?

Log in

No account? Create an account
StephenT [userpic]

(Review) BtVS 8.34 'Twilight' Part 3

9th April 2010 (23:30)

So that was it then? The massively controversial, tidal-wave-of-drama inducing, shark-jumping, oh no the world is ending and fandom is imploding issue of the comic?

Meh. Unless you're among those likely to burst into flame and turn to dust if exposed to Bangel sex, I can't really see what the fuss was about. We learned some new things, had a few more questions answered, had some left unanswered, and finished on a cliffhanger again. And, oh yeah, we appear to have a slight apocalypse...
 

...And things are looking bad because Buffy isn't around to stop it this time, seeing as how she's the one causing it. With a little help from her friend. Oops.

On a nerdy note, I wonder if the subtitle of this issue, which is written as "Them F#©%ing (Plus the True History of the Universe)" should have the second word pronounced as 'fucking' or 'eff-hash-copyright-percentaging'. What do you think?

The opening page shows us an odd pattern which looks rather like a Rorschach inkblot (although it's not one of the official ones). The point of the Rorschach test, of course, is to present people with a random image and see what they perceive it to be... this one could be a human face, or a distorted map of the world, or just about anything, really. I'm guessing it's here to show us that perception and reality are not the same; that depending on where you're standing or who you are, the same object can be perceived as something totally different. That, of course, is a theme that will carry right through this issue as we get the voice-over about how wonderful reunion sex is compared to the reality back at Twilight HQ. I assume the voice-over is Buffy, but that's for no other reason than because she's the main protagonist. It could equally be Angel talking.

When the preview pages came out, there was some debate on why the pool of blood behind Faith's head seems to vanish in the next panel. I think it's because in the first, we're looking almost directly down on her; in the second picture, the camera has dropped down to a much lower angle, and so her body is hiding the blood from us. The broken floortile behind her head shows at a different angle too. Incidentally, in my last review I missed something which came out in later discussions of the issue: Faith at this stage is still depowered, a normal human rather than a Slayer. That would explain why she was so badly injured by a blow that a Slayer would have shrugged off. To be honest, I half-suspected she might die here; in the end, that turned out not to happen.

This scene is staged as a series of disconnected incidents rather than a continuous timeflow; you can tell because of the way people are in radically different places in each panel - for example Willow and Dawn looking out the hole in the wall in one, then later Dawn is next to Xander and Willow is over by Giles. That keeps things moving along and lets us skip over all the inevitable-yet-boring exposition. Presumably, for example, Andrew would want to know why Warren and Amy are accompanying the good guys, but since we the readers already know that, we don't need to see the explanation again.

Warren is mad at Andrew for playing with 'his' Captain America shield, which is pretty much a throwback to their Season 6 Nerd Trio interaction, with the interesting exception that Andrew now stands up to Warren instead of backing down. There is one interesting point: either they discussed making the shield three years ago when they were still allies, or Andrew knew what Warren was up to more recently - which would make him the mole. Oh, and for the record Joe Simon is the comic book writer who created the character of Captain America back in 1940. He's still alive, 96 years old.

I laughed out loud at Dawn capping Willow and Xander's astounded "Twilight is Angel?" exclamations by muttering to herself "Ben is Glory?" Nice call-back. Strictly speaking, of course, Dawn wasn't there to witness that scene originally - she'd already been kidnapped by Glory - but I bet Spike would take great pleasure afterwards in telling her all about what idiots the rest of her friends were. And apparently Amy didn't now Twilight was Angel either, and is pretending to understand what's going on so as not to be left out - or is she mocking the others?

I interpret the byplay between Willow and Giles here as being: he knows about the ancient mystical prophecy of doom; she doesn't, but she can sense that powerful magics are at work here. Oh sorry, magicks with a 'k'. I thought it was very in-character for Xander to be all emotional and impulsive and want to rush to help Buffy - since he still assumes they're fighting at this point - and to say "screw magic" and then immediately tell Willow to "do a spell"... Make your mind up, Xan. :-)

Buffy in Willow's magical glowy vision spell looks young, and she and Angel are both fully dressed; I'm not sure if this is showing them as they were at that moment, or a flashback to when they first fell in love back in Season 1.

Now we get the first of around four interludes of Buffy and Angel having sex - or foreplay, rather, in this case - interspersed through this issue. I can see what Georges Jeanty meant in his jokey comment about drawing "body parts" for this issue: to get round the whole censorship problem, the scene contains lots of close-ups of the bits of their bodies you're allowed to depict in US mainstream comics. :-) While it's very obvious what's going on in the pictures, nothing we're actually shown (as opposed to being allowed to assume what's going on just out-of-shot) is any more explicit than the various sex scenes on the TV show.

There's not a lot to say about the first scene in relation to the plot. We can speculate on why they talked about Angel's coat: did he think she'd want him to wear it, as a kink thing? Did she tell him to get rid of it because it reminded her of another vampire with a long black swirly coat? Also, for the record: yes, the two of them are still surrounded by a faint white glow; and neither appear to be under any form of external control.

