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Buffy #3 - review and specs

November 10th, 2011 (01:29 pm)


Mythology:
When it rains, it pours. The new issue introduces so many pieces of the new mythology that it's a bit overwhelming.

Turns out, since the destructon of the seed, all the newly-sired vampires are "remotely possessed" by demons from other dimensions; this type of possession makes them more feral and ugly. They can't control their basic instincts for blood. The logic behind the explanation is very flimsy, but whatev. It's make-believe after all. So, there are "old" vampires, who abide by "Harmony rules" and the are new "zompires" who are mindless killers.

Buffy's new slaying partner, Severin, tells her he has discovered his ability to rip the demon essense from vampires after the destruction of the seed. Maybe it's another consequence. Or maybe it's just a plot necessity.

Spike tracks the demon who escaped the mystical prison, Eldre Koh, finds him in Alcatraz (writers revel in trademark SF locations) and discovers that the demon considers himself indebted to Buffy because she has freed him by destroying The Seed.

Eldre Koh says Buffy shoulf beware of "Siphon" who drains magic from everyone he touches - vampires, demons... even the slayer. On the last panel Severin-Siphon tells Buffy that he becomes stronger with every vampire he drains... and it looks like he's about to attack her. Will he or won't he? The cover of the next issue features Spike and Eldre Koh running to the rescue; OTOH, the solicitation of # 4 calls Severin her friend.

I don't remember so many new elements of mythology introduced in a single episode, ever. The changes are staggering. Two types of vampires. A demon who considers himself Buffy's ally. A human who kills vampires - yet he apparently isn't a very good guy. Maybe he's a bad guy. He admits that we wanted to become a vampire.

It's a different world. More grey. More adult.

Relationships:

The much-debated Xander and Dawn's refusal to let Buffy sleep on their couch turns out to be a good thing, as police detectives visit them soon after. When Buffy calls the Scoobie meeting, Xan and Dawn are the only ones who arrive (Spike's on his way to Alcatraz and Willow is at work). Dawn gives Buffy Detective Dowling's number and ask her to call him. I can't figure out if we are supposed look at Xander and Dawn's stance from a RL standpoint or from a TV show standpoint. Because, from RL standpoint, Buffy is an irresponsible idiot who fled the police custody and now endangers the lives of her sister and her friends. They could end up in jail because of her. While from TV show standpoint, Buffy is right because of genre conventions and protagonist privilege: she was right to flee the police custody, because she's the one who saves the day, while cops have always been depicted as clueless and helpless. And Xander and Dawn are wrong to refuse her shelter because, according to the show, being arrested for helping a criminal is a non-issue on BtVS.

The same situation is with Willow who doesn't come to a Scoobie meeting because she's at work. From RL standpoint it's normal. From TV show's standpoint, work could wait; Scoobies' meetings have always been Scoobies' top priority.

Spike and Buffy don't interact in this issue, but he works hard to find out who's after her. I miss their snark. Hopefully they'll have some screentime together in the next issue.

Art:

Hit and miss, as usual. There are wonderfully executed panels of Buffy's close-ups. There are great details, especially in the demon (Nomed) rental agency. My favorite detail is Willow's co-worker off-screen reaction to Willow's line: "Shouldn't you be on the run from the police?": we don't see the co-worker, but the documents she has printed are flying around - apparently poor girl has tripped.

I wonder who is responsible for visual continuity. On the penultimate page, when Buffy and Severin approach the zompires' nest, there are stars on the sky on the upper panel, there are no stars on the middle panel and there are stars on the bottom panel. In the scene where Severin's girlfriend becomes a vampire, she doesn't wear striped stockings initially; when as she attacks Severin she wears stockings, but they mysteriously disappear as soon as Severin sucks her inner demon out of her. Apparently, her stockings were utterly demonic and Severin accidentally sucked them in.

Writing:

Fast-pacing narrative, full of shocks and twists. Inventive transitions from one scene to another through the use of offscreen dialogue. My only gripe is that the episode is heavy on exposition, and there is no time and space for small intimate moments. The dialogues are good, but after the brilliance of issue #1 simply "good" is a bit of a letdown.

Specs:

Severin's story developed so quickly over the course of this issue that I have the impression that by the next issue his story will be over. Do you remember Buffy's roommate, Kathy, from "Living Conditions"? She represented a radical shift the the mythology, being a demon who could suck the souls out of humans - but, ultimately, she was just a one-episode concept. I may be wrong , but it seems to me that it's Severin's fate too. There are specs that Severin and the red-glasses guy from the flash-forward in #40 are the same guy, but I doubt it. The guy is left-handed, Severin is right-handed; Severin doesn't wear glasses or jewellery. I still hope that the red-glasses guy is Ripper.

