Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 10, Issue 19
"Freaky Giles Day"
Writers: Christos Gage & Nicholas Brendon, Art: Rebekah Isaacs, Colors: Dan Jackson, Letters: Richard Starkings & [Comicraft's] Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Steve Morris
Blurbing: Buffy and the gang put aside their awkward past and fought together to beat back the Big Bad, Archaeus. After they shattered his powerful portal-creating artifact and sent him packing, a trio of rival demons - the Soul Glutton, the Sculptor, and the Mistress - got their hands on the artifact's remains and are now hoping to use it to place themselves in a position of great power on (E)arth. But a quiet moment isn't too much to ask for, is it? Probably...
Page 01: We open on young Giles' excited expression as he is hopefully confirming that somebody can make him an adult again.
That somebody is Willow, but she explains the downsides of the spell. It's not permanent because it's actually a fast-aging casting so it'll have to be reversed to keep him dying from old age in a few days. Also, once the anti-spell is cast on him, she won't be able to use the fast-age spell again because he'll have immunity.
She tells him to choose when he wants a day as an adult again. Rupert has already tuned her out though in order to text Olivia. When he's confirmed that she's free to get together, he tells Wills he'd like to have the spell cast immediately.
Page 02: While Willow and Giles discuss the incantation, Dawn comes downstairs with a phone in hand. She tells Buffy that Hank, their father, wants to get together for lunch.
Xan mentions that Hank was in Spain the last he [& us] heard. Buffy tells him that her dad is in Silicon Valley now, trying to get in on a new start-up venture.
Page 03: Two hours-ish later and Willow works her magic... which leaves Giles growing out of his teen!clothes with his extra growth and mass but the important thing is that Rupert can be off to enjoy his day of adulthood. And he's still youngish... perhaps twenty now.
Page 04: He rushes directly to Olivia's hotel suite. He tries some small talk, but Olivia points out they can talk about her job anytime. He offers he didn't want to seem too eager, but she assures him that with their limited time, there isn't any such thing.
Page 05: The following morning, Rupert has to kiss Olivia good bye as she has a meeting that can't be put off. But she remarks that he must have a whole list of things that he wants to do before he de-ages, again.
Giles has to admit that he hadn't thought beyond a night of passion with her.
But we later see him test driving wildly a sports car, and getting caught up with his Great Aunts before rushing out on the town in new, more adult-than-Xander wears clothing.
Page 06: Giles comes back to the apartment of the girls to check in. Willow says that she's got to be on her way, as she has a job interview with Theo Daniels and whatever his new project is going to be. Rupert tries to tell her that she should go in a business suit, rather than the Bohemian Look she's sporting, but Wills tells him about Theo's "creative look and attitude" outlook and assures him she has it covered.
Commentary: This scene is interesting for Giles' "Yes, I see" and the frown on his face. It's obvious that with his re-aging somewhat, he's trying to reassume the role of mentor and father-figure. But our guys and gals... though sometimes it can be hard to remember it... are adults now, which makes Rupert's attempt to reassume the role he used to play awkward.
I felt a little badly for him when Willow dismisses his concerns by pointing out that she can handle things herself. I know she didn't mean it in a demeaning way, but I think Rupert may have felt a bit dissed in the moment.
Page 07: Rupert next turns attention to finding their errant demon cabal in order to retrieve the smashed bits of mystic artifact. Buffy shoots this down as having already performed an exhaustive search with no results. When he suggests digging into the books to see where they may be hiding from sight, Xander informs him they've done all that, too. Most of Giles' information can be found online, now that the supernatural is out of the shadows.
Everyone, it seems, is turning into an amateur Watcher.
Buffy tells him they've decided they need for their quarry to make the first move. Besides, she has to go have the father-daughters lunch. Rupert sympathizes, but when he attempts to give her some advice dealing with Hank, she asks him not to... a little more harshly than was meant, because she's not interested in seeing her father in the first place.
Page 08: Giles is a bit taken aback and Buffy goes on to tell him that they don't need a Watcher anymore, they need somebody who can help them figure out how to deal with all of the real-life stuff, and become normal, healthy adults.
She then says, "And I'm not trying to be a jerk, but I don't think that's you."
Rupert slams out of the apartment.
Behind her, Xan and Dawn are wearing "what the hell was that about" face but Buffy - without turning around - holds up her hands. She tells Xander not to say it, and she tells Dawn they have to go.
Commentary: Yowtch. That was pretty damned harsh, but at least Buffy knows immediately that she was kind of a bitch. Unfortunately Giles leaves before she can apologize. And we know that this isn't really about him, so much as it is about Hank Summers and Buffy having to talk to him again when she still has so much anger toward him for disappearing on her.
But, yeah... owtchie.
Page 09: A bit later at the luncheon, Hank tells the girls that everytime he sees them, they've grown more mature. This allows Buffy to point out that months pass... sometimes years....
