The 11 Most Memorable Moments from "Buffy" Season 8

The final trade paperback from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Season 8 will be released on Wednesday, so now seemed as good a time as any to take a look back at the moments that defined Season 8. While I didn't review every issue, I obviously read all of them, and took the time this week to flip through them one last time to put together this list of what I think are the most memorable moments from the 40-issue run.

Now, I'm aware that there's a considerable portion of the "Buffy" fan base that likes to pretend these comics didn't exist because they disagree with certain decisions made in the storytelling, and those people probably aren't going to like my list either. But they happened, they're part of "Buffy" canon, and I think with time, we'll come to love them (well, SOME of them) as much as we love the great moments from the TV series.

Rather than try and rank them, I've presented them in chronological order, with a link to my review of the issue when available.

Oh, and obviously spoilers within for those who haven't read the entire run.

1. Buffy jumps out of a helicopter - Issue #1, Pages 2-3

This was the first image from the series, not counting the 1/3 page that came before it, and it definitely set the tone that this was going to be a different kind of "Buffy". I remember when this was released before the issue, and Buffy fans started freaking out because Buffy was jumping out of a helicopter and holding a gun. Some fans are still freaking out about that -- and various other things in Season 8 -- to this day.

2. "Buffy" dies - Issue #5, Page 22

Really it's the whole issue, in which we meet one of Buffy's decoys, and get the story of "her" life and death, without ever learning who she is. But the last splash page, with her dead body against the blank white background, is just visually striking.

3. Faith kills Genevieve - Issue #9, Pages 12-13
Faith is truly a great character, because of her darkness and how she's confronted the mistakes she's made. The way she reacts to killing rogue slayer Genevieve really shows how much she's grown. It's clear she wanted to stop Genevieve, but also help her reform. Plus, Georges Jeanty's art on these two pages is awesome.

4. Buffy's first confrontation with Twilight - Issue #11, Page 14
This fight stretches over a few pages, but it's this panel that really takes on so much more meaning now that we know who Twilight is. And as I wrote in my original review, the entire scene has a vibe that pulls from some of the great "Buffy" villains of the past.

5. Buffy sleeps with Satsu - Issue #12, Page 4
This was the first real controversial moment of the season that broke beyond fandom to the mainstream. And in the end, the Satsu story didn't really go anywhere. But at the time, it was a pretty big deal.

6. Buffy kills Willow - Issue #19, Page 22
Going back and piecing things together from Season 8 now that everything has played out is interesting, and the "Time of Your Life" arc is really the pinnacle of that. It's the future consequence of Buffy's actions in Issue #39, and shows just how fractured things are going to be between Buffy and Willow in Season 9.

7. Buffy the Animated Series finally comes to life - Issue #20, Page 5
"Buffy the Animated Series" was killed before it ever got a chance to see the air, but the art style and storytelling found a rebirth as a one-shot issue of Buffy Season 8. Just seeing Buffy wake up back in high school and in animated form was so much fun, even if this issue didn't really do anything to advance the story of the season.

8. Buffy flies - Issue #30, Page 22
Depending on your point of view, this is where Season 8 either got really interesting or went off the rails completely. I happen to be in the former group, but whichever group you're in, you have to admit that seeing Buffy floating in mid-air was memorable.

9. Angel is Twilight - Issue #33, Page 14
Looking back, it really sucks that this moment was spoiled almost two months in advance (thanks to an accidental cover release for Issue #34), because the way it happens in the issue is amazing. And while there were definitely hints of Twilight being Angel prior to Issue 33, it still came as something of a surprise when it happened.

10. "The Porn Issue" - Issue #34
Just the whole issue really. So. Much. Fucking.

11. Twilight/Angel kills Giles - Issue #39, Page 16
In a season of shocking moments, this one easily took the crown. I knew there was no way we were getting through an entire season of "Buffy", even in comic form, without a major character dying, I just never guess it'd be one of the core four. And to do it EXACTLY the same way as he did to Jenny Calendar, well, that was just cruel.

As you've probably noticed, the moments are pretty condensed to the beginning and end of the season. Five come in the first 12 issues, and four more come in the last 11. I think that goes to show that the complaint about Season 8 being too long -- 40 issues stretched out over nearly four years -- was a valid one. Of course, Dark Horse has already listened, saying Season 9 will be just 25 issues.