Written by Joss WhedonPencils by Georges JeantyPublished by Dark Horse Comics$2.99In stores now! After the earth shattering events of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8, which left the world cut off from magic and Giles dead at the hands of a Twilight-possessed Angel, Buffy returns to comics with Season 9, as she attempts to pick up the pieces and get on with her life. Considering the set-up, you'd be forgiven for expecting this book to not be very shiny happy and full of Joss Whedon's trademark humour. Thankfully, this couldn't be further from the truth, as Whedon delivers a script that is both witty and fun yet, like the best episodes, full of emotional subtext. A big criticism of Season 8 was that it failed to be about anything deeper, yet already Season 9 seems eager to rectify that problem. If the first few seasons of Buffy were about the painful trials and tribulations of adolescence (in particular the traumatic experience that is high school and first love) then this new season seems to want to explore the various crises that those in their mid-twenties face, as the dreams of youth come clashing with the realities of adulthood. I've got to say, as someone in their mid-twenties, this is a much more attractive set-up then the simple 'Buffy fights evil army' that dominated the last run of stories. As a first issue it's very effective, neatly setting up the new status quo and at the same time sowing the seeds for the rest of the series. We catch up with all the main players, as well as getting to meet a few new ones, and we even get a glimpse of the (possible) Big Bad to come. Compared to some other books this week (I'm looking at you Ultimate Comics Spider-Man), you more than get your money's worth. However, not everything with this issue is a slam dunk win. Georges Jeanty, who is usually top notch with his pencils, displays a few too many inconsistencies with the various characters, to the point that I stopped to check that a character was who I thought it was on more than one occasion. This is odd, considering how stellar some of his work in the past has been, and I truly hope this doesn't continue as it's something that could really derail the project. Also, the fact that Joss will soon be sharing writing duties with Andrew Chambliss (a TV writer who is yet to really prove himself with comics) worries me as, to put it bluntly, no one writes Buffy quite like Joss. Let's hope that Joss' 'Executive Producer' credit isn't just a meaningless title which Dark Horse have given him in order to attract the fans. As long as Whedon is steering this ship, I'll be excited by it's direction.