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Buffy #8-9-10 thoughts

April 17th, 2012 (11:33 pm)



We were supposed to get only issue 8 this month. But as you may know, issue 9 leaked online a month early, and the outcome of issue 10 was more or less officially announced by Dark Horse at C2E2 (Chicago Comics&Entertainment Expo). You can read detailed recap of #8 here and #9 here (thanks, Zianna!)

In a nutshell: Buffy finds out that during the party in issue 1 Andrew transferred her mind into a high-tech robot who can eat, drink and pee on a pregnancy test (providing a positive result). Buffy's pregnancy symptoms were in fact "something in the pH balance of the trueblood". (We're supposed to suspend our disbelief about Spike not smelling a robot and about Severin siphoning the slayer essence out of a robot.) Andrew has animated Buffy's body with a Stepford wife personality and housed her in the suburbs.

Real Buffy watches the perfect life of her housefrau's doppelganger and envies her normalcy. Simone abducts housefrau!Buffy, realizes that she's not the real one, and "empowers" her (apparently, by telling her how evil the real Buffy is). In not-yet published issue 10 Buffy has a face-off with another Buffy and after that she says good-buy to Spike.

The last issue of the arc will be published in June, but thanks to Scott Allie, we already know that "In issue #10, Buffy and Spike say goodbye for a little while. The [Spike] miniseries picks up shortly thereafter. It fits neatly into the flow of the season, and it's not a flashback," the editor said of how his last Buffy writing gig for a while leads in. "In my issue #10, there's a moment I'm really happy with where Spike's dialogue to Buffy when they're saying goodbye reflects my current understanding of the character. He's sort of revising his attitude towards Buffy a little bit right now.

"It's interesting because some of the real diehard Spike fans feel like we're behind the times on this -- that Spike got over Buffy. I don't know if he's really over Buffy, but I feel like there's an opportunity for Spike's feelings about Buffy to evolve a little bit. It's not for him to create this huge distance between them, but just for him to take a new swipe at it. I think in the past his love for Buffy hasn't always been the most positive thing for him. That can really drag a guy down."


And here's an excerpt from EW's Shelf Life interview with Victor Gischler who will write Spike mini "A Dark Place". In that arc — which also deals with Buffy actually being a robot – Buffy confronts the fact that if she ever wants anything close to a “normal” life, having a boyfriend who’s a vampire probably isn’t the best thing for her.
“The focus is on Spike and his coming to terms with some things, sort of getting right in the head,” says Gischler. “He loves Buffy, but can’t be with her. What does that mean to a vampire with a soul?”


Back to the arc - all Spuffy scenes in this arc are so touching that it's frightening. After such display of love, tenderness and loyalty Joss usually kills his characters. If the only fallout for Spike is leaving for his own mini, I'd say he got off easy.

Is this the end of Spuffy? I don't think so. Even if Joss wrote himself into the corner and doesn't know to keep Buffy unhappy with Spike around, he'll never close the Spuffy door for good. He'll go on teasing and baiting; he'll never get off the fence.

Buffy and Spike's relationship is in a very precious and precarious place now. To push it further is dangerous - you can ruin the magic. Happy couples are boring. No conflict. No drama. The biggest challenge in serialized entertainment is the necessity to tear down every relationship you create to push the story forward.

And it's next-to-impossible to make Buffy and Spike unhappy because of inherent problems, like in case of Buffy and Angel. Spike is no Angel, pardon the pun. He won't come up with schemes behind Buffy's back for her own good. He'll always support her. He's eager to accept the position of her right-hand man, her trusted lieutenant. So the writers have to invent an outside reason to send him away. It's better than keep the relationship stagnating.

I hope that Joss won't use some nasty Twilight-like scenario to separate them. I wonder if Spike will kill Simone, and that will cause him to quit. But I doubt it.

It's apparent that Joss doesn't have a tragic arc for Buffy and Spike. A couple of months ago, simonf, Whedonesque mod, suggested that in season 9 Spike will sire Buffy and I thought that his idea was heartbreaking and very true to Jossverse. But apparently Joss decided that Spuffy has exhausted its limit of angst on TV. So he sends Spike away because he doesn't have an angsty story for him. Would it be better to keep him as a prop for a couple of panels each issue?

If Buffy and Spike part on a hopeful "maybe some day" note I'll be a happy camper. I never expected a happily ever after for Buffy, and, as soon as writers started pushing Spuffy in #6-7, I expected something horrible to happen. If Buffy and Spike part only because Spike wants Buffy to be happy and lead a normal life - it's a tried and true method to avoid definitive answers while keeping an overall Spuffy-friendly atmosphere in the comics.

