harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

BTVS, Season 8 Number 2 Review

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8 #2

Script: Joss Whedon, Pencils: Georges Jeanty, Inks: Andy Owens,

Colors: Dave Stewart, Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy

Cover By: Jo Chen

Where We Are: This story takes place after the end of BTVS, S7… The Slayer population of the world has gone from two to nearly two thousand. Almost five hundred are working around the world with Buffy’s organization in squads – or “terrorist cells”, according to the American military. Buffy, Xander, Dawn and a passel of Slayers are currently bunked out in a Scottish castle, where the latest mission revealed a strange symbol carved into human bodies.

Also, Dawn’s a giant.

Page 1: A cup of steaming coffee (or tea with cream) is sitting on a table. In a ‘narrator blurb’ we read, “I used to be a Watcher.

Page 2 & 3: It’s Giles! Of course. Oh, how he was missed in Issue 1 – he’s not in Scotland.

His narration continues, “The organization existed since before there were cities. The Watchers’ Council, always moving, always secret, but very much alive. There were hundreds of Watchers. And one Slayer.

Scales have tipped of late.

Giles is overseeing a large group of those 500 mentioned in the ‘Where We Are’ section. Giles calls a halt to the fighting exercise he is overseeing. He compliments the Slayers on their fighting skills, but then informs them that despite their excellent form, it is all useless. They, you see, are fighting alone and not as a team. They get in each other’s way, they’re not protecting one another’s back and failing to use their single most valuable asset….

Page 4 & 5: We shift to Buffy and her trainees. She finishes Giles’ lesson “… each other.” Buffy calls on three of her Slayers, Leah (the red headed Scottish lass), Satsu (Asian, and who wore a cat mask last issue) and Rowena (blonde and favors baseball caps):

Would the three of you please kick my ass?

Buffy, naturally defeats her three teammates… and quite easily:

Three perfectly valid avenues of attack, good form – on three seasoned, well-trained corpses, one of whom, sidebar: has her best hair ever; Satsu, you’re making me think I need a new look. See me after. So. Let’s break this down. The first clue this was going downhill? Clearly….

Page 6 & 7: We skip over to Andrew’s team around a camp fire. His lesson is less instructive, as he probably isn’t completing Buffy’s pointers:

… Lando Calrissian’s outfit. And I know a lot of you were going to say Ewoks, but that’s too easy.

One of his Slayer’s, a punk-rocky, pink-haired, Mohawk sort has to repeat the question which Andy was supposed to have been answering before obviously getting off on his Star Wars tangent. It’s a question that, no doubt, every single fan has asked – “Why don’t we get a gun?”

Andrew’s response is less than satisfactory and he quickly moves on to headbutts. I do believe that Ms. I-Want-A-Gun will be named Simone. (I just jumped to the future of Issue 23 – and yes, it’s Simone… and yes, she will be a problem.)

Page 8 & 9: Xander is commiserating with Dawn re: Buffy’s continual lack of attention to her sister in order to spend all her time with her fellow Slayer “sisters”.

Xan starts to suspect that perhaps Dawnie made herself a giantess on purpose in order to gain some of Buffy’s attention. Dawn is also using a lake as a bathtub.

Page 10: Xan gets a giant wave of water in answer.

Elsewhere, at “Drextalcorp Recycling Technologies”, which ‘natch is a fake, General “Slayers-Are-Terrorists” is talking to a suit, for which, he has little respect. The skinny – an ‘op’ is taking place that night against Buffy.

Page 11: While suit-guy is trying to convince the General to let Amy and her magic handle the ‘op’, but General clearly would rather find Buffy’s site and nuke her.

Page 12: A mention is made of the “monstrosity that [Amy] calls a boyfriend”. But the main point of this page is to show that the General has a scar carved into his manly chest… a scar matching the corpses that Buffy found last issue. “Twilight”.

Page 13: Xander and Buffy are talking in the hallway of her castle fortress. Again, it’s about Dawn’s current giantess issue, her Thricewise demon dating and Buffy’s continuing ‘guilt’ complex.

There’s also a HUGE shock – Buffy:

I’m sorry. I’m tired. Just tell me now, so we don’t have to do a whole awkward-dance… are you coming to bed?


Page 14: Xander tries to tell Buffy that it would be a horrible mistake, but Buffy’s not hearing it… she swears that this time she can be gentle!

She lip-locks Xan in a way that he has been dreaming of since S1…

… and his head pops off: “So, gentle.”, says he.

Oh, balls.” says Buffy.

OH – BALLS, is right! A big dream-tease! Joss, you are evil and must be punished! Possibly with a harness, ball-gag and whip of some sort.

Xander’s disembodied head also shares that Buffy’s floor lint is “so Scottish”. I’m not sure what that means, but it’s very funny.

Page 15: Buffy’s dream gets more disturbing as she’s pulled out of a window and then skewered through her hands and feet by a giant demon’s claws. He adds fire and begs her to keep screaming for his delight.

Page 16: In the real world, Amy is standing over Buffy with a sacrificial dagger. The door bursts open with Xander (in cute PJs) and a Slayer Squad. Buffy is still unconscious and her wrists and ankles are being held tightly by magical shackles.

