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(Review) BtVS 9.19 'Welcome to the Team' Part IV

22nd March 2013 (14:43)

And here we go with the review of the March edition of 'Buffy'! I've finally caught up. \o/

We open with a scene from Illyria's POV: she blacked out when Severin sucked her power, and comes round to see Buffy and Koh standing over her.

Illyria blames herself for what went wrong; she says she "waited too long" and "lost concentration" when trying to teleport her allies into the fight. That doesn't square with Severin's mockery of her last issue, when he seemed to know exactly what she was trying to do, and thus, by implication, was the reason why she failed. Still, I think that Illyria's characteristic arrogance might also lead her to blaming herself when things go wrong - after all, it's inconceivable that anyone else could have defeated her!

In a rather amusing graphical illustration of her state, Illyria without her powers has also lost her blue colouration: her hair and eyes are now brown like Fred Burkle's used to be.

The red balloon informs Buffy and Koh that since they failed to defeat Severin, the rest of the Council has run away. It also considers that it does not owe them any reward for their failure - specifically, they will not keep their promise to tell Koh who it is he's searching for. With that the red balloon flies away, possibly to join its 98 companions and start a nuclear war by accident.

Buffy, Koh and Illyria face the fact that Severin is now powerful enough to start an apocalypse - something Buffy thought was a threat of the past since she broke the Seed and destroyed magic. In this juncture, she decides she needs help from her friends. In this case, given the lack of Spike and Willow, that defaults to Xander and Dawn...

Who have problems of their own.

Andrew now has Dawn hooked up through his neural transfer machine to the Buffybot - the same one we saw in the earlier arc, complete with missing right arm. He asks Xander if he's sure he's willing to go through with it, and promises to build a proper Dawnbot as soon as she's stabilised and no longer in danger. Xander doesn't care about that now: he just wants her to be okay.

Now back to Anaheed and Billy. At this point I want to call out something I noticed about this arc in particular: it's interweaving three different stories at once, all of them separate but still interconnected either thematically (bodies as shells, powerlessness, saving the woman you love through possibly-unethical means) or through plot (Billy trying to discover where Buffy went to). It's well-done, and I like it because it's a move back to the more complex interweaving storylines of S8 instead of the more flat, simplistic narrative structure S9 was slipping into. So credit to the writer.

Anaheed gives Billy the back-story on her revelation of the last issue, that she's a Slayer. She actually was part of the Slayer Army, not a 'feral' Slayer: she was in Rona's squad in Chicago, and had never met Buffy face-to-face previously. Incidentally, that's also the squad that Simone started with, before she was transferred to Andrew's squad in Italy. She was part of a group who stayed loyal to Buffy when the Army broke up, and was given the mission of protecting her. Apparently, not so much protecting her from supernatural threats and monsters - Buffy can handle those herself - as from the perils of "being broke and twenty-something".

I'm not sure if Buffy would be touched and flattered by this demonstration that some of her Slayer followers were still so loyal to her leadership - especially given that she herself thinks she failed so utterly - or insulted by the idea that they thought she needed a babysitter. Probably both.

We also get the news that Tumble is not part of the plot, and Anaheed has been managing his expectations (pretending to 'discover' Buffy's stash of weapons) to get him used to the idea of living with a Slayer.

Meanwhile, Buffy, Illyria and Koh are sneaking into Buffy' apartment to regroup and plan. Illyria looks at herself in the mirror and says, "I should be dead", which Buffy interprets as her feeling suicidal, and rushes over to be supportive and reassuring. It was touching an showed her in a good light.

It's also interesting in terms of the parallel narrative structures I mentioned before. All the sub-plots have people who are worried about a woman who's in trouble, and are taking action to help her out. However there's a difference.

Dawn is in a coma and probably dying, and Xander and Andrew are trying to save her life by transferring her consciousness into a robot.
Severin's girlfriend died, and he's sucking the magical power out of every supernatural entity he can defeat in an attempt to go back in time and stop her from dying.
Buffy lost her position as leader of the Slayer Army and has been drifting in a purposeless manner for half a year or so: Anaheed is secretly keeping an eye on her to make sure she's okay.
Illyria has lost her powers, and Bfufy is trying to comfort her and reassure her, andwork out a way to defeat Severin to get them back.

