No Future for You, Part II
Script: Brian K. Vaughan, Pencils: Georges Jeanty, Inks: Andy Owens, Colors: Dave Stewart, Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft's Jimmy,
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Cover by: Jo Chen
Blurb: The Slayers 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.
Commentary: Specifically, Robin - who last issue had Faith take care of dusting children vampires - and Giles. He has come to her last issue to target a 'rogue Slayer'....
Page 01: We see a handcuffed hand holding Faith's dagger from S3 of BTVS. "This is friendship." says the blurb-box.
Page 02: We're in flashback territory on that rooftop in Graduation Day, Part I... Buffy and Faith are fighting as Buffy tried to bring her in for Angel to drain. He'd been poisoned earlier in the episode, by Faith, using a special magical compound designed to use against the undead.
Faith's monologue is talking about friendship... with just a hint of her still feeling sorry for herself... read:
"They share a little of themselves with you, you share everything with them."
Page 03: The fight on the flashback roof culminates with Buffy stabbing Faith in the gut. Faith's monologue talks about forgiving each other, but no matter what you do, things can never really go back to how they were....
Commentary: And, right about here I wonder if she's talking about Buffy - or - is this more about Robin Wood?
Page 04: We're back in 'real time' with Faith... her monologue wraps up: "Anyway, live and learn. Almost die and learn way more."
Faith is approaching her target's mansion in her stunning green gown. From her ear she picks up Giles' voice urging her to keep conversation to a minimum. She's to locate the target, eliminate her and retreat to a pre-arranged extraction point.
Faith pops the earphone out and throws it away with, "Sorry, Giles. I've got enough voices in my head already."
Page 05: At the door, Faith passes a security sweep but is confronted about not having an invitation. She bluffs her way past by 'putting on airs' in classic rich, minor royalty, spoiled manner and is admitted.
Page 06: Faith gets into a line to greet their hostest, Genevieve... aka the 'rogue Slayer' target. She is nervous and we see that one of her hair pins is actually a disguised shiv.
Page 07: Genevieve is less than gracious to her guests. From the balcony, the wizard Roden is watching all. He immediately focuses in on Faith waiting her turn. With him are two gargoyle-like creatures:
"Girl is making my wand tingle, and not in the good way. If she so much as curtseys too shallow, turn her bones to dust," is the order. Roden also carries the book with him we saw last issue... with the 'Twilight' symbol on it.
Page 08: Moving to Scotland, we check in on Giant Dawn and Willow....
Page 09: Dawn and Willow are bonding as Willow tries to get Dawnie to reveal the incantation that Kenny the Thrisewise used to giant-size her. For reasons of her own, Dawn sticks up for Kenny.
Commentary: I love this scene between the two for the dialog:
Dawn: You don't understand, he was the only guy on campus who treated me like a friend, not a... a walking pair of boobs.
Will: Oh, Sweetie, don't talk like that. Boys are into you because of your legs, not those itty-bitty things.
Dawn: Heh. I missed you, Will.
Dawn is about to reveal something, but then they're interrupted....
Page 10: The interruption comes from Renee, the Slayer who has been flirting with Xander and who therefore has "I'm gonna die" stamped on her forehead.
Willow and Renee share some bantering, but the point of the scene is that Buffy has installed some radar stations to act as warning against an attack by the military of the United States (the U.S. Army can attack them on foreign soil - and an ally, yet??).
Commentary: This is as good a place as any to discuss just where the technical expertise and the funds are coming for all of this stuff. The second point is addressed in future, and it's disturbing and un-heroic. I'm not happy with the explanation, but we'll talk about that later.
Page 11: Back at Gigi's, Faith is on the balcony having failed to strike. She is still trying to summon the nerve to assassinate this Slayer and is making quick work of a pack of cigarrettes.
Commentary: I really appreciate, too, that my contention that Faith wouldn't easily turn back into a killer was also recognized by Joss and Brian. We get a very clear indication throughout this issue that Faith isn't ready to turn her back on who she is now, even for Giles.
We get some slight gay humor here revolving around the phrase 'bum a fag'....