I hope that sooner or later Spike will be back in Buffy's life. That she'll be missing him when he's away and they'll keep in touch via e-mail and Skype. That, as soon as he returns she'll hug and kiss him. With rising music. And then, of course, Joss will come up with something else to keep them apart. Yesterday I watched "The Cabin in the Woods" and I enjoyed it a lot - but the ending of that movie is a typical Joss ending when he works without studio interference.

I don't know if I'll continue to write reviews for the next issues. I'm not sure I'll be interested enough to dissect and debate the plot, but I'll go on reading, because I'm curious what happens to Buffy.

Comments

Posted by: coalitiongirl (coalitiongirl)
Posted at: April 17th, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC)

Did we ever hear that Spike isn't coming back? I thought Scott's "for a little while" made it very clear that Spike would be back before the end of the season, just like Willow went and will return.

I actually just made a post about this same development here. (ETA: And just now, another one! :D) I like the idea of Spike leaving because I think that both characters need some time to establish other things that are going on in their lives- and after Spike confronts Buffy with his feelings in #7, the romance of it all is now the elephant in the room. And while they both might want that at some point, Buffy isn't necessarily ready for an "all-in" romantic relationship while there's so much left to figure out- and it isn't fair for either of them for Spike to hang around just waiting.

I'm glad that they're giving them time apart because that means that the writers aren't just pandering to shippers- they're taking the relationship seriously enough to allow for other plot and relationship (Scoobies in particular, but also Kennedy, Koh, Buffy's roommates...) growth outside of it first. I'd be very disappointed if this whole season were just about Buffy and Spike's relationship!

Edited at 2012-04-17 08:17 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: April 17th, 2012 08:34 pm (UTC)

I enjoyed your post on Tumblr. I still can't figure out how to comment there (there is an option to comment on Tumblr, isn't it?) I'm torn about this. On one hand, I subscribed to season 9 because I was sure that Spike will be there, in all 25 issues. OTOH, I realize that it would mean a painful arc and a lot of frustrations in fandom.

Right now I'm afraid that Joss spreads his verse too thin, that after Willow's and Spike's departure sales will drop dramatically. Hopefully it won't happen.

Posted by: coalitiongirl (coalitiongirl)
Posted at: April 17th, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)

There is a way to comment on Tumblr! Unfortunately I usually post my comics thoughts on my secondary blogs, and Tunblr hasn't given us reply functionality on those yet. :/

I'm happy with what we've gotten so far of Spike, but I've been missing Dawn and Xander and we'll get so much more of them now. (although didn't they tell us a whole ago that Spike would be too busy on BS9 to get a spinoff?) And we're nearly halfway through and we've gotten quite a bit of Spike and Spuffy, so even if he's absent for a few arcs, I'm satisfied! ;) I don't think that sales will go down much more than the expected slow decline, though I do wonder how popular the two miniseries will be- I probably won't buy either one, tbh.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: April 17th, 2012 09:15 pm (UTC)

didn't they tell us a whole ago that Spike would be too busy on BS9 to get a spinoff?

I wonder if Spike mini is a replacement of Drusilla mini.

I don't think that sales will go down much more than the expected slow decline, though I do wonder how popular the two miniseries will be- I probably won't buy either one, tbh.

That's the problem. I don't feel the urge to buy these minis either. One of Spike's advantages is his subversive behavior, and a story about finding chards of the Seed can hardly give him a chance to subvert anything.

Posted by: coalitiongirl (coalitiongirl)
Posted at: April 18th, 2012 04:48 am (UTC)

Yep. I mean, I'm All About Buffy. I like reading about Buffy, I like reading about her plots and character interactions. There have to be a lot of interesting characters I already like in a spinoff to appeal to me (one of the reasons why I haven't picked up Angel and Faith other than the Harmony issue!), and Spike alone can't carry a series enough for me to invest in them. Without strong characters (like Angel or Buffy) around to give him emotional resonance, I doubt it'll be as enjoyable.

(Though if they'd taken Xander and Dawn along for this miniseries, I'd be eagerly awaiting it. I look forward to some of those interactions later in the season, hopefully!)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: April 17th, 2012 08:39 pm (UTC)
Duster_by_awmp

"Characters-in-law" - great term.

I'm a bit cautious about Spike's mini, mostly because I don't know anything about the writer. I'd prefer Jane Espenson to write the mini, but, apparently, she's busy.

Posted by: coalitiongirl (coalitiongirl)
Posted at: April 17th, 2012 08:57 pm (UTC)


I wish that it'd be Jane Espenson, too, but I've seen enough people in fandom alone write a beautiful Spike to be cautiously optimistic about an untested writer trying him.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: April 17th, 2012 09:35 pm (UTC)

I wish luck to Victor Gischler. I read comments in his blog - apparently he already knows how passionate our fandom is.

