Buffy the Vampire Slayer,
"Last Gleaming, Part V"
Script: Joss Whedon, Pencils: Georges Jeanty, Inks: Andy Owens, Colors: Michelle Madsen,
Letters: Richard Starkings & Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Jo Chen
Blurb: Giles is dead. Willow has lost her magick. And the Slayer line will cease to exist in our lifetime. It's a simpler world. A safer world. A world where everyone gets to be normal. Mostly...
My Blurb: Wow. Thanks for telling us everything in the blurb.
Page 01: We open with a shot from orbit of the world. In blurb-over we have presumably Buffy telling us, "The trouble with changing the world is...", which is obviously a direct call back to Buffy's blurb-over from Season 8, Issue #1.
Page 02: We find Buffy now waiting tables in a coffee house/book store. She mildly laments being back in the service industry, but assures us that this is her best experience with it ever on account of the lack of chicken suits and depression.
She is also relatively happy with being in more mixed company, even if the hot guys are more into other hot guys, than when she was stuck in Slayer-city.
Page 03: She's serving a table, when behind her some girl seemingly deliberately trips her.
Page 04: She's able to use her Slayer-agility to catch the tray with her feet, while on her back and without spilling a drop. It appears the Slayers (or at least Buffy from what we can see right now) still have much if not all of their power.
Buffy mentions that there seems to be a lot of clumsy people in San Francisco... all of them girls. Apparently her fellow Slayers are not taking the shattering of the Seed very well.
Commentary: Although, I have to say I'm not entirely clear why. If they have all of their powers, what is the problem? This will become even more of a question/mild problem to me understanding their attitude when we see that there are plenty of demons still running around too, but we can get to that as more details emerge about the consequences of last issue.
Page 05: Later, Kennedy is packing up her things and Buffy is there talking to her. Kennedy complains that Buffy sucked all of the magic out of the world (a call forward to Fray's future, again), instead of giving Willow a chance to beat back the invading demons and Twilight.
Buffy shoots back that she wasn't underground where Giles was being killed (by Twi-Angel). In order to stall further argument on that bit of mess, she just accepts that she screwed everything up. She turns conversation back to Kenn's packing and tells her Willow needs her, but Kennedy informs Buffy that Willow is the dumper, not the other way 'round.
Commentary: I disliked Kennedy as much as nearly everyone in S7, but the S8 Kennedy wasn't awful. I never really saw her and Willow as a solid couple though, and with what we've learned about Willow's proclivities during her dimensional hopping, it seems like this relationship was doomed. This was never more apparent to me, than last issue when Willow's primary concern was seeing Aluwyn. I'm glad there is a clean break being made before we go into S9 -- rather than having to have a drawn out mess.
Page 06: Later still, Buffy talks to Willow in the park about current events. She wants to talk about the breakup, but Willow just decides it was coming ever since she lost her magick (which seems disingenuous to me -- Willow was cheating on Kenn already), as Kennedy likes power and Wills is feeling sorry for herself in not having it anymore. She is falling back on her computer-skills though, so it isn't like she has no fallback plan.
But, it's obvious from Buffy dialog that Willow is obsessive in mentioning her loss of magic at every opportunity.
Commentary: I like this bit, too. It plays back on the sense of separation between Buffy and Willow all season and it also plays on Will basically having made the transition from computer geek to witch over S6 through S8. Willow had basically left the computers behind her, leaving Dawnie to pick up that slack while she was "The Witch". Willow's whole sense of identity had become tied in her ability to manipulate magic, and it is nice to see that she is going through emotional issues now with that identity being stripped from her.
Page 07: The conversation continues with Buffy trying to point out that the world wasn't destroyed, so she made the right choice. Willow, though, feels like Earth has lost "it's heart" and that in the end it is a dying world - it just hasn't realized it yet.
Buffy tells Willow that she knows she's going through magic-withdrawal but she shouldn't take it out on her relationship with Kenn.
Willow admits to Buffy that she had already fallen in love with someone else before this. Someone that she isn't going to see ever again.
Page 08: The next morning, Buffy is sacked out on Xander and Dawn's couch. They seem to have made the transition to not being in the big Slayer Organization Against World Darkness just fine... unlike Willow. Xander has a good job in construction, again.
Page 09: Buffy and Dawnie bond a bit. Buffy, it is obvious, misses the gang as the demon-fighting unit they were before she changed everything again.
Commentary: Again though, destroying the Seed has cut off magic, but the monsters haven't gone anywhere. Presumably, there was a sudden collapse in their finances and everything kinda fell apart from there. It would certainly have impacted any coven-group members as their specialities were suddenly rendered obsolete, but the Slayers have their powers and the demons who were already on Earth haven't gone anywhere. I hope we'll get some clarification about all of this, because it just doesn't seem like the former Slayer Army members are that bad off. They still have all of their natural skills, can still go monster hunting, or do whatever they want with their superior skill set, now.
Page 10: Dawn and Buffy talk about the aftermath of the change to the world. Buffy doesn't miss the war that she effectively ended, but she does feel adrift without that responsibility of leadership she held.
It doesn't appear that Dawn or Xander are having any problems with moving on.
Page 11: Elsewhere, General Army Twilight dude is on a cell to his 'honey'. He has just been cashiered out of the military for his role in the Twilight debacle. Though the U.S. government is going to push him out amid medals with his pension as a hero... he's still out of there.
He complains that they did win, but the politicians don't seem to be sure enough about that. He tells her that there are still some isolated cells of Slayers active, but the army they were worried about has been broken and disbanded.
Page 12: The elevator he's riding down in opens to Simone... she summarily executes him with a shot to the head!
