Buffy: Season 8
“No Future For You, Part I”
The Blurb: “The Slayer population of the world has gone from two to nearly two thousand. Almost five hundred are working with Buffy’s European-based organization in squads- or ‘terrorist cells’, according to various military forces. Enter Faith, the pioneer of Slayer-related dirty work, whose talents as a fierce fighter continue to garner the attention of her former Sunnydale compatriots.”
Page One: We open on a large, stone head. We’re reading a voice over – “Oh, the places you’ll go!” Mom used to read me that book before she tucked me in… nights she was sober enough, anyway.
Page Two: We see that the large, stone head is part of the artifice of a skyscraper. Sitting near the top of the building is… Faith, blowing smoke out of her nostrils and complaining about being stuck in
Page Three: On the other end of the line is Robin Wood. Through their conversation, we can see that they are now exes. In addition, Robin is leading a squad of Slayers who are currently dusting vamps behind Robin as he chats.
Commentary: It’s unfortunate that Faith and Robin didn’t work out. But she, at least, seems to be handling it with snark. I like that Robin has been placed in charge of a group of Slayers, playing a more active role than in S7 of BTVS.
Page Four: Robin fills Faith in and asks for a favor: It seems one of the dust-ees was a single mother and she left her kids behind when she was turned. Robin is assuming that the kids are also vampires and doesn’t believe his newbies are ready for the emotional turmoil of taking on kids… even demonic, blood-sucking ones.
Faith says she’ll handle it. Robin tries some clumsy small talk, but she cuts him off, saying “So long, Robin” and hangs up on him.
Commentary: The rappelling gun is cool, but I don’t like the way Faith is being drawn… especially on panel one of this page. Georges seems to have problems with drawing existing characters, unlike Jo Chen – who captures their likenesses extremely well on her covers.
Page Five: Faith checks out the house and finds a crying kid. But, of course when she goes to comfort the little girl, she turns and hisses at her.
Commentary: I really like the first panel on this page. It’s the house with a shadow-shape of Faith at the door. In the foreground, one of her crumpled up cigarettes is lying on the ground, smoked to nearly the filter. I wonder how long she stood outside that house before finally taking a breath, steeling herself and going up to that door?
Page Six: “Damn. Dammit,” Faith says on finding six vamp-kids coming out of the woodwork.
There is a series of PAFT… as we see in one panel, just a shadow of Faith with her stake raised, as our POV drifts away from the house.
Commentary: Again, these are wonderful panels. Very cinematic by cutting away from the kid-vamps’ deaths by forcing us to stand outside of the house as the sounds of the dustings drift out into the night.
Page Seven: Faith returns to her apartment building at dawn. With her stake, she punches a hole in the plaster wall with a ‘shunk’ sound. There are several holes already there.
Someone off screen says, “Long night?”
Page Eight: It’s Giles! The conversation makes it clear that he has only just arrived and that Faith hadn’t seen him since Sunnydale’s implosion. Which, again, leads to questions about why he’s been so incommunicado (remember that Buffy hasn’t spoken to him either).
Commentary: The important thing here is that Giles looks far, far more Anthony Head-like than in past issues. And, he is wearing a horrible looking sweater-shirt thing… just what is that hideous yellow/white/grey/reddish pattern?
What is also important here is that the tension re: Buffy has still not been let go by Faith… not completely. You can tell if you imagine how Eliza would have delivered these lines, “You can skip the friendly uncle routine. I ain’t your beloved Buffy, I’m the go-to girl for dirty deeds done dirt cheap, right? So what do you need me to kill?”
Page Nine: Giles tells Faith he’s been keeping track of her, in so many words. He mentions that she’s tried to get a forged passport twice. He now offers her a passport, an annual stipend and freedom to live out her life as she sees fit without interference if she does a job for him. Obviously what he needs her to do is no ordinary job, but I didn’t see this one coming – he needs Faith to kill another Slayer.
Commentary: I find this a really disturbing development, as I will find a lot of details of S8 bothersome. But, I can actually see this. Giles of S7 was a much darker character than we were used to seeing in S1-5, even with the glimpses of ‘Ripper’ we received. After deliberately deceiving Buffy in an attempt to give Robin his chance to execute Spike, I can see him doing some very anti-hero stuff, if he feels it is necessary for the greater good. It’s still… disturbing.
Page Ten: Giles tells Faith that not all of the newly activated Slayers have chosen to use their powers responsibly – which Faith deadpans “You don’t say”. But, Giles tells her this situation is different than hers. This isn’t a young, angry woman making considerable mistakes – if left unchecked, this Slayer could usher in yet another apocalypse (of course!).
Giles tries to point out that he’s not talking about staking the undead, but killing a person, but Faith acts nonchalant about it and asks who the “evil bitch” is….
Commentary: I use the word nonchalant because I just don’t believe that Faith isn’t going to have problems with killing a human being again when the time comes… even if/especially when it comes to a fellow Slayer. And again, I find this Giles disturbing and am wondering if this is why he isn’t in contact with Buffy. I could certainly see him as wanting to shield her from the distasteful things that he feels he needs to do now. We already saw in The Chain that he is regularly meeting with and making deals with demons and now he’s arranging the execution of a newly called Slayer.
Page Eleven: Since Faith asked the question, we meet the “evil bitch” now. She’s obviously an aristocrat and she is the Lady Genevieve. She’s being trained by a man called Roden.