We go back to Twilight HQ, and a kind of shimmery quivering energy passes through them making everybody there - Giles, Faith, Andrew, Satsu and Dawn, specifically - seem to vibrate. It's pretty clearly implied that it's Buffy and Angel's foreplay that did that to them. And the energy instantly heals Faith, and gives her back her Slayer strength. Not to mention her bolshieness - she immediately confronts Giles on what he knows and why he was keeping quiet about it. In the next panel, Faith looks furious, Xander and Dawn pissed off, and Willow upset that Giles has been keeping secrets from them.

And so Giles begins to talk - with a nice ominous introduction that the last time this started to happen, 30 Watchers killed themselves from fear. Apparently they all drank poison while sitting around the council table in their HQ, which looks like a European stately home; I don't know enough about architecture in the 1680s to say if it's authentically contemporary.

I smiled at Dawn correcting Xander's "centaurs" to "centaurettes". Considering that a few issues ago she was correcting Buffy's "horse" to "centaur", I suspect she's just being contrary for the fun of it now.

Back to Buffy and Angel bonking. Now they're discovering that being able to levitate makes oral sex much more fun. (Willow and Tara could already tell them that, I'm sure.) As Buffy reaches orgasm, we cut back to the HQ to see another of those quivery energy waves surrounding the people there.

That's a damned impressive 'radar set' Satsu is holding if it can pick up TV-style pictures of Buffy and Angel... Still, her angry reaction and stalking off in disgust when she sees with her own eyes what her old flame is currently up to was a moving character moment. I also thought it was interesting that she picked Dawn to be "in charge" when she couldn't stand it any longer. does Satsu know Dawn well? They are, presumably, the same age, but we've never seen them interact much on the page. Was it just because Dawn was closest?  (And given that Satsu is Buffy's second-in-command and Buffy is out of action, does that mean that Satsu just put Dawn in charge of what's left of the entire Slayer Army? :-))

I wonder what it is about the Bangel sex that's "ruining everything" for Andrew? Could it be because he's a Spuffy shipper, as he told us back in 'Predators and Prey', and this is a gentle in-joke pointed at the fans? :-)

More Giles exposition. I like Xander getting impatient with him. so let's see what he says.

First we get a spiel about ecosystems, and how the number of predators and prey (there's that term again) has to stay in balance or disaster would result. The picture to illustrate this is a mosquito - an evil bloodsucking insect - being eaten by a vampire bat. That's quite disturbing, since it seems to put predator and prey at the same level; both of them are bloodsuckers. Are we meant to apply the same analogy to Slayers and vampires? Or humans and demons? That they're as bad as each other?

Giles now sums up the history of the Slayer line. On a selfish note, there was nothing here to Joss out of existence what I've written or sketched out for 'Hiywan's Story', as I'd half-feared there would be. :-) We see the First Slayer killing a vampire, then a 17th century Slayer fighting a vampire and being killed by him, fading to an 18th century Slayer being killed by another vampire in an identical pose, then a 1920s Slayer being called as a result. Note that the newly-called Slayer is surrounded by a familiar-looking white glow?

Both Willow and Xander now point out what, to be honest, has always been the big flaw in the whole Slayer mythology all along. What use is one solitary Slayer against a whole world full of vampires? The old assumption was that the Watchers' Council wanted it that way so they could keep the Slayer under their thumb. Giles, however, is now saying that "the universe" wants it that way. Vampires were created, and soon afterwards the first Slayer was created to be a predator upon them... but if the Slayer ever came close to wiping out all vampires forever it would (apparently) cause ecological catastrophe.

I think it's a slightly silly idea, myself, but okay, let's go with it and see where it takes us. I do notice that Giles is talking about "the universe " as if it's a conscious self-willed entity, which is also shifting the Buffyverse in a rather more theistic direction than it ever used to be, for all the talk of 'mystical forces' and 'powers'.

Meanwhile, volcanoes are erupting - no, honestly - the oceans are churning, and we're given visual proof that the "cataclysmic mythical event' that re-empowered Willow a few days earlier is linked to all this.

We now have a voice-over from Giles telling us that, as far as he's concerned, Buffy and Angel may well feel genuine love and affection for each other and be having a loving reunion after years apart, but yes, they're also "experiencing the pull of something far more ancient" which is driving their actions. So that answers that question from last month.

This is accompanied by a rather more sinister set of images. We see another sequence similar to the previous page, where a Slayer - an Indian one this time - attacks a vampire apparently successfully, but the vampire overpowers her and is about to bite her. And then we cut to Buffy and Angel still having sex - and they're standing in an identical position to the Slayer and vampire in the previous panel: Angel behind Buffy and pressing his mouth to her neck. That's kind of ominous...

At this point, our two young lovers burst a mountain apart with the heat of their passion - accompanied by a tornado, an earthquake, the sea boiling and for some reason, a tiger. Dawn's comment (and expression of disgust) is, as usual, very funny. We also see two hippopotami fighting followed by, once again, Buffy and Angel in an identical pose. They're really trying to tell us something here, aren't they? Buffy's expression is wild, and hungry, and pretty scary.

