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.
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.
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.
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.
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?