S11, Issue 08
Script: Christos Gage, Artwork: Rebekah Isaacs & Dan Jackson, Letters: Richard Starkings & [Comicraft’s] Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Steve Morris
Blurb: Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been saving the world from the forces of darkness since she was a teenager. Alongside her vampire boyfriend Spike; her best friends, Wiccan Willow Rosenberg and normal guy Xander Harris; her sister Dawn; and her formerly old but now magically reborn as a thirteen-year-old mentor Giles, Buffy has found nothing they can’t face together… until now.
After a supernatural attack decimated San Francisco, the government forced magical beings into an internment camp, including Buffy, Willow, and Spike. Buffy and Willow have now been released - but only after all their magical power had been drained…
Page 01: In San Francisco, Buffy and Willow get off the bus, to find an excited and relieved Dawn and Xander waiting for them. Xan jokes about his disappointment in finding Buffy and Willow without the usual prison tats.
Buffy struggles to lift the Scythe, now that she’s been disempowered, shocking Xan with the reality of what our two girls gave up. But Buffy isn’t ready to talk about it, especially not with the conspicuous drone following her and Willow around….
Page 02: Later at Dawn, Willow and Buffy’s apartment, Xander blasts music to cover up any listening devices.
Xan and Dawn chomp a little at the bit, trying to find out the plan to restore Willow and Buffy’s powers, but our two girls seem unusually reluctant to go back to war and push off the subject. Especially Buffy, who not only doesn’t seem to want to discuss it, but also flatly refuses to involve Giles [who these days is stuck in school].
Page 03: A few days after her release, Buffy is out jogging. She hears the sound of a young girl, scared, and comes across an idiot and sexual harasser. He’s threatening to turn in a hippy-dippy girl for being a magic user, even though the girl claims she’s not a Wiccan anymore and doesn’t have any powers, anyway. Basically, she’ll have to put out, or have the government come down on her like a ton of bricks.
Something Buffy is not going to have. She smart mouths to the hulking brute.
Page 04: It turns out that our piggish assaulter is a local boy. And he not only recognizes Buffy from the neighborhood, but knows that she wouldn’t be out of confinement right now if she had her powers. Being only a normal girl now, he’s more than confident that he’s about to beat her ass.
But Buffy is equally sure he won’t, because she has the experience and training to back up her boasts.
When bruiser tells her he’d like to see what she’s got, Buffy admits she’d like to find out, too.
Commentary: I really liked this page for some reason. I think I just like the idea of Buffy finding out what she’d got left, and proving to herself she doesn’t need her Slayer powers to defend herself. Not after all of the fights she’s been in.
Plus, of course, it’s just always nice when an asshole gets beaten up….
Page 05: Buffy dodges our Neanderthal’s first punch, and a leaping kick gets him in the abdomen. It’s a good start, but when Buffy punches him squarely in the mouth, he shrugs it off with a grin.
Page 06: Alas for Buffy, despite her fighting experience, she’s still attacking as if she has Slayer strength and agility. She tries a snapping high-kick, but this just gets her ankle grabbed, and pushed away. Our strongman follows up with a punch to Buffy’s face, stunning her and knocking her into the grass on her back.
Our asshole not only has no problems hitting a girl [to be fair, it is a fight that Buffy wanted to pick -- and I personally believe that the "men don't hurt girls" thing is outdated, which is different than "it's okay to beat women", so please spare me the outrage], but also doesn’t mind continuing the assault after she’s down on the ground.
Page 07: He goes to kick Buffy in the face[! Ach… shitty human being for sure], but she rolls away from the kick. And delivers one of her own, in a sweeping motion to knock our overconfident moron off of his foot.
With him now on the ground with her, Buffy leaps onto him, grabbing him up by his shirt front.
Commentary: Niiice. That’s the moves you’ve learned, Buffy. Proud of you.
Page 08: She takes him down with a throat punch, and a follow up knee to the nuts. But when he’s clearly down for the count, Buffy fails to stop.
Taking out her frustration, Buffy punches and punches the guy as her fist gets drenched in the guy’s blood!
Commentary: Okay, Buffy!! Not niiice. Not at all.
Page 09: Buffy straddles our bully, him having fallen nearly or actually unconscious during her beat down of him. She’s shocked by her fists and the amount of human blood on them.
Buffy stumbles away behind a tree and has a meltdown.
Page 10: Elsewhere, Willow runs into Calliope and her girlfriend on the way to the movies. They have a brief conversation and promise to have coffee and get caught up, but as Wills feared when they were both in detention, everything was different there.
Now that Calliope has returned to Linda? Lynda? Whatshername, it is obvious to Willow that she’s happy to be back with her girlfriend, and whatever was between them in the camp, was only a moment between them in the camp. Wills leaves the other girls, feeling a bit bummed.
Commentary: I do feel really badly for Willow. It’d be nice if she could find someone again, and I could’ve tolerated Calliope, even though I wasn’t really feelin’ it. But, I would like to see a character be introduced, built up, and then start a romance with our witch.
