Reading order and guide to Buffy and Angel comics – including availability of Buffy library editions
I have often heard from fans who would like get into the Buffy and Angel comics but don’t know where to start. Because there are many editions and volumes out there, it can be confusing. Here is a quick guide to help you out, and without any major spoilers. My focus here is on the season arcs which followed the TV show. I’ve included availability of Buffy library editions, which can be an economic way to build up your comics collection. Please note this article has been updated in April 2018 to include the latest additions to the story arcs.This post may contain compensated links. Read my disclaimer here
Continuing the epic Buffy story with a comic collection that slays
It’s always sad when a TV show that you love comes to an end. Although the TV finale was amazing, if only the Buffyverse story could continue in some way, fans could be even happier. The shows ended in 2003 and 2004 and there were rumours of spin-off shows featuring Buffy’s watcher Giles, or Faith the Vampire Slayer. Sadly, neither came about.
The news that the story would continue in comic book form was both welcome and a little daunting for me. I was excited but not sure if the comic form could do the characters justice. Though I had enjoyed some of the earlier Buffy comic books and Fray – a story of a future slayer which expanded the Buffyverse – I had not been an avid comic reader and it took me some time to get used to the style.
If the Buffyverse was only going to continue in comic book form, I was definitely going to have to commit more fully to the medium. I have not regretted that and as Seasons 8, 9, 10 and recently 11 have hit the shelves I have read them avidly. The initial Buffy Season 8 story arc took incredibly long for the plot to unfold. It was told over 4 years between 2007 and 2011. By the time it got to the end I had forgotten how it started and had to re-read from the beginning! The story line also didn’t seem quite consistent with the Angel comics that were being published separately. Things have improved hugely since then and the comics are now more accessible and faster paced.
If you are new to the comics, or are confused about the reading order, here is my guide.
Look out for links below to availability of collections. Where possible I have linked to editions which are some of the most economic options to own the comic arcs, for example volumes or library editions. Options also include used copies.
Angel: After the Fall and more from IDW
Set before the events of the Buffy Season 8 comics; Angel: After the Fall was published by IDW from 2007. A 17 part series dealt with what happened to Angel and his friends directly after the final episode of the TV series, Not Fade Away. Angel had taken on the Senior Partners at Wolfram and Hart and as a result LA was sent to hell. After the Fall was co-written by Joss Whedon and Brian Lynch.
IDW continued to publish further Angel comics up to 2011, highlights included Drusilla focused episodes written by Juliet Landau. There is a detailed breakdown of the episodes and collections here. I am indebted to the Buffyverse Wiki for reminding me of the many complicated plot twists. There are many rewarding moments, but basically, good luck getting through this lot. Depending on how dedicated you are, you may want to skip these and go directly to Buffy Season 8. For those who are concerned with canon, only the 17 After the Fall episodes (contained in volumes 1-4) are definitely considered to be canon.
However, a real highlight of IDW’s Angel run was the special short book, Lorne in memory of Andy Hallett. This brought closure to the story of the much-loved green empath demon played by Hallett.
Click on the buttons for availability, editions and prices of Angel: After the Fall from:Amazon Abe Books
SEASON EIGHT: Buffy
It was soooo exciting to get the first comic in Season 8 of Buffy. The story was continuing. The story was continuing! As perfect as the final episode Chosen was, to get more Buffy in any form was something to sing about.
Published by Dark Horse Comics, the story begins with Buffy leading squadrons of slayers in the ongoing fight against evil. One of the great things about Chosen was it hinted that Buffy would get to have a break now that lots of new slayers had been activated by Willow’s spell. Unfortunately for her, she still had a lot of work to do. The season saw the slayers in tension with the military and the appearance of an ominous villain named Twilight. (Note: Nothing to do with the novels by Stephanie Meyer!) Enjoyable aspects of the comics included the return of several recurring characters from the TV show and new relationships for the lead characters. And oh, Dawn was a giant.
Despite being complex and long-winded, Season 8 was an exciting ride, with episodes written by Joss Whedon and many other established Buffy writers including Jane Epenson, Steven S. Deknight and Drew Goddard. Highlights include several Faith centred stories and episodes featuring Fray and Dracula. Eventually Twilight’s identity was revealed. The season drew to a close in 2011 after 40 issues which can be found in 8 collections or books:
- The Long Way Home
- No Future For You
- Wolves at the Gate
- Time of Your Life
- Predators and Prey
- Twilight and
- Last Gleaming
Season 8 Buffy library editions
Library editions of Season 8 compile the whole season into four volumes, and are a good economic option to get hold of the season.