The crucial difference -whether it's deliberate or not, I'm not sure - is that Buffy is talking to Illyria face-to-face, offering to work with her. All the others are acting on their own account, and not telling the woman they're trying to save what they plan to do. Okay, fair enough, in two of the cases they can't tell her, because she's either dead or in a coma. Even so, symbolically there's a contrast between Buffy's approach and the more paternalistic approach of the others...

On a shallower note, I really loved Buffy's comment at the end of her big pep talk that if Illyria is "feeling self-conscious about the hair", Buffy will see if she can find some blue hair colour for her to use. It's just so perfectly in-character. Buffy's never been ashamed of her priorities.

However, it turns out Illyria isn't suicidal: what she actually meant is more literal. When Severin stole her power, her body - 'the shell', which is to say the body she stole from Fred  - should have been left empty and thus dead. But she's still walking and talking, which means something strange is going on. Neither she nor Buffy understands why, but I assume it's going to be significant. Either a flaw in Severin's power which is going to be his weakness, or possibly a more long-term plot point regarding Fred's continuing presence somewhere within Illyria?

After The Fall, if I remember correctly, went with the explanation that there actually is nothing of Fred remaining inside Illyria; that was just unconscious wishful thinking on Illyria's part as she tried to find a place for herself in this strange new world. I'm unsure, though, whether Joss and Andrew C will take that as canon for Season 9 or not.

Notice that the parallel to Dawn's situation is made even more explicit now, with this talk of the real essence of a person being distinct from the shell it's contained within.

At this point Tumble comes in with Buffy's mobile, which she lost, and says Xander has kept trying to call her. I smiled at his assumption about why Buffy has two people (of opposite genders) in her bedroom, both clad in skintight leather suits and one of them obviously a demon, and Buffy's frantic denial when she realises what he's hinting at.

Buffy's phone is a sight to see: it looks like something out of the 1980s, the size of a brick with an extending aerial. Is she deliberately following a retro style? Is she so poor she can't afford a modern mobile? Howev,er it serves its purpose as Buffy learns, finally, about Dawn's illness.

We now see Xander and Andrew looking worried. The procedure for exchanging Dawn's consciousness into the 'bot doesn’t seem to be working. Xander's question, "Whose hand should I be holding?" was rather sweet and touching.

It also made me realise what a fertile ground for exploration via fic this scenario would be, if Andrew's plan worked:

How will Dawn feel about being in a robot body? I suspect 'freaked out' is a natural response, but then again, it's hardly the first time something like this has happened to her. After being a giant, a centaur and a porcelain doll (not to mention a glowing ball of green energy), at least her robot body would be normal human-looking. And it saved her life.

More to the point, how will she feel about being in an anatomically perfect copy of her sister's body? I imagine that would be far more creepy for her, maybe triggering incest taboos if she starts to do anything sexual. Though I don't think she'd complain about having Slayer strength and reaction speed, and I'd be disappointed if she didn’t find something to make sarcastic comments about. (Deciding that Buffy's hair colour doesn’t suit her complexion, maybe, and she's going to do it differently.)

How will Buffy react to Dawn being inside a copy of Buffy's own body? She suddenly has a twin sister. Will she be possessive about the body and try (in vain, of course) to stop Dawn doing things with it?

And what about Xander? His girlfriend now looks identical to Buffy, although her thoughts and memories and feelings are still those of Dawn. That's got to be freaky for him. Will their relationship still be sexual? I can certainly imagine Dawn being concerned or jealous at the idea that Xander would be sleeping with her sister's body even if she's the one in control of it - and new, mature adult!Xander would be concerned, perhaps overly concerned, about giving that impression. (High school Xander would probably be all "wahey!" at the idea, of course, but that's of the past.) On the other hand, swearing celibacy wouldn't be fair to Dawn either, nor to him. And Buffy's own feelings on the matter are unlikely to be overly enthusiastic.