More exposition... and now we learn that the superpowers Buffy recently acquired are not an end in themselves. No. She - or rather, the entire world - is going to need them for protection once "the Earth gives birth to a new reality".

Which is actually kind of genuinely scary. Especially if it implies that only people with Superman-level powers will be able to survive in this new reality... have "the power to survive the Twilight." So Twilight isn't just Angel's secret identity... and cue "Oh of course, why didn't I think of that earlier!" moment - we're talking here about the Götterdammerung. Ragnarokr. The Twilight of the Gods. You know, the Apocalypse with a capital 'A'.

And Angel is playing a key role in it, just like the Shanshu prophecy said he would... :-)

Just as an interlude, here's something Buffy said way back in issue 8.11, written by Joss:

"Saving the world means keeping the status quo. But apocalypses come because the world is trying to change. It has to. That either means chaos, and the morons chaos inevitably employs... or it means moving forward. To something better. And I did that. Yay me."

So if I've got this right: the universe wants to change, to move forward to a new plane of existence. Normal humans won't be able to survive that, but the new generation of superhumans will. When she created the Slayers, Buffy unknowingly allowed the change to begin happening... and the universe 'rewarded' her for that by making her the protector of the new world, or possibly the first of its Gods.

I have to applaud Joss for one thing; he's finely nuanced the issue of making the Slayer empowerment spell still a good thing, even though it's obviously led to dangerous consequences on a mystical level as well as a merely human one. And General Voll's comments about "upsetting the balance" and "creating a new master race" from back in 8.04 look even more significant now as well.

I'm curious to know what happened back in the 1680s. Presumably an earlier Slayer seemed to be on the brink of passing to the next stage of existence. Did she try to empower more Slayers? Was there simply more than one Slayer at once, which caused an instability in the Slayer line? I suspect we'll have to make up our own fill-in fic about that.

So that's Giles' story. Willow works out herself what Angel's role in this is - as the first vampire to be in love with a Slayer, he's the penultimate of the vampire breeding programme just as Buffy is of the Slayer one (to get all Doc Smith about it.) The universe wants him and Buffy to get together - both of them humans empowered by vampires - to be "the first of a new kind". At which point, to quote Giles, "We humans won't matter at all."

Uh-oh.

Interesting that Willow is still considering herself to be among the humans, for all her power. She also realises that Buffy should be killing Angel right about now, if she wants to save the human race, but she can't because "the world" is urging her on. She's naturally horrified by the realisation.

Meanwhile we get yet another flashback to a Slayer attacking a vampire, but ending up dead at his hands in the next panel; and the Buffy/Angel sexfest goes into orbit, literally. Amy does something useful for once by working out that they're also now time-travelling, and we get a sequence of panels showing that. The panel of Buffy and Spike fighting side-by-side against a huge demon - in mirror-image poses - is labelled "Soon", which has interesting implications. (Oh, and Willow says that Buffy's "truest loves", plural, are vampires, along with a picture of both Angel and Spike.)

Three days ago Willow is re-empowered, just as Faith was re-empowered by her proximity to the Mystical Destiny Sex. And in the 23rd Century, something scary just happened to Melaka Fray. She's holding her Scythe, which was broken in the last issue of 'Time Of Your Life' - so either the MDS just repaired the Scythe, or this scene is set before 'Time Of Your Life'. I suspect the former, since Angel and Buffy are apparently re-empowering everybody who's ever lost her power during this season.

And what was Giles searching for, in Germany and England? A totem powerful enough to kill a god, to stop Twilight from arriving. Just in case. Presumably, he's talking about having to kill Buffy if she ever showed signed of turning into a god... but now it's too late. That does explain a lot about his actions, and his secretiveness and estrangement from Buffy, if he had that on his conscience.

When Giles says "I needed to know how to kill a god" we're shown an image of the Scythe. Very interesting. I do wonder if the Scythe is actually the totem he was looking for, or if we're being shown it to tell us that the Scythe is *also* powerful enough to kill a God, even if Giles's mysterious totem can't be found. But where exactly is the Scythe? We haven't seen it for a very long time - not since issue 8.20, in fact. Has someone stolen it? Has *Giles* stolen it, and used some sort of spell to make Buffy not notice it's gone? It's a puzzle.

Remember, incidentally, that we learned in 'End Of Days' that the Scythe was first used to kill the last True Demon to walk the Earth, on the site of what would become the Sunnydale Hellmouth. (And in my private fanon it was the First Slayer who was wielding it, and that's where she died, and it's why her spirit was still hanging around the Hellmouth thousands of years later.)

Well, when we say "last true demon to walk the Earth", that should probably be "until now". Because it looks like the portals are opening and all the demons banished from Earth back at the dawn of humanity are on their way back again.