Click on the buttons for availability, editions and prices of Buffy Season 8 from:Forbidden Planet Waterstones Amazon Abe Books
SEASON NINE: Buffy & Angel and Faith
Following Season 8’s finish and the end of Angel’s run with IDW, Angel and Buffy’s arcs were brought back together with Dark Horse producing both Buffy and Angel & Faith comics. This led to much more coherence. Both the Buffy and Angel and Faith comics now went under the heading of Season 9; their story arcs were connected and their events take place at the same time. The Angel and Faith comics worked well, building on the dynamics between the two characters at a difficult time for Angel. Angel and Faith were relocated to London. Readers in the UK may appreciate the realistic minor details relating to life here. The season saw the return of an old favourite character, Whistler who was last seen in Buffy season 2.
Buffy Season 9 began with Buffy having relocated to San Francisco, living in a world without magic. She was seemingly dealing with a series of more down to earth crises than in the previous season. However things were not as they seemed and the supernatural world soon came back into play in Buffy and her friends lives. Buffy Season 9 consisted of 25 issues which were later released as the following collections.
- On Your Own
- Welcome to the Team and
- The Core
The whole of Buffy Season 9 was also published as a 3 part library edition.
Click on the buttons to check availability, editions and prices of Buffy Season 9 library editions from:Waterstones Amazon Abe Books
Running alongside Buffy, the Angel and Faith Season 9, also contained 25 issues. It was published in the following collections and also in a 3 part library edition.
- Live Through This
- Daddy Issues
- Family Reunion
- Death and Consequences and
- What you want, Not what you need
Check availability of Angel and Faith Season 9 library editions at:Forbidden Planet Waterstones Amazon Abe Books
SEASON TEN: Buffy & Angel and Faith
Buffy Season 10 again ran alongside Angel and Faith Season 10. Buffy oversaw the return of magic to the world and shared the duty of establishing new rules for a changing supernatural world with old enemies. Angel was looking after an area and community of London which events of Season 9 had left forever changed by magic. Both series’ saw the return of familiar and much missed characters. A highlight of the series included Faith and Fred working under cover in a school.
Buffy Season 10 ran for 30 issues, and was collected into 6 books:
- New Rules
- I Wish
- Love Dares You
- Old Demons
- In Pieces on the Ground and
- Own It
The first two volumes of Buffy Season 10‘s library editions are scheduled for publication in July and November 2018 with the third volumes publishing date to be confirmed.
Check prices for pre-orders at:Forbidden Planet Amazon Waterstones
If you cannot wait, check availability and prices of the six Buffy Season 10 volumes from:Amazon Abe Books
Angel and Faith Season 10 ran for 25 issues, and was collected into 5 books:
- Where the River Meets the Sea
- Lost and Found
- A Little More than Kin and
- A Tale of Two Families
At the time of writing there is no release date for library editions of Angel and Faith Season 10.
Check here for prices and availability of Angel and Faith Season 10 volumes from:Forbidden Planet Waterstones Amazon Abe Books
SEASON ELEVEN: Buffy & Angel
From Season 11 there has simply been a Buffy title and an Angel title; Faith’s narrative having been separated from Angel’s. Buffy’s story gained a political edge, with the internment of all magical beings including Buffy, Spike and Willow. Buffy made a choice which was reminiscent of Season 3’s Helpless, leaving her physically vulnerable. Meanwhile Angel and Fred/Illyria were travelling through time and coming up against their former selves.
Buffy and Angel Season Eleven contained twelve issues each and have been released as volume collections.
The seasons story arcs were:
- The Spread of Their Evil
- One Girl in all the World
- Out of the Past
- Time and Tide
- Dark Reflections
Season 11 also contains a four episode mini series Giles “Girl Blue“, written by Joss Whedon and featuring the watcher going back to school. This will be available as a volume from July 2018.
Check prices and availability for the two volumes of Buffy Season 11 from:Forbidden Planet Waterstones Amazon Abe Books
Check prices and availability for the three volumes of Angel Season 11 from:Forbidden Planet Waterstones Amazon Abe Books
And check here for the latest episodes and cover variants of Giles: Girl Blue or to pre-order its volume release from:Forbidden Planet Waterstones Amazon
If you are new to comics and a fan of the Buffyverse, give the comics a chance and they are sure to grow on you…
Motion comic DVD
If you are not yet fully convinced; try watching the Buffy Season 8 Motion Comic DVD as an introduction to Buffy’s continuing narrative. Unfortunately it only goes as far as the first 19 episodes of Buffy Season 8 and no further Buffy Motion Comics were released.
Click here for prices and availability of the motion comic.
Let us know your thoughts on the Buffy and Angel comics in the comments below.
If you love graphic novels why not check out our Marvel books and gifts guide here.
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