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Buffy #1

September 16th, 2011 (05:14 pm)

Reviews: AintItCoolNews, Stormwreath, Geeks of Doom, CeciliaJ, Shelf Life, Eilowyn, Wenxina, Patrick Shand,TimeTravellingBunny: Buffy S9 #1 "Freefall" and Angel & Faith #1 "Live Through This", Whedonesque thread.

Summary:
Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Buffy has a housewarming party (the most traditional narrative technique to bring the audience up to date). We find out that Buffy still works in the coffee shop and is friendly enough with her boss to invite him to her party. Xander has a secret from Dawn, apparently something bad (he looks gloomy and doesn't crack a single smile during the issue). Willow now dresses like Lilah Morgan and dates her former classmate Aura ("Some guy was stuffed in Aura's locker!" - WttH); she and Buffy are friends, but the destruction of the Seed strains their relationship. Spike still lives in his bug ship and joins Buffy during patrols. Riley works in an anti-terrorist unit and is still married to Sam. Andrew organized a disaster relief organization for slayers.

We meet Buffy's roommates - Anaheed, a failed writer who works as fact checker at a website; and Tumble who plays Mass Effect non-stop and wants to create a rock band with Spike.

The party and post-party hangover are interspersed with several plots points for future issues:

-- rookie police inspector Dowling and his more experienced female partner Cheung find a body of a young girl without any clue or explanation of her death (no wounds or traces of drugs or illness) and no ID or match from missing persons. She's the third one this month.

-- A demon escapes a magic prison: the magic bonds weakened because the Seed has been feeding them, I guess. We already know the demon's name from the next previews - El Draco.

-- Simone drives in San Francisco in a van loaded with weapons. She plans "something big" - "to show them we're still here".

-- a couple of suits hire a demon to make Buffy pay for something. On the last panel the demon finds her and roars "Buffy Summers it is time for you to pay YOUR STUDENT LOAN!"

...But, of course, it's just the hors-d'oevres. The main course are Buffy's relationships.

Once upon a time, very long ago, when I was only discovering the wonderful world of fanfiction, I stumbled upon a gem on ff.net: Buffy slept with somebody but can't remember if it was Angel, Spike or Riley.

Joss went further. Spike and Riley are in the tally, and instead of Angel, there are Xander, Willow (yes - Willow!), Buffy's boss and a mysterious neighbor. The scenes between Buffy and all her possible one-night stands are ambiguous enough to be interpreted any which way you like. Buffy herself doesn't remember anything - or doesn't want to remember. Joss teases all the shipper groups, and he does it in his inimitable style, half-jokingly, half-seriously.

Thinky thoughts:
So far, the only consequence of season 8 is the loss of magic. Buffy's "terrorist" activities are forgotten. Bank-robbing is forgotten. Giles' isn't mentioned at all. Unless the guy in red glasses in #40 is really Ripper, Giles is forgotten. (Pity.)

The contrast between season 8 and the first issue of season 9 reminds me the contrast between the tragic ending of season 5 and lightness of early season 6 episodes like "Life Serial" and "All the Way". The new season is smaller in scope and is dedicated to smaller problems.

Buffy's rommates represent two dead ends of her potential future. Anaheed is a walking proof that education isn't a solution of your problems while Tumble who plays computer games all the time, is apparently single and satisfied with it. Interestingly, Anaheed and Tumble's dynamics resembles that of Willow and Xander in season 1 - they are buddies, they apparently know each other for a long time, she is an intellectual, he is a slacker close to the nerd culture. Looks like they'll be recurring characters.

Re: the mystery subplot. I like Emmie's version about the cause of the girls deaths: that they are former vampires, killed by detachment of the demon who animated the body. It doesn't explain why there is no male victims, but I think we'll find out in time.

El Draco is a very colorful character. Looks like he spent so much time in his jail that he has almost lost the ability to speak. His jailers don't look like good guys. His line "Kill all" is followed by a scene in which Buffy screams "Kill! Kill" as she and her guests play Chicken in the pool. Maybe it's an unintentional parallel - but I have the impression that El Draco isn't a bad guy, and that eventually he'll become Buffy's ally.

The mysterious neighbor, Heinrich, is intriguing. (BTW, Joss indended to give The Master the name Heinrich Joseph Nest). We don't see Heinrich and Buffy doesn't remember visiting him - but in the morning he sends her flowers. Is it only my suspicious mind, or Heinrich's flowers *do* have an uncanny resemblance to Twilight boots in the first issue of s8? :) A reclusive type (nobody even knew his name before the party), sends Buffy flowers after spending 20 minutes with her. Sounds like a set-up.