And where are Buffy and Angel? Apparently in a place called Twilight, which seems to be a parallel dimension. Angel thought it was a myth, but when he and Buffy "pierced the final wall" (which may or may not be a sexual innuendo) they found themselves there. Angel looks scarily cheerful... actually, Angel always looks scary when he's smiling. Buffy's bewildered. They appear to be dressed as Greek gods, or like the Oracles in 'Angel' Season 1.

So what happens next? Are Angel and Buffy the new Adam and Eve, in their Garden of Eden, ready to begin work on breeding a new race of superhumans while demons wipe out the old, outmoded humanity? I suppose we'll have to wait until next month to find out...


A final word. Does this issue contain a certain degree of silliness? Well, does it have two characters having sparkly sex in outer space? Why yes, yes it does. I think it's safe to say it's being silly, and we can expect a Brigadier to come along any moment and tell us to stop it. But here's the thing. Did Season 1 of 'Buffy' have a schoolteacher who turned into a giant preying mantis which tried to bite off Xander's head? Did it have a wooden ventriloquist's dummy inhabited by the spirit of a century-old demon hunter? The scale and the budget might be different, but I think we can agree that 'Buffy' has always had a certain amount of crack in it. The thing is - and this is as true now in Season 8 as it was back then - the characters deal with the bizarre happenings around them pretty much the way you'd expect normal people to do so.

The moment that sums up 'Buffy' for me is in Season 4, when Buffy and Willow are walking home and talking, and Buffy stakes a vampire who jumps out at them in mid-stride - then, without a pause in the conversation, asks Willow where she thinks she gets her violent streak from. It's the mixture of mundanity and wild crazy supernatural stuff that's BtVS's signature for me, and that's what I saw here. The cuts between the two scenes, the ironic nature of the dialogue, the disturbing parallels between the flashbacks and the present day... they're all trademarks of my show.

 


Comments

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 9th April 2010 23:42 (UTC)
Season 8 Mockery

Does this issue contain a certain degree of silliness? Well, does it have two characters having sparkly sex in outer space? Why yes, yes it does. I think it's safe to say it's being silly, and we can expect a Brigadier to come along any moment and tell us to stop it. But here's the thing. Did Season 1 of 'Buffy' have a schoolteacher who turned into a giant preying mantis which tried to bite off Xander's head? Did it have a wooden ventriloquist's dummy inhabited by the spirit of a century-old demon hunter? The scale and the budget might be different, but I think we can agree that 'Buffy' has always had a certain amount of crack in it. The thing is - and this is as true now in Season 8 as it was back then - the characters deal with the bizarre happenings around them pretty much the way you'd expect normal people to do so.

The comparison is right there sure enough. Now imagine when Sid was freed, that Willow was turned into a puppet and stayed that way until midway through Season 2. Preying Mantis teacher? One-ep baddie. Why do these work? Because they're limited to one episode and the real story is about the emotional journey of the characters. Season 8 takes the one-ep baddies crackery and sprinkles its fairy dust on the characters emotional journeys till they sparkle. There is no humanity to ground the insanity. The humanity has been infiltrated by the insanity.

I think the writers somehow believe this story is epic because it's cataclysmic. But no. Angel falling to his knees screaming Buffy's name while the rain poured down, then rising up to attack a lady and blow smoke out of his lips. That was epic. It was emotionally epic. This is flash epic. And it's lacking the emotional punch.

Edited at 2010-04-09 23:47 (UTC)

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 9th April 2010 23:51 (UTC)
Season 8 - The Chain

And I'm sorry to be negative. I'm still pondering all the ramifications of why this story isn't working for me. And it's not about 'shipping. I mean, I can read and enjoy all the canon ships. Have read boat loads of B/A and just read and rec'd a ton of dark Buffy/Angelus.

It just feels like the story has become this hot air balloon and Joss keeps saying let's see how high it'll fly!" and so they do. And it keeps flying higher and higher until it's no longer grounded in reality.

The flash epic unleashed to such a degree overpowers the emotional epic, and leaves it reading as humorous parody.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 00:16 (UTC)

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 15:49 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 17:35 (UTC)

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 17:52 (UTC)

Posted by: phil_k_87 (phil_k_87)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 19:10 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 19:55 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 09:31 (UTC)

Posted by: empresspatti (empresspatti)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 02:58 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 11:54 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 00:03 (UTC)

Yet again, another set of interesting thoughts. I've been looking forward to this review in particular, because I wanted a more positive read in view of the wide-spread trashing.

That said, I remain as ever on the fence about all the mythology stuff. I just don't know how to get any dramatic pay-out from the universe wanting to evolve. I had noticed the way it echoed the line in Beautiful Sunset. Which would apparently make Buffy and Angel the morons that chaos employs. (I'm assuming this is chaos and not good).

It's obvious why Buffy wanted Angel to lose the coat!! Just like she didn't want Ethan to say "pet". :) If Allie didn't keep swearing that she knows, I'd be swearing that she doesn't.