Anyway, back to the comic. Billy has taken the footage from the security cameras in the warehouse, transferred it to an iPad (which is in stark contrast to Buffy's vintage 1980s tech on the page before) and he and Anaheed have gone to Dowling's hospital room to review it.

We discover that the unusually strong and agile zompire they were fighting was indeed, as many people guessed,  a former Slayer turned vampire. Anaheed recognises her - she was in the same squad in Chicago as her, but left to become one of Simone's followers. So what happened?

We immediately learn what happened. In a rather horrible scene, we see one of Simone's Slayer followers chained up and pleading with Simone, who's setting a zompire on her to turn her. With a cruel grin, Simone says that, "I'm not going to experiment on myself". At this point she officially steps into supervillain status, I think. Not to mention "criminally insane" status.

Buffy, along with her two companions, has made her way to Andrew's workshop to find out the situation with Dawn. She's stressed and upset; I did like the exchange with Andrew:

"But it's not working. And if we don't figure out why soon... Dawn's going to--"
"If the next words out of your mouth aren't 'Be' and 'okay', preferably in that order, stop talking."

Illyria works out the reason why they can't transfer Dawn's consciousness into the Buffybot: it's because the things going on inside Dawn's head - according to Andrew's instruments - are not brain waves but mystical energy patterns. For the first time in four seasons, the fact that Dawn is the Key actually gets mentioned!

Buffy gives Illyria (and any readers who don't remember) a brief summary of the events of Season 5. I smiled at her reference to "A demon named Glorificus -- who, sidebar, might have run in the same circles you did". Fans have already made the connection but it's good to see Buffy did too.

When she remembers that Dawn was made human so that Buffy would protect her - something she's clearly failed to do, and she didn't even realise Dawn was in trouble because she was off "playing magic police" - she starts crying. Then she gets angry when she thinks Severin might be to blame - and then, horrified, realises that she's the one to blame, because she broke the Seed.

I've discussed this before, of course: the idea that ending magic by breaking the Seed would affect Dawn is logical enough. However, as I saw it she should have vanished with a *poof* the moment the Seed broke, if her existence was magical; or been totally unaffected if she was only created by magic but was now fully human. The idea of her body breaking down gradually didn't really seem to fit the narrative.

Illyria offers the explanation that, "the magic that was left inside her is now fading", and also that the mystical energy is "leaving her body".  I suspect that's all we're going to get in terms of explanation. So does that mean all supernatural creatures will also see their internal store of magic fade? Will Slayers gradually become powerless, and vampires lose their powers and eventually turn to dust? Or is this a special feature of the Key alone?

I suppose it's possible that either the magic used to sustain Dawn's body required constant renewal, or the Key itself was linked to the dimensions it unlocked, and drew  the power to sustain itself from those dimensions. With magic gone and other dimensions locked away, the magic within Dawn could no longer renew itself, and now after nearly a year it's starting to run dry. It's a fanwank, but I think it works.

If only one of Buffy's friends could arrive now with a powerful internal source of magic, that she was given as a gift on the condition that she shares it with other people who need it! :)

Back to Simone. The Slayer she had chained up previously is now dead, and a zompire. Simone stakes her without releasing her from the chains. At this point Severin comes in and asks her sarcastically if she's "Still playing with vampires?"

It seems that Simone is trying to find some way to make herself more powerful than Buffy - and she's working on the idea that if she has herself turned, she will have both Slayer powers and vampire powers combined. The catch (well, apart from the catch that it's an utterly crazy thing to do!) is that since the Seed broke, all vampires are turning out to be brainless zompires. It seems that Simone is "experimenting" to see if she can find a way to overcome that problem - I assume one idea she had was that Slayers, being supernatural already, might be immune to losing their minds when they're vamped. Clearly not.

On the other hand, given Severin's sarcasm and the fact that that Simone, while clearly being quite intelligent is also seriously lacking in wisdom, it might be that she's just trying the same thing over and over again in the hope of getting a different result. Which is traditionally another sign of madness, of course.