I wonder what secret Xander hides from Dawn but shares with Buffy. I hope he's dissatisfied with his job but doesn't want to quit because he wants Dawn to be able to continue higher education. Or maybe he is unhappy that Buffy wastes her life waitressing and throwing parties. He always put her on pedestal, and now that pedestal is crumbling.

Willow wants to talk to Buffy alone, without Spike at her side. It's about the Seed, but not about blaming Buffy. Maybe Willow wants to restore the Seed and needs Buffy's help.

Spike and Spuffy:
When Spike arrives, Buffy is already quite drunk, and she openly flirts with him. He is unimpressed. Later we see him kissing a random girl at the party. When Riley gives Buffy a pep talk, she replies that he sounds like Spike.

The next evening when Spike joins Buffy and Willow at patrol, Buffy is angry at him; she calls him Stalky the Clown. I like her passive-agressive reaction; it's obvious that these two have a lot of unresolved issues. But the season only starts. We have a lot of room for development. So far, I have the impression that Spike slowly turns into Angel circa season 1: he provides Buffy with cryptic clues and tries to protect her. It jibes well with Jeanty's recent declarations at DragonCon.

Overall, I liked the issue. The dialog is quintessestially Jossian, the narrative is energetic and the final twist about the student loan is silly and funny and very season 1.

Comments

Posted by: ceciliaj (ceciliaj)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
Codex thumbs up

Interestingly, Anaheed and Tumble's dynamics resembles that of Willow and Xander in season 1 - they are buddies, they apparently know each other for a long time, she is an intellectual, he is a slacker close to the nerd culture.

Did not notice that, but it's totally true! Great review.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 01:54 pm (UTC)

Thank you!

Re: Anaheed and Tumble. Maybe I overthink it. Maybe it's Joss' reply to the shippers - look, there are two people, a man and a woman, who can be just great friends. Curiously, Dawn seemed to be very interested in Tumble's name, while Anaheed said that Willow made her bi-curious. I smell something interesting cooking there...

Posted by: TimeTravellingBunny (boot_the_grime)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 05:29 pm (UTC)

Well if Joss doesn't like the idea that some people get that men and women can't be just friends, he only has himself to blame for never introducing a male/female friendship duo that was free of romantic overtones. And nobody forced him to revive Bander in a romantic light in season 8, least of all the shippers, since Banders are a relatively small minority.

Apparently he just can't do without shippy vibes in any frienship - as witnessed by the Buffy/Willow teases in season 8 and 9.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 06:31 pm (UTC)

Apparently he just can't do without shippy vibes in any frienship

Is there a better way to stir up the fandom? :)

Posted by: sueworld2003 (sueworld2003)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC)
Giles Good Grief!

"So far, I have the impression that Spike slowly turns into Angel circa season 1: he provides Buffy with cryptic clues and tries to protect her."

Oh god no! Poor bloody Spike. Relegated to being an Angel wannabe. :(

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 02:01 pm (UTC)
Duster_by_awmp

I think Spike can't be turned into Angel's wannabe. He can turn into a funnier and snarkier version of Angel, sure - and I don't mind it.

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 02:08 pm (UTC)

Lovely review, I especially enjoyed the comparison between Anaheed/Tumble and Willow/Xander.

He always put her on pedestal, and now that pedestal is crumbling.

I think it had crumbled in S6 after finding out she slept with Spike.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 02:17 pm (UTC)
Scoobies

I think it had crumbled in S6 after finding out she slept with Spike.

I have the impression that Xander had restored the pedestal!Buffy during season 7 and by season 8 she was his hero again. So, I guess, it's hard to him to see her wasting her life.

That said, I doubt that he is so gloomy because of Buffy. I wonder if he did something to help Buffy to get that apartmrnt (I remember PTB saying that Buffy got a place better than she could afford), and doesn't want Dawn to know about it.

Posted by: Colleen (redeem147)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
Spike Buffy comic

I enjoyed the issue, certainly more than all of Season 8. There seems to be more going on in the smaller picture than there was in the bigger - more depth of character and such.

Oh, alcohol. Buffy people, will you never learn? At least nobody turned into a caveman. (though Buffy mentioned it.)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 02:26 pm (UTC)

At least nobody turned into a caveman.

It would've been interesting to see a fight between astronaut!Spike and caveman!Buffy :)))

Posted by: Colleen (redeem147)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC)
Lois and Clark comic book

Issue #2?

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 02:34 pm (UTC)
Duster_by_awmp

Hee! Hopefully! :)

Posted by: readerjane (readerjane)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 02:26 pm (UTC)

(and joins Buffy during patrols.)

