Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Buffy #36 Review (SPOILERS)

It's the issue that everyone's been waiting for, the first of the Buffy ongoing proper in months, the return of Joss as writer, and the issue where Spike gets more than a panel or two's worth of attention.  This review is full of spoilers and, what gets revealed, you may not like.  It's not safe out here in comic book review land.  It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross but it's not for the timid.  With that Star Trek quote paraphrased, let's dig in with Buffy #36.

Full review under the cut...

The Plot: Once upon a some nebulous time ago, Angel fell through a pierced hole, ripped through the fabric of space time and shot through the 'O' in the Hollywood sign (the one nearest to the 'D').  Where has he been?  That's not important now, not when there's a talking dog underfoot!  The dog, who is being used as a conduit for the powers that can bite my ass, let Angel know that, wherever he may have been before, this world he's in now is his and that he's got a higher purpose, one that will involve a whole mess o' death.

Look!  Up in the sky!  It's a bird, it's a plane, it's... no, wait, it's just a plane.  And it's on fire!  Angel surprises himself by flying (yes, like that guy with the big 'S' on his chest) and saves the plane and everyone on it.  The powers that apparently mind control speak through one of the women he saves to tell him a)let's get it on and b) he's been given a gift that "makes Shanshu look like a sack a' crap".

Meanwhile, in jolly old London, England, Spike and his flying ship full of giant bugs is crashing into Big Ben like this is Doctor bloody Who.  You need to reread that, just to make sure it's real?  I understand.  Take a minute.  All set?  Set-ish?  Cool.  Moving right along.

Angel is talking with the Powers that make me scratch my head through a number of different sources about how he has to give Buffy something to fight against in order for her to unlock her power whilst Spike is investigating this whole "Twilight as the symbol of resistance against slayers" thing and figuring out in short order that Twilight is Angel.

With that back story out of the way, we go back to "NOW." where slayerettes a plenty are rushing into Spike's ship while Buffy and Angel fight demons in the sky.  Angel doesn't trust Spike, thinks his showing up is too convenient, that he has "an agenda"  Buffy says that Angel gave her perfection and that what he did is what she'd want not just from the love of her life, but from the guy she'd live her life with.  Willow turns Angel into a frog because she thinks he's a dick weasel and Angel and Buffy recognize that Angel needs to split town and do some world saving on his lonesome.

Finally Buffy makes her way into Spike's magical ship of bugs, thanks him for saving their collective bacon, then demands to know what he does without the use of "jokes, snark, or british slang that just means something dirty."  Spike let's Buffy know in no uncertain terms he's not exactly pleased to smell Angel on her, gets his snark on anyway, and then it's off to exposition land we go.  He tells Buffy that she gave birth to a whole new world and ditched it.  He tells her she'd better pray that new reality doesn't come looking for mummy.  He also tells her that they have to go find the "Seed of Wonder" which is what they need to stop demons from falling from the sky.  The seed, if you recall, is that cracked, red, egg looking thing we saw in Buffy's glimpse into her "betrayal" future.  The seed, by the way, is in Sunnydale.

Also, the Master has it.  Duhn duhn DUHN!

The Good: Spike is hands down the best thing about this issue.  He looks like Spike, he sounds like Spike, and, gosh darnit, people like him.  And by 'people' I mean 'me'.  I feel like his interpretations of the situation at hand are dead on.  He comes across as being way ahead of the game and much more in tune with himself and what needs to be done than anybody else by far.  I also liked that we're getting back to the "betrayal" and finding out what that seed is.  And, hey, the Master!  I'm down for that because, after being all over the world, I am way ready to get back to good ol' Sunny D.

Willow turning Angel into a frog was absolutely hilarious and it was nice to see someone holding him accountable for his actions.  Jeanty's at the top of his game, too.  This is the best his art has looked all year.  Angel looks (and also acts) a lot more like he has in a while.  Buffy and Spike's interaction felt pretty natural, too.

The whole thing moves along at a fast clip.  it didn't bore me, that's for sure.

The Bad: I'm not sure I need any more comic book imagery so the whole "Angel as Superman" thing left me a little cold.  I'm also really not thrilled that Buffy and Angel are talking to each other like they're the hottest shit on two legs.  I'm not against them being lovey dovey together but, honestly, it happening here rings very false for me.  Buffy talks to Angel like he's this great hero but, frankly, his choices as Twilight still seem awfully flawed to me and I'm not sure I believe that Buffy would let him off so easily.

And speaking of Buffy acting oddly, she's dreadfully curt with Spike.  When I say their interaction felt natural, I meant natural for Season 6, not now.  It's sad that we basically just get an "Buffy knew Spike was still alive but just didn't have the time to be arsed about it" rather than, you know, some genuine emotion and happiness.  You'd think she'd give him a hug or something or at least say "I'm really glad you're not dead" but instead it's all business.  If I were Spike, I'd say "Sod you, sod the world, I'm going back to IDW where at least I get laid".

