Why ‘Old Woman Buffy’ the Vampire Slayer’s Final Victory Sucks

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WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Buffy the Last Vampire Slayer #1, available now from Boom! Studios.

Although Buffy Summers is destined to protect humanity from all malevolent supernatural forces, most of her career as a Slayer has been dedicated to battling vampires. The Buffyverse may be home to demons, werewolves, and many other nightmarish monsters, but the nigh-infinite vampire hordes have always been the most prevalent of the young hero’s many foes, and the constant threat that they pose to the world has kept Buffy and every other Slayer from living a normal life.

Buffy the Last Vampire Slayer #1 (by Casey Gilly, Joe Jaro, Joana Lafuente, and Ed Dukeshire) has revealed what the world might look like in the future if humans and vampires found a way to coexist, and unfortunately, it’s no utopia. Despite the existence of a treaty that prevents the living and the dead from killing one another, vampires have found a way to twist the system to their advantage, creating a culture of privilege and predation that an aged and embittered Buffy is powerless to stop.

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In the alternate future of Buffy the Last Vampire Slayer, a magical apocalypse has severely damaged the sun, casting the Earth in a perpetual twilight that allows vampires to be out in the open at all times. Rather than hunt each other into extinction, humans and vampires settled into an uneasy truce. Although vampires are no longer allowed to feed off of humans without their consent, Slayers are no longer allowed to kill vampires unless they’ve broken their end of the treaty. Through this law, the purpose that Buffy and other Slayers filled as the protectors of humanity has been rendered obsolete, seemingly giving an older Buffy a chance to live out the rest of her days in peace.

However, vampires have found a way to prey off of unsuspecting humans without breaking the treaty. In place of randomly hunting down unsuspecting victims, vampires have created a system where willing human “donors” are paid to allow vampires to drink their blood. Although this system prevents vampires from feeding off of unwilling humans, it also allows vampires to indirectly manipulate humans into their “employ” by offering to pay their bills or tempting them with the promise that they’ll be transformed into vampires themselves. Through this, vampires are allowed to exert an unhealthy amount of control over their donors while hiding behind a mask of generosity that blinds most of society to their less-than-ethical enterprise.

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As if that wasn’t bad enough, some vampires don’t even bother formally arranging an agreement with their would-be donors, forcefully drinking from humans who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, as shown near the end of the issue with a vampire and the potential-slayer Thessaly. When confronted by Buffy, the vampire attempts to justify his actions by claiming that Thessaly had unofficially consented to be fed on by simply standing near him, and the confidence with which he says this implies that this kind of thing happens quite often. Despite its good intentions, the treaty has created a culture of privilege that allows vampires to indulge their predatory natures without suffering any form of consequence while rendering the average human powerless to defend themselves. The Buffy series has always explored themes regarding the uneven power dynamics that govern many areas of modern society, and Buffy the Last Vampire Slayer is no exception.

Despite forming a strong surrogate family in the form of the Scooby Gang, Buffy has experienced many tragedies that were directly tied to her duties as the Slayer, and there has always been a part of her that’s resented the role that fate has forced her to play. In many ways, the world of Buffy the Last Vampire Slayer is everything that the slayer could have ever asked for, as the peace between humanity and vampires means that she no longer has to risk her life to protect humanity. Unfortunately, Buffy’s “victory” has not only come at the cost of humanity’s freedom but it’s also left the once-rebellious warrior without a cause to defend.

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