I think the sex in this issue is a step or many beyond what the show did. For starters we've stripped our feminist icon and put her image out there in the hopes that people would want to read the comic alone in dark places. We've never had kama sutra presentations before. Buffy and Riley were all missionary and discretely covered by the sheets. Spike and Buffy were more adventurous, but much of that was anatomically incorrect, and again Buffy's never nekkid. It's also meant to be rather degrading and depressing as part of the story. SMG had a no nudity clause in her contract. I think she has the right to feel somewhat violated here.

I love that Buffy and Angel end up dressed pretty much like the nerd trio. I just hope to hell that Spike isn't going to be the third god to the party.

And I'd add a bit about unreliable narrators. We already got Willow's insight undermined (she apparently didn't come to the right conclusion about the source of Buffy's power). The problem with that is it leaves me with even less reason to try to exercise my brain and figure out what is actually going on. What was said doesn't really add up in any meaningful way -- and a bunch of it could end up getting Jossed in the next issue anyway. That's annoying and it's been a problem all season long.

Still, I think the developments are interesting. I look forward to seeing where it goes from here. I still say the season could be great. But it could be horrible too. Time will tell.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 00:42 (UTC)

I've been looking forward to this review in particular, because I wanted a more positive read

Are you saying I'm predictable? :-)

I can think of lots of things that "the universe wanting to evolve" can be metaphors for, startng with the current popularity of Stephanie Meyer and going on from there...


If Allie didn't keep swearing that she knows, I'd be swearing that she doesn't.

Unless I've missed it somewhere, Scott has never once said, point-blank, "Buffy knows that Spike is alive." He's talked around the issue, sure: he's said things like "There have been all sorts of off-camera conversations" and "I'm sure Andrew talked to Buffy about what happened in LA". But to me - and again, unless I've missed it - it's highly suspicious and significant that he hasn't ever come right out and said it. Plausible deniability?

put her image out there in the hopes that people would want to read the comic alone in dark places

Do you really think so? Honestly? Like I said to Emmie above, people who want porn can surely find actual porn that's far more erotic than this at the click of a mouse. I'm sure the writers and artists and editors at Dark Horse know this, which suggests to me there are other, story-related reasons for the sex.

Also, my feminist icons are perfectly comfortable stripping if it's something they chose to do and to enjoy. ;-)

Does it still count as nudity if there are always strategically-placed limbs, tree branches or whatever in the way? On the show, we saw Buffy naked with something covering her from chest to thigh several times, and at least once naked from the waist up but with her back to us. ('The I In Team') This doesn't seem all that different.


The idea that Giles might be just as unreliable a narrator as Willow was is certainly worth thinking about. I don't know. I'm still a million times happier with this late-in-the-game mythology retcon than I was with the Jasmine one. :-)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 01:09 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 01:35 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 03:08 (UTC)

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 13:23 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 14:08 (UTC)

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 15:42 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 16:32 (UTC)

Posted by: ubi4soft (ubi4soft)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 18:51 (UTC)

Posted by: The One Who Isn't Chosen (gabrielleabelle)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 15:45 (UTC)

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 16:07 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 17:58 (UTC)

Posted by: The One Who Isn't Chosen (gabrielleabelle)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 18:58 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 19:35 (UTC)

Posted by: The One Who Isn't Chosen (gabrielleabelle)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 19:49 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 20:22 (UTC)

Posted by: The One Who Isn't Chosen (gabrielleabelle)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 20:59 (UTC)

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 25th April 2010 04:58 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 25th April 2010 11:49 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 25th April 2010 14:16 (UTC)

Posted by: phil_k_87 (phil_k_87)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 19:24 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 19:40 (UTC)

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 20:43 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 21:26 (UTC)

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 21:32 (UTC)

Posted by: the infamous Midwestern subterrainean Explodebear. (hkath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 02:49 (UTC)

I had that Ragnarok revelation moment, too! I couldn't believe I hadn't googled "Twilight of the Gods" before, especially since Buffy's "Great muppety Odin, do I miss sex" line from the very first issue has always struck me as a weird line that I liked, but that wasn't entirely in character for Buffy (Xander, maybe, since he so often injects Zeus into his exclamations). I even thought for a while it had Xander-related implications due to Odin only having one eye, lol. And yet! Never once did I think about Ragnarok. Even though the Buffy & Andrew issue of Predators & Prey features Andrew breeding a Ragna demon!

Personally, that tiger panel is my most favourite. I don't know why, but it made me laugh out loud! Maybe it was the randomness, or that the tiger looks a little voyeuristic, I don't know. I just find it really hilarious, for some reason.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 18:00 (UTC)

I know! I think everybody was too busy thinking about the *other* Twilight comparison that we missed the first and original source of the metaphor...

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 03:42 (UTC)
pic#87400756

While I still have major reservations and foreboding about this story direction and what it means for the characters (and my continued enjoyment of them), I have to admit that after a few re-readings I didn't hate this issue nearly as much as I was expecting to.