Page 17: Amy’s dagger plunges down into Buffy before Xan can intervene and she screams. Amy gets a crossbow bolt through the shoulder, but she’s already delivered the dagger!

Oh my God.” Xander says.

Page 18: Xander continues… picking up a dagger that has been ruined, “This is the crappiest sacrificial dagger I’ve ever seen. HAH – Another Fake-out.

He continues, “You really think we let Buffy sleep without mystical protection? This isn’t open-wand night in Sunnydale, Sweetcheeks. You’re dealing with pros.

“Open-wand night”… lol… I’m in love with Xander Harris. And, possibly Joss a little bit.

But, Amy isn’t finished by a long shot. As she points out, Buffy is still asleep – she’s been placed in a mystic nightmare that can only be broken by a kiss of true love.

Amy has a big mouth, on top of her amateur-magic hour.

Page 19: On a parapet, a pair of Slayer guards gab. One of these is Renee… Ms. Flirty to Xander from Issue 1 (she of the “nerd points are accumulating nicely”). The discussion of Xan is interrupted by sounds of ‘clawing’.

Page 20: Looking over the parapet, we see a large amount of grody-looking zombies climbing up the walls of the Slayer castle.

In the meantime, back in Buff’s bedroom, Xan is interrogating Amy on this whole mystic nightmare spell… he double checks that a sister’s kiss wouldn’t do the trick –

Well, a twisted sister…” is Amy’s response.

Ha! But no, I hate you.

Page 21: Xander musters the troops when he finds out that zombies have breached security. In addition, he points out to Amy that she can’t go anywhere. She needles him about trying a ‘true love’ kiss to wake Buffy….

Page 22: Slayers vs. Zombies. In Buffy’s nightmare, she’s suffering pain and is curled into a ball of suffering.

An off-panel voice tells her that she can’t give up quite yet, however.

Page 23:I have so much I need to show you,” says a mystery man whose face we don’t see. He’s dressed in a long leather coat and a red T-Shirt. First impression – Spike!

But this is Buffy dreaming, so it could be another humorous fake-out.

Elsewhere – Satsu informs Xander via com-link that headshots aren’t killing the zombies as expected (Romero-shout out!)

Back in Buffy’s bedroom – Amy is gloating that with all of the Slayers present, there’s no one who can take her on…

As a friend of mine once said…” another off-panel voice states…

Page 24:… I’d like to test that theory.

Yes! And a perfect entrance line, too!

The Good: Oh, my goodness… the dialog! Xander is perfect throughout (well, this is Joss scripting after all).

I’ve warmed up to the idea of Amy as main villainess for this first arc… with one reservation, see below.

The artwork, with reservations (see below).

The twists… especially the Xan/Buffy pairing fake-out.

The fake-out with Amy’s dagger of doom – and I LOVE that the Scoobies are way ahead of her before she even starts.

’s entrance… perfection.

The Bad: I really don’t want to give any ‘bads’ because I loved this issue… but… Giles and Andrew present artwork problems. Now, it’s hard to say if it’s the artist, or the issues one runs into with using actors’ likenesses from the legal perspective, but Andrew, especially, does not look Andrew-like.

Again, poor Dawn is getting short-shrifted as a character … how much more “Buffy doesn’t pay attention to me” do we have to hear from her. Give her something Scooby-ish to do (remember S7 and her researching) or send her back to Berkeley and have her show up only occasionally as a guest-star.

Concerns: I have some concerns about Giles’ and Buffy’s looks this time out (but again, is it the artist or just legal issues with actors’ likenesses?). I can’t name exactly what bothers me about Buffy this time, since I didn’t have an issue with her not being SMG-like in issue 1 – maybe because I was just so excited still that Buffy’s tale continues.

Amy still concerns me with the amount of raw power she’s showing (teleporting? Remember when Willow could only do that as Uber-Wills?) If magic isn’t treated carefully, it could easily become deux ex machina with no internal consistency.

’s hideous dress – very Renaissance Faire.

The Score: Wow, what a terrifically written issue full to bursting with the Xan-Humor I love so dearly. There’s also quite a bit going on, so the issue is always moving forward. We get to see two of our missing and the coming Willow vs. Amy has me tingling. The only downside is Dawn’s continued whining about her problems with Buffy – we did this for a whole season, already. But, I still love nearly everything about Issue #2 of Buffy. It’s better than Angel: After the Fall and miles above Spike: After the Fall #2.

The Xander-Buffy not-pairing.

Amy's backup.

  The Scoobies' backup.

4.75 out of 5-stars.

One last note – during the Buffy run, I wasn’t a Buffy/Xan shipper. I liked them strictly as friends… best friends. But with time and distance from the series, I think I’m ready for them to get a heck of a lot closer now, if Joss intended to pursue Buffy’s attraction outside of her dreams.

And, a small off-topic note: For those Spandeverse-interested, I’ve written the first chapter in the new story – The Coming of the Scooby Army.

Tags: buffy season 8 reviews, recommendation

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