Bits and pieces:

It's hard to keep an elastic timeline in the show as studded with cultural references as BtVS. According to Xander he has lost his eye three years ago; apparently now it's 2006 with iPhones and Lady Gaga's songs.

Dowling's police badge indicates that he works in South San Francisco police department (South San Francisco is a different town with a separate police department - thanks to rebcake for the heads-up), but his card says he's from San Francisco police department. Another continuity blunder or a future plot point?

Is Andrew building another Buffybot to distract cops from real Buffy? And, BTW, the only way to tell that it's Andrew is the poster of a Lucas movie on the wall, THX 1138.

Spike is travelling in a boat, by day. He is smoking a bit, in his Sam Spade attire, but he doesn't turn into dust. Another consequence of the destruction of the seed or just a plot necessity?

Comments

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: November 10th, 2011 11:13 am (UTC)

Turns out, since the destructon of the seed, all the newly-sired vampires are "remotely possessed" by demons from other dimensions; this type of possession makes them more feral and ugly

I don't think that's what Willow meant at all. She meant that because of the seed being broken no vampire demons can come from another dimension to possess people and turn them into vampires, so when they rise from the dead they're mindless and feral.

Which makes no sense IMO. If's it's the demon that's animating the dead bodies, and the demon can't get here, why aren't those people just dead?

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: November 10th, 2011 11:28 am (UTC)
Buffy

Willow: "The demon can't pass into this world. The demon has to possess the vampire's body from another dimension."

In any case, you're absolutely right about it making no sense. :) The metaphysics of Jossverse defy logic quite regularly.

I try to figure out WHY Joss needs to introduce a new type of vampires into his verse? Is it just a metaphor of the new vampire trend in mass culture? Or the writers plan some unusual plot twist, like Buffy siding with old vampires against new vampires?

Posted by: norwie2010 (norwie2010)
Posted at: November 10th, 2011 12:24 pm (UTC)

I just hope it's not superhero comic book-y villains that the writer is after (you know, the Other as slayable).

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: November 10th, 2011 01:14 pm (UTC)
Scoobies

I hope it, too. Judging by the number of vampire corpses on the last page, zompires are new cannon fodder; I just hope writers won't go for quantity instead of quality.

So far, it seems that Severin will be the little bad, while the Big Bag is not revealed yet.

Posted by: Rebcake (rebcake)
Posted at: November 10th, 2011 04:52 pm (UTC)
ats_illyria

We know that Severin has been sucking the demons from old, non-zompire, vampires, as the police found that the bodies were of people that had been missing persons for decades.

I also think that Willow was saying that vamps' demons used to come over from other dimensions, but now they can't make the trip, leaving the new vampire "demonless". Which, as so many people have stated, makes no sense.

Unless! Perhaps they are going back to the old idea of vampirism as a virus. This actually makes some sense in a world without magic. Perhaps ingesting vampire blood always created an animated zombie corpse, but the extra-dimensional demon (no longer available) that moved in was somehow able to tap into the cerebral cortex and create a symbiotic sentient creature out of the zompire, the human memories, and itself. That would mean that vampirism was actually two separate events in the past: a) zombification, and b) demon possession. Step "b" is no longer possible with the dimensional doors shut tight.

*is quite proud of wanking skills* Hmmm. That didn't come out right....

Posted by: Lisa (shipperx)
Posted at: November 10th, 2011 06:43 pm (UTC)

We know that Severin has been sucking the demons from old, non-zompire, vampires, as the police found that the bodies were of people that had been missing persons for decades.

Since their power is demonic... wouldn't that make Severin increasingly demon possessed?

Posted by: Rebcake (rebcake)
Posted at: November 10th, 2011 07:33 pm (UTC)
ats_fred_demon

Well, sucking out demonic "energy" (whatever) doesn't have to be the same as taking on the essence of the demon, just as eating a steak doesn't make us possessed by a cow, or breathing air doesn't turn us into gas forms, etc.

Where my 2-step theory breaks down is that if the demon is not the animating force of the vampire, wouldn't its removal just turn the remaining entity back into a zompire, rather than a dead human? It's not like Severin is removing the "virus". Probably. IDEK, obviously.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: November 10th, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC)
Duster_by_awmp

I also think that Willow was saying that vamps' demons used to come over from other dimensions, but now they can't make the trip, leaving the new vampire "demonless". Which, as so many people have stated, makes no sense.

