Like many of the Buffy fans out there, I've been less than enamored with the Season 8 comics and some of the choices made. I also have ... been flummoxed, to say the least ... by the revelation of Twilight's identity and the glowing and the banging sex of universal destruction/birth of the latest issues.
Before I get any further, let me just say that you should visit Stormwreath's Issue Reviews and Meta ponderings, which I always find points out something that I hadn't thought about before (this should be taken as a nudge to complete the 'Retreat' arc).
But, here is the thing - I'm not ready to write off the comic, yet. Now, I'm fully prepared to face the fact that I may just be suffering some sort of Bargaining Phase, here - and denial about it - but, Joss has left me in this position before. In Season 7. I was pretty much bored with the 'arc' which seemed to revolve around the Potentials way too much for me, rather than on the Core Group. And when it did involve the group, you had the bullshit like Dawn kicking her out of her own house - and the Scoobies going along with it - after everything she'd gone through for them (that was the Anger Phase). So, I was pretty much just going with the flow, watching out of habit, waiting for it to end... like I am about this flippity-flippin' Twilight thing. And, also, I'm sort of over the Angel/Spike 'which will she choose - probably neither because they're not Dark Horse's properties right now' thing, too. Enough with Buffy banging vampires.
But there has also been some great stuff - I loved "The Long Way Home" for the Buffy/Willow bond and the Buffy Against the World heroic stance (yeah, yeah - the explanation of Warren's return pissed me off for how clumsy and ill-conceived it was). I loved 'The Chain', which I still think about. I loved 'Wolves at the Gate'. I loved 'No Future For You' and throughout it all, I've loved Xander's characterization. Sure, there have been problems (Warren. Twilight's illogic [which I'm still hoping is magical mind control]. Dawn's having not much to do again. Willow's uber-witchery. Buffy bank-robbery [which still pisses me off]), but they haven't been so severe as to drive me away.
And (and this may be that 'bargaining phase' again), Joss came through in S7 with "Chosen", which while not as emotionally affecting as I wanted it to be (because it needed to be a two-episode, movie-like finale where we actually go to deal with the aftermath), I loved how it ended with Buffy knocking down the entire "One girl in all the world...." creation-rule of the entire Slayer story.
Maybe I can forgive a lot because the good things can be so powerful as to make up for them, at least in my mind. But, despite my problems with Buffy's current season, I've never felt and don't really understand the source of this outrage that some are having toward it. I think the first time it slapped me that some people were having such a visceral response was the Satsu/Buffy flak in the letter pages.
I kept thinking - wha? huh?
I didn't exactly buy Buffy's leaping into bed with Satsu under the circumstances as depicted, but I didn't see it (as many in the letters column complained) as Buffy using Satsu, which was generating the outrage. I saw it as a desperately lonely woman, trapped with no other suitable companionship and with someone who clearly valued and wanted her as taking a brave step of accepting the companionship clearly offered. At no time was Satsu naive about Buffy's otherwise heterosexuality, nor was there any indication that there was a power-differential at play. In fact, Satsu was clearly the initiator of the encounter. I didn't get it. I don't get it. I accepted the plot development the same way I accept that Angel couldn't sleep with Buffy again because of the curse, even though logically, the very fact he was worried about turning into Angelus should have been enough to never be so comfortable that he'd activate the curse again, thereafter.
So, now we have the Twilight situation - and yes, I'm confused and all WTH?! too - but outraged? I don't mean to cause any more fan-fighting, but personally, I don't understand that either. Annoyed? Sure - I'm right there with everyone who wanted Buffy to beat the hell out of Twilight, rather than doing the extended bump-n-grind. And I think I'll be disappointed and a bit pissed if we don't get some sort of satisfactory explanation for why she's reacted this way - but I can't see her character being permanently damaged in the same way she wasn't when she hid Angel's return from Hell from the Scoobies and she wasn't permanently damaged in my eyes when she joined Faith in breaking and entering, and she wasn't permanently damaged when she started that hideous thing with Spike or when she berated him and beat him or even, yes, though she has bank-robbed.
I've been pissed at all of the Scoobies at some time or another - but Joss has always made me come around again (even with Angel - no one was more on Xander's side in Becoming, than I was) and I'm hoping he'll do the same here. Or with next season's stories. Whatever happens in this individual arc, and however much I may disapprove of the character's choices, I still have the faith that ultimately, these are still characters that I will love - and I don't think that is just denial, or acceptance. And, I don't think there should be a lot of deeper meanings about [choose your pet issue] made of Joss or the writer's general opinions made about one arc - I loathed S6 because it took Buffy's power from her - but I didn't worry that she would rise again from it. It took her awhile to get her feet under her again, but Joss always brings her back to her central, strong, independent and heroic center.
I believe the past is reason to believe he'll do so in the future as well.