I was a little confused by why Simone called Severin a 'copycat', until I realised she was talking about his hair. She famously dies her hair magenta, and since draining Illyria's power, it seems that Severin now has her blue hair (and eyes, and forehead).

Severin doesn't have enough power yet to travel back through time, and he's frustrated by that. He wants Simone to help him get more, and in return he'll help her with her own ambitions. Uh oh. I'm going to guess here that Simone will betray more of her own Slayer followers to Severin for him to drain their power.

Back to Buffy and Xander for the final scene of the issue, which is a very long one by comics standards (five pages). Xander has gone up to the roof to mope; Buffy follows him up there to apologise for not getting there sooner, and reassure him that they'll find a way to fix it. But when she tries to put a comforting hand over his, he snarls at her and snatches his hand away rather than let her touch him - then starts pounding both fists against the wall until they bleed. (Nice call-out to 'The Body' there.)

Buffy stops him (by force) and asks rhetorically if he thinks this is her fault. He doesn't deny it, and in fact says "I'm not the only one". I wonder if by that he was referring specifically to anyone - Dawn perhaps? Or maybe Willow - or it was just a general comment.

Xander also comments, insightfully, that he thinks Buffy came to talk to him because she's also blaming herself for what's happening to Dawn, and hoped Xander would reassure her that it's really not her fault. Unfortunately, he's not about to do that. He does think it's her fault.

Buffy then gets angry and defensive, and tries to justify herself. The arguments here are interesting to read because they're addressing the same controversies that fandom has been arguing over ever since Season 8 was published. Of course, I think there's one important caveat to bear in mind: neither Buffy nor Xander are being the impartial voice of the narrator here. They both have strong personal biases affecting their interpretation of what happened, and neither can be claimed to be the "official" statement of "what we, as readers, are supposed to be thinking".

So Buffy makes the argument that if she hadn't broken the Seed, "the world would have ended in a blaze of Twilight-fuelled Armageddon". She isn't necessarily correct about that - Willow, for one, would argue that they stood a chance of defeating the demon invasion; and Angel was under the impression they could have saved the people if not the world itself. I can certainly appreciate, though, that from Buffy's point of view she believed she didn't have a choice. She did what she had to do to save the world, and without that, Dawn would have died a year ago along with everyone else in the world.

Xander, however, says that while he's willing to buy that, it's not his real problem here. What he blames Buffy for is not smashing the Seed, but her earlier actions in having outer space sex with Angel and "boning a new universe into existence". Which, yeah, is continuing a trend of Xander thinking he can police Buffy's sex life, and specifically the Angel-related parts of it, which isn't cool: though he perhaps has more justification for his anger here than he did in Season 3.

It's curious that Buffy apparently hasn't previously drawn the connection between her action in jumping Angel and the later apocalypse - or at least Xander accuses her of not having thought it through. He's reduced to tears himself as he repeats that Dawn is now dying because of Buffy's actions. (I actually thought at first that was a close-up of Buffy's face - the right side only - with a tear falling from the eye; then I realised that (a) brown eye, not green (b) black hair, not blond.)

Then I noticed the upper-lip stubble as well. Buffy would hate me at this point. :)

Buffy is still defensive, trying to justify herself by saying things were "out of my control". Given the controversy over the "glow" and consent issues last season, I think Xander's words are worth quoting:

"Yeah, I get it. The universe gave you and Angel so much mystical mojo... neither one of you could keep it in your superpowered pants."

In other words he's putting Buffy and Angel on the same level - both victims of "the universe" - which is more or less how I always saw the situation, but I suspect will not be a universally-popular reading.

Buffy's rejoinder - spoken in what seems a pensive and downcast manner - is that they were caught up in "a prophecy, millennia in the making", and there was a lot going on that she didn't understand at the time. I was fascinated by the way she started to blame Giles, in part, for not warning her: and a furious Xander cut her off before she could complete the thought. I've always thought Giles was at fault for not telling Buffy what was going on, though they did show that he had reasons for his reluctance. I can also see why Xander wouldn't want to hear any criticism of him from Buffy's mouth given that he presumably blames her in part for Giles's death as well.

