harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

Boom!Buffy reviewed: issue 20


Boom!Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Issue 20

Writers: Jordie Bellaire & Jeremy Lambert, Artwork: Ramon Bachs & Raúl Angulo, Lettering: Ed Dukeshire
Cover: David López

Page 01: Willow is on the astral plane, currently watching a mysterious meeting between a large demon and a cloaked figure. The demon promises the cloaked figure that everything is proceeding as it should, and further elaborates that soon "they'll fall and we'll bury them where they land". They are speaking of the Council - one could infer the Watchers Council.

Willow is spotted and the hulking demon snaps his fingers at her.

Page 02: Willow very suddenly, and physically, pops into Anya's magic shop. Anya complains that Willow could've used the door, while Willow is surprised that Anya isn't more surprised that she popped out of nowhere. Anya explains that she isn't shocked because she knows Willow has been practicing magic, and besides, the sparkle shower and ethereal smoke is something she's seen before from the Astral Plane.

Willow questions how her astral body could've caused her physical body to translocate to where she finds herself, but Anya is old - not clairvoyant.

Page 03: Anya's mood brightens significantly when Willow says she could use her help, as she sees a potential sale -- maybe of something expensive.

The witch brings up finding something for Xander, which Anya rightly points out that he's a vampire now, and not actually Xander. But Willow feels positive that something of the actual Xander Harris is within the vampire and she wants to reach him. She insists to Anya that a demon should be able to choose good, like anyone else.

Page 04: Anya tells Willow that she either has a very open heart, or a very weak mind.

Willow snots that she doesn't want to be judged for believing things are more complicated. Anya admits that they are, and anyone trying to say otherwise are either fools or they're trying to sell something. She goes to a back room, and retrieves a gaudy large gemstone necklace. She calls it a relic of the past, and that Willow will be able to use it to restore Xander - without offering details. She will only say that Willow will know when the time has come to use it, and she'll know how at that moment. Anya even gives it up without charging her, because she wants to help.

Commentary: I still find Anya's new role interesting, but I'd also like more to go on. I'm never a fan of the "I can't tell you anything now, because the writers aren't clear exactly on what to do with this plot point they've set up" mode of plot progression. It's the "mystery box" paradox, where JJ Abrams loves setting up plot mysteries for later, but then can never seem to keep them all straight and provide satisfying answers to what he set up before. It just leads to poor storytelling -- not that I'm saying this is happening now, but I am annoyed by characters who deliberately hold back information without some sort of plot or character relevant reason to do so.

Vampire-Xander's situation is also more nuanced than expected, but I can't decide if I want it to go anywhere or if I'd rather he just be ashed away and be done with the storyline. We've already got ensouled vampire Angel and not-souled-but-may-as-well-be vampire Spike running around in this universe. Do we really need another variation on the theme, in addition to the multi-Slayer tomfoolery going on?

Page 05: Meanwhile in the cemetery, Faith and Robin share introductions. Robin asks if she's a Slayer, but Faith doesn't appear to know what that means. From a bush, a British voice says he can clear some things up, once he gets out of the thorns.

Page 06: Wesley makes his appearance, to a very unimpressed Faith. He introduces himself as her Watcher, which again, she doesn't know what that means but it very put-off when Wes shares that he's been following her [without making an introduction before now... okay].

Robin seems overly annoyed by a third Slayer showing up, when Buffy is still alive. Faith asks what a 'Buffy' is supposed to be. She blows everything else off and demands that somebody buy her a burger, because she's too hungry to have to think.

Page 07: In the meantime-meantime, Giles is sitting at home with Jenny's cat and reading. There comes a rattling at his front door, but before he can react, the door creaks open.

He gets a shocked look, while someone tells him that the hideaway key is always hinky to work.

Page 08: The visitor is a returned Jenny:

Commentary: I mean, really, what more to say than the above.

Page 09: Jenny is settled in Giles' sitting room, where he tends to her, despite the awkwardness due to their breaking up just before her abduction. Jenny tries to get Giles to believe her when she reports that she thinks Xander is very lonely and just wants to have his friends back. Rupert isn't sympathetic. He retorts that Vampire-Xander is a demon. He doesn't have friends. And he has been appalling, not just kidnapping and injuring her - but burning down her home, attacking Buffy's house, and sending a demon to kill Kendra and Rose.

Jenny calls it all desperate attention-seeking.

