but I don't get the impression for a moment that Buffy is trying to steal him from Dawn, and the scene in the bedroom doesn't read as explicitly "shippy" to me. Buffy and Xander are old friends, they have had a bunch of intimate conversations about their problems, they've hugged a lot of times in the show, so holding an arm is hardly shockingly intimate for them. No doubt that the scene is deliberately teasing us into thinking that something happened between them with the B: "Dawnie" - X: "Doesn't need to know" dialogue, but I really don't believe that's what it's about. First, neither of them would have done it, IMO, second, if Buffy is feeling terrible over the possibility that she might have made a pass on a married man, why isn't she upset at all over supposedly sleeping with or trying to steal her sister's serious boyfriend? And third, how would that work, they sleep together and then Xander is depressed over it but Buffy is OK? Meh. No way.
Now, what is really going on? Xander has a secret, and it's something that's bothering him. Some have speculated that it's about Dawn's safety, about Dawn becoming a green ball of energy or whatever, but I don't that's likely, because in that case, shouldn't Buffy be more concerned about it as well? Xander also seems to have some resentment at Buffy - probably over the way things went in season 8. His jab at her is that she isn't good at making plans of any kind, except for fighting: does this refer to her current life or to her actions in S8 (implication being that fighting is the only thing she does well). There are plenty of things that this secret could be about... someone on BF speculated earlier that he made some kind of deal with the army/government to get them all off (but how would that work with Buffy knowing about it?), others are thinking that he hates his job and the normal life he has now but has to work to pay for Dawn's college. There are lots of things it could be about, but it is being set up as a new mystery so we probably won't find out immediately.
He used the phrase "It's a wonderful life" - it is a coincidence that it's the title of a film about a man who thinks he's a total failure and wants to commit suicide, until an angel shows him that his town, his friends and family would be much worse off if he never existed?
OTOH, good to see Willow well-adjusted, with a job and girlfriend. Unless it's a cover for sadness that Dawn believes she feels. But at least she seems to be doing well instead of moping. The issue subverted the expectations with Xander and Willow - most fans expected him to be happy and well-adjusted, and her to be a wreck. She's dealing pretty well with not one but two insensitive remarks about her loss of powers.
Buffy on the other hand is trying way too hard to appear happy and have a good time, but it's obvious that she's a mess and doesn't know how to deal with the fallout of season 8, her feelings or her role in the world, which she is unsure of. The issue is called Freefall
and it's obviously about Buffy coming apart at the seams - Steve Morris's cover makes that even clearer. There is a sense of underlying despair in the party flashbacks. She's trying to bond with everyone and anyone, trying to convince herself she could do this or that job: make hats, be a cop, or even "win" at a hack circle, even though she doesn't even seem to understand what it is.
And when you're feeling morally inferior to Andrew (who started a relief organization and gathered Slayers who still trusted him - something Buffy wouldn't be able to do even if she had thought of it), things are really bad.
The panel where she's talking to her boss, or listening to him talk about the hack circle and not really following what it's about, is particularly loaded with meaning: it's no coincidence that it shows everyone else paired off and smooching someone, including Spike who is making out with a random girl at the party, Xander and Dawn kissing, and Willow kissing her new girlfriend. It's like everyone else is leading their own lives and she's in the meantime sitting on the table looking miserable and supposedly listening to the story about hack circles but not getting it.
It seems like Spike and Buffy haven't been seeing each other that often, since she says the last time she saw him, he gave her a pep talk (probably a reference to the fire escape scene from #40). His line when he blows off Buffy's flirtatious "Any chance I can make you beg?" with "Not this year" seems a meta comment on what we can expect from their dynamic in S9: he isn't going to be making any romantic overtures (just like he wasn't doing it in S8, either).
How funny is it that Buffy's roommates think she has a way of "drawing people in" with her charm, when she notably hasn't been able to do that or be popular since the Hemery High days? It seems that drunken Buffy, who comes off as a ditzy bubbly party girl, is a lot more liked than the strong and responsible Slayer Buffy.
My theory about the dead girls that the police found is, based on the hints and covers for the next issues,
that she is a (former) vampire. There is a new character, Severin, who is supposed to have a new way of slaying vampires. The cover for #4 suggests that what he does is separate the demon from the human host (for lack of a better word). But if you remove the demon from the vampire, they probably die, because their bodies are dead in human terms and only animated by the demon.
The girl has no signs of trauma, no wounds, and she looks "beautiful", which seems to be a big hint that she's a vampire. As a vampire, she was healing quickly and had no human illnesses, until the demon was cast out and she just died, if my theory is right.
El Draco (that's apparently the name of the big demon released from the mystical prison when the Seed was broken) sure has a weird way of talking! Did he forgot to talk because he was imprisoned for too long? His task is to "kill all". All as in...? Humans, demons, or just everyone? How long was he imprisoned, anyway? Could be thousands of years for all we know.
We were lead to believe that Simone was out to kill Buffy, but she seems to be planning something much bigger than that.
I like the roommies. I wonder if we'll get to see Heinrich the neighbor?
Some other funny moments:
Buffy: "Do you have porn?" In The Long Way Home, she said that porn wasn't real attractive. That's a change. Riley": "You're into porn?" Buffy: "Gross! But don't you think I should start?"
She's getting used to being single and horny...
Tumble wants to be in a band with Spike. Reminds me of: "I'm... in band! With Spike!"
But would A Dirigible Run by Insects be a good idea for a band? Well, it would attract attention for sure...
The demon reveal thing was cute, but it's a bit weird way to end the first issue, if that's the one that is supposed to hook people up. OTOH we do get the setup for legitimate threats - El Draco, Simone and possibly whoever killed that girl, though I think that one is a mislead.
Not a bad issue, a bit fluffy but there is an underlying feeling of despair and aimlessness. I guess the issue is also making fun of the epicness and OTT stuff that season 8 delved into (though it sometimes looked like an epic farce more than epic drama). I would probably give it a... 3.5
out of 5 stars.