I think Willow's observation is very important to preserving the proper perspective: Buffy has always loved Angel, but always been ready to kill him if necessary, as well. And there has always been a tragically fine line between those two extremes ("I kissed him, and then I killed him.") Buffy was trying to kill him now, too, but the Universe was able to nudge her just that little bit from killing to kissing, and then they were off to the races. So Buffy isn't boinking Angel now because she has made a rational decision that she'd like some sex right now in spite of the things Angel has done, but because "the world won't let her" do what she knows she should be doing.

This will, I suspect, lead to the real main thematic conflict of this season: Buffy deciding she's not going to be Destiny's Bitch anymore.

Yes, on the first couple of reads it did seem a bit silly... especially for such a crucial moment in the season. But, like you, I compared it to the TV show, which frankly contained some elements much sillier and less well-explained than we see in this issue. The story is suffering a bit at this point, I think, from not having the actors there to make the silly seem plausible (which the Buffy actors were *very* good at doing), and we get too much time between episodes to think about it. With the TV show it was over in 44 minutes, and then on to the next story.

I still fear for whether Joss is going to be able to pull this off... he's certainly no coward when it comes to risky storytelling. But so far, he and Meltzer are managing to keep me on board.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 18:03 (UTC)

So Buffy isn't boinking Angel now because she has made a rational decision that she'd like some sex right now in spite of the things Angel has done, but because "the world won't let her" do what she knows she should be doing.

I think the word 'now' in your sentence is important. I do think Buffy chose of her own free will to do this; but now she's started, the Universe (whatever that means) won't let her stop. 'Where The Wild Things Are' on a grand scale.


My problem with the silliness is finding the space to just laugh at it for its own sake, then see how it fit into the rest of the story. Ther are too many people ignoring the characterisation and plot and just pointing and laughing...

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 20:29 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 21:22 (UTC)

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 21:41 (UTC)

Posted by: mikeda (mikeda)
Posted at: 11th April 2010 21:16 (UTC)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: 11th April 2010 13:40 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 11th April 2010 15:16 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 09:14 (UTC)

We few, we happy few. I do think neither Willow nor Giles have given us the final word on what’s happening. The doubt shed on Willow’s dead slayers theory seems to me to hang a lantern on that. Nothing of what they’ve said explains why Angel was ‘rewarded’ before Buffy. Did he create a new breed? Is Connor a breed? If that’s it Darla’s going to be really pissed she never got her ‘best in show’ rosette. Moreover, why it was necessary for Angel to ‘push’ and who told him Twilight (the place) didn’t exist?

So I think there are puzzle pieces missing as well as the possibility that Giles is being too fatalistic in his interpretation of the information he does have. This is an established pattern with him, from going through with the cruciamentum, to arguing no alternative to killing Dawn, to playing Iago to the General Buffy he created in S7. Giles says it’s the Universe running this show. The Universe, the Sky Bully, call it what you will, I suspect this story may end with Buffy at odds with God. I think another reason it’s making people uncomfotable, particularly in the shipping department, is not that it’s pro B/A or anti B/S but that underneath it lies a wholesale deconstruction of romance and romanticism period. It’s not about power this time, it’s about love.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 18:07 (UTC)

*Tries to think of a witty comment about gentlemen in England now abed who shall hold their manhood*

Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure we're not going to see a mention of Connor or Darla or any of the other 'Angel' characters. I may be wrong; it would be good if we do; but I somehow doubt it.

It's a standard trope of the show that Giles lays out "The way women and men have behaved since the beginning, before time", and then Buffy finds some way to subvert the prophecy or find a new plan the universe hadn't thought of, and Giles is once again speechless with admiration of her. I dare say it'll happen again now...

Posted by: William B (local_max)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 18:46 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 18:58 (UTC)

Posted by: William B (local_max)
Posted at: 11th April 2010 05:08 (UTC)

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 14:32 (UTC)
Scoobies by maharet83

The review I've been waiting for! You don't disappoint, actually I was really glad because there were parts that I didn't understand and I needed a review that takes the issue seriously to explain it to me. Thank you for being awesome! :)

So that was it then? The massively controversial, tidal-wave-of-drama inducing, shark-jumping, oh no the world is ending and fandom is imploding issue of the comic?

Meh.


My reaction is exactly when I read the issue. Actually I enjoyed it a lot.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 18:09 (UTC)

Thanks! :-)

I did feel a bit let down after first reading it because of all the build-up; afterwards, and on re-reading it, I'm seeing a lot more positives to it, and I did enjoy it. But I think it'll be much better to look back on it all once we know what happens next.

Posted by: nmcil12 (nmcil12)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 19:29 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 19:44 (UTC)

Posted by: arkeus (arkeus)
Posted at: 11th April 2010 03:09 (UTC)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: 11th April 2010 02:27 (UTC)
RE: Angel characters in Buffy

"I don't think it's a matter of legalities. If Joss told FOX Licencing that he wanted to include Connor or Illyria or Gunn or Lilah or whoever in a 'Buffy' story, I'm sure they wouldn't argue with him."

Interestingly, in one of the less wretched stories from the first Buffy Omnibus, a pre-Buffy Season 1 Lilah makes an appearance.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 11th April 2010 11:14 (UTC)
Re: Angel characters in Buffy

Was that story written back in the days when Dark Horse had the licences for both 'Buffy' and 'Angel', before they let IDW take over 'Angel'?