Hank agrees he had that coming. But he also reports the good news that he's there to stay so he can see much more of them, now. But Buffy wants to know what his former secretary, Francesca, has to say about that. Dawn interjects that Paige is the new one.
Hank tells the girls that Paige is fine with his relocating to California because she's coming with... as his fiance....
Needless to say, Dawn has "WHAT?" face since he hadn't mentioned it to her and she'd been in enough contact with him to know who his current girlfriend was. Buffy remains impassively frowny.
Commentary: I'm just going to say this for the record: I didn't like how Hank was treated in the series. Obvs, Joss has daddy issues... like, way obvs. And I felt like what we saw of Hank didn't match with the later disappeared dad syndrome he was subjected to. This is especially true when it came to Joyce's death.
Now maybe the actor wasn't available, or maybe it just didn't strike anyone as necessary to pay him to come back for 10 minutes but it really struck me as shabby that they didn't have him at least calling the girls or sending them some support to help them out or SOMETHING.
Having said that... I can take or leave Hank as a recurring character at this stage but I like how Buffy is very clearly and unapologetically skeptical of this entire thing, while Dawn is being placating and understanding. And it was... nice... that his existence was acknowledged.
Page 10: Dawn stammers out a happy congratulations, while Buffy assumes that she's being called on as her daughter duty to be a bridesmaid.
But Hank actually says that he and Paige talked about it a lot, and she wants him to see a lot more of the girls... but they've reached a decision that to protect the other wedding guests, and Paige's children, Buffy shouldn't come.
Commentary: OH. OH, wow. OWTCH. Wow.
Um... okay. I can see his point... I really can. Buffy does tend to attract attackers, and everyone knows she's Ms. Slayer because she's been all over television by now. So... yeah... but....
I, uh. I'm not sure what to say to this. It SUCKS ASS... but he has a legitimate worry....
Page 11: Buffy sits stunned and silent. Something which Dawn isn't. She half stands, leaning over the table and reads Hank the riot act. She starts to tell them that he should forget about ever seeing them, and that Paige is an awful, selfish... but him! He's like the worst.
Buffy interrupts her righteous anger on her behalf to tell her that he and Paige aren't wrong, stunning her out of her angry rant.
Buffy asks Dawn if they're actually wrong and brings up Tara, Anya, Jenny, even Rupert. She repeats that they're not wrong for not wanting her too close.
Commentary: Seriously guys... I think I may have come close to tearing up. Buffy's listing off Tara, Anya and Jenny as directly related to being in her vicinity just killed me. Especially Tara, because that is the one death that had nothing to do with a choice Tara was making. Jenny was killed because she threatened Angelus, Giles because he fought Twi-Angel, Anya because she was fighting the Turok Han and the Bringers. But Tara was just in the wrong place at the wrong time [with a side of impossible physics and possibly paying a debt of Willow's for resurrecting Buffy] and it had nothing to do with anything that Tara had done and everything to do with Buffy pissing off Warren.
So, is Buffy responsible the way she is intimating here that she feels? FUCK, NO.
But I can understand blaming herself for things that happen to people she cares about, and I can understand her especially feeling that Tara would be alive if she'd not "let" Warren escape capture. But it breaks my heart to hear her say it aloud. Seriously, I think I'm actually feeling a few tears behind my eyes.
Page 12: Meanwhile, Giles and Xander are playing a video game and Giles is saying that Buffy was right. In his past, Rupert laments that he gave up everything to be a Watcher, and questions what it was all for? He calls himself a useless, old sod. And then complains how he can't even play the stupid video game anymore.
Xan points out he's wearing old man reflexes now, and then gets more serious by telling him that everyone's life is full of mistakes. But he's in the enviable position of being able to have a do over and making different choices this time. Rupert questions if he's really capable of that sort of change, regardless of his upcoming return to youngsterhood.
Xander grins that he's legal now... they should go get a beer together.
Commentary: This was a cute scene between these two characters and, although I'm generally against Dr. Mike because he sounds hippy-dippy to me, I really liked this moment of Xander giving Giles the very sort of advice that Rupert would ordinarily be handing out.
Page 13: Sometime later, Xan and Rupert are leaving a pawn shop... one can imagine that Rupert was drawn to the guitar in the window... when Xan tells him he knows he's getting old again, because he's passing gas like something awful.
Rupert replies that the smell of sulfur isn't coming from him, as nearby he spots a portal starting to form. Giles exclaims that the Cabal is making its move and warns Xander to run for it while he holds off the Hellhound coming through.
Commentary: So... apparently in the earlier reviews when I gave the Scooby Gang and Angel credit for at least shutting down the portal business, I was completely wrong. And now I owe D'Hoffryn an apology... damn it! He was right, I [and the gang] were wrong and the busted Restless Door pieces can still be used to open portals.
