BTVS: Season 8
“The Long Way Home” conclusion
Colors: Dave Stewart, Letters: Richards Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy
Cover: Jo Chen
Where We Are: Buffy has left Sunnydale for
Page 01: Flashback –
Okay – Let’s take a look at
A mess. That is what this was. All that had to be said was that Amy teleported him at the instant that Willow was trying to flash-incinerate him… stretching things, yes, but we’re dealing with magic so I could swallow disbelief. And then, Amy tried a resurrection ritual later which resulted in his current state. In order to protect his sanity, she fed him a line of B.S. about how he wasn’t quite dead so she could save him with her magic….
There. I hate it when readers have to explain away such obvious screw-ups.
I’ll also tell you that
Elsewhere, Dawn is using her giant fist to work out some frustration by punching out an (hopefully unused) granite wall.
Buffy let’s us know that Dawn’s strength hasn’t increased proportionally to her new size, which keeps Dawnie from simply defeating everyone in 5 seconds, I guess. And allows her to still get hurt.
Commentary: Okay, that scalpel hovering over Will’s eye is art panel of the month, hands down. And, ick.
Page 04: Dawn lets Buffy know that she trusts her to get
And then, she sticks a dagger in Buffy’s heart, “Will is like a mom to me.”
Page 05: Buffy and Xander are awaiting their mystics to re-open the portal Amy used for the abduction. Xan lets her know that there will only be enough energy to transport one, perhaps two people.
Commentary: Now, that is a cool idea. And leave it to
Buffy chooses Satsu to go with her (she’s the Slayer with the cinnamon lip gloss and the cat-mask).
In Else-space, five beings are standing together and one of them says aloud, “For goodness sake, yes. Grant her access.”
Commentary: First, yes – We do see
But what I want to do here is talk about these other-beings that step in to whisk
The Wood/Tree Woman: Obviously, this must be a spirit representing Wood. There hasn’t been much question about this.
The Blue Woman: This could be either Water or Air, but I lean toward water because of the ‘bubbles’ above her head. They could be large water droplets.
The Wild Beast Woman: I’d say this represents basic nature. It’s the primitive nature of magic, its roots. It could even be a representation of Earth – it’s lifeforce, rather than the soil which would be an interesting choice if deliberate rather than going with a rock-being.
The Irregularly Drawn Woman: This is the woman standing in the middle of the group of five. She’s a hard one to figure out, because she doesn’t have any sort of strong features. In keeping with the ‘natural forces’ tone of the others, I’d have to conclude that she’s either Air or Fire. I lean toward Air here because I’m hypothesizing the blue woman is Water.
So, so far we have Wood, Earth, Air and Water… the four elements. There’s another, Fire, that’s usually included … Fire… which may be encompassed by the small brazier with the flame that the others are surrounding. Which leaves us with an intriguing fifth member of our group…
Mathematical Formula Woman: It could easily be concluded that this is a representation of Math, or Logic, or Analytical Ability. I gave this some real thought and I believe it is a representation of Spirit, encompassed by Imagination. It takes leaps in logic via imagining that allows us to come up with these sorts of complex formulas.
Page 07: The General and Suit tell Amy that she’s disabled their security cameras in the lab. Amy tells the General that he just needs to be ready for Buffy, but not worry about the Witch.
The Witch belongs to
Commentary: Amy, dear? That was the WORST pun, ever. EVER. You are lame. What isn’t lame, however, is Buffy’s getting the Slayer Scythe to go after Wills.
Page 08: Satsu is feeling a little overwhelmed by the mission to get
But she’s going to get more self conscious when Buffy asks her for some lip balm before they head out and realizes it’s cinnamon… the same flavor she tasted on her mouth after the Awakening Kiss.
This would seem to confirm that it WAS Satsu who gave Buffy the ‘true love’ kiss to counter Amy’s spell.