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=2562628385364540098&postID=8761455612759837006

Posted by: coalitiongirl (coalitiongirl)
Posted at: April 17th, 2012 10:28 pm (UTC)

Omg woww. Poor guy. I imagine that he'll be taking this job extra seriously now...

(And no one there mentioned that, as per standard comics policy, 85% of fandom will hate it regardless of characterization and ship! :D)

Posted by: TimeTravellingBunny (boot_the_grime)
Posted at: April 21st, 2012 09:59 pm (UTC)
Buffy Always Darkest

Allie has a good grasp of characters?! Oh god, I really don't think so. I don't think he even likes Buffy and he seems to see her as an immature brat, and he doesn't get the Buffy/Spike relationship at all. His comment that Buffy has "since he got his soul back, treated Spike alternately as her closet confidante, and as a dog"... he must have been watching some other season 7.

Posted by: coalitiongirl (coalitiongirl)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2012 01:10 am (UTC)
buffy earshot

After Joss called Buffy irresponsible for being roofed at a party, I've stopped looking at writer interviews as part of how I read the text because they get me so upset. But what Allie lets through does seem to present Buffy accurately to me, so I'm going with that instead. Idk, he said those things and I thought that the series would reflect them, but it hasn't? So I conclude that his interpretation of what he's approving is different from mine (or he's just crowd-pleasing), but it's still a good grasp.

Posted by: TimeTravellingBunny (boot_the_grime)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2012 12:34 pm (UTC)
Buffy Always Darkest

I don't remember Joss calling Buffy irresponsible? He said the opposite when the interviewer asked him about people being upset at Buffy for being irresponsible (that was when it was believed she got drunk at the party and had a blackout), and he replied that people might think differently when they learn the actual circumstances. Allie said that she chose to get drunk and that the result of her "poor choices and lack of foresight will take us far into the season" (back when we didn't know that she was actually roofied).

But what Allie lets through does seem to present Buffy accurately to me, so I'm going with that instead.
I'm not sure what you mean?

Posted by: coalitiongirl (coalitiongirl)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2012 03:25 pm (UTC)

Hm, right here:

I think that first of all that they should wait until they have all the facts and they’ll learn stuff that they didn’t know before. They should find out what happened before they completely judge her. But at the same time, this is also about the time in your life when you do things that are irresponsible, or that you want to hold yourself to account for. (x)

The fact that there was even an implication that Buffy might've done something irresponsible when there was still a strong suspicion that she was date-raped was incredibly upsetting to me. And I know that Joss is playing word games, but those weren't really okay word games imo.

And...yeah, that's my point. I don't include what the writers say in my mindset of how I read the comics anymore, just the facts of it. If Joss wants to tell the world about this great story he wrote about empowering abortion and the comics readers are reading a book in which (while the metaphorical implications remain) the actual abortion was invalidated by a plot device, so be it. I'll enjoy my metaphor and ignore the media blitz.

And I mean what I'm saying in that sentence. Frex, I don't care if he says that Buffy treats Spike like a dog, as long as the works that he is editor of contain in-character explorations of Spuffy being alternately snarky and supportive, I'm going to look at him as someone who understands them. He's seeing it through his lens, perhaps, but the outcome is the same. And that's okay with me. I can show you thirty fans who'd read Dead Things differently and sympathetic to different characters, but they all would still call it in character...

Posted by: Kiki May (kikimay)
Posted at: April 17th, 2012 08:09 pm (UTC)
True Love Spuffy

I was so sad to know that Spike would go elsewhere, leaving Buffy in San Francisco.
I've ranted about it for all the week, because Spuffy is really the thing that keeps me going foward with the comics and having them separeted now ... I don't know. It still feels the wrong decision for Buffy comics. On the other hand, it could be the opportunity to find a new balance for the couple. They could rediscover themselves (Buffy and her slayerness, Spike and his un-life) and trying to build something new and concrete. I hope so.
I hope that Spike don't "get over" Buffy and that she finds the streinght to accept his love, because she's afflicted by her inferiority complex and, maybe, she doesn't feel able to love Spike in the way he loves her. Jeanty kinda said so.
I loathed Buffy's giggle at Angel's mention. I'm not anti-bangel and I love the Angelcakes, but it seems wrong to me, especially after the Twilight-arc.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: April 17th, 2012 08:44 pm (UTC)

I loathed Buffy's giggle at Angel's mention

I have the impression that it was Andrew who giggled. Buffy just rolled eyes.

Posted by: Kiki May (kikimay)
Posted at: April 17th, 2012 08:58 pm (UTC)

I watched again the panel and I don't understand: Andrew seems to just tell and Buffy makes a weird face. What does that mean?