There. "I'm sorry, D'Hoffryn that I didn't take your warnings more seriously. You were right." Damn it.
Page 14: Back with Buffy and Dawn, they're walking to the school campus for Dawn's study group. Dawn is still complaining about the things that Hank and Paige had to say, and tells Buffy she wouldn't be caught dead at their wedding. Buffy tells her to reconsider. She goes on to point out that Dawnie could have a normal life.
Dawn cuts this thought off by telling her sister she is fully capable of deciding the mix of normal and not-normal she wants in her life. She offers to blow off study group, but Buffy tells her that she's fine and as her parental figure, she wants her cracking the books.
Commentary: Have I told y'all how much I love comic-Dawn enough to make you sick of it, yet? Because I'm totally loving comic book-Dawn.
Page 15: Back with our menfolk, Xan stays rather than run. The hellhound comes after Xander, barely missing him and cutting through a street sign post with the blade on its tail. While Xan is grabbing up the fallen sign to defend himself, he takes a moment to berate Giles for his "weak sauce" spells.
Rupert puts it down to his rapid aging right out of his magic skills, again.
Xander gets tackled and has to use the sign post to keep the hellhound from biting off his face. He urges Giles to hurry up with something.
Page 16: Rupert gives up on trying to summon a spell and goes for a waste basket. He uses this to break the pawn shop window and grab the guitar.
As much as I would've loved to see Giles defeat the demon canine with a rock solo [okay, it would've been tough on an acoustic], he uses it to bash the demon over the head.
Page 17: Coincidentally, Willow happens by just after Rupert bashes the doggie's brains in. Rupert tells her that she needs to reverse the aging spell at once.
Wills suggests he still has a few hours that he could spend with Olivia, but he asks what the point would be. Xan stage-whispers that magic is the *second* thing to go on an old man, and Giles yells that he meant he doesn't want to put her at risk if their foes are now targeting them.
Page 18: Wills feels badly that his adulthood is being cut short, but she promises him that she's looking for a way to make it more permanent and gradual.
He says that would be marvelous... though he sounds suddenly unsure.
Page 19: An hour later and Buffy returns to find Rupert on the rooftop considering his life, and his future choices he'll have to make. He offers to leave her alone if she'd like, but she tells him she came to find him.
Page 20: Rupert tells her that Dawn shared with him already some of what Hank had to say to her and he's appalled. Buffy says again that Hank wasn't wrong, but Rupert tells her that the way he's treating her is. He demeans the man for not being more of a father long before now, but Buffy smiles and says that she had someone who was.
Page 21: Rupert tells her that she was right about telling him that she didn't need him to tell her what to do anymore, but she tells him she didn't even mean what she said. She makes it clear she was talking about Hank and it just spilled over on him. But he repeats that she was still right, and that she's an exceptional young woman who doesn't need any man to tell her how to live her life.
Buffy asks how long Rupert has before he shrinks and de-ages and he tells her the spell has been cast so in an hour or two, he'll be back to his new normal.
She asks him if he has any plans.
Page 22: He says no plans, and she launches herself into his arms for a good sob over Hank.
Commentary: Oh... awwww... damn, here comes those pinpricky tears again.
The Good: I loved Dawn, again, in this issue. She's awesome.
Also really had fun with the Xander/Rupert interactions.
Buffy admitting to Dawn that Hank and Paige's worry was right because of the habit of demons looking for her was heartbreaking, especially because she makes it clear that the deaths that have come with being the Slayer really weigh on her everyday.
That last page of Buffy crying in Rupert's arms was also heartbreaking... but in a heartwarming way... except it hurt, too.
The Bad: Nothing was bad.
Other Thoughts: The only thing I found really bothersome [and was ready at the beginning to put in the bad, but changed my mind now] was the ultra-convenient spell of one time usage that gives Rupert his adulthood back for a limited time and cannot ever be used again and it can't be permanent either. Yeah... the set up was a bit hinky for me, but Giles needed to be his adult self for Buffy at the end for the visual to be as powerful, so it's forgiven.
I'm also thinking that the Cabal "making their move" by targeting who they perceive as "the weakest members of Team Buffy" consisting of exactly one demon dog was awfully, tragically pathetic. I really think I would've held that in reserve and not included the attack as coming from the portal creator/the Cabal at all, but just had it be random... or maybe a demon finding Giles from his past who heard he was young and helpless these days. And of course, it would've had the irony of Giles actually being stronger - magicwise - if he had been his younger self for the attack, which Xander would obvs have to rag on.
The Score: I started this one not very enthused, figuring it would be a one-off issue like Buffy's dreaming of Season 1 Sunnydale only focusing on Giles being the way too convenient temporary adult. Even the title made it seem like it'd be a "kid-becomes-adult-and-goes-nutty-fo
4.0 out of 5 stars