Elsewhere, Giles' funeral has wrapped up. Buffy and Faith are with his barrister hearing his last will and testament. They find out that Rupert has left everything to... FAITH.
Buffy is heartbrokenly shocked.
Commentary: I am, too. Not like Buffy, but in a "what the hell, hero" sort of way. How could he? What was going on with their relationship that he wouldn't leave anything to Buffy, even some small token. Wow... I'm just kinda... well, pissed actually.
Page 13: In Giles' house, which is now Faith's, she consoles Buffy that Giles left the physical assets to her because Rupert always felt that Buffy was strong enough to stand on her own and make her own way. She isn't suffering any delusions that Buffy was always Giles' "number one son".
She digs out the Vampyre book from all the way back in "Welcome to the Hellmouth", saying that Giles wanted Buffy to have it, because in his eyes, she remained the one, true Slayer.
Page 14: They talk about an elephant in the room (a darkened office in the house, actually). Angel.
Faith has made it her job to help pull him back together in the aftermath of what he did as Twilight, especially what he did to Giles.
Buffy asks if she's sure, but Faith cuts her off. She tells her that she's the only one who wants to try, as Buffy can't even look at him and everyone else wants his head on a pike.
Page 15: Buffy is next back in San Francisco on Xander and Dawn's couch. Spike makes his appearance to play Season 1 Angel's role of issuing useless and cryptic warnings. She snarks at him.
Page 16: Spike gives her a pep-talk that she saved the world again, but this time enough people noticed it to second guess everything and then bitch about her solution. But, she is the one who did it, again when everything was in the crapper.
Page 17: Buffy is lying on the sofa in the dark, when she hears Dawnie extolling the virtues of Xander's big-sex. She realizes she needs to get her own place... like immediately.
In the bedroom, Dawn is yelling things at her through the door about Xan being soooooo-big, which a huge grin on her face. Xander himself was in the shower and there wasn't any sexing going on at all. Dawn is a brat!
Buffy rushes out of the apartment for patrolling.
Page 18: Out on patrol, Buffy is half-convinced that Dawn did things like that on purpose just to disgust her.
She's overlooking the city, hoping for a stray vampire or demon. Suddenly, she's beamed in the head by a chunk of rock. As she's lying on rooftop, a trio of Slayers stand over her. They tell her she doesn't belong there.
Page 19: The Slayers are pissed at Buffy for "betraying the cause" by cutting off the line on future Slayers and destroying the covens by cutting off the access to magic. It's something that Buffy is painfully aware of, already.
She tells them she isn't going to fight them.
Commentary: I gotta be with Spike on this one. F*@k these whiney elevated-potentials. The true witches might have more of an axe to grind, but only because they're weren't at that battle so they can be forgiven for not understanding how desperate things were and I imagine that it is quite a shock to go from communing with Earth to not communing with anything, ever. But, the Slayers are still superpowered. They should suck it and grow up.
Page 20: Buffy's attempt to turn the other cheek on that rock-beaming-to-head thing doesn't go anywhere. The trio of Slayers decide they want her out of San Francisco and are willing to beat her ass to impress upon her the depth of their desire.
Page 21: Well, Buffy did give it a try. Now, she easily just kicks their asses for them to show why she is THE Slayer and they're the also-rans.
Page 22: Buffy warns the girls that she wasn't fighting them, and she still kicked their asses because she's Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
If they come at her again, like this, she will decide it's time to fight them... the threat is quite clear about what would happen to them if she actually put in some effort against them.
She doesn't like it, as evidenced in blurb-over, but she has to try to get them to back off or this could be a continual thing.
Page 23: Buffy's blurb-over continues in discussing her "betrayal" of the others. Some think she betrayed them by boinking Twi-Angel (Willow), some by screwing up the Slayer line (SanFran Slayer Trio), and some by not being militant enough in the first place and leading to Slayers dying at the hands of their lessers (Simone).
The point is there is always something.
"The trouble with changing the world is... you don't."
As Buffy's inner narration is going on, we see Willow looking at a mystic book containing an image of Aluwyn. The little fairy-person from the underworld in I5 has returned to the surface world for some reason, and there is somebody dramatically evily lit with blood on him chasing down a girl in an alley.
Buffy's hears the alley-woman scream....
Page 24: When she arrives in the alley, she can see a vampire closing in on her. She wears a look of determination, and goes back to work.
The Good: Obviously, that counterpoint cover to Issue 1 is perfect (no scoring impact, though).
I like this issue as a breather after the Twilight climax last issue. I like seeing how our primaries are dealing with the aftermath of the Seed, especially where it comes to Willow.
I really like Faith taking the responsibility of helping Angel, the way he took responsibility for helping her in Angel: S1. These two make a great pair and I look very forward to Angel & Faith (but I have a lot of Angel: Aftermath to review, before I can start on those).
I like the return of Simone as a villain targeting Buffy.
The Bad: Nada.
Other Thoughts: I wish we'd gotten more insight into why the Slayer army disbanded, though, as the monsters didn't go anywhere. They're all in the same boat, just with no extra-dimensional traveling and no magic blasts being hurled their way. If anything, except for their numbers not being replaced, the Slayers actually have it better than before as they're less at risk during the fighting.
I also would have liked less to do with the random Slayers -- that could have waited -- so that we could spend more time with our Scooby Gang and extended members. For instance, Andrew didn't even appear here and he should have so we'd know if he had lived through the Twilight Arc or not (yes, he did). And, we should have checked in with Amy briefly, too.
The Scoring: This is a low-key story dealing with the impacts of Buffy's stopping Twilight and destroying The Seed. As such, there is a lot of dialog, but nothing is really gone into deeply as we sort of follow Buffy as she encounters the different reactions to her actions.
3.50 out of 5