A most traditional narrative technique for getting shippies together. Not that I trust Joss further than I can shot-put him.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 02:39 pm (UTC)

A most traditional narrative technique for getting shippies together.

Oh, you're so right. I read countless post-series fics in which Buffy and Spike meet accidentally during Buffy's patrol, etc. :) It's so weird to read a canonical version of them patrolling the streets today.

Posted by: ubi4soft (ubi4soft)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 02:49 pm (UTC)

I liked the issue, too. And your review.

The last pages with the demon/loan twist? Totally memorable.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 03:05 pm (UTC)

The last page made me chuckle. Willow and Spike laughing, Buffy cursing - it feels like old days. Hopefully season 8 was transitional to these type of stories.

Posted by: TimeTravellingBunny (boot_the_grime)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 05:26 pm (UTC)
Buffy Tower Tarot

My review of the issue, together with a belated review of Angel and Faith: http://boot-the-grime.livejournal.com/11156.html

I'm glad that they never revealed the Master's name. It would severely limit his possible age. I like to think that he's a few millennia old, because he looks far too inhuman to be just a 600 years old as it was planned, or 1000 ywars, when 400-year old Darla still has a perfect human face. Unless he did something special to do away with the vestiges of his humanity?

I bet that he was supposed to be German as an homage to the German film Nosferatu, Symphonie ges Grauens, since his appearance was obviously inspired by Count Orlok.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 06:29 pm (UTC)
Buffy

Added the link to your review to my little collection :)

I wonder if our opinions will change drastically as the season will be progressing. Today it's so funny to look through my reviews on the first issue of s8: I was so often wrong in my predictions :)

I bet that he was supposed to be German as an homage to the German film Nosferatu, Symphonie ges Grauens, since his appearance was obviously inspired by Count Orlok.

According to BuffyWikia the Nosferatu homage was Mark Metcalf's idea. Initially The Master was supposed to have a beard. :)

Posted by: Infinitewhale (infinitewhale)
Posted at: September 16th, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC)


I've seen spec that the neighbor could well be Severin. If you wanted to stretch your wank muscles, you could say that's what the comment about Buffy bringing people together might mean since it seems Buffy breaking the Seed is what will bring the Severin character to fight.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: September 18th, 2011 04:07 pm (UTC)

Hmmm... Heinrich Severin? That would be a funny name. Although, if he's a vampire fighter, that could explain he's a recluse.

Posted by: Infinitewhale (infinitewhale)
Posted at: September 18th, 2011 04:38 pm (UTC)


It's a mouthful, but I wouldn't call it more strange than your usual Joss name. :P Like you say, sounds like a set-up. Since Buffy and Severin hit it off right away (they're friends by issue 4), it would be an interesting intro.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: September 18th, 2011 06:06 pm (UTC)
Buffy

It's a mouthful, but I wouldn't call it more strange than your usual Joss name

LOL, you're right!

Like you say, sounds like a set-up. Since Buffy and Severin hit it off right away (they're friends by issue 4), it would be an interesting intro.

I wonder if the cover with Buffy and Severin is a mislead. He sounds too cliched to be a good guy. (Then again, maybe it's my suspicious mind that sees him that way... :)

Posted by: Infinitewhale (infinitewhale)
Posted at: September 18th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)


One of the solicitations called him her friend, so he at least appears to be a whitehat. To start.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: September 18th, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC)
Scoobies

We'll see. I don't trust solicitations much - especially after "Spike, former vampire..." on some blurb :)

Posted by: tennyo_elf (tennyo_elf)
Posted at: September 17th, 2011 01:17 am (UTC)

I have the impression that El Draco isn't a bad guy, and that eventually he'll become Buffy's ally.

Interesting theory. Some are saying that Severin will turn out to be the bad guy at the end and now this theory. So basically they're roles would reverse.

I don't know though, I'm thinking this all going to be far more complicated than that.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: September 18th, 2011 04:13 pm (UTC)

So far, Severin sounds like an Angel-lite: he is beautifully dressed (does he wear leather pants or billowing coat?) and he fights the forces of darkness. He is that character that Joss once admitted (in his Australian interview, I believe) he can't write.

So I expect all kinds of twists with Severin.

Posted by: tennyo_elf (tennyo_elf)
Posted at: September 19th, 2011 06:47 am (UTC)

Oh yeah, I totally expect them too. ^_~

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: September 17th, 2011 12:48 pm (UTC)

Tumble who plays Mass Effect non-stop

You can tell that's what he's playing? :) I guess there does seem to be a blue-skinned woman on the screen who might well be Liara - and of course Dark Horse do have the rights to Mass Effect comics...