Commentary: Okay, no. I'm on Giles' side. Whatever else is going on with Xander due to the soul-tie, and residual funkiness because of his former connection to Willow - he is what he is, and he's done what he's done. STAKE HIM and move on. Have Kendra, or Giles himself do it so Buffy or Willow don't have to face that.

Page 10: Rupert calls her on suffering Stockholm Syndrome. He tells her that they'll get her through this, but she responds that she's not staying. Giles offers that of course, she won't want to stay with him, but she tells him that she's not staying in Sunnydale at all.

Giles isn't happy with this, but Jenny tells him that she can't take being a pawn in these power-games anymore.

Jenny goes on [after a frankly confusing turn of the conversation by Giles] to tell him about Willow having met with Vampire-Xander. Rupert tells her that is impossible, but she tells him about hearing Willow's voice, and that she was the one to convince Xander to free her, as a show of good faith.

Page 11: At that moment, Willow is sitting atop a roof (it may be the same one Rose and Kendra used) of a grandstand. She remembers being up there with Xander, falling off a rickety ladder, and being comforted by her best friend, when she cut her knee.

Page 12: She flashes back to their discussion of wishes, and this appears to lead to an understanding of how she'll be able to use the trinket Anya handed over. Willow's thoughts are interrupted by a group text to the Scooby Gang by Buffy.

Rupert has summoned them to a team meeting at the library [because, as we know from the prime-verse, meetings never take place at vampire-proofed places - like his house].

Page 13: At a diner, while Robin is in the restroom, Faith and Wes are getting acquainted.

Page 14: Faith argues against Wes' insistence that she's been fighting real-life vampires, while she insists that vampires are only a literary device about sex. She refuses to name what she thinks the things are that she's fighting with the fangs and the dusting, but suggests they are just 'the bad guys', and she'll fight 'em whether they be weirdos or just men pissing her off. She also declines to be leered at - Watched - by some British dude while she's fighting.

Commentary: Eh. I don't quite buy Faith's attitude here after what she's apparently been doing across country and seeing what she's seen, but I'm also good with any excuse to annoy Wesley Wyndam-Pryce when he's in early twit mode.

Page 15: Robin, in the restroom, tries to reach out to Buffy to warn her about a third Slayer and second Watcher in town - but can't get a signal for whatever reason. When he rejoins Wes and Faith, they're still arguing over vampires vs. aliens to explain dusting people who try to bite people's necks.

[I am choosing to believe that Faith is only trolling Wes.]

Page 16: After Wes is disappointed by his poached eggs being served as sunnyside-up instead, he gets down to the Watcher's spiel about Faith's duty. She interrupts to point out that if he's been spying on her all the way from Boston, then he's seen her in danger -- if he's this Watcher-guy, where the hell was he?! Especially in Nevada, when she had to fight single-handedly against five of the biters. Wes insists that he was trusting her to be able to handle the situation, which doesn't sit well with her.

Robin interrupts to tell them his signal is back from Buffy's phone, and they have a work meeting.

Page 17: In the meeting, Giles is being especially snippy. First, because of Jenny's deciding to leave Sunnydale but more importantly because he has to report a breach of trust with the group.

Kendra & Buffy tells him that doesn't sound right, but everyone's gaze seems to focus on Willow. She's a little indignant by the automatic implication.

Page 18: Rupert points out that Willow has a best friend out there who they are trying to deal with and who isn't currently in the room with them. Buffy asks Willow what he's talking about, and Willow insists that he doesn't know what he's commenting on. Buffy brings up Willow's candle-spellworks to find Ms. Calendar with Rose, which causes Kendra to ask Rose what she was doing at her exes' house, when she told her that she had homework.

Rose tells Kendra that she was going to fill her in, and it wasn't anything serious going on. Willow tells Buffy, 'see nothing serious' but Buffy points out that trying to reach out to Jenny with magic seems a little serious.

Page 19: Willow turns on Giles that she didn't find Jenny, and Rupert points out that she totally did find somebody though. Willow accuses him of accusing her of doing something nefarious, and she was just helping -- with the book that he insisted she read. Plus, she did get Jenny freed!

Rupert asks Willow where she got the amulet that is hanging around her neck, and she lies that she's had it since the previous summer. Rose, though, states that they spent every day together the previous summer, and she's never seen it before.

Willow snaps at Rose to shut up, and Kendra steps forward and shouts at her to not tell her girlfriend to shut up, and further more to answer Giles' question.

Willow blows up at them all to just leave her the hell alone.