I'm suddenly struck with a thought: where all the demon essense go when a vampire is dusted - now, post-Seed, when all the portals are closed? Could it travel from dusted vamps to newly-sired vamps?

(I should stop thinking about it...)

Perhaps they are going back to the old idea of vampirism as a virus. This actually makes some sense in a world without magic. Perhaps ingesting vampire blood always created an animated zombie corpse, but the extra-dimensional demon (no longer available) that moved in was somehow able to tap into the cerebral cortex and create a symbiotic sentient creature out of the zompire, the human memories, and itself. That would mean that vampirism was actually two separate events in the past: a) zombification, and b) demon possession. Step "b" is no longer possible with the dimensional doors shut tight.

Actually, it's a great theory - but I think that writers never intended to go that deep. They're most likely enjoyed coining the word "zompire" and laughed a lot.

Posted by: Rebcake (rebcake)
Posted at: November 10th, 2011 07:38 pm (UTC)
ats_rogue

As ShipperX says above, perhaps Severin is incorporating the demon essence? However, if the demon essence is the equivalent of a human soul, metaphysically speaking, the bigger question is whether the seedless world is cut off from all other dimensions, including heaven. If so, then the demon essence and the human soul are in the same boat — cast adrift at death. Bum bum bum BUM.

Edited at 2011-11-10 07:43 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: November 10th, 2011 07:54 pm (UTC)
Spangel

And they're accumulating in the atmosphere, causing an ecological crisis. Or possessing planes and helicopters.

Actually, I think that writers just didn't think about it at all.

Posted by: slaymesoftly (slaymesoftly)
Posted at: November 11th, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC)

Hee! I'm sure your wanking skills are excellent. Oh wait, unless you meant...

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: November 10th, 2011 01:19 pm (UTC)

"The demon can't pass into this world. The demon has to possess the vampire's body from another dimension."

I'm pretty sure Willow's saying that's what used to happen before the destruction of the seed, not what's happening now.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: November 10th, 2011 01:27 pm (UTC)
Duster_by_awmp

That's pretty possible. The way it's written, it can be interpreted both ways (and both are ultimately non-sensical :)

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: November 10th, 2011 01:28 pm (UTC)

(and both are ultimately non-sensical :)

Par for the course.

Posted by: Lisa (shipperx)
Posted at: November 10th, 2011 06:42 pm (UTC)

That's the way I interpreted it. It's a bit like the Judeo-Christian (7th Sign) concept of the Guf (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guf ) which is more or less a 'well of souls' with the belief that when an infant is born the soul is brought from 'the Guf'. So I'm interpreting it to mean that the demon 'Guf' is now cut off.

Now, this doesn't fit with the Buffy mythology that was originally given. And I'm not at all sure how that really explains Zompires. But...er... I think a demon guf idea was sort of what they were aiming for.

Posted by: quiet_rose90 (quiet_rose90)
Posted at: November 10th, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC)
pic#110835674

I dont have the comic yet but did look at the picture of Xander naming them "zompires" when Xander named them it seemed like Severin was changing the subject when he asked Buffy if she wanted to go with him to a nest. Because he didn't acknowledge what Xander had just said. I don't know maybe I misinterpreted it or something :)

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: November 10th, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)

Amusingly, Andrew Chambliss seems to have been asked to confirm theory A (moscow_watcher's interpretation) on Twitter but seems to have misunderstood the question and either confirmed theory B (yours) or is as hopelessly muddled as we are.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: November 10th, 2011 08:45 pm (UTC)

Yes, it was a very strange reply:

https://twitter.com/#!/AndrewChambliss/status/134691083601981441


Q.: Are the zompires created by remote possession instead of physical like normal vamps? Issue 3 read that way.

A.: yep, demons can't cross over to inhabit zompire bodies like they do with pre-seed vampires


Why can't demons relocate from dusted vampires into newly-sired ones? :)

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: November 10th, 2011 09:34 pm (UTC)

I suspect we're not supposed to overthink it.

Posted by: ms_scarletibis (ms_scarletibis)
Posted at: November 12th, 2011 07:18 pm (UTC)

Turns out, since the destructon of the seed, all the newly-sired vampires are "remotely possessed" by demons from other dimensions; this type of possession makes them more feral and ugly. They can't control their basic instincts for blood. The logic behind the explanation is very flimsy, but whatev. It's make-believe after all. So, there are "old" vampires, who abide by "Harmony rules" and the are new "zompires" who are mindless killers.

