Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 10, Issue 07
“I Wish” part II
Writer: Christos Gage & Nicholas Brendon, Artist: Rebekah Isaacs, Colorist: Dan Jackson, Letterers: Richard Starkings & [Comicraft’s] Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Steve Morris
Page 01: We open on Xander and Spike moving their boxes into their new apartment. Apparently forgetting what living with one another was like before, they immediately fall into the conflict of roomies… whose stuff is going to take up all the space.
Xan complains about Spike’s collection of Soap Opera Digest for the Passions articles. In return, Spike shows naught but contempt toward Xander’s maquettes/dolls.
Page 02: The next argument is over the rent, as in Xan has paid most of it plus the security deposit, while Spike points out that he’s not really all that employable in the modern world. Xander suggests he look into Dowling’s Supernatural Crimes Unit as a consultant.
He has second thoughts when Spike idly wonders if he could get a badge and gun.
Page 03: Over at Buffy, Dawn and Willow’s new apartment, things are going a little more smoothly. Probably because Dawn and Willow aren’t actually there getting in Buffy’s way at the moment.
But Giles is there and he’s with D’Hoffryn. They’ve all reached an agreement on a new change to the rules of magic: that barriers between Earth and the demon dimensions are now naturally strong, making it harder for the weaker classes of demons to intrude.
D’Hoffryn brings up how little this will do to naturally occurring portals like the Hellmouths, but it’s been agreed upon that they won’t try to make any large changes because of the larger risks of push back from The New Seed and the chaotic magic it introduces.
Commentary: I liked this page for addressing at least some change that can be wrought to make things better that shows that Buffy’s gang and D’Hoffryn’s Mystic Council can work together. It’s a neat idea that the demons and humans will have to be in agreement and it’s clever that if our group did try to work things to their overwhelming advantage, the new natural magic would turn it against them anyway. It’s provides a needed logic to why Buffy and Giles wouldn’t just banish the hell beasts and lock the doors behind them.
Page 04: After the demon makes his exit, Giles reflects and worries about his inability to resist the demon that they’d faced to gain their new housing. He worries about his ability to not be corrupted by the power that writing the new rules includes. But Buffy isn’t worried. She believes in the gang as a team to keep everyone on the same page.
The only thing she’s a little buggy on is Giles living alone in his own apartment. It seems that at least some of his assets have been unfrozen. He tells her that he’s right across the hall from everyone so he’ll be fine… other than that adolescent moodiness thing he’s going through.
Page 05: Willow joins Buffy in their apartment, leading Spike and Xander who are still sniping at one another. She explains that she’s got the magic warning wards on their apartment done, but she’ll need to wait to do her, Buffy and Dawn’s apartment until after her job interviews. They decide to move the important book to the boys’ apartment in the meantime.
Dawn comes from downstairs - yes, the girls’ apartment is a bi-level apartment, quite generous of the new landlady - with a box of Xan’s stuff that she grabbed by mistake.
Page 06: Xan takes the opportunity to invite Dawn on a date, but she turns him down because of the part time job she’s taken. She suggests he go with Spike -- for some reason [I’ll assume that she’s not the Spander fan that she is in spanderverse].
Buffy hands the book over to Xan, talking up his strength of character to guard such an important tome. Spike wonders aloud why they’re speaking in exposition.
In the hallway, Buffy gives Xander pointers on not trying so hard to reconnect with her sister and offers that she’s walking her to work, where she plans on talking him up the entire time. He compares their current living/dating/friendships as a sitcom but thanks her for any help.
Page 07: Back in their own apartment again, Spike and Xander consider the book of power sitting on their dining room table. Spike offers that them being in charge of it seems like a spectacularly bad idea.
Xander jumps to the accusation that Spike may be considering using it to improve his unrequited desire to renew his sexual relationship with Buffy, but Spike counters that he and Buffy have reached a new maturity in their relationship and he isn’t the old Spike.
But then he offers that if Xander wanted to use the book to set right what magic put wrong by helping Dawn reclaim her former feelings for him, Spike wouldn’t consider it a crime.