The argument is interrupted by somebody coming into the library, apologizing for the interruption.

Commentary: I liked this argument. It was silly, and it was petty, and it was an overblown reaction to Willow doing things on her own without updating 'the gang' on what she was trying... all of it unnecessary, but also very common. I liked the nuances of the stresses between everyone, mostly centered on Willow, as they're all still dealing with Willow taking off and coming back without explanation. And I like that instead of just telling them Anya gave her the necklace, and then explaining the hows and whys of what happened when she met Xander, her first impulse is to think they should all butt out of her magic business, and to totally not answer because she feels like Giles is attacking her... which he was, but only because of the stress of Jenny's being deliberately hurt by Vampire-Xander, who Willow has been chatting to without their knowing.

It's the sort of argument that could be easily resolved, if everyone would just handle things a little differently - but being people, they don't.

Page 20: The interrupters are, of course, Faith, Wesley and Robin.

Page 21: In the meantime, from the astral plane, they're being spied on by the hulking demon. The mysterious cloaked figure is revealed to be a young woman. Demon focuses on the amulet given to Willow, and he proclaims that the Council's threads are unraveling. She's called Morgan.

Morgan wonders why she can't just get him to kill the Council in one fell swoop, but he informs her that things are much too delicate and he's foreseen the consequences of moving to fast and forcefully, and she wouldn't like it. She also tells him that she's finally gotten her time back, and doesn't want to ruin it now, but they need to proceed toward stopping the Council before whatever disaster that happened originally repeats itself.

Commentary: And, I'm hoping it ties into the 'Ring of Fire' and the interdimensional transport we've just seen at the end of the last Angel & Spike issue. Because thus far, the whole 'Ring of Fire' marketing gimmick seems to have been really empty. I also hope that Abhainn can somehow be tied in by the end of this plot.

Interestingly, my first thought at the end of this issue was that the hulking demon was Urkonn and the mysterious woman was Fray. But her name being Morgan would seem to make that not true.

Page 22: The demon promises Morgan that they'll reach their goal. He shapeshifts into Anya, putting in question whether it was real-Anya who gave Willow the amulet to help Xander, or whether she's been double-crossed. Morgan frets that she just wants the Council defeated, so that the now-three Slayers can get back their lives. He tells her their next target will be Rupert Giles.

The Good: I liked some of the interactions between Wes, Faith and Robin. I was especially tickled a bit by Robin's annoyance in pointing out yet another Slayer showing up, when Buffy is still alive and well. I also liked how Faith miffedly (quiet, that's totally a word) pointed out how Wesley wasn't helping her when she was fighting, outnumbered, on her trip to Sunnydale.

I'm really glad that Jenny was freed, and I'm interested in Vampire-Xan's struggle with whatever is happening to him [but, I also want him staked quickly so we can all move on].

I did like the way that the 'meeting' of the Scoobies devolved into a shouting match over Willow's not telling anyone she had been speaking to Vampire-Xander.

The Bad: The only thing really sticking in my craw is Jenny not being at the meeting of the Scooby Gang to add a voice sticking up for Willow, and giving her a chance to point out her gratitude for Willow's negotiating her release. It feel very wrong not to have her voice in this conversation, especially since the arguments she made to Giles for Xander being lonely should've been shown to have an impact on Buffy and Willow, and then there could be a greater argument from Giles that they're all trying to ignore that Vampire-Xander isn't Xander but a soulless demon.

Other Thoughts: I'm a bit annoyed by Anya's not-just-answering-Willow's question about the amulet. It's both cliche, and dumb.

I also found the humor about Wes and diner ordering and most of his other bumbling to be not-as-amusing as it was clearly intended. The argument between he and Faith about vampire existence was also meant, I think, to be more humorous than I actually found it. It took up dialog time.

I do question how Faith was directed to Sunnydale, if she knows nothing about the Council, or being a Slayer. Was she just instinctively pulled toward the Hellmouth? Was she having Slayer dreams? I wish that had come up in the convo with Wes, instead of the poached eggs "joke".

I really, really wish hard that the argument in the library re: Willow's talking to Vampire-Xander had taken place in Giles' place with Jenny in attendance.

Maybe Boom! Studios doesn't have the rights to Melaka Fray and her universe? I feel so strongly that the Hulking Red Demon and Morgan SHOULD be this universe's version of Urkonn and Fray.

The Score:

3.75 out of 5 stars

Tags: boom!buffy reviews

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