“What you’re seeing is possibility. Thoughts, courses of actions, pieces of what you could be. Ending. He’s lobotomizing you. Do you have a plan?”
Commentary: This is some dark and scary stuff. S6 kind of stuff – but while reading it, I was really worried about how they were going to get
But I also have to admit that this passage is really powerfully chilling. And I do find myself smiling at the darkly humorous, “Do you have a plan?”
Uh – a plan?! To stop being lobotomized? I don’t know, it just struck me as darkly funny.
Page 10: In the ‘real world’ or the physical world, the military sense that the portal is opening.
Page 11: The General orders the firing of a giant, energy projecting beam into the portal to wipe out the Slayer contingent opening the portal.
But again, Xander is way ahead of them. He’s situated a giant parabolic mirror where the beam comes through – reflecting it back into the portal.
Commentary: Now, you could argue there is no way that Xander could know there was going to be a beam able to be reflected by a mirror so this doesn’t make sense. I don’t see it that way – he knows magic is involved. And, it makes sense to prepare for something to come through the portal in a pre-emptive attack on them. Further, there are a roomful of Slayers present for any sort of physical attack. This seems right to me.
Page 12: With the power beam spitter blowing up, Buffy and Satsu jump through the portal.
The General is trying to find out how many losses he’s suffered in this first salvo and yells for his men to “stay calm, dammit!”
But, Buffy counters that, “No. Panic.” Heh-heh.
Commentary: Xander gets a really great line here, too, that I loved: “Magic. It’s all done with mirrors.” Heh-heh-heh.
And, it just adds to my love of Xander Harris in this comic series.
Page 13: Satsu is using a katana. Buffy is using gymnastics and the Scythe. It’s a beautiful thing. And of course, the throng of grunts are totally outclassed.
Page 14: Buffy has the General knocked down and informs him that there are men dying and there’s only one person in the complex with enough power to save all of them….
Commentary: And, we need to talk about Buffy here. Since S5, we’ve seen Buffy struggle with her ability to not be ‘closed off’ or to stay connected to her responsibilities to humanity. In S6, she couldn’t connect to anyone, including her closest, dearest loved ones because of the trauma of being brought back from ‘Heaven’. (And I put it in quotes because I’m uncomfortable with the thought that the true HEAVEN could be accessed by magic… I know, it’s silly. I’m not even religious – but nonetheless, it’s a fact.)
Anyway, in S7, Buffy had trouble connecting to the Slayers-in-Training as individuals, seeing them as an army that she’d use in the fight against evil because she felt she had nothing else she could do. Despite Xander’s heartfelt speech about how Buffy cared about their lives more than they’d ever know – I’m not sure that was so throughout the whole season. Again, I think Buffy withdrew from her human-ness in her desperation to win.
I think we’re beginning to see that here, as well. First, she couldn’t connect to Dawn… (S5) and then she did near the end. Then she couldn’t connect to her friends (S6) and then she did near the end. Then she could connect to her friends, but strangers was another matter entirely (S7). But, she was able to finally connect to the S.i.T’s near the end. And now, (S8) it looks like she’s connecting with her friends, with her sister, with her fellow Slayers… but, possibly, not with the general crowd of humanity beyond her circle. And that could have some real problems if this callous attitude spreads to an entire army of super-powered Slayers, following her example.
Page 15: The page where we get a shout out to the arc title, “The Long Way Home”. Xander informs Buffy that according to GPS (another ability of the sound/camera unit wore by the Slayers) she’s a few miles south of the former Sunnydale.
“Sunnydale. Well. I’m the one who wanted to go home,” she thinks.
And, she runs into Amy levitating and waiting for her.
Page 16: I LOVE this whole page....
We start with Blue Woman talking to
Beyond the terrific response, it also shows that
Here’s the interesting thing… Buffy continues
And then, Buffy throws up a mystical shield to block a blast from Amy and then punches out some sort of mystic rock beasts that Amy had on hand.