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: September 18th, 2011 04:04 pm (UTC)
Buffy

I admit, I'm not an expert in computer games, but I saw several references to "Mass Effect" at different places, so I included it in my recap.

Here are some links to "Mass Effect" mentions:

http://www.buffy-boards.com/showpost.php?p=989652&postcount=20

http://whedonesque.com/comments/27265#421575

http://joss-xianuniverse.blogspot.com/2011/09/buffy-season-9-1-freefall-1.html

Posted by: annapurna_2 (annapurna_2)
Posted at: September 17th, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC)

An excellent summary! Thank you so much for this. I don’t read the comics, but I’m always curious about them and I try to read reviews to learn as much as I can. This is one thorough, kick-ass recap. Heh.

I really love the Anaheed-Tumble and Willow-Xander parallels you point out. That’s very interesting and not something I’ve seen mentioned elsewhere.

And I see exactly what you mean about Spike taking on the Season 1 Angel role. I’d had the same thought myself. But even if he goes it one better, I hope it doesn’t stay that way for long. Especially since he’s always hated it whenever he was compared to Angel in any shape, form or fashion. I hope he’ll soon branch off and take a different path.

I just read a somewhat spoilery Q&A with Scott Allie in which he says Spike will be a main character and have interactions with other key characters and even take on “a bit of a role with local law enforcement,” so I have hopes that he will indeed carve out his own place within the group dynamic.

And I can’t help wondering if that role with local law enforcement will be professional or personal or both. Looks like one half of that new detective team is a strong and attractive female type. Hmmm…

I must confess, I wouldn’t mind seeing Buffy becoming a wee bit jealous at some point.

As for Xander’s secret, I tend to think it won’t be anything that revolves around Buffy. The fact that he wants it kept from Dawn makes me think it’s more about Xander and/or the Xander/Dawn relationship and that Buffy merely knows about it. At least I hope so. I think he deserves his own story arc. As much as I love Buffy, I don’t want her to be the center of everyone’s universe, like she used to be. It’s still her story, of course, but perhaps not as exclusively as it once was? Time will tell.

And I love your idea about El Draco becoming an ally. It would fly in the face of the expected, so I could totally see that happening. And I love the idea of Spike in a band, playing the coffee houses and such. Hee!

Thank you again for a very intriguing recap!

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: September 18th, 2011 05:15 pm (UTC)

An excellent summary!

*blushes* Thank you!

And I see exactly what you mean about Spike taking on the Season 1 Angel role. I’d had the same thought myself. But even if he goes it one better, I hope it doesn’t stay that way for long. Especially since he’s always hated it whenever he was compared to Angel in any shape, form or fashion.

You know Joss 0 he can do it exaclty because Spike hates being compared to Angel. But, so far, Buffy compared Riley to Spike: he was gining her a pep-talk, and she replied : You sound like Spike. "Words to cringe by," he replied.

I just read a somewhat spoilery Q&A with Scott Allie in which he says Spike will be a main character and have interactions with other key characters and even take on “a bit of a role with local law enforcement,” so I have hopes that he will indeed carve out his own place within the group dynamic.

And I can’t help wondering if that role with local law enforcement will be professional or personal or both. Looks like one half of that new detective team is a strong and attractive female type. Hmmm…


Allie's words about Spike having a role with local law enforcement caught me off-guard. I can't imagine Spike cooperating with cops. Then again, Spike seem to have changed a bit.

I doubt that they'll start Spike's romance with an OC.

As for Xander’s secret, I tend to think it won’t be anything that revolves around Buffy. The fact that he wants it kept from Dawn makes me think it’s more about Xander and/or the Xander/Dawn relationship and that Buffy merely knows about it. At least I hope so. I think he deserves his own story arc.

He definitely does! I'd love to read an interesting, in-depth Xander arc!

And I love the idea of Spike in a band, playing the coffee houses and such. Hee!

Absolutely! Spike playing in Buffy's coffee-house would be comedy gold! :)

Posted by: lyly_ford (lyly_ford)
Posted at: September 17th, 2011 07:26 pm (UTC)

i don't think she slept with either riley or xand, to much easy but i bet it's spike and we'll know later this season :)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: September 18th, 2011 05:59 pm (UTC)
Buffy

Frankly, I doubt that she has slept with anybody. Joss plays the shipper card too heavily. But we'll see. I don't think she has slept with Spike - I think he'd behave differently if they had sex.

But we'll see.

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: September 21st, 2011 09:20 am (UTC)
Spangel

Thank you, hon! *hugs*

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