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: April 17th, 2012 09:20 pm (UTC)

Andrew: It's right off Sausalito - Oh, heh - Angel island.

Andrew giggles. Buffy makes an "are you twelve?" face. Spike is frustrated. Buffy smiles - his frustration is cute, it proves that he isn't indifferent to her.

ASt least that's my reading of the scene.

Posted by: Kiki May (kikimay)
Posted at: April 17th, 2012 09:30 pm (UTC)

I read it completly different, but basically I didn't understand all the action.
It's just that Buffy seems embarassed, when she turns to face Spike. I wish we could see the script!

Posted by: Simon (simonf)
Posted at: April 17th, 2012 09:39 pm (UTC)

There's still time for Spike to sire Buffy! Or alternatively for Spike to become human.

Posted by: Kiki May (kikimay)
Posted at: April 17th, 2012 09:44 pm (UTC)

I prefer the second option!
Spike that sires Buffy feels like a betrayal of the characters (his redemption journey, her journey to affirm self-identity)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: April 17th, 2012 10:01 pm (UTC)
Buffy

I doubt that Joss envisions Spike to become human - he told in an old interview that he could see in in the distant future, in Fireflyverse.

As to siring - I agree, Joss may eventually go there: to keep Buffy a vampire for a season and then make her shanshu.

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: April 17th, 2012 09:46 pm (UTC)
Season 8 - Spuffy

I thought it was common knowledge that Spike was returning at the end of Season 9, though. But yeah, I'd bet it all on black -- Spike'll be back. Wanna know how I see it?

This is the classic separation to figure it out deal. I'm currently reading "Anna Karenina" and we keep discussing how Levin and Kitty are experiencing separate arcs of growth, learning lessons, in tandem, even though they're apart, and their journeys ultimately are bringing them back to each other.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: April 17th, 2012 10:16 pm (UTC)

It was common knowledge that Spike would be too busy on BtVs to get his own mini, too. The changes may continue in the most unpredictable ways.

But I hope for the better. I love the parallel between Buffy and Spike and Tolstoy's heroes. Maybe one day Joss will mellow anb let Buffy have a bit of happiness.

Posted by: Sylvike (fishsanwitt)
Posted at: April 18th, 2012 04:13 pm (UTC)

I love reading your posts. Thank you.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: April 18th, 2012 05:20 pm (UTC)

*hugs* Hopefully Joss will reinvent Buffy and Spike relationship the way that will inspire us again to talk about comics.

Posted by: norwie2010 (norwie2010)
Posted at: April 18th, 2012 12:37 pm (UTC)

Thanks for writing down your thoughts. :)

I, personally, have run out of patience with the comics and it's convoluted way of asking the right questions - then veering off to the right and falling of off a cliff. I had put great hopes on the continuation of the Buffy'n'Spike story, as that was never boring, but always entertaining and thought provoking at the same time. Unfortunately, comics!Spuffy is quite boring (and the writers seem to think the same) and not at all thought provoking. So, unless you continue with your reviews i'll be out of the loop considering the comics story line and not able to understand, or comment on it in the future. :)

Oh, and one other thing: Being all modest about yourself doesn't really save you from adoration. Keep up the good (and needed!) work! ;-)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: April 18th, 2012 04:34 pm (UTC)
Buffy

I feel more and more detached from the comics with every issue.

I shipped Buffy and Spike because they were the epithome of fighting against all odds - against fate, against prejudices, against genre conventions. Maybe because of my big expectations their current story looks tame and unimaginative. Bizarre plot twists don't help.

I don't know if I'll have the desire to write reviews; I'm not inspired anymore, and I don't want to turn it into a chore. I'll definitely go on lurking and maybe even occasionally posting a line or two on BuffyForums and other places where debates take place.

Being all modest about yourself doesn't really save you from adoration.

You're too kind, Norbert! Sometimes I want to scream because of my inability to do or to offer anything constructive. Russian society is split today: part of the people watch state TV which declares that Putin is our leader and the members of the opposition are American spies. The other part read and watch Internet which says that Putin is a thief and a traitor, while the opposition tries to save the country. Reasonable and balanced opinions are rare. Still, there is hope that there is a way out of the mess we're in...

*hugs*

Posted by: norwie2010 (norwie2010)
Posted at: April 19th, 2012 12:31 pm (UTC)

I shipped Buffy and Spike because they were the epithome of fighting against all odds - against fate, against prejudices, against genre conventions.

This.

Maybe because of my big expectations their current story looks tame and unimaginative. Bizarre plot twists don't help.


And, sadly, also this.

Also: I believe in you (in you personally, as well as the Russian people.)

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