That just makes no sense to me. The more feral and ugly they are was initially supposed to mean that the demon inside was more "pure," and if it's more pure, it should theoretically mean it's closer to the "becoming a demon" process than the average process. And if the seed cut off that process in its entirety, than there shouldn't be anymore vampires made in any shape or form. Zompires or not. Just my two cents, of course ;)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: November 12th, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC)

That just makes no sense to me

It makes no sense to anybody. I looked through the discussions at several boards, and everybody is confused. The moment you start to actually think and analyse, the whole concept falls apart.

Posted by: leyki (enzialla)
Posted at: November 13th, 2011 11:26 pm (UTC)

I wonder who is responsible for visual continuity.
*cough* editors *cough*

and discovers that the demon considers himself indebted to Buffy because she has freed him by destroying The Seed

Any bets that the story with Koh won't be one full of roses?
Why was he prisoned?
And if he had been prisoned because he was evil, who guarantees that his loyalty to Buffy will prevent him from doing evil in the future?
etc etc


The much-debated Xander and Dawn's refusal to let Buffy sleep on their couch turns out to be a good thing, as police detectives visit them soon after.

Well not exactly since the police didn't search the apartment.

He is smoking a bit, in his Sam Spade attire, but he doesn't turn into dust.

It's a covered boat so that protects him more from the sun.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: November 14th, 2011 09:46 am (UTC)

*cough* editors *cough*

Apparently, they're too busy to pay attention to such insignificant details... :)

Any bets that the story with Koh won't be one full of roses?
Why was he prisoned?
And if he had been prisoned because he was evil, who guarantees that his loyalty to Buffy will prevent him from doing evil in the future?
etc etc


I agree. His story promises to be fascinating. So far he could turn into a male version of Illyria. He spent so much time in his prison that he must be disoriented in the modern world. I wonder if the writers will go in that direction.

Well not exactly since the police didn't search the apartment.

You're right - then again, an experienced cop can notice signs of a person's presence even without searching the apartment - like slippers under the bed or something like that.

I'm torn about Xander and Dawn's attitude.

It's a covered boat so that protects him more from the sun.

Yes, you're most likely right - but, apparently, when they arrive at Alcatraz, he had to walk to the prison building. Than again, there are clouds on the sky - apparently we're supposed to assume that Spike got lucky.

Posted by: leyki (enzialla)
Posted at: November 14th, 2011 10:29 am (UTC)

but, apparently, when they arrive at Alcatraz, he had to walk to the prison building. Than again, there are clouds on the sky - apparently we're supposed to assume that Spike got lucky.


Yeah, right, clouds in the sky, and in a couple of hours the sky was full of stars.....like you said, the editors in DH are too busy dealing with such insignificant things.

Posted by: a2zmom (a2zmom)
Posted at: November 27th, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC)

Hi!

I just read your IWRY entry and I loved it. As always, you are one of the very few writeres who knows how to write humor that's both funny and completely character based. Buffy's mrtification at it being the real Angel was a hoot.

I also loved the twist you gave the amulet. Really great and I kind of wish that had been in the show.

Finally, don't forget to go here to get a Zachary designed holiday card from me!

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: November 27th, 2011 06:39 pm (UTC)
Spangel

Hey!

Thank you for kind words! I'm happy and thrilled to get your feedback. First, because I love feedback (duh!), second, because I'm so glad that you haven't left the fandom.

I noticed a funny thing: I love to contradict canon. My last year IWRY entry was written in summer when writers and editors were hyping happy Buffy/Angel reunion angle of the story - and I wrote a fic with an unhappy ending. This year Buffy/Angel's love lies in ruins, and I feel the urge to write something funny, silly and absolutely B/A-reaffirming - to make up for the tortures Joss subjected them to.

Thank you for your sweet offer to send me a card, but I have to decline it. The post offices in Russia work terribly; they regularly lose correspondence, parcels, everything. The only stuff that always finds the way into our mailboxes is political propaganda from the ruling party. :(

So -- thank you and Zachary for your offer and sorry I can't accept it. I hope to see you posting your thoughts on current comics (that is, if you have time and desire to talk about them).

*hugs*

Posted by: a2zmom (a2zmom)
Posted at: November 27th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC)

Hugs right back!

I still do plan to do a comics write-up. Real life should start being more cooperative (grumble, grumble).

I am sorry that your post office is so wonky. Maybe Zachary will let me e-mail it to you (he is a very fussy artist and only likes his work viewed if he feels it captures his intentions. You should see him getting something printed.)

Abd being contrary is fun. We need to be the Joss-antidote!

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