Commentary: Now, this is a great idea to introduce. That after all of
Page 17: Amy tries to act tough, but Buffy throws her off her game by summoning an illusory image of Catherine Madison – prior to her becoming a cheerleader trophy. In the meanwhile, Satsu throws a grenade.
Page 18: Alas, Amy is still magically powerful enough to teleport away from the blast. Buffy and Satsu bust into the lab where
Buffy looks panic-stricken at seeing what is left of
Page 19: And we see
Also, Buffy sees a cell door with “30” on it and remembers the images she saw in her dreamscape. Remember, Ethan was standing behind three X’s? And he made the comment that he was a Roman Numerals kind of guy (instead of a Vin Diesel or Porn sort)?
Right. It was a clue that he was being held behind Room 30’s door.
Comment: Okay, first – I KNEW IT! I knew that this magic throwing around was going to turn into a “you can do anything with magic/insta-heal/teleporting everywhere in contravention of what we were told at the end of S6”.
It’s convenience without rules except what the story calls for.
But, I do really like we get a follow up on Ethan’s visit.
Page 20: Alas, when Buffy breaks in, she finds ETHAN IS DEAD!
He’s got a bullet hole through his forehead. The General who just murdered him is still there and almost shoots Buffy.
She throws him against a wall, and his uniform coat and shirt are torn open revealing the ‘Twilight’ scar we’ve seen before.
Commentary: I’m sad to see the end of Ethan here. He was a funny and exasperating character and I really wanted to see more of his and Giles’ interactions in this series. Hopefully, we’ll get him in flashbacks though in future stories.
Page 21: The General gets to mouth off to Buffy about how Twilight is coming and she’s against the U.S. Army now and she’s a terrorist and blah-blah-blah.
What’s interesting here is that the General knows that Buffy’s (and by extension all of the Slayers’) powers come from a demon spirit. Now, how does he know this? It points to someone who knows what Buffy found out, or possibly someone who used to be in the Council but has survived feeding information to Twilight.
Commentary: I should also mention that this page has been used to hypothesize that Riley Finn is Twilight. I REALLY hope that doesn’t happen. Evil!Riley is a fan-fic staple for everyone that’s ever hated his character. I didn’t. I don’t want to see him as the villain turning on Buffy.
Page 22: The news that Buffy is now fighting the entire human race (I think a bit of overstatement by General Voll) results in a great page:
Panel One: Buffy looks shocked, “Oh.”
Panel Two: Buffy looks to the side in thought.
Panel Three: Buffy looks down, eyes closed, a frown on her face.
Panel Four: Buffy looks at General Voll. She appears determined, “Kay.”
Commentary: Perfect end.
The Good: The Warren/Amy team up against
Buffy’s realizing that Satsu must have kissed her due to lip gloss of all things.
Xander Harris kicks ass and I adore him.
The awesome fight panels with Satsu and Buffy against the Army guys.
Buffy and Willow being able to merge and allowing Buffy to tap her magicks. I really can’t believe I’ve never seen this one in a fanfic story (doesn’t mean someone hasn’t done it), but I love this whole plot point!
Buffy’s reaction to General Voll.
The Bad: There’s only two, but they're both whoppers: 1) The explanation for
The Magic. Amy is teleporting all over the place like it’s no big deal (remember Anya telling Buffy that a witch of
Concerns: Ethan’s death was shocking, which is a good, but I think it’s a waste of a great character. I can only hope we’ll get some Giles/Ethan flashback stories – or maybe he’ll show up again to haunt Giles as a pest of a ghost… that could be funny.
The Score: What to do, what to do? I mean, I loved the character writing and the Twilight plot. I loved the hideous punishment that
I give it Buffy Number Four: 3.75 out of 5.0 stars.
This is where I would usually insert some pictures from the comic, but this review has run long (pages wise). I'll post another entry with the artwork.