Xan has to admit to having thought it, but also says that he can’t trust the books Monkey’s Paw tendencies and can’t risk it.
Commentary: One of the things that I’ve really liked about Season 10 is how good the gang are together and moving in the same direction feels. And I love this page for both showing Xander vulnerable and for writing him and Spike as mature enough not to mess with the girls’ respective feelings, while also not denying that the temptation is there - especially for Xan since Dawn’s current “emotional reboot” was something that was done to her against her will, already.
It’s also interesting to see that when both men have no other financial options, they find one another again as living together. I still wonder about Andrew’s being kept so adjacent after the last two years, though. It feels to me like he and Xander being roomies wouldn’t be that much more difficult than he and Spike and it may even be more arguably likely.
Page 08: Spike offers that Xan is right about not messing with things, and attempts to give him a pep talk about self-love and putting out good vibes into the universe.
Xan yells at him to shut-up and accuses him of sucking at convincing anyone, including himself, that he’s over Buffy.
Spike gives him a moment and then offers to go to the bar for a drink, rather than tear his throat out for him. Xan agrees.
Page 09: At the local pub, Spike addresses Xander’s anger issues and we find out that Xan has started seeing a councilor about them. He offers that his therapist says that they’re a reaction to his feeling helpless and there has been a lot of that lately. The important thing is that he’s trying to get help.
But right now, he’s just angry at Spike without actually being angry at him. It stems from the way that he’s able to relate to Dawn so easily, even with her emotional reset to when she should view him as un-souled and therefore untrustworthy. Xan points out that Spike has always known just what it is that she needs from him. He asks for Spike’s help in winning her affections back.
Page 10: Spike talks about Dawn’s side of the equation, and Xander is shocked that he didn’t even think of what Dawn is dealing with in relation to Joyce’s passing. He’s left feeling like a heel.
Spike gives him a quick lesson on love that sounds a bit too much like the Dr. Phil that he claims he doesn’t regularly watch.
Page 11: Xan and Spike are interrupted by two separate girls. One of whom claims to have overheard Spike’s loquaciousness in regards to love and liked what she heard. Another who is drawn to Xander’s B.P.R.D. (Hellboy), while sporting a Diamond Back Arctic Fox Tool Belt which he immediately gloms onto.
Commentary: It’s all very suspicious and surely should be regarded as such by our hormonal dullards.
Page 12: A short while later [really, it’s even in the blurb that way], Spike’s new friend is telling him how his words are like lovers having their way with her emotions. Meanwhile, Xander’s new friend is telling him about how she got into construction work… which just happens to be the exact same reason she got into it.
What a grand coincidence!
The girls suggest that the boys come back to their place. They gently decline… but then the girls cheat with some sort o’ hypno-whammie.
Page 13: As Spike and Xander follow the two ladies to their apartment with thoughts of sex… or Spike disemboweling Xander if that’s what his date would like, Ghost Anya tries to snap Xan out of it.
She finds that his attention can’t be broken from the girl of his imagination when she whistles after him, indicating the women are Sirens.
Page 14: At our Sirens’ apartment, we find a Grand Mother waiting for our boys. She informs them that they’re about to have the times of their lives with the big sexing of her… of course, this’ll end in death, because duh, but still….
Page 15: A bit later and Spike and Xander have been stripped down to their underwear. They engage in the usual male fantasy for females… the pillow fight.
Meanwhile, Ghost Anya realizes that she can possibly break Xander out of his trance by overpowering the seductive voice powers of his Siren. This involves her screaming at him to stop being an idiot and fight for his freedom.
Commentary: Which unfortunately comes across as less like a great insight and clever counter tactic and more like Screechy-Anya… oh, yay.
Really, why was Anya brought back in ghost form? What purpose is her character going to serve that makes not leaving her off in comic limbo worth doing?
Page 16: Xander can hear Anya, but the voice driving him from the Siren is too strong and he’s only able to resist for seconds at a time.
