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Herc’s Seen Episode 8.4 Of

I am – Hercules!!
I’ve been a bad bad Hercules. Issue four of Dark Horse’s new “Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season Eight” series has been on the stands since Wednesday, but all sorts of last-minute stuff – mounting piles of pilots and Galactica and Jericho and Veronica – kept me out of the comic-book stores until a few hours ago. But I’ve now read and digested the wonderful “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” 8.4, which successfully concludes writer/mastermind Joss Whedon’s excellent initial “season-eight” arc.
Here’s what doesn’t happen in 8.4: * Dawn Summers, 60 feet tall since season’s start, doesn’t shrink. Not an inch. * We don't meet a thricewise. * We don’t definitively learn which true love woke Buffy with a big wet one. * We don’t learn where Rupert Giles is. * Andrew Wells is not glimpsed, nor is he reunited with skinless fellow nerd of doom Warren Meers. * A familiar character is not introduced on the final page.
Here’s what does happen: * Dawn beats up an entire castle. * We meet some of Willow Rosenberg’s newer friends. * We get another hint of what happened with Kennedy. * Xander Harris has a line on page 10 that to my ears sounds suspiciously like, “Winifred Burkle. Go.” * The action moves to two miles south of Sunnydale and doesn’t move back. * Another face from season one returns. * There’s a couple of payoffs to that Ethan Rayne business. * We learn who this season’s symbol-happy big bad is. (Highlight invisotext for more specificity.) It’s us!!
Whedon writes one more issue – focusing on the Italy-based Buffy-double introduced in the antepenultimate episode of “Angel” – before handing the season off to other writers for a while. Freshman “Lost” staffer Brian K. Vaughn writes issue six, which deals with what Faith the Vampire Slayer has been up to. Herc’s rating for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” 8.4? ***** In comic-book shops now.

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