Posted by: arkeus (arkeus)
Posted at: 11th April 2010 03:07 (UTC)

Very interesting.

Was surprised you didn't give the hypothesis that the 'last true demon' on earth that was killed was that 1680 Slayer...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 11th April 2010 11:17 (UTC)

I don't think that works, though. In 'The Harvest' Giles told us that the Last True Demon on Earth mixed its blood before leaving in order to create vampires, so that obviously happened way back in the dawn of time in the days before the First Slayer.

Unless, of course, Joss forgot he'd already mentioned the Last True Demon on Earth at the start of the series when he was writing the end, and so we have to fanwank that there were actually two Last True Demons on Earth.. :-)

Posted by: arkeus (arkeus)
Posted at: 12th April 2010 04:41 (UTC)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: 11th April 2010 06:07 (UTC)

I laughed out loud at Dawn capping Willow and Xander's astounded "Twilight is Angel?" exclamations by muttering to herself "Ben is Glory?" Nice call-back. Strictly speaking, of course, Dawn wasn't there to witness that scene originally - she'd already been kidnapped by Glory - but I bet Spike would take great pleasure afterwards in telling her all about what idiots the rest of her friends were.

A minor point, but I'm not sure if I could see Spike telling Dawn about this. After Dawn was kidnapped and before her sister died, Spike had a frustrating conversation because of a spell? Very much a "had to be there" kind of funny, and not one I could see him relating. :) Dawn was affected by the Ben/Glory spell, so did have a realization herself that ZOMG!They're the same people! so I assume Dawn is just referring to that. (Well, that's the Watsonian reason; the Doylian version is that it's a joke, or, more generously, is part of a series of meta-references to remind us that we're reading a comic based on a TV show, while the comic explores TV characters powering up to comic-style superheroes....)

I thought it was very in-character for Xander to be all emotional and impulsive and want to rush to help Buffy - since he still assumes they're fighting at this point - and to say "screw magic" and then immediately tell Willow to "do a spell"... Make your mind up, Xan. :-)

Oh Xander "Contradictory Feelings" Harris. The same one who hated vampires while being attracted to demons, and nearly marrying a former one. :)

Still, her angry reaction and stalking off in disgust when she sees with her own eyes what her old flame is currently up to was a moving character moment. I also thought it was interesting that she picked Dawn to be "in charge" when she couldn't stand it any longer.

I loved that Satsu moment as well. I don't really know why she's putting Dawn in charge--I think maybe she means in charge of the radar screen? I more or less assumed Xander was the one in command, as Buffy's right hand man at Slayer HQ (as opposed to Satsu, who is, on and off, Buffy's right hand fighter).

Note that the newly-called Slayer is surrounded by a familiar-looking white glow?

I hadn't thought about that! I'm not sure (and I don't have the issues with me at the moment) but I think the same glow is always shown when slayers are activated (e.g. the flashbacks in "A Beautiful Sunset," the gang slayer in "Harmonic Divergence"), and there's the glowing of the scythe in the activation in "Chosen." I like the connection, and the fact that the glowing has been there the whole time.

I think it's a slightly silly idea, myself, but okay, let's go with it and see where it takes us. Agreed on the silliness, and the "go with it." The show's mythology was never that sturdy, I think--it's a storytelling engine. I don't mind the idea that the "Universe" in some way dictated the creation of one slayer, and that's why the Shadowmen only created one, but I need a lot more as to how they knew this, why Buffy was able to defy this (besides, "The Universe was impressed with her" or whatever). Anyway, as Maggie's said, we can't really trust even Giles as a reliable source, so I might just wait until more information trickles in.

Re: the bat and mosquito: The bat also evokes Batman--often associated with Angel. Which is a bit odd, since the mosquitos are clearly the vampire side as well.

And then we cut to Buffy and Angel still having sex - and they're standing in an identical position to the Slayer and vampire in the previous panel: Angel behind Buffy and pressing his mouth to her neck.

Beautiful observation, that. They're driven by primal forces, both as sexual beings, and as human/vampire (even as they're moving up the chain).

Ragnarokr. The Twilight of the Gods. You know, the Apocalypse with a capital 'A'.

I hadn't thought of Ragnarokr, but yes, that works.

When Giles says "I needed to know how to kill a god" we're shown an image of the Scythe.

The Scythe's appearance in that panel is quite confusing. I hadn't actually realized it'd been so long since we've seen it.

Posted by: William B (local_max)
Posted at: 11th April 2010 06:07 (UTC)

On your "final word": I largely agree. I do think that the crackiness of season eight is off-putting because there is, as Emmie said, a lot more of it and it's a lot more ongoing. Things that were implausible in the show were also still not put in context of...world politics, battles, etc., so that in some respects the missteps seem more obvious. It's like Dawn wondering if her pores looked huge: the flaws scale up to an extent with the comic. And while there are lots of little character moments, it's harder to get the same emotion out of a few pages, once a month, as during a weekly series where we could watch the actors.

