Buffy issue #35 -- links, summary and thinky thoughts

May 13, 2010 17:39

#35: Headline News Edition by 2maggie2
Kool aid is no longer the drink of the season by flake_sake
How to Redeem a Hero by Angearia
Buffy 8.35 Scattered Thoughts by local_max
Religious interpretation by Stormwreath
Review by Shadowkat67
A Time for JW to Speak About Consent Issues in Buffy S8 by probablecylon
BtVS S8.35 "Twilight" Part Four by aycheb
Positive review by lusciousxander
Positive review by Tallgent
Discussion threads:


Buffy: "It's a trap."
Angel: "It's not a trap".
Buffy: "It's always a trap. That's how it is. We get one moment of peace..."
Angel: "That was way more than peace. Your finger was..."
Buffy: "Do not talk about it yet. We're not talking about it yet. The point is that's -- that's our lives. We catch our breath, we turn around and just as we figure out where they transported us, the vicious orcs come over the mountain. Listen. They're coming."
Angel: "No. You're wrong, Buffy. The orcs aren't coming."
Buffy: "But... That's not... The orcs always come."
Angel: "Until the day they don't."
Buffy: "No. The moment you look away, the bad guys jumps out... there's a bomb under the car... the apple's been poisoned..."
Angel: "Apple, maybe, poison, no."
Buffy: "Well, something was in that apple, cause what I'm feeling is a whole lot weirder than "afterglow". Which I'm also feeling."
Angel: "Have you noticed our clothes are changing? Not to mention -- Buffy, look -- the world. I think we're in..."

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the opening dialog between post-coital Buffy and Angel verbatim. Buffy thinks this is a trap because vicious orcs are coming, not because the man she loves conspired against her and killed her slayers. Uh-huh.

Angel tries to convince Buffy to stay with him on the higher plane they orgasmically penetrated. Apparently, they can shape that dimension according to their wishes (a garden turns into a beach, which, in turn, turns into a Bronze interior etc.) Buffy wants to see her friends. She rips through interdimensional wall and sees them fighting demon hordes. "We can help them," Angel says. "We can fix it. We can fix everything, Buffy. After all these centuries, no more fighting, no more failing, no more dying. The universe we're going to make... It's not just that we get to be together, Buffy. We finally get to be happy. They can handle it, Buffy. It's no different than when you died. They'll survive. They'll always do."

But Buffy can't leave her friends in danger and she gives up her happiness in favor of her friends. Her determination convinces Angel to reconsider his choice and they return to the lower plane after a schmoopy exchange:

Buffy: "I did miss you."
Angel: "I did miss you too."
Buffy: "I'll take the ones on the left."
Angel: "Then I get the ones on the right."

And with these statements our intrepid heroes go fight the good fight together.

And, as predicted, on the last panel Spike arrives in a spaceship, or maybe a time machine. He looks like season 2 Spike: red shirt, black nail polish, rings on his fingers. "You wanna put these demons down and end this Twilight crap once and for all? You talk to me".


In the last issue of Meltzer's arc absurdity jumps up a couple of notches.

So, Buffy thinks it's a trap because she is afraid that something can interrupt their idyll - not because Angel pushed her all along to become a superpowered goddess by killing her slayers. Buffy seems to forget completely that Angel is Twilight. The fact that Twangel was Buffy's enemy for 33 issues, that he was destroying everything she was creating, that he mocked and threatened her in issue #11 was just a "gotcha" and is supposed to be dismissed - as well as the deaths of all the redshirts in the previous issues. (To be fair to Meltzer, according to his interview, he wrote the majority of his arc before overall season 8 story got shaped up, so he could not know the magnitude of Twilight's crimes.)

Angel speaks like he doesn't care about anything but finding his personal happiness with Buffy. The possible death of humanity is just a pesky side-effect. The people who have already died are necessary casualties.

Other characters' lines are designed to exclude any coherence - as soon as somebody starts explaining something he is immediately interrupted - to keep everything as unclear as possible. But at least Scoobies sound more or less like themselves.

Spike speaks like a Marty-Stu. I definitely remember some fics where he is depicted like the ultimate problem-solver (usually - with his cock). Hopefully Joss will write him better. Although, at this point I don't hold my breath.


Meltzer's arc deals with one of the most popular comics tropes - a superhero making a choice between Love and The Mission. Angel, much to the character's detriment, plays the role of a love interest - a "girl" who traditionally tempts a superhero with dreams of happily ever after.