The Ugly: It's coming.  The ugly is what the fan reaction is going to be.  I mentioned it elsewhere but I'll say it here too: Joss is determined to kill Spuffy stone dead with the biggest sack of hammers he can find.  There's a bit of what I thought was meta in the comic in reference to the Spuffy fandom.  Here's the part I'm talking about.  Buffy and Angel are flying after beating up a few deamons and looking down on Spike's ship.

Angel: Buffy, I don't trust him.

Buffy: Angel, I don't trust you.  But you have my heart, so what can I do.  And he has a ship, so what can-

Angel: It's too convenient, him showing up now?  He's got an agenda.

Buffy: Well it's likely to be a lot simpler than yours and, right now, it's useful.

 I put an emphasis on the line "And he has a ship" for a reason.  I feel like Joss is saying "Spike may have the biggest shippy fandom out there but, it doesn't matter, because Angel has Buffy's heart, whether she trusts him or not."  Furthermore, he suggests that, like in Season 6, Buffy intends to use Spike.  I don't see many fans being very happy with that.  It's just my interpretation though.

What did you think?


Anonymous said...

ok, i loved the way u wrote it
haven't had the chance to get the #36, but i honestly hate how the writer are ending this. It's not because i dont like angel, its because i dont like how they are making buffy look, like the naive teen from earlier seasons. Seriously, why bring spike back if they are going to make him look like used, hate it hate it hate it

AndrewCrossett said...

I'm neutral on the Bangel/Spuffy divide. But I'm not neutral on the "Buffy not only pardons Angel for killing 200 of her Slayers, but is now thanking him for it" front.

Clearly, true love is like herpes in the Jossverse. Once you get it you're stuck with it, like it or not, and all you can do is try to work around it.

Also, it's clear that Buffy just doesn't give a rat's ass about her Slayers. Maybe she knows she should, and pretends she does, but just can't. Fortunately, Willow is watching their backs.

Yes, it's clear that Joss is a Bangel... but maybe not the sort of Bangel that other Bangels are going to like. Spuffies may be angry now, but Bangels will have their turn.

Anonymous said...

i feel like writing something very mean to Whedon, doesn't he read the reviews of the fans ? everybody are hating how this is turning out

Anjuli said...

Although I definitely got the jist of what happened in this issue by what you wrote, I can't wait to actually read it myself... I love Spike's character but I hated the whole Spike and Buffy inappropriate sex having back in S6. I was happy to see Buffy and Angel together again, finally, and like them looking down on Spike. Maybe she did let Angel off too easy for the whole Twilight thing but his intentions were supposed to be good, Angel is the good guy and Spike was the one who attempted to rape Buffy...

Like I said, I do like Spike's character and just hope he's going to be like he was before he fell for Buffy and just be his comedic self without any sexual banter with Buffy.

Sim said...

I remember feeling, at the end of Season 7, that Spike would always feel more for Buffy than Buffy felt for him - and that he deserved a lot better. But, ultimately, if he wanted to be with Buffy, he'd certainly become the kind of man who could be.

I also felt that Angel, over the course of his time in L.A. was a different vamp then the one that fell in love with Buffy...and that she was different as well. They were completely different people from when they met, so the idea that years later, they'd all meet up and revert to exactly what they were in season two seems extremely out of character.

I really really wanted to be happy with this, and it makes the disappointment even worse. Totally agree about your Good, Bad, and Ugly...especially the Ugly.

Nat said...

Great review. Not really sure where this arc is going- it seems to be they have a lot to wrap up in the next few.

gigi said...

I just don't understand, why they spend so much time, all those years, developing characters and just forget everything.
Or use stupid things to justify others....

So, what's next after oceanic and lost's dog?
The Avengers coming to kill Angel and Buffy and save the world?

Unless there is some MAJOR plot turnover, i kind of think that Joss just wants to "kill" Buffyverse, by the end of season 9, so no more other writer wants to keep on writing, even non canon stuff.
Maybe this is the reason that Angel is returning to DH, and everyone will be under the umbrella called "season 9"

Anonymous said...

Interesting!!! As a Bangel fan it feels like we're getting everything we ever dreamed of, but we're left wondering, "at what cost?" At the cost that Buffy doesn't care about the destruction of the world? That's not the Buffy we love and respect. So Bangel fans everywhere are torn (not that I can speak for all of them)
I think you're right, a lot of people are going to be upset about it.
Two things that stand out, I actually agree that Buffy not really greeting Spike is odd. I would expect a quick hand clasp and "Good to see you." or something like that.
Willow turning Angel into a frog. Well, I don't have a problem with someone being angry at him and holding him accountable. It just seems odd to me that it's Willow. SHE is the one that has felt the most "off" to me for the entire season.

