Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Buffy #33: Twilight Part Two Reviewed! (SPOILERS GALORE)

How does one review a comic that contains one of the biggest moments in not only Season Eight but in the whole of the series? Is there really a way to criticize this singular issue based on the merits of the issue alone without taking into account what came before and theorize what might come afterward? In a word: Nah. Well, maybe, but I don't think it makes sense to do so. In lieu of that, let's dive right in and discuss.

First of all, let's make it official: Angel is Twilight. There were folks thinking we might have been foiled but let me assure you that it's true and that it's one of the most compelling decisions in the comics so far. This is not the issue that answers the question "Can Angel be redeemed for what he's done as Twilight?" although I don't think Angel was capable of true redemption even before that. It's not the issue where we get the explanation for why Angel and Buffy are more super powered than usual. It's just the moment that we finally acknowledge how much everything has changed, and not just between Buffy and Angel. Buffy changed the world. That's what this whole season has been about: the consequences of changing things on a global scale and this is the issue where it starts coming to a head.

Let's make no mistake: you'll either love this issue or hate it. There isn't going to be a lot of in between feelings. On the surface it's about as straight up Bangel as you can get. Yes, there is talk about a shared destiny between them and, yeah, spoiler alert to the max, there is snogging. There's fighting too. There's raging against the dying of the light and there's fear and confusion mixed in as well. It's absolutely huge for anyone who want to see these two characters together and it's anathema for those who don't but the future is still wide open.

Angel asks Buffy this question: "Don't you want to be happy?" and what happens afterward might worry some that the writers are saying something as simple as "Angel is what makes Buffy happy" but it's much more complicated than that. We've known from the start that Twilight's agenda is to end all magic and, to me at least, that means Angel being human and Buffy not being the Chosen One anymore. That is what would make them both happy but that happiness seems as though it will come at a terrible price. That's what I took away from the interaction between Buffy and Angel. Despite the hugeness of the moment, the subtext is pretty subdued. This issue is just the first taste and it's just enough to get you hooked back on the comic if you fell out of love with it somewhere along the way.

There's great moments with other characters, too. In particular, Andrew fans will be pleased to see that he's ready and willing to fight the good fight even in the face of impossible odds. It's a simple moment but one that really reminds me how much Andrew has grown during Season Eight. There's some interaction between Willow and Amy, too, that I thought was amusing. Meltzer really has the voices of all the characters down at this point and the flow of the issue really felt cinematic.

Georges' art is top notch almost all the way through. The notable exception, unsurprisingly, is Angel himself. There are panels where he looks perfect but there are quite a few where he looks a little silly. I'm thinking especially of the second to last panel in the issue which I won't describe in full but, sufficed to say, faces don't move like that.

I can't judge the foreshadowing of the "true history of the universe" that Angel hints that Giles knows about. It's left very open here. There's a smell of potential retconning but I'd rather burn that bridge when we get to it.

All in all, Buffy #33 is one of the best issues of the season, period. It's epic and exciting and it's going to piss off damned near everyone. If you're shipping the Bangel, I'd enjoy this moment because this is the last happy one I bet you're going to get. If you're a Spuffy, a Bander, a Biley, or anything else... well? This might feel like a bit of a bummer, maybe even a punch to the face but I'd stick in there because there's a lot of story left to tell and some blond vampire guy with a soul whose appearance could still be right around the corner.

There's a lot more analysis that can be done but I'd rather hear from all of you. What did you think? What's your hypothesis on what's coming? Can you get me a soda? More questions to follow but, for now, courage...


AndrewCrossett said...

Put me in the "hate it" column.

I guess we now know who will commit the "closest and most unexpected betrayal" referred to in Anywhere But Here. It's Buffy herself.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but if the plot isn't jiving with the Angel comic series, then I won't like it- not even close. It just won't make sense to me. During the show, Joss made damn sure the whole universe was connected between the two series, but now it just seems like one comic book company trying to make higher ratings over the other and not caring at all about the story connections or the fans.

Anonymous said...

LOVE it. I have so many questions - need to know more about what's going on inside Angel's head. And Buffy's too, for that matter. And Giles! It hit every emotion for me, and that's a sign of a good story. Angel has always been one of my favorite characters, especially when he isn't perfect. He's REALLY imperfect right now, and I can't wait to find out more.

Nicole said...

Wondering how the Angel comics and Buffy comics will be connected - though I haven't yet finished watching Angel Season Five so yeah.

Question - I know the sixth trade paperback just came out (I've ordered it lol), so this Issue 33 won't be in it, right? Ima have to wait till the seventh volume comes out? =O

Anonymous said...

One of the big reasons I started reading Buffy season 8 after a 15 year break from reading comics at all is that this particular comic is written like the tv show. One thing that always annoyed me about other comics is how good characters suddenly turn bad. After seeing it so much you begin to realize the only reason for doing this is to drive sales. Every time this happens, I feel disrespected by the author and company putting out the book. After having seen a couple of upcoming covers I can honestly say that if Buffy is the true big bad, I'm done. I'll no longer buy the comic. When things change too much is when I say Ciao.

Anonymous said...

I fail to see how this issue is anything of a boon to the Bangels of the group. If anything, this subverts Bangel in a rather mean-spirited way. Because Buffy just started making out with a guy who has been slaughtering her girls. Who insists that there's no way around them being together, that it's destiny. That pretty much zaps free will and makes both Buffy and Angel look like dopes.

What does it say about Buffy, if she can be reconciled to this in any way? And what does it say about Angel, who, to me (and this kills me because I adore him) comes off at best as completely off his nut and at worst as a complete and utter fucktard during his rant about destiny and happiness and 'I didn't do it. It's happening.' ???

Over 200 bright, sharp girls are dead. Is it 206? Slayers. Buffies. All murdered by Twilight - if not directly by his hand then certainly by collusion. His assertion that 'I kept the body count low' makes me want to vomit.

I really really hope there is something going on with the "glow magic" that will be revealed in the next issue. Because if this is the true direction Joss wants to go with these characters, he's completely lost the plot. *prays it will become ok*

How's that for a reaction? Hee. :D

Michelle said...

I really loved this issue. On the first read I was just so in awe that I didn't have any feelings either way, but on the second read, I really enjoyed what was happening. I cannot wait to find out what Buffy and Angel are becoming. I'm also glad to see Giles is getting a story in this Season. It's been awhile (note the bitterness). The only thing I'm sure of is that this won't end well for anyone.

Anonymous said...

Where . . . is . . . Spike? Where is he?

PL-QC said...

I just hate the whole season 8. Everybody says season 8 is great because there's no budget restriction. I say thank God they had on the show, cause it seems to me as if Joss completely lost his mind.

The Willow talking head is ridiculous. Buffy is now closer to Superman than to the Buffy we all knew. And Angel... Come on. He used to be one of my favorite characters. As a matter of fact, I liked the Angel tv show a lot more than I did for Buffy. I liked the way he was that tortured guy seeking redemption, trying to be good and who always knew it would never work with Buffy (and came to accept it). But now, he's an idiot running around with a mask. Come on. Just the fact of Angel wearing a mask is ridiculous. And don't get me started on Buffy being bisexual all of a sudden and Dawn's use.

As far as I'm concerned, this IS NOT canon.