Many fans wonder what the hell happened to Angel. Why he acts like this? When he was lying? When he was telling his minions that he wanted to banish all magic and destroy Slayer army? Or when he was telling Buffy that he tried save her and to minimize the damage? Is he still under the influence of glowhypnol? Who is the real Big Bad of the season? The Universe? Somebody else? Nobody at all?

I may be wrong, but my impression is that were aren't supposed to ask these questions and just accept Angel's weird behavior as a plot necessity. All our whys have the only answer "because I, the author, say so, and use the universe as my substitute".

And, since Angel is a joint property of DH and IDW, the character has to be returned to IDW in a working condition - so Meltzer uses glowhypnol to absolve Angel of Twilight crimes. Giles mentions "the power that Twilight has on its subjects..." Apparently, once upon a time, Angel became Twilight's subject and it's not his fault he acts like a heartless bastard. I guess this is the last word on the subject and we'll never get any clarification if Angel got his free will back by the time when he tried to convince Buffy to stay with him and forget about her friends. Similarly, Buffy mentions that she feels "weird" when she conveniently forgets about Twilight's crimes. We can speculate that maybe she's still under the influence, but is slowly regaining control over her body and mind - but we'll never get the definitive answer, because Joss always leaves space for interpretation.

Glowhypnol possession is also an excuse to make Buffy and Angel sound out of character. Meltzer doesn't need them as characters; he needs them as generic types: a superhero, who saves the world by giving up love; and superhero's beloved, who dreams about a happy life together. All the richness and complexity of both characters are reduced to a primitive cliche.

That cliche conflicts with the season's overall arc, in which Twilight is a villain and a criminal, but the audience has four months to forget about it by the time the next issue is on sale.

The decision to re-introduce Angel as Buffy's nemesis-cum-love-interest has a pragmatic side, because only Angel can get away with this kind of behavior. Anybody else - Spike, Xander, Riley, Giles - would have been ruined completely. But Angel has always had bigger moral leeway than anybody in Jossverse; he's redeemable in practically any situation.

On BtVS Angel has always been depicted as an archetypal romantic hero, a strong and mysterious male who had been making decisions for Buffy's good, whether it was his departure in season 3 or rewriting Buffy's life in IWRY. And it worked, because Buffy's relationship with Angel has always been presented within classic romantic traditions. While on AtS Angel has his token protagonist privilege: he regularly put the world in danger and the audience was still supposed to be on his side and forgive him.

The idea to use Buffy/Angel sex as the ultimate deus-ex-machina that closes all the plot holes in the verse, is as inventive as it's cynical. The appearance of Fray was a bolt of sexual energy sent into the future. Willow getting her power back a couple of issues back was a bolt of sexual energy sent into the past. Now, if writers ever write themselves into a corner and need a way out, they can rely on a unique writer's crutch, available only in Buffyverse - a blast of sexual energy, empowering any random character in any timeline. Sex makes the world go round. Take that, Stephenie Meyer!

Overall, the arc is over-hyped, under-plotted and it features the most embarassing panels in season 8. The nerdgasms are funny, but the rest is messy, clumsy and utterly silly.


I think #35 is the last shippy issue. By the way, Metzer admitted in another interview that it was his idea to mark Buffy and Angel's reunion with epic sex. There is a possibility, of course, that Joss wanted to tell one story and Meltzer was interested in another. Maybe Joss agreed to show over-the-top "f@&#ing" scenes to provoke cognitive dissonance and to create a feeling that something was wrong with Buffy. But Meltzer's intention was earnest depiction of Buffy and Angel's relationship as the ultimate romance. I wonder if Joss will ever comment on this issue.

I have the impression that Meltzer's arc, formally "adult", was designed as conscious infantilization of the verse to bring heroes closer to target demographics. Angel is drawn as an 18-years old boy; Buffy - as a 16-years old girl. The heroine is reunited with her high-school love. The story becomes more and more Meyer-esque, and the cover for#36 is a direct homage to "another" Twilight. Buffy/Spike story can't be shoehorned into that formula, their past is too controversial. Hence, PTB's official Buffy/Angel endorsement, providing the militant faction of Bangel fandom with endless quotes about Bangel supremacy to bully Spuffy shippers forever.

So, is this the end of Spuffy? Quite the opposite. Underdogs always get more sympathy from the audience, so I expect a new wave of interest to our ship. As long as we talk about Buffy and Spike, write stories about them, make manips and icons, our ship sails through storms.

P.S. Re: "porn" debates. My only comment is that a year ago Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume One: The Long Way Home TPB was nominated to Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards-2009 in Favorite Book category. Ironically, it lost to "Twilight" series. ;)

review, comics, btvs season 8

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