At this point, Xander's accusations against Buffy become more wide-ranging, revealing a greater depth of bitterness:

"It always starts with you trying to save the world, Buffy. But that doesn't change the fact that every time you save it... somehow the world just keeps getting worse. So you won't blame me if I try to save Dawn without your help. 'Cause right now I can't face things getting any worse than they already are."

Is he being fair? No, I don't think so at all. I can understand his immediate anger, because he's concerned about Dawn. It sounds like he has more general concerns though` - so what are they? Does he now think that Buffy's actions at the end of Season 7, creating the Slayer Army, were a mistake? It resulted in a lot of girls being plunged without their prior agreement into a lifestyle of danger and demon-slaying and death; a lifestyle which Xander had himself become tired of.

Of course, my own counter-argument would be that even if an action has both bad and good results, it would be a cop-out and not morally superior in the slightest to refuse to act at all out of fear of the possible consequences. "I didn't do it, I just failed to prevent it even though I could have done" isn't a moral stance I support. Buffy, however, doesn't try to argue with Xander. She looks stricken, perhaps a little angry and frustrated, and then gets tearful again. However, she wipes away her tears and ends the issue on a determined note. Xander can be as angry with her as he likes, but Buffy isn't going to walk away:

"Dawn's my sister, and you're NOT doing this without me."

So what are they going to do? Sadly it looks like we're not going to get a Dawn-in-Buffy's-(robot)-body situation. I'm guessing the answer will be "Wait for Willow to show up"; but maybe we'll be surprised. There are a lot of separate threads in the story right now, and only a few issues left to draw them all together again...

 

Comments

Posted by: red_satin_doll (red_satin_doll)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 15:29 (UTC)

Ok now THIS is interesting (although I actually suspect that I'm enjoying your take on things more than I would the comic itself, but that's been the case for a while. And reading your reviews is free - which I guess is sort of "mooching". Popcorn, anyone?) There's some real meat here and I love the way that you call out the consent issues and the body/ identity issues. There is some stuff going on here that I would LOVE to have seen the actors play out. I could go in depth with discussion but my brain isn't up to anything more than bits and pieces at the moment.

With that the red balloon flies away, possibly to join its 98 companions and start a nuclear war by accident.

And I actually got the reference this time! :)

Xander's question, "Whose hand should I be holding?" was rather sweet and touching.

Very much so, even reading that here. I've felt for a while that S9 feels more of a piece with the series, to me, than S8; and the callbacks and interwoven plots feels about right. Xander being both a loyal, loving friend and a jerk (policing Buffy's sex life as you say); Buffy beating herself up emotionally but still fierce and determined when the need arises; etc.

Again, it may be that you explain this and make sense of it more than I would if I actually read it myself. And of course any time "the Seed" is brought into it - meh. "We probably won't get anymore explanation than that" would not surprise me.

was given the mission of protecting her

By whom? Again, I'm glad to see you call out the "nonconsent" issue here (Buffy hates it when people do things behind her back - has no one learned that lesson yet?) Whether the writers actually agree with the questionable consent issues (with this and with Dawn) or think it's perfectly ok is another matter.

I haven't watched much of AtS, but doesn't the very existence of Illyria also imply non-consent issues, not just in what happens here but taking over Fred's body originally?

Even so, symbolically there's a contrast between Buffy's approach and the more paternalistic approach of the others...

I suppose this is meant to symbolize the idea that Buffy is learning her lesson from doing the Chosen spell - that doing the spell was the wrong thing to do? (Which I don't entirely agree with on a story level, as much as I acknowledge that it was questionable to begin with.) Oh but wait:

If only one of Buffy's friends could arrive now with a powerful internal source of magic, that she was given as a gift on the condition that she shares it with other people who need it! :)

So it's wrong for Buffy to do it ("Bad Buffy, no biscuit!") but wrong when someone else does it? (I'm suspecting Willow, and her treatment in the comics as the voice of morality in contrast to Buffy is unsettling, especially if they've decided to, in essence, make her the "Hero" of the piece instead of Buffy.)