Page 12: Over a cigarrette and Amy Winehouse discussion, Faith and Gigi bond... showing that it's possible there is something redeeming in Gigi's 'rich bitch' persona.
Page 13: Gigi seems to buy Faith's (here going under the fake name, Hope Lyonne) act.
Commentary: I like the small insight into Faith we receive here, too. It's very subtle, but when Genevieve asks after Faith's parents, it's not hard to read Faith talking about her real folks: Dad may as well be a ghost and mum is a filthy drunk.
Gigi's response: You sure we're not sisters?
But their chat is interrupted as Faith is yanked from the veranda from up above....
Page 14: Faith is yanked into the night air by the gargoyle things of Roden.
Page 15: As Gigi rages about her being a guest, Faith takes matters into her own hand after being bit on the back. With a head butt and one of her hidden daggers to the eye....
Page 16: ... Faith breaks free, but before falling to splat on the ground far below, she grabs the other gargoyle and crawls up on its back. The gargoyle falls with her hanging on for dear life and smashes into the ground, anyway.
During the fall, Faith berates herself first for treating every guy who's nice to her like crap and then for thinking 'dead girl' thoughts instead of getting her head in the game.
Commentary: And we can infer by this inner monologue that she blew it with Robin post S7 of BTVS....
Page 17: Faith gets up off the ground, injured but still with plenty of fight in her. She finds though that the gargoyles are made of stone and her fists are of limited help.
Page 18: As the second (now one eyed) gargoyle dive bombs her, she uses a Slayer-powered leap over it to cause it to explode into the ground.
Page 19: Faith self-congratulates, but then finally passes out from her injuries....
Commentary: The fight was short, but it was well done.
Page 20: Faith wakes up, having been taken in by Gigi, and hears Roden and Gigi arguing over her fate. Roden, of course, wants Gigi to snuff her out, while Gigi insists she's a fellow blue-blood and is on the same wavelength. She could use 'Hope' by her side.
Commentary: See my complaints in commentary of Issue 6 about Gigi's muddled complicity in the murder of past Slayers (and girls who were thought to be Slayers). There, it seems like she's more of a dupe to Roden - here it seems more like she's a cold blooded murderer (at least of those who she sees as 'common').
Page 21: Gigi instantly accepts Faith as her Slayer-in-Arms and begins to reveal that Faith's obvious difference is shared by her and other girls as well. She goes on to begin revealing Roden's plans for her to take over the leadership of society by becoming Queen -
Faith takes this to mean she's talking about killing Elizabeth, but she assures her not....
Page 22: She opens an armoire to reveal pictures of Buffy. One of the pictures is pinned up by a knife and the Twilight symbol has been marked over her face....
Commentary: And, I see the Buffy tie in book, "Queen of the Slayers" written all over this plot: Just replace 'The Immortal' with Roden and tie it into the Twilight storyline, and move the plot to a year after S7, rather than right after BTVS: Chosen.
Still, it isn't a bad story arc and I'm enjoying the Faith-goodness (especially since we're avoiding the 'Faith: Wetworks' sub-moniker I was worried about).
The Good: First, that Jo cover is as awesome as usual - especially Anthony Head's likeness!
Gigi is given a bit more shading here, avoiding the most aggregious characterization issues of number 6.
The Twilight tie-in plot is well handled, especially the obvious manipulation coming to light in Roden.
I like the Willow/Dawn bonding scene - though see 'Other Thoughts' below.
I like the whole Faith/Gargoyle battle, but especially the beautiful page 19.
The Bad: I found nothing badly done in the issue.
Other Thoughts: I am dreading what appears to be dragging out Dawn's plot, here. Teasing us with answers to how and why she became a giant, only to yank the explanation away isn't necessary - her little plot isn't that fascinating.
Scoring: The middle issues of an arc in the comics are difficult to judge because, by the format, you can't really go too far in the storytelling. You have to advance the plot, without getting any real answers, usually. I think this issue does a wonderful job of doing just that - and might possibly be setting up a showdown between Genevieve and Roden... I think this one is a bit better than the arc opener: 4.0 out of 5 stars.
No Future For You, TPB