Page 11: It’s later in the evening when we return to the apartment, and Buffy is being tended to by Dawn and Xander, while Wills looks on. Xander comments on the shiner that Buffy is sporting, but assures her that as soon as her and Willow get their powers back, she’ll be super-healing again.
He asks after what the plan is, but again, Buffy and Willow put him and Dawn off. Neither of them seem to be in a hurry to move forward with any resistance against the government, perhaps because Spike is still in custody.
But we can also tell that Willow is feeling really not confident in whatever they’ve been planning.
Page 12: Days later, and Dawn is discussing with Xander how both Willow and Buffy seem so little like themselves since their return from detention.
A knock on the apartment door reveals that Sam and Riley have dropped in looking for Buffy and Willow. Dawn snots that it would depend on whether the Finns are there as parole officers, or friends. Sam honestly answers it’s a little bit of both.
But Buffy and Wills comes do the door, and Buffy tells Dawn and Xan that they were expecting her ex and his wife.
Commentary: I immediately assume that Buffy and Willow are finally going to reveal their plan to get their powers back, and I’m so happy. And Riley and Sam are still on Buffy’s side! Yay!
Page 13: Riley takes a good look at Buffy’s still bruised face, and asks if she’s okay. Buffy responds that she is, and that she appreciates his intervening to make sure that she wasn’t arrested. Riley brushes this off as her beating up the brute was clearly an act of self-defense.
Sam adds that the brass didn’t really push the issue. Plus, they seemed to get a twisted bit of schadenfreude out of Buffy’s clear meltdown in the aftermath.
Buffy admits that it was the realization suddenly that she could’ve killed the guy, or he could have killed her. Sam asks how that was different than any other time that Buffy has gone against a demon, or some psycho-cult member. Buffy angrily tells her that it just is, and she doesn’t have to justify her feelings.
Riley interrupts the tense moment to tell Buffy that it’s time. Dawn immediately squees that she knew the Finns were on Team Good Guy. Dawn wants to know what they’re doing, but Sam reports that Dawn isn’t doing anything, except getting out of the country - along with Xander - on fake passports. She reminds Dawn that the U.S. Government is about to try to scrub the States clean of magic, and that is the only thing keeping Dawn together.
Buffy and Willow share a doubtful glance, and offer that they’re not so sure now is the right time….
Commentary: Okay, first… Love Dawn’s glares of disapproval and suspicion being so immediately replaced by “I KNEW IT! I knew you were with the good guys.”
But, I also really liked how Buffy and Willow are so unsteady since they were stripped of their powers, and the way the story through to this moment has been pointing out how un-brash Buffy suddenly is. It’s really weird to see Willow, especially, basically sitting around and accepting her de-powered status, and it was a nice touch that Dawn and Xan have been worrying about just how reluctant her sister and ‘aunt’ have been to go out and get their powers back.
I do kinda wish we’d had one panel of Sam punching some subordinate in the face for mocking Buffy while watching her have her breakdown. But I guess it isn’t actually necessary to the story, and would’ve probably caused a complication they didn’t need. But it would’ve been so satisfying.
Page 14: Riley exclaims they can’t wait any longer, as it’s obvious the Feds are about to do something really big. But Sam harshly tells Riley that they should forget about the plan, it’s become obvious to her that Buffy and Willow are nothing without their powers.
[OW! Frick, that’s harsh.]
Xan, as is his habit, immediately steps forward to challenge anyone who insults his girls. Buffy tells Sam that she’s full of B.S. because Willow never needed her magic to be amazing, and that she’s the one that has become useless since her powers were stripped. But Wills steps in here to tell Buffy she’s full of crap, now. She points out who Buffy has always been, and it isn’t just a collection of powers.
Commentary: Yeah, okay. The last few pages were denting my opinion of Sam Finn pretty badly. I did kind of fall right into Sam’s trap… along with Buffy and Willow….
Page 15: Sam exaggerates re-thinking her opinion and offers that maybe they can pull off their plan, after all.
Buffy twigs onto the fact that she just got played into getting her confidence back. She thanks Sam for giving them the kick they needed to get over their lack of powers.
Riley checks one more time, reminding them that once he kicks off the plan over his burner phone, they won’t be able to back out.
Buffy and Wills are both in. And so are Dawn and Xander, and everybody can forget that leaving the country crap. Riley makes the mysterious call.
Page 16: Outside, we see somebody take out the drones that have been watching Buffy’s apartment building and following her and Willow around.
It seems clear it’s a Slayer.
Commentary: I suspect the return of Faith, and I totally squee as bad as Dawn. I’m SO excited!
Page 17: Faith comes in through Buffy, Willow and Dawn’s apartment window [left conveniently open and without screens to block the bugs… which never, ever makes sense to me, but always seems to be the case in fictional universes]!
She asks if everyone is down with the revolution. And Buffy seems pleased to see her!