"I didn't do it, I just failed to prevent it even though I could have done" isn't a moral stance I support.

That's been Angel's explanation of his own actions since S8, hasn't it?

It seems that Simone is "experimenting" to see if she can find a way to overcome that problem - I assume one idea she had was that Slayers, being supernatural already, might be immune to losing their minds when they're vamped. Clearly not.

That's quite interesting - can I read that as an (even darker) echo of the Slayer Spell in Chosen, or is that a fanwank too far?

"If the next words out of your mouth aren't 'Be' and 'okay', preferably in that order, stop talking."

"Dawn's my sister, and you're NOT doing this without me."


I almost cheered when I read those lines. THAT'S my Buffy.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 16:29 (UTC)

Thanks! I do agree that the writing currently feels very true to the original show, which hasn't always been the case when it comes to Season 9. Maybe it's that Andrew Chambliss is getting into his stride now. But the "multiple ongoing plot strands in each issue" thing is something I associate with S8, and specifically with Joss's own writing, and I'm happy to see it make a comeback.

***

The impression I got is that Anaheed's "mission" is self-assigned, but that she was part of a group of Slayers who were discussing what to do about Buffy after the Army broke up after Season 8. As such, it was presumably a mutual decision of the group that one of them should arrange to make herself part of Buffy's life to keep an eye on her; and Anaheed volunteered.

It's presumptuous, and as I said before it does imply that Buffy's Slayers think she needs babysitting; but I wouldn't say it's really "violating her consent" as such. Anaheed is basically a secret bodyguard-stroke-personal assistant, I guess.


I suppose this is meant to symbolize the idea that Buffy is learning her lesson from doing the Chosen spell

Actually, I read it more simply as Buffy instinctively doing the right thing (from a feminist, power-sharing perspective) because she's the hero and role model.

I've not seen any hints in the narrative that Buffy was wrong to do the Chosen spell: at most, there have been people arguing that it wasn't an unalloyed good thing. That it did harm as well as good; but not that it wasn't ultimately worth the cost.


I'm suspecting Willow

Sorry if that wasn't clear... yes, I definitely meant Willow. That's how her own 5-issue miniseries ended. She's returning to Earth filled with magical energy and with the ability and desire to share it with others.

Giving the mystical battery inside Dawn a magical recharge sounds exactly like something she'd do to save the day. (It also sounds like the plot of a PWP femslash smut fic.)

I actually like the way they're putting the relationship between - and contrast between - Buffy and Willow more prominent in the comics. Buffy is the one to instinctively do the right thing, while Willow is more reflective and thoughtful - both are good approaches but can also be flawed (Buffy acting on impulse and screwing up, Willow over-thinking things into paralysis or self-justifying bad decisions), and as they grow older they're maybe learning to take on some of the other's attributes too.


Hmm. The idea of Simone creating a new race of vampire slayers (that's Slayers who are vampires, not slayers of vampires) as a dark parallel to Buffy's actions at the end of S7; I'd not thought of it like that, but I do like the notion.

Posted by: red_satin_doll (red_satin_doll)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 17:41 (UTC)

I've not seen any hints in the narrative that Buffy was wrong to do the Chosen spell

I'll take your word for in-story; I guess the fact that the spell is "undone" and the army disbanded in S8 seemed to imply exactly that to me. Unless they are actually going to tell us something entirely different by the end of S10 and I'll just have to wait and see. Nothing's off the table in the Buffyverse.

Sorry if that wasn't clear... yes, I definitely meant Willow.

Oh when I said "suspecting" I was actually joking a bit, not that you weren't clear, sorry.

(It also sounds like the plot of a PWP femslash smut fic.)

*lol* Which you of course will write, won't you?

I do like the fact that they are finally doing something with Dawn's keyness.

The idea of Simone creating a new race of vampire slayers (that's Slayers who are vampires, not slayers of vampires) as a dark parallel to Buffy's actions at the end of S7; I'd not thought of it like that, but I do like the notion.