But you know--I agree with this. Season eight gives me a lot of what I liked about the show. And there's still a lot to chew on.

Anyway...mind if I friend you? I'm newish to LJ.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 11th April 2010 11:36 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 11th April 2010 11:29 (UTC)

Posted by: ladydorotea (ladydorotea)
Posted at: 12th April 2010 02:26 (UTC)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: 11th April 2010 13:38 (UTC)

But where exactly is the Scythe? We haven't seen it for a very long time - not since issue 8.20, in fact. Has someone stolen it? Has *Giles* stolen it, and used some sort of spell to make Buffy not notice it's gone? It's a puzzle.

The Scythe appears briefly on page 20 of issue 30; Satsu (?) carries it as she says "Only take the living".

Apparently Jeanty has forgotten about the scythe when he was drawing the panel of Buffy's return from Frayverse.

[wank]Spike has assumed a secret identity of a yak and was either spying on Buffy on Twangel's behalf or trying to protect her. Remember a sad yak on the panels where Buffy talks to Xander?

Spike the Yak has found the scythe after the battle and now he's about to transcend to Bangel paradise and stick the scythe up Angel's ass to save his sire from glowhypnol possession.[/wank]

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 11th April 2010 13:46 (UTC)

You're right about the Scythe - I missed that. Satsu's holding it, then she gives it back to Buffy (it's Buffy who says "Only take the living"). Then one of the soldiers tries to shoot Buffy, Satsu notices, throws Buffy aside to safety and shoots that soldier. Buffy lets go of the Scythe as she goes flying aside, and then the Goddess captures her. Buffy is unconscous. Next thing she knows it's five hours later, Faith, Giles and Andrew have been captured, and the Scythe is not seen again.

So in light of that, either one of the other Slayers found it and hid it, or Twilight captured it along with Faith and Giles.

Posted by: all_choseny (all_choseny)
Posted at: 23rd April 2010 17:24 (UTC)

Loved the review. Honestly, I'm one of those people who reads/watches something enjoys it, mulls it over briefly, and whatever I don't like about it, I spit it out. I take the bad with the good. For me season 8 has good, mixed with a lot of "really? Okay, I guess so." I just roll with it.

Like you pointed out, the show was full of crack in all it's crack glory. I think people are getting hung up on the fact that it's now in comic form. True, they wouldn't have been able to do this on t.v. and I'm glad! Could you imagine a giant Dawn? She was annoying enough when she was people sized.

As far as the shipping wars that this issue has suddenly refueled, I don't get it. I like both B/A and S/B happily. But maybe I am not analytical enough to sit there and dissect the differences and what makes one "better" than the other. Or maybe that's not even what it's all about.

I'm with you, I breezed passed all the gratuitous sex and got to the nitty gritty of the story.

Did you notice that Twilight looked an awful lot like the place the Trio had hoped to ascend to? Both Buffy and Angel were dressed a lot like them as well. That was a great throwback.

Anyway, thanks for posting.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 23rd April 2010 19:35 (UTC)

Twilight looked an awful lot like the place the Trio had hoped to ascend to?

True - though apparently Georges Jeanty based that scene on a 'Yes' album cover. I'm not sure what this means. :-)

Thanks!

Posted by: chianazhaan (chianazhaan)
Posted at: 14th July 2011 22:37 (UTC)
(Review) BtVS 8.34 'Twilight' Part 3

Very detailed review. With an extensive summary.

So Twilight isn't just Angel's secret identity... and cue "Oh of course, why didn't I think of that earlier!" moment - we're talking here about the Götterdammerung. Ragnarokr. The Twilight of the Gods. You know, the Apocalypse with a capital 'A'.

Thanks for that.

As for the story. I guess it's nice to know that the writers failed biology. And that the writers don't seem to care about changing the whole mythology of BtVS (as you commented upon a few times).

A conscious universe. Vampires are not "demons inhabiting a corpse"---like humans living in a house---but "humans infected by demons". I guess they don't have to die anymore then and actually get to keep their souls? The slayer is nothing more than an age old laboratory experiment---which sort of conflicts with the biology explanation. Approximately 2000 girls/slayers (slightly reduced in numbers now) are "a new breed". Have I mentioned they failed biology?

Also, the Destiny Sex destroys the Universe as we know it, but conveniently gives slayers their powers back, heals Melaka Fray broken Scythe, and gives Willow her powers back "3 days ago" (wait, it's suddenly 3 days ago...after all the vague time-lines we had before?).

Buffy having sex with Angel again risks someone's soul. Except it isn't Angel's Soul---now it's the Earth's soul. I think Buffy should be put on a Abstinence Only program. Or her memories be altered to only liking girls. It's much safer for everyone.

The most irritating part is where characters are (rather explicitly) commenting on the silliness of the plot. Which is good comedy for one episode, but ridiculous for a whole season.

Well...thanks for the review. It's much more interesting than the comic itself.

72 Read Comments