The Season 9 premiere arc, Freefall, works a lot like the Dracula episode at the beginning of Seaseon 5 on TV: it's fun, but only gives us small hints as to what the focus of the season will be.
I hated Season 8. It felt like some evil demon had come into the world and decided to destroy Buffy (the show) and everything it stood for. They got carried away with doing fanciful things that would never happen on the show due to budget concerns, and the plot was absolutely ludicrous. The end of season 8 provided an interesting set-up for a new season, so here we are.
Enough about season 8. This is a review for Season 9. The world's lack of magic has done a few things to Buffy and co.: it's brought Buffy back to square one, patrolling for vampires solo instead of with an army of super-slayer girls. (She's also forced to read the Vampyr book given to her in Season 1, now that Giles isn't around to do her reading for her.) It's forced poor demons into menial labor jobs. And it's caused Willow to get a TERRIBLE haircut. Man, it's awful. Predictably, they decide that they need to restore magic to the world, and Willow's the one to do it. Let's hope she doesn't turn evil again along the way. Before they get to that point, there is one humorous plot twist, an interesting character that doesn't last long enough, and a big reveal who I'm not sure if she's a new character or someone I'm supposed to recognize but don't because of the transition from live action to artwork.
The art is good. Freefall looks better than the follow-up story "Slayer, Interrupted," which is kind of rough, but you can still recognize who's who. I'm not a comic-book person, just a Buffy fan. What this volume is really about is that Buffy is without her support network. Willow's mad at her, Dawn & Xander are wrapped up in their (icky) relationship. So, it's time for Buffy (the character) to grow up, and become independent. I hope this journey stays somewhat grounded in reality and doesn't become completely absurd along the way.