It's even creepier now that you've spelled it out! And, a delicious bit of irony.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 19:01 (UTC)

Posted by: red_satin_doll (red_satin_doll)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 19:32 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 21:10 (UTC)

Posted by: red_satin_doll (red_satin_doll)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 21:30 (UTC)

Posted by: red_satin_doll (red_satin_doll)
Posted at: 23rd March 2013 00:00 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 23rd March 2013 00:29 (UTC)

Posted by: red_satin_doll (red_satin_doll)
Posted at: 26th March 2013 19:42 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th March 2013 17:24 (UTC)

Posted by: red_satin_doll (red_satin_doll)
Posted at: 27th March 2013 20:02 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th March 2013 18:59 (UTC)

Posted by: red_satin_doll (red_satin_doll)
Posted at: 2nd April 2013 20:02 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 3rd April 2013 09:57 (UTC)

Posted by: red_satin_doll (red_satin_doll)
Posted at: 3rd April 2013 12:32 (UTC)

Posted by: red_satin_doll (red_satin_doll)
Posted at: 27th March 2013 20:03 (UTC)
'cause I can't stop blabbing...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th March 2013 19:10 (UTC)
Re: 'cause I can't stop blabbing...

Posted by: red_satin_doll (red_satin_doll)
Posted at: 2nd April 2013 19:23 (UTC)
Re: 'cause I can't stop blabbing...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 3rd April 2013 00:20 (UTC)
Re: 'cause I can't stop blabbing...

Posted by: red_satin_doll (red_satin_doll)
Posted at: 3rd April 2013 13:26 (UTC)
Re: 'cause I can't stop blabbing...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 26th March 2013 15:53 (UTC)

Posted by: red_satin_doll (red_satin_doll)
Posted at: 26th March 2013 16:38 (UTC)

Posted by: William B (local_max)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 18:18 (UTC)

So it's wrong for Buffy to do it ("Bad Buffy, no biscuit!") but wrong when someone else does it? (I'm suspecting Willow, and her treatment in the comics as the voice of morality in contrast to Buffy is unsettling, especially if they've decided to, in essence, make her the "Hero" of the piece instead of Buffy.)

Um. They have not treated Willow as the voice of morality. I estimate right now there is right now about a 75% chance that she is going to be evil in the future and have to be killed by Buffy, which we have seen -- in that they have shown this as a possible future which looks more and more likely with each issue. Willow cheated on Kennedy. They spent most of the Willow mini having characters berate Willow for acting selfishly and Willow agreeing. She went super evil in Angel & Faith (in an extremely OOC way, but hey).

That Willow has, like, twice argued against something Buffy did and been right doesn't mean she's suddenly the hero of the story. Everyone knows Willow will always be a worse person than Buffy no matter what. I feel like the idea is that Willow can never ever be right about anything even when her arc is still going to end with her being evil.

The biggest difference re: Buffy & Willow between the comics and season seven is that Buffy and Willow's friendship gets panel time every now and again, which it didn't really after Same Time, Same Place.

Edited at 2013-03-22 18:20 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 19:11 (UTC)
willow-goddess

I don't even think Willow was evil in 'Time Of Your Life' - she was playing at being evil in order to manipulate Harth to do what she wanted. I haven't seen her being presented as evil in S9 either.

At most, she's moving towards the idea that 'good' and 'evil' are over-simplistic labels: but her underlying core of morality all through 'Willow:Wonderland' seemed solid to me. She doesn't kill except in direst need, and actively tries to avoid doing so; she "tries to be a good guest"; she recognises her own flaws; she seeks to be guided, not to control; she's motivated by the desire to help, not for power.

Where you see people accusing her of being selfish -- and her agreeing with them -- as the writers "proving" that she is in fact selfish; I see the opposite. I see a more mature Willow recognising her flaws and learning to move past them, rather than denying their existence as she would once have done.

Posted by: William B (local_max)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 19:53 (UTC)

Posted by: William B (local_max)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 20:14 (UTC)

I probably came on too strong. I have just read lots of 'Willow is evol and the writers don't treat her that way because they love her but she is the worst person ever and acting like she has any morality is the worst' today.

Posted by: red_satin_doll (red_satin_doll)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 20:37 (UTC)

And I probably mistated or overstated things a bit, and oughtn't have done. I certainly don't think that of Willow at all, as I think you know, and I actually do get tired of hearing that (at least re: the tv show) .

Posted by: William B (local_max)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 20:55 (UTC)

Posted by: red_satin_doll (red_satin_doll)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 21:29 (UTC)

Posted by: William B (local_max)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 21:43 (UTC)

Posted by: red_satin_doll (red_satin_doll)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 23:57 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 23rd March 2013 00:05 (UTC)

Posted by: ceciliaj (ceciliaj)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 17:41 (UTC)
Codex thumbs up

Fantastic review! Haven't even read the issue, but your review is the most I've enjoyed anything from Season 9 since Freefall Part One.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 18:30 (UTC)

Aww. :) Thanks!

Posted by: William B (local_max)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 21:48 (UTC)

Good review by the way. Sorry for making a mess up above :o

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 22nd March 2013 22:28 (UTC)

Don't worry about it. :) Thanks!

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 23rd March 2013 00:02 (UTC)
pic#85222149

I'm really thinking they're leading us up to The Return of Fred here. It's not just that Illyria is still somehow alive even with her mystical energy drained (Fred's non-magical soul is on the job), but she's also showing subtle Fred-like quirks as well. Illyria was always physically graceful and agile, and losing her magic shouldn't have affected that... but she falls clumsily through the window on top of Buffy while climbing into her apartment. Also, she was able to interpret a computer readout in Andrew's lab as indicating that Dawn was giving off mystical energy rather than brain waves... something even Andrew apparently missed. Where did Illyria suddenly acquire advanced computer and scientific skills?

As for Severin, I suspect he's going to run afoul of the Jafaar Paradox: get a genie's powers, and you also get stuck in a bottle. Get an Old One's powers, and you might just wind up in the Deeper Well.

I really hope Dawn's situation leads to an extended journey for her to find out why she's the Key, what the Key actually does besides avoid Glory and trigger Apocalypsi, and why the Order of Dagon thought it was so important to keep it alive and not just destroy it.

ETA: I don't think that was Buffy's mobile phone she was talking on. I think it was the land line receiver for the apartment phone, which Xander had to call because Buffy's cell wasn't responding.

Edited at 2013-03-23 00:04 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 23rd March 2013 00:12 (UTC)

The Return of Fred

It could be: the evidence you've listed is compelling. Although part of me is groaning at the idea of yet another character killed off on TV showing up alive and well in the comics...


I also think you could be right about the Deeper Well, though I suspect you'll be disappointed about Dawn's Keyness becoming an extended plot point. I think it's just another line from the brainstorming session at Joss's house about "What would happen if the world lost its magic?" "Well, something might happen to Dawn". "Okay, let's make something up for her."

You might be right about that being a cordless landline, but I've never seen them with aerials either, at least not in the last 20 years. :)



Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 23rd March 2013 00:41 (UTC)
pic#85222149

Well, we've had to endure the return of three supposedly dead bad guys (Warren, The Master, Rack)... Joss owes us a good guy. And if he's going to reverse one good-guy death, I hope it's Fred's. Hers is the one character death that still bothers me after all this time.

Dawn's journey of discovery regarding her Keyness may not be a "marketable" enough story to be told in detail in the comics, but it's a story I'd really like to see. The Key has to have *some* useful purpose, and I want to know what it is. Maybe I'll have to write it myself. :-)

Unless Joss goes ahead and kills Dawn, which he may very well do. Especially if he's going to give us Fred back. Every good thing has to be paid for with pain, after all.

Posted by: ladydorotea (ladydorotea)
Posted at: 23rd March 2013 17:28 (UTC)

Maybe Sev is going to the Deep Well to try and suck some more power out of the remaining Sleepers, no ?

As for return of Fred... I dunno what to say. I guess I just strongly dislike Chambliss writing Illyria. Sigh. Would have been jumping up and down if Lynch was the writer for this part, but alas.

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