To my great surprise, this season isn't looking that horrible anymore. I really enjoyed the last two issues of Angel & Faith
and the latest Spike
(#4) and Willow
#2 was pretty good, too. I thought that the season had hit the bottom with the awful Quor'Toth arc of Angel & Faith
, and the boring and forced Billy arc in Buffy
. The Spike
title, which I had been cautiously optimistic about, had a really intelligently written latest issue which addressed Spike's character and his relationship with Buffy with some depth (which we hadn't seen in the main Buffy title with its "Spike is a vampire, Buffy needs normal" preoccupations). Angel & Faith
has been a huge disappointment for me this season, but the last couple of issues (the Whistler one-shot and Death and Consequences
#1) is more like the season I expected after reading the very good first issue.
A&F has so far been the best whenever it's focused on Whistler (who was such a minor character on BtVS the show and never even appeared on AtS) and the original characters (Nadira, Pearl and Nash), rather than on the many pointless and mostly OOC guest star appearances of various well known Buffyverse characters. Which is completely the opposite of what is happening in the Buffy
title. But it's because these are the characters that have the strongest connection to Angel's season 8 actions and the Twilight plot, as the perpetrators or the victims. It's not surprising that the title is much better when it tries to address season 8 head-on than when it tries to sweep it aside or have everyone tell Angel how awesome he is and that he shouldn't feel guilty. (And maybe it's also due to the fact that Gage is just not that good at writing many of the well known characters in character. His writing of Dark Willow was particularly dreadful.)
series is looking better than I expected - the interactions between Willow and Marrack in #2 were pretty funny, I like seeing Aluwyn back since, like her or not, she has an interesting dynamic with Willow, and it certainly helps that Willow is really doing something related to the big plot of the season in her issue - even though I'm still annoyed and bored with the fact that they're making "bringing back magic" the big goal/theme of the season, without having actually established why it's so necessary to bring it back. (They may think they have, but it really hasn't been convincing to most of the readers, I believe.)
Now, I'm still waiting for the Buffy
title to pick up and stop being so dull, shallow and lackluster.... and I'll say this, the latest issue was, for a change, not dull, something finally seems to be happening, and it's good to see Dawn and Xander back. I'd be excited for the arrival of you-know-who, if this hadn't been spoiled for months now. But the writing is still shallow and lackluster. The zompires are really poor villains with constantly changeable strength and don't seem nearly as threatening as we are supposed to think, Billy's ability to kill them en masse makes him a ridiculous Gary Stu (or makes the zompires look even more pathetic, if a skinny ordinary teenager with no training can kill so many of them without sweating), and are they really trying to set up a Buffy/Dowling romance (the dullest and most predictable plot point this season) while having almost all of the development in their relationship happen off-screen? It seems that they just think that Buffy + Generic Normal Human Dude who can slay things = Obvious Relationship, without having to bother to actually set up any dynamic. Which just shows that it's probably not meant to be a serious romance, but it is just really unexciting and shallow writing. I also don't believe that we're really meant to buy that Buffy has really found a new Scooby-Gang with Billy and Dowling (where's Cute Devon, anyway?), or if we are, they are really not selling it well.
I'm guessing that the new super-strong zomp is a zompified Slayer. They must have realized how pathetic zompires are so they are now adding a Super-Zomp to spice things up.