Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Buffy - Season Nine!

Whenever I get the opportunity to write about Buffy The Vampire Slayer I know I’m having a good day. As is no secret around these parts I am a huge fan of all things “BTVS” . If they could just integrate her into DC Universe Online I might never be heard from again! Well I have to admit that things have been quiet on the Buffy front for some time. The “Season 8” run of comics was entertaining but, with it’s emphasis on space ships, super powers and time travel, it just wasn’t …Buffy.

What sets BTVS apart from the likes of twilight, Vampire Diaries, True Blood is that it is NOT Gossip Girls with monsters. Buffy has always been about the arc of a young woman’s life. We started out meeting Buffy as a 16 year old high school student just coming to terms with her mission as THE Slayer while trying desperately to have a normal life with friends and relationships. During the course of the TV series we watcher grow into her early 20’s and become a powerful leader. Along the way she gained and lost things that had a lasting impact on her life.

The most wrenching loss was her mother’s death. On a show, in a genre, where death is hardly a permanent state of affairs we were slapped in the face with just how final death really is. Joyce Summers did not die from a Vampire attack or being eaten by a demon. She died from a brain aneurism. Here one moment, gone the next. She left Buffy, barely out of childhood herself, to raise her sister while still having to live up to her everyday responsibilities for saving the world. Except for the saving the world part, this is an all too common state of affairs in the real world.
This is Buffy at it’s best. An allegory for real life.

I am happy to report that Buffy has returned to her roots in “Season 9”, issue #6

Buffy is pregnant.

Buffy has decided to have an abortion.

These are serious issues in the real world and, Vampires notwithstanding, this conflict drives the narrative and will throughout “Season 9”. In issue #6 Buffy faces the fact of her pregnancy and seeks out the advice of her friends on what to do. A part of her very much wants to have this child. But how will being the child of The Slayer even work? Of course she asks the son of an actual Slayer, Robin (Principal) Woods, whose mom was Nikki Woods, a Slayer killed by Spike in New York in the late 70’s. He believes that Buffy would make a great parent despite the fact of her calling. He believes that, while HIS mother ultimately failed as a parent, Buffy will succeed. So we hear that side of the argument.

However, like many young women in the same situation, Buffy just is not ready to be a parent. So she decides to have an abortion and goes to Spike for support. Being her friend and sometimes paramour, Spike agrees to be there for her. Complicated? Yup. Not very vampire oriented.

THAT is what makes this a relevant character and universe. Like Star Trek, Buffy is less about the villain of the week than it is about ideas and people. It’s about making choices when there are NO right answers. I the original Star trek episode “A Private Little War” Kirk makes the morally ambiguous decision to arm a peaceful group of “hill people” because the Klingons have armed the “towns people” who are threatening to wipe out the entire civilization. Kirk plays a balance of power game that preserves both sides. It is the same moral dilemma that the United States was facing at the time in Viet Nam.

There was no right answer for Kirk.

There is no right answer for Buffy.

That makes great drama and compelling storytelling.

Welcome back Buffy. I missed you.

That’s 30!


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