No mention of Giles, Xander, Faith, Dawn or Andrew though? Was Andrew killed?

Looking forward to seeing the Master!

Tara said...

LOVED it! Best read in a while. Can't wait to see where this crazy train is headed.

conlentesdesol said...

i think something is off, buffy looking above everything angel has done ? and is whedon writing this the character of buffy must be like THE buffy we knew from show, not this girl , she's acting different, odd. Im pretty sure there's going to be a major turnover. All the pieces are mixed now, hopefully everything will fix in next issue

Christy said...

Loved the term dick weasel so much that a friend drew one for me.

Bitsy said...

Holy crap, Christy, that picture is hilarious. Would it be alright if we added it into this post? I want the world to see the wild dick weasel in it's element.

Jen said...

You know I've been having a really hard time trying to enjoy S9 and I admit that I was looking for this issue to have it's flaws. But I was hoping that I would be pleasantly surprised or at lease see a glimpse of something I loved. But this was just dreadful!

I'm not really a Spuffy or Bangel fan (let face it those relationships ended tragically long ago) but I love all three of these characters. Buffy's behavior is really my main gripe (and has been for this whole series). I miss our hero who would sacrifice to save the world (Angel, her life, etc.).

In this issue she basically tells Angel "thanks for spacefraking me, all this death and destruction is a total rush for me, this is the greatest day of my life!" In season 2, Buffy actually killed Angel to save the world!

Maybe Spike and Buffy aren't each other's true loves but they are very good friends and a lot of trust was built up between them in season 7. In this issues she acts like she's mad at him! Why? That makes no sense! He's not the one whose done anything wrong!

Lastly, you can also add Amy and Warren making out and the hymen reference under ugly. Gross!

Jessica said...

The fact that Buffy just let Angel off so easily reminds me of Season 2 - 3. Angel tortured Giles and killed Jenny Calendar, and yet, Buffy was able to move past that and still loved him very, very, much.

Let's face it. Angel and Buffy have always had some sort of attraction/connection throughout the series, even though they lived in two different worlds and became different than who they were when they first met. We have season 5, where Angel supports her after Buffy's mother's funeral. And then we have that kiss in season 7. Point being that no matter what circumstance they have been in and how long they are apart, they still wind up coming back to each other. Add the fact that they can finally consummate their relationship could explain why they resemble the people that they were in season 2.

Anyway, I getting a little off track. My point is that I think Buffy cares about Giles and her slayers, but when it comes to Angel, it's like all the circumstances and the distance and the problems momentarily disappear until they resurface again. I'm predicting that Angel and Buffy aren't going to wind up together.

I agree with you about the interaction between Spike and Buffy. Spike deserves more than what Buffy offered to him, but we knew that Buffy intended to use Spike. I feel that Spike and Buffy are a better couple. Spike actually KNOWS Buffy and is better suited for her.

It's difficult to get into the comic world, especially when Buffy has ran on TV for seven seasons, so I kind of felt that I couldn't tune into the voices of each character. However, I have to say that Spike was the only character that I was able to tune into immediately.

Kaz said...

I've been reading all Georges and Scott's interviews as the season went along, so there's no surprise in my mind at the resolution of the triangle in this issue. I'm disppointed from a shipper angle of course but have felt reconciled to the outcome for a little while. I suppose what I didn't expect was Buffy going back to using Spike again and her cutesy dismissal of his sacrifice in the Hellmouth. That really hurt.

Nora said...

Can't we just wait and see till the end of this season before judging the whole picture ?

I understand why people are confused or sad or mad because they don't have what they wanted but hey, it's Whedon's story, let's give the man a few trust and finish HIS story as he wants.

I liked this issue. I like everything happening since Twilight Gate.
I know, you'll tell me I'm biased because I'm a Bangel lover. Maybe...
But mostly, I like the way everything is going to be reunited to the Origin, all the characters ( Spike included now ) are back in Sunnydale. With the Master... And THIS makes the Buffyverse fan I am since 13 years, very pleased.

Lot of things bothered me in this season 8, lot of things I would have liked to see in different ways, but for what I read in this issue, I'm impatient to know the final issues now.

You can argue for hours about how Buffy is acting or not acting, how Angel is acting or not acting, how they seem to have forgot all the dead people during this season 8. You can, but don't forget : WE DON'T KNOW YET how the last issues will be.
Wait and see before judging is always a good advice.

And yes, Whedon is Bangel. Not a surprise. I read a lot of comments made by angry Spuffy fans and I can understand but don't rewrite the story just because you're Spuffy.
Bangel is the main subject. Since the beginning and maybe till the end. Whedon decided it years ