Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 9, Issue 7
"On Your Own, P2"
Script: Andrew Chambliss, Pencils: Georges Jeanty, Inks: Karl Story, Colors: Michelle Madsen,
Letters: Richard Starkings & Jimmy Betancourt (Comicraft)
Cover: Phil Noto
Blurb: The end of magic on Earth has created, among other obstacles, zompires - mindless vampires who ignore the rules laid down by Harmony that allow humans and vampires to coexist. Willow has left San Francisco, taking Buffy's broken scythe, while Xander and Dawn strive for normalcy and keep their distance from the supernatural. Buffy was recently cleared of suspicions of murder by the SFPD - but now they want her help with the zompires! The Slayer's personal life has gotten weirder than ever, and facing her own problems is more than she can handle...
Page 01: We open in Buffy's apartment, in which she is not. Who is there though, is Anaheed and Tumble, her roomies. They're voting on whether Buffy stays or goes, as the Slayer is a bit public these days and it has caused some tension in the household.
Both surprise each other though, when they both vote that she should be allowed to stay.
Page 02: Both thought that the other of them wanted her out. Anaheed admits she may have overreacted to the zompire attacks on the news while Tumble just thinks that Buffy's cute and he wants her to teach him how to use her way cool crossbow.
Commentary: Which... I don't know. Future!Me is informing me that this won't make much sense on Anaheed's part later, unless she is just really lost in the role she's playing. Or, she was just ... I don'know -- really afraid for Tumble's safety...?
Well, I tell Future!Me to shut up with the spoiler attempts and move on.
Page 03: When the roomies go to Buff's room though, to share the good news that she's not getting kicked out, they find packed boxes, but no Slayer.
Buffy is currently sitting out on the BugShip hull. She's moving in with Spike, at least temporarily because of the freak out that she's been causing in her roomies' lives.
Page 04: Spike asks Buffy if she's sure about her appointment for her abortion, and Buffy is.
Meanwhile, across town a radio call reports a vampire involvement incident.
Page 05: Cheung and Dowling are nearby the location and respond to the call. Robert has stored wood stakes in the car's glovebox for this situation.
Meanwhile, Buffy is getting settled in... and complaining about Spike's lack of closet space.
Page 06: Spike asks her about her admission that if she was going to go the mommy route, that she'd run away with him. She tells him that even if she did, they'd only end up in a cramped apartment with less ambiance than the Bugship and it just wouldn't work out.
Spike tries to offer that he's very good with kids -- he was certainly good at supporting Dawn, while Buffy was dead. But Buffy... *sigh*... well, Buffy manages to say the most appalling thing: if she was going to run away to try to live a normal life, he'd be exactly what she was running away from.
He doesn't take this well and storms out, leaving her to slap her own forehead at the way that came out.
Commentary: So, I don't think Buffy meant this the way that it was stated. I believe what she meant to say was that Spike is part and parcel of the supernatural that she'd have to fight her Slayer instincts to battle as it is. He'd be, by his very presence, a constant buzz to her Slayerness, driving her to get back to fighting the more deadly supernatural threats, which she'd already be battling herself not to do as it is; it's the lesson she took away from her talk with Robin about his mother.
I believe she feels that to be successful in not rushing out into danger and leaving her child possibly motherless, or painting a constant target on the rugrat's back, she'd have to also cut herself off from the paranormal denizens of life completely.
I'm not sure that I completely agree 100%, but I think Buffy's concern is valid as far as her not being able to stop herself from rushing back into the fight at every turn. Like I stated though, she's a different person from Nikki Wood -- and there are plenty of Slayers to do what she does, so the world's survival isn't resting all on her shoulders anymore.
But, she really f-ed up trying to explain this to Spike, full-stop. But, I'm actually more annoyed with the writers than with Buffy on this one, because it feels to me like they're just teasing the whole Spuffy thing - AGAIN - and then having Buffy slap him down clumsily because he's about to get another limited series out of their manipulation (I've collected it and will be adding its review into rotation next).
The continued Spuffy/Bangel/Spuffy/Bangel teasing for this series (as in BTVS/AtS as a property) has gotten irritating, as I also have already stated, so let's move on.
Page 07: Spike's storming is interrupted by a call from Dowling. Spike tries to blow him off, but Robert reports that he's about to face a nest and Spike warned him that he wasn't ready... whatever he and Cheung are looking at off panel has convinced him.
Page 08: At the next, Dowling and Cheung are crouched nearby, investigating the patrol cars that have been flipped over. Dowling finds a badge in a pool of blood and realizes their officers are dead. He wonders where exactly they are because of the lack of bodies.
As we can imagine, less questions and more running away would have been good. Cheung gets jumped.
Page 09: In the bug ship, Spike orders a course set. He returns to Buffy and tells her that Dowling is in trouble. Buffy's ready for zompire battle, but Spike puts the kibosh on that [he says] because of her condition. She objects that she's not going through with the pregnancy, so it doesn't matter, but he tells her that until she hasn't gone through with the pregnancy, she's persona non Slayer.
Buffy's glare indicates that Spike may not be correct.
Back with Dowling, he watches Cheung tackled to the ground by two zompires.
Page 10: He leaves the dubious shelter behind an overturned patrol car, only to find that it is not only the two zompires wrestling with his partner that he needs to be concerned with. He's met by no less than 9 zompires who are all more interested in he, than in Cheung... who is off panel, and ergo probably not holding her own currently.
Dowling runs for Coit Tower, and is able to make it inside where he locks himself in.
Commentary: I had a feeling that Cheung was going to be doomed, doomed, doomed. But I was kinda hoping she'd get a better send off than this. I'm not sure what exactly, but at least death-by-big bad's-lieutenant near the end of the season would've been good. But no. Clearly she's going to bite it by random zompire attack.
Page 11: With Dowling "safe" for the moment... a very short moment, surely... Spike arrives. He jumps out of the Bug Ship with a quip, that is cut off in mid-insult, as he's tackled with an "OOF" from mid-air by two of the zomps.
He's faced with a mouthful of gnarly shark-teeth and vamps out to fight back.
Commentary: That was an amusing panel of Spike's big hero entry being undercut by the mid air tackle. I smirked. But then he just had to say, "Two can play at that game...," which wasn't nearly snarky like he thinks. That is more like something Cordelia would say, or Willow's lame attempt at a badass boast. I groan.
Page 12: Spike quickly stakes the zomp, while Dowling has reached the top of the tower. He looks down, only to see the zomps' numbers have increased below, and they're climbing up the tower's wall toward him and easy entry [Please -- that 'lock' would have been snapped and he'd have been overwhelmed by now. The zomps-up-the-walls is cool and all, but totally unnecessary to reach Dowling].
Speaking of the number of zompires increasing: Dowling has 19 of the baddies coming for him. Meanwhile, Spike is bogged down with his own army of savages and ergo not readily available to rush to Dowling's rescue (I count a dozen crowded into that little panel, and there may be two or three whose heads are shown peeking over Spike shoulder).
Dowling stares at his one little stake and reviews, "Pointy end out. Aim for the heart." He isn't looking too confident.
Commentary: I'm really hoping we're going to get some explanation for this. SOMEONE has to be actively creating these things for their numbers to be increasing so rapidly. And considering we've been told how mindless they are, you'd think it would be a regular vampire doing this on purpose and not just random zompires siring.
They're really going to need to watch how many numbers they're tossing in for these scenes, too. Even with "dramatic purposes", Angel & Faith have told us that the zompires are stronger than ordinary vamps, so that combined with their 'mindlessness', shouldn't they still be at the Tower door smashing their way in, rather than the effort it is taking them to climb it after our cop?
And instead of [SPOILER][Minor Spoilage]Cheung getting herself zompired[END] wouldn't it have made much more sense for her to have been mindlessly torn apart as the zomps fought over her salty, red stuff?
Page 13: In the Bug Ship, Buffy is staring down through a porthole. She orders the bugs to get the ship as close to the Coit Tower as they can, while she grabs up her stake.
On the ground, Spike is knocked off of his feet. He tries to tell the zompires that he's already dead, but that doesn't seem to be holding any sway.
