Angel&Faith #11 thinky thoughts
Detailed transcript by Zianna is here (thanks, Zianna!)
Overall, a strong issue, interesting plot, many beautiful character moments. Rebekah Isaaks' Willow is a bit stylized yet very recognizable. I'd love to see Connor who looks a bit more like Vincent Kartheiser, but that's just my nitpicking.
What I found especially interesting.
In the lettercol, Scott Allie says that "the original idea for season 9 was going to be a very cosmic odyssey". I guess Spike's ship was part of that initial plan. Yes, it the plan had been changed completely by "Predators and Prey" arc, but, according to Meltzer, he wrote his arс before season 8 has even started. Which makes me wonder if they plan to use some earlier ideas by Joss in Spike mini. Allie has confirmed that they don't have an overall, conceptual idea for Spike's mini - but maybe there are some non-conceptual ideas from Joss' initial plan for season 9?
Back to A&F#11 - it changes the global situation drastically. According to the issue, the destruction of the Seed destroyed all creative forces on Earth; suicide rates are growing, people are losing hope, and it's getting worse with every passing day.
So far, it's not clear if it's just a one-shot plot necessity (like Angel's hoodie safely protecting him from the sun) or a conceptual development of the verse. Buffyverse has a history of such plot necessities that looked huge when they were introduced but quickly fizzled out (vampire brothels, governmental anti-demon programs).
If it's just a plot necessity to justify the trip to Quor'Toth', I'll be mildly disappointed, but, ultimately, happy that they used it to explore Angel and Connor's dynamics.
But if it's part of the long-running mythology, then it's very interesting. If the situation on Earth worsens quickly, then by the end of the season they must find a way to stop it. Maybe by creating a new Seed - a baby Seed (thus making the pregnancy plot on BtVS very relevant).
Now, about the most controversial panel of the issue.
On one hand, Angel's line: "Once we'd given the Twilight universe form, I was going to bring everyone over" - blatantly contradicts the events of #35. Angel was "given the Twilight universe form" on the last panel of #34. And in #35 he explicitly talked about himself and Buffy staying there.
On the other hand, he mentioned in one of the previous issues that the power of Twilight over him was becoming stronger and stronger as his plan progressed. So, the way I see it, Angel's initial plan was to bring people over to the new universe, but by #34 he was completely inder the influence of glow and couldn't think straight. I can live with this explanation.
What bugs me is Angel's phrase "Why does everyone have such a hard time getting this?" Um, Angel - because it didn't look that way.
Actually, when I read the phrase, I hear the writers complaining: "Why does everyone have such a hard time getting this? It happened because on BtVS Angel was servicing Buffy's journey. That's how our storytelling works. When Buffy was servicing Angel's journey on AtS, she was depicted as a jealous bitch in "Sanctuary" or as a stupid bimbo in "The Girl in Question". Now Angel is back in his own title, and he's protected with the protagonist privilege again. Deal with it."
As a (fic) writer I can understand writers and as a fan I can understand fans. In serialized entertainment, all characters, even the most complex and multilayered are inevitably stuck within their roles and are bound to repeat the same mistakes, only on a bigger scale. Or be killed (but we know that it doesn't work in Jossverse). But fans don't want to suspend their disbelief. They judge the characters as if they're real people in real-life situations.
So I guess it's kind of an unsolvable situation.
I only hope that in the further issues writers will use less flippant, more serious approach to that pesky Twilight retconning. That they'll explain Angel's behavior in #35 either by Twilight's growing influence in Angel's mind or some other way that allows to restore Angel's status without destroying the unity of Buffyverse. "I didn't mention it because Buffy was worked up" is lame. Ultra lame.
About the unity of Buffyverse. The issue gave me a strong impression that after season 9 the structure of Buffyverse will change radically. There will be an ongoing Buffy title and there will be many spin-offs - one-shot, minis and maybe even one-seasonal titles - "Willow", "Spike", "Illyria", "Willow and Illyria" etc. I wonder if the upcoming "Willow" and "Spike" minis are there to gauge the interest before planning the post-9 season Buffyverse.
It's just an impression; I don't have anything to substantiate it. But if that's the case, writers will have a hard time to sustain this schisophrenic approach to Angel's journey. It's BUFFYverse, first and foremost, and nobody but Buffy will have protagonist privilege in that universe.
P.S. A funny typo.
Faith: "Listen, Angel and Connor aren't exactly on "take your son to work" terms. Angel's been ducking his calls like he's a drunk hookup. Which I told him is being a tool..." Apparently, the writers meant "fool", not "tool" - but maybe it was a Freudian slip? (Update: I was told in comments, that "tool" could be a slang version of "fool". Apparently, my English is far from perfect. Sorry, guys.)