FROM THE PUBLISHER
While Buffy is undertaking an away mission with Spike and Andrew, the SFPD is starting to really feel the effect of the rapid zompire population growth . . . With Buffy out of town, as the only Scoobies in the vicinity, Xander and Dawn have been approached for guidance. Buffy needs to get herself back together and home to SF quick, but facing Slayer Simone and her unexpected ally is going to make it a rough job!
BuffyBot is tied up, having been kidnapped by BuffyBody, who has been brainwashed by Simone (which BuffyBot figures out thanks to both the attitude and the magenta streaks in BuffyBody's hair). Spike and Andrew and the Bugs track down BuffyBody and Simone, and, shockingly, there's a big fight. BuffyBot re-breaks off her right arm to break free from the ropes keeping her tied up, and battles BuffyBody. BuffyBot eventually subdues BuffyBody (no thanks to Andrew) and Simone escapes, headed off to San Francisco for some mysterious master plan.
BuffyBot and Spike have another of their big deep conversations, which ends with Spike flying off in the BugShip. BuffyBot considers letting BuffyBody go back to her "perfect" life, but BuffyBody admits that she knew, deep down, that it wasn't real. Andrew transfers Buffy's mind back into her body, and she goes off to live her life, and eventually earn the "perfect" life that was given to BuffyBody. Step 1: quitting her job at the coffee shop.
Oh, and while that's all going on, there's a B-plot with Dowling and the aftermath of the zompire attack, ending with an ominous mid-sentence cliffhanger in a conversation with him and his captain, and something about The Slayer.
Aside from the Buffy-Spike convo (a plot device which is starting to resemble Buffy's speechifying from Season 7, both in frequency and mood killing), I really enjoyed this issue. It was fast-paced, fun, action-packed and started to move things along in Season 9. The art was solid, as expected, though there weren't really any panels or pages that blew me away. I also though the magenta in BuffyBody's hair was a little too subtle at times.
This issue also wraps up the three-issue "Apart (of me)" arc, and while the whole BuffyBot/BuffyBody detour seemed a bit unnecessary, the arc itself wasn't bad. Now things can get back to where they were at the beginning of the season, hopefully.
Looking back, one of the things that hurt Season 8 was how little the primary villain was involved early on, and that's also been the case so far in Season 9. But this arc got things moving with Simone (I'm assuming she's the primary villain, since she was set up that way in both Season 8 #40 and Season 9 #1), and the cliffhanger with her seemed intriguing.
I know Spike leaving will be a big disappointment for a lot of fans, but he needed to get out of the way for awhile for things to move forward. The series was in danger of getting bogged down in the weird dynamic between Buffy and Spike, in which Spike wants to give Buffy a normal life, but Buffy sees Spike as the embodiment of what's not normal about her life. I look forward to seeing more interaction between Buffy, Xander and Dawn going forward.