Up in the Tower, Robert is faced with the daunting task of fighting for his survival against the zompires now reached the nice, airy openings in the room he's stuck in [or, uh, he could have been rushing back down since the zompires left the door he came through empty as they climbed en masse up the tower -- which he could have noticed since he was looking down at them --- Too late now].
Page 14: Poor Robert is clearly, entirely unprepared for zompire fighting. He doesn't even pass the basic "keep calm on your feet" lesson. Due to this, he doesn't even swing out once with his stake before he's grabbed from behind by one of our beasties.
Thankfully for him, Buffy has arrived, using his leg to help haul herself in, and distracting enough attention from the zompire to keep Robert unbitten.
Page 15: As Buffy is hauling herself in, and zompire is distracted from biting, Dowling swings backward with a (little too) perfect swing, managing to dust the zompire that has him [while I note that the other zompires dutifully wait]. He's very pleased with himself for his first dusting. Buffy snarks it won't be his last, as the crowd of zomps close in on her and he.
Robert has gotten over the shock enough to mention Buffy's arriving in the Bug Ship and asking about her and Spike setting up house.
Commentary: Because... uh... priorities, and stuff.
Y'know, when the Scooby Gang have extraneous conversations, you can buy it because they've been through all of this so much already. I find it less believable, and ergo a bit less humorous, when the characters completely new to the monster fighting do it. Isn't this the guy that just got done being frozen in indecision until he got grabbed? I just think that he'd be much more focused on not getting in the zompire gang's grip again, than on holding a conversation.
Page 16: Buffy corrects Dowling on his thinking Buffy and Spike have become an item since his last talk with Spike about this. She orders him to embark to the Bug Ship.
Meanwhile, Spike is still on the ground trying to fight off the hoard that is crowding him.
Page 17: Buffy makes a leap that I find unlikely, even for her, and lands in their midst. She begins mass dusting in Buffy-style.
Page 18: With the zomp-gang now just a dusty mess on the ground, Buffy confronts Spike about his feelings. She wants to know why he didn't just tell her [wow -- Buffy the Blind Slayer]. He tells her that she kinda has bigger problems at the moment. Plus, he's kind of tired of their dynamic [AMEN].
Spike tells her that he wants to help her through her current pregnancy drama and then he thinks it's best that he take off for awhile with the Bug Crew to explore space.
Page 19: He goes on to tell Buffy that he doesn't only want to be the dark place that she runs to when things aren't working out for her.
Spike tells her that's not why he's been hanging around this whole time. Buffy [densely] realizes he's been staying for her.
He tells her that he could give her what she needs, that he wants normal too, and finally that he wants normal with her.
But this heartfelt declaration is interrupted by a really loud crunch sound from just off panel, and a sudden shocked/stunned look from Buffy with the widest eyes-of-"OH... NO..." I've ever seen her drawn with....
Commentary: So, despite my not-pro-Spuffy stance, I loved this page. I loved Spike, here. I loved his finally saying what he should've said before.
Do I buy that he and Buffy could do normal? Not really -- maybe in the very short term. I do believe he'd give it a real try.
Do I think that he and Buffy could make it even without the actual normal bit? Yeah. I do.
Do I think we're not being jerked around on the Spuffy relationship this time? HAH. Which, just annoys me for reasons I've already explained.
Page 20: And our drama takes a sudden left turn into Ridiculousville as Buffy's arm is torn off just below the shoulder by a zompire that they didn't notice due to deep discussion.
The zompire runs away chewing at the arm. Spike rushes the zomp and makes a quick dusting of him, retrieving Buffy's arm for her. But guess what?
It's a robot arm. And Buffy's shoulder is sparking with electrical arcs.
Commentary: WHA? UH? WAI-?! HUH?
Oh, god... is this going to be another Twilight-Identity-shock that totally ends up making everything before entirely senseless?
Like how could Spike not detect fake!Buffy? How could Willow not detect fake!Buffy? How could Buffy think she's pregnant? How could Buffy's pregnancy test come out positive? With Buffy's fighting the zompires, how could NONE of them scratch her simul-skin to reveal the shocking secret? When did this happen?!? Who would do this?? Where is Buffy - is she in on the replacement scheme?