Commentary: Yes, Yes, Yes! Faith, Faith, Faith!! I’ve been missing her so badly since she was written out of Angel and Faith so his book could become Angel again. Dark Horse’s creative talent has done a great job with her character.
Page 18: Buffy exclaims what Faith is doing there, when she was safe in London. Faith blows it off as Buffy being “my dog”, even if they aren’t besties.
Buffy grabs Faith in a huge hug, and Faith complains that a nice moment just turned awkward.
In the meantime, Riley warns everyone that his and Sam’s phones are “blowing up”, meaning the drones being taken offline has been noticed and they’ll have company soon, when they don’t call in. He orders everybody to leave their phones behind, and use only burners he has from now on.
Buffy hands Dawn a slip of paper for her and Xan to meet them in a few days, but doesn’t tell them anything in case the police grab them.
She then retrieves the Scythe [and I caught myself typing “her Scythe”… it isn’t Buffy’s personal weapon and we all need to keep that in mind, because the comics don’t].
But due to how heavy it is, she hands it over to Faith!
Commentary: Yes, yes. I LOVED this moment of Buffy handing off the Slayer weapon to the Slayer in the room, without prompting. And Buffy’s huge hug and Faith’s discomfort was very cute. And can I just point out how much of a fan I am of Riley and Sam staying on Buffy’s side? ‘Cause I am stating that.
Page 19: Sometime later, the gang are on the road to The Safe Zone.
In the back seat, Willow is busy hacking.
Page 20: At the guard gate, Sam talks her way past the on-duty soldier, explaining that even though the systems are down so they can’t be allowed inside the facility proper, perhaps he could let them as far as Visitor’s Center, since it’s been a long drive.
She also pre-empts that Faith is going to show unusual energy readings because she’s a Slayer assigned to them under contract from Deepscan.
We find out that the Scythe was brought with, and that wasn’t detected due to being locked in a Faraday cage, blocking its emanations from any snoopy scanners.
Commentary: Oh man… again, this isn’t needed, but I would’ve loved to see Faith approaching Kenn with needing a lift to the States to help out Buffy, and Kennedy being all, “Not even a question. Kick government ass.” I do wish that Faith had brought Satsu with her, though. Satsu having Buffy’s back again would’ve been awesome.
Y'know, that reminds me... I haven't read fanfic in forever: And forget about poor, tragically wasting away Spanderverse... *sigh*.
I’m not so sure of Sam Finn using Deepscan’s name, though. But it would’ve been really cool to see Faith tell Kenn that she’ll keep her out of it, and for Kennedy to tell her that she’d like the government to know after the dust settles that her Slayers aren’t going to sit around waiting for their powers to be stripped, and that she’s got more than enough business to not need any Federal contracts. Ugh, the more I think about it, the more I really want Kenn in a few panels and Satsu in the car with our gang.
Page 21: Sam and Riley drop off our team [I’m assuming they’re going for the magic drainer/battery assembly]. Sam then steps on the gas and barrels out of the compound past the guard gate, causing a chase and distracting some of the troops.
Faith, being the powered one, helps everybody over the wall and into the administrative and science center areas.
Page 22: Buffy, Faith and Willow make it to the battery room. Faith double checks that they can re-power themselves with it, and Wills offers that she’s pretty sure she can work it out.
Faith kicks in the door with a “Fast or fail…”, and on the other side, we and they find out that their intrusion wasn’t as stealthy as planned.
Waiting for them are Jordan Amazonia and The Shitty Squad of Slayers: Jordan offers that she believes Fail will be their option….
The Good: I really liked how they handled Buffy and Willow's loss of confidence and drive with the loss of their powers, and how it didn't escape Xan and Dawn.
I also really liked how Buffy fought Brute, and how it really struck her after she lost control of her anger and nearly beat him to death.
Really liked how Riley and Sam Finn were handled, especially Sam playing 'bad cop' on Buffy to get her through her rough patch.
Faith frickin' awesome! Buffy handing over the Slayer Scythe to Faith was also frickin' awesome.
I liked the typical break-in scene ending in them not having broke in.
The Bad: Nothing was badly done.
Other Thoughts: Calliope's page wasn't really necessary, but I did appreciate her realization that her feelings were different on the outside, than they'd been in lockup regarding her current girlfriend. That was a nice moment between her and Willow.
They also did miss some opportunity by taking a panel or three from the set up and giving us a bit of the other Slayers' perspectives again; This time specifically Kennedy and Satsu, but that is just my fanboy wants, and it detrimental to the story.
And okay, I did find Buffy and Willow's sudden turn around on getting on with the plan to be a bit too sudden.
The Score: At first I thought the pacing was a bit slow, in keeping Buffy and Willow from immediately enacting some sort of plan, and wondering if this was turning into a "Search for Sophia" situation (The Walking Dead) as we waited for something to happen. But by the end of the issue, I understood what was going on, and really liked how it was handled.
It's actually a very decent issue, with the bonus of bringing in Buffy's extended cast to help out.
3.75 out of 5 stars