In order to take best advantage of it, while he’s clear headed enough, he drops his pillow. When Spike comes for him, Xan takes up two cocktail toothpicks, shaped like swords and shoves them through Spike’s eardrums.
Spike, enraged launches himself at Xander to rip him apart much to Xan’s chagrin.
Page 17: Thankfully for Xander, Spike’s mind clears before he does something drastic. It only takes him a glance to know just what is happening.
Meanwhile, his “date” is proud of her driving him insane, but Grand Mother isn’t a fool. She warns that if Spike’s hearing has been damaged….
He quickly lets her know that it was, and he’s now free. Grand Mother sets the other Sirens to defend her against him.
Page 18: As Spike tries to wrestle through the minions to the Grand Mother before his eardrums regenerate, they’re ordering Xander to help save them. He does this by taking a bottle to the back of Spike’s head.
It doesn’t knock him out, but it does allow Xander to get Spike in his sweaty grasp. Spike complains about the man sweat getting on him.
Commentary: Oh yes. This was definitely and deliberately Spandery-subtext. And it’s awesome, if you’re me and like the teasing which will obvs not be becoming text.
Page 19: Xander jumps on Spike’s back, trying to wrestle him away and complaining that without the Sirens, he’ll be nothing.
Spike’s hearing is starting to come back, so he realizes he needs to end this faster. But he does take the time to tell Xander that he’s stronger than he thinks he is (obviously not realizing that Xan had help resisting the Siren song because of Ghost Anya).
He’s able to fang the last hench-Siren, killing her relatively easily once he gets his hands on her. But the Grand Mother seems to have performed a retreat while he was busy. With the Sirens dead and the song stopped, Xan returns to his senses to find himself wrapped around Spike’s body. He warns Spike that they will never speak of this again, which Spike agrees to most heartily.
Xan then asks how his muscles can be so hard, while his skin is so soft.
Commentary: Well, really -- is this still sub-textual? Especially when you have to wonder what the heck is going on with Xander and Dracula, too.
Page 20: Later back at the pub, Xan and Spike has been joined by Dowling where they report the Siren bodies for clean up. In the meantime, Robert tells them that he’ll issue an alert for the Grand Mother. Xan excuses himself to return home for the night.
On his walk back, he speaks to Ghost Anya. He first apologizes to her for their break up and for her getting killed in the final battle of Sunnydale. But she tells him that her staying to fight was her own choice and not everything that happened to her was all about him. She does accept his apology for the other bad stuff between them though.
He brings up maybe using the book to give her a new body and make her a not-Ghost, but she admits that she’s not even sure if she’s real or a figment of his imagination. She offers that the risks are just too great and that all she really wants now is to figure out why she’s there, do the task she has, and then fade out into whatever is next.
He promises to help her in any way he can.
Page 21: At the apartment entrance, Ghost Anya wishes Xan a good night and offers that he’s maturing and there is hope for his relationship.
Xan says he’s taking things slowly with repairing things with Dawn. But then he spots her down the block, talking with a guy and laughing. He slams into his apartment, regarding the book.
Page 22: Meanwhile, back at the pub Dowling and Spike have finished their beers. They commiserate a bit over Buffy before leaving together.
Just after they leave, a mysterious woman by the name of Dylan asks the barkeep if he knows anybody named Spike that is supposed to live around there.
The Good: Hah... I like the shout out to Spike's soap opera mania for Passions.
I do like the way the subject of the book and changing magic's rules were addressed in this issue.
I like the writing between Xander and Spike when they're alone, and not just the cute Spander moments. Which, yes, naturally were fun and enjoyable as well.
The Bad: I'm not understanding the point of bringing Ghost Anya into the series and I'm finding her awfully one note.
Other Thoughts: The entire covenience of everyone getting nice roomy apartments all near one another on the same floor is a little too convenient. But I do like that the writers actually point out how sitcom this set up is.
The Score: The Siren story was kind of flat and the tidbits with the gang were a little silly without much payoff. It wasn't badly written (except for Anya's flat characterization) but it certainly was... slight.
3.0 out of 5 stars