*Sigh* Let's move onward for our answers, and hope that it isn't a Twi-Mess-Repeated *sigh*.
Page 21: Buffy stares at her shoulder at a loss, while Spike stares at her arm. He points out the obvious that he thinks she's gone mechanical. Buffy can't understand any of this, as she's sure that she's her and not a robot.
Meanwhile, Robert is getting along with the Bugs, where one of them messes with his head by claiming that on their home planet they stomp on tiny humans as pests. (LOL)
Page 22: With Bug Ship landed, Seb offers to put Buffy's arm in the incinerator for her. Spike waves him off, but Seb tells Buffy not to worry -- limbs always grow back.
Spike tells Buffy that he knows his way around a Buffybot, and she's definitely one now. Buffy mentions the obvious conclusion that she can't be pregnant, after all. She seems a bit disappointed, even though she didn't want to be [perhaps Spike's declaration had her rethinking the abortion]. Then she's hit again by what all of this means:
"Spike... I'm a f$&@ing robot!"
Commentary: So, my first impression of this sudden revelation was "pissed". In one lame move, they entirely made Buffy's dramatic struggle with a very powerful issue moot. And they did it in such a ridiculous way that doesn't make any sense on the surface due to some of the issues I brought up above.
But, it also made Spike's entire declaration of love and unconditional support entirely moot as well -- I was pissed for the Spuffy-fans who've had their moment ripped out from under them again and again and this time in such a random, hamhanded way! It couldn't have been worse, if this was all a dream episode. And that's because, they've not only made Spuffy moot (except for the drama of those great lines -- you could really see SMG and JM rocking those scenes) but it makes Spike look like a dipshit. HOW COULD HE NOT HAVE KNOWN WITH THOSE VAMPIRE SENSES?? It's not like he's been distracted for several critical minutes by a harsh Glory-beating (which is my way of stating, that yes, I do except Buffy's being able to fool him in "Intervention").
Ugh. Okay, fine. Let's see what they do with this ridiculousness.... (I will say that I'm less angry than I was with Twilight=Angel, but I was afraid that this was going to be another Warren-Back-From-The-Dead plot and if that had been, my rage would have been total.)
What I really wanted is for Buffy to have skipped out of town after she found out she was pregnant without telling anyone and for the Buffybot to have been created by Andrew to support her decision. The Buffybot thinking she's pregnant could be explained by some sorta shared-mind tech/magic thingy that made her think she was the real deal at the time of the memory copy and ergo she also thought she was pregnant. This would be the swap was made shortly after Buffy's test came back positive -- perhaps after her talk with Robin... Part of this turned out to be correct, like Andrew's involvement, but NO. They went with something lamer.
The Good: I do like the constant tug and pull between Buffy and Spike's emotional entanglements.
I also really like Buffy(bot) and Spike actually talking about their emotional entanglement.
The Bad: I'm remain mildly annoyed that everytime we reach a place where the Spuffy is going to be settled for good or ill... we get an "unclear, ask again later".
Other Thoughts: I wish that I was more invested in the support characters, but I'm not finding anyone that I can latch onto. Cheung's ending was "meh". Robert's threat was "meh". Anaheed is okay. Tumble seems likable enough. But I'm just not into any of them.
The robot left-turn into Bizarroland pisses me off, but only because of the way that it makes what has come before so much less sensible. I can't hate or like the development at this point. I can only point out how this short circuits Buffy's entire pregnancy arc, not to mention her feeling about Spike and that effect of this plot point pisses me off. Not enough to shove it into the bad... but man, they need to make this make sense to me with the upcoming explanations.
The Score: I liked the issue, but I wasn't gah-gah over it. And the Buffybot revelation really crimped the good parts of the issue (the Spike and Buffy stuff), which was unwelcomed.
3.0 outta 5 stars
Next Up: Angel & Faith, Issues 8 & 9.
BTVS, Issues 8, 9 & 10
BTVS, S2, "BECOMING"
Movie Review: "The Land Unknown" (1957)