Page Twelve: At first we get the impression that they’re on a foxhunt with the Lady being expected to use her Slayer-senses to hunt it down. But, here we find out what she’s actually hunting is a fellow new Slayer. The upset girl fights back against her kidnappers.
Page Thirteen: Lady Genevieve backhands the other girl, snapping her neck. She’s appalled and horrified – which is nice – I was expecting her to be out there trying to kill the young girl on purpose, but it’s obvious that wasn’t part of her plan.
It’s also obvious that Roden is pleased with the “impressive blooding”. I think we know who the real bad guy is in this scenario.
Commentary: It’s not all positive though; I think the “arrogant aristocrat” was a little overdone with Lady ‘Gigi’ referring to the other girl as “filthy little commoner”.
Also here, Gigi tells Roden that she thought “this one” was a fellow Slayer. This would imply that there were other girls being nabbed who weren’t Slayers for Lady Genevieve to “hunt”… so what happened to them? With the Lady’s reaction here, it doesn’t seem likely she’s killed before – unless she thinks of other people as little more than animals and she’s only horrified this time because it’s a Slayer. But, though snotty, I just don’t get the ‘murderous’ vibe from her. I can see Roden killing the other girls though when they’re done – perhaps without Genevieve’s knowledge. This part of the story is a bit muddled in my opinion.
Page Fourteen: Genevieve is panicking over what she’s just done, but Roden reveals himself to be a warlock, as he summons creatures to “clean up” the mess. Gigi reveals here that Roden has been promising something to her… something that she feels she has coming to her.
Roden tells her she’ll have to be patient, with a shout out to Pink Floyd. (“As a wise man once said, you can’t have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat.”)
He also is carrying a book of some sort with an important clue on its cover: the symbol of Twilight.
Page Fifteen: Leaving Roden and Gigi, we return to Giles and Faith. They’re at a banquet center and Giles explains to Faith that she can’t just storm the Slayer’s home and take her out, or he would have done it himself already. Instead, they’ll have to use subterfuge to get her close to the target – and that means he’ll have to Dr. Higgins her Eliza Doolittle in the ways of etiquette.
Page Sixteen: Faith is slightly peeved that he doesn’t think she can fit in with “the higher tax brackets”, but he explains that they’ll be dealing with the British class system, which is more complicated than just putting on airs.
Interestingly here, Giles reaches out and grabs Faith’s arm to emphasize a point he’s trying to make. From her point of view, though, she flashes back to her past when someone else grabbed her arm and called her a worthless whore. She picks up a fork, yelling at Giles not to touch her, and stabs him in the arm!
Commentary: There’s been a
Page Seventeen: We start the page with the horrible Giles-drawing… he’s grimacing and Faith is looking shocked at her own actions.
We get bonding here between Faith and Giles – and we get another hint about Faith’s upbringing, including that she may have been sexually abused (something that fanon has long been speculating) when she states, “I don’t like getting pawed at”.
She also sees Giles’ Eyghon tattoo here and Giles informs her she isn’t the first person in history to have stumbled upon the notion of rebellion. It’s good Giles-dialog.
Page Eighteen: Giles makes the link between his past (without going into details) and Faith’s. It helps her to become more cooperative in trying to learn what he needs her to know to go on this mission.
Page Nineteen: In
Um… he’s working out with a punching bag. And, Buffy shows up to tease him regarding the “I am a formidable warrior” monologue he’s giving the bag.
Page Twenty: Xan’s self-conscious about the shirtless thing, but Buffy barely notices. She’s got a need to talk, but first she wonders what his sudden need to train is about.
It’s about Renee… the flirtatious Slayer.
Page Twenty-One: Buffy is feeling antsy. First, because they have no actionable intelligence on Twilight and because of Uncle Sam ‘declaring shock and awe’ on the Slayers. But, there’s also another thing bothering her: Slayer dreams.
These dreams involve a winged lion with a serpentine tongue and eldritch-magic mane saying, “The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen.” And then it swallows her whole.
Commentary: I always liked the quiet moments on BTVS with our characters having quiet dialog scenes, and I like it here, too. Xan and Buffy are great together and the comic continues showing us how close they are. This quiet, ‘hey, I can’t sleep’ scene is a nice example of it.
Page Twenty-Two: In
Page Twenty-Three: In the last page, Faith’s dialog was coming from ‘off-panel’. But here, we see her decked out in a ball gown as part of her disguise to get close to the rogue Slayer – and she’s gorgeous. The artists decision (or whomever it was) to dress Faith in dark green made an excellent choice – she’s ravishing. As Giles also thinks when she asks him how she’s looking and he replies, “Five by five.”
The Good: Some of the artistic choices as far as the panel layouts, I really liked. Specifically, I’d point to page 5, 6 and 23.
I like the beginning plot of this one, including checking in on Robin Wood. But, I really just like that we’re getting an arc focusing on Faith and Giles.
Despite that it’s disturbing, I do like the darker direction of Giles and his ‘wetworks’ – I think it fits well with what we saw of Giles in S7 of BTVS.
Faith in the green gown.
The Bad: There are… problems… with how Faith is drawn. And, there are some problems with Giles, as well, as far as Georges’ drawing.
I have a bad feeling that Lady Genevieve is going to be too stereotypically aristocratic, just by the few panels we get here, already.
Concerns: I’m not sure I can buy Faith’s quick agreement to getting into the murder game again (and let’s be clear – Giles is talking about killing Genevieve), but we’ll see if Faith shows some more conflicted feelings as the arc continues.
The Score: I enjoyed the start of this new arc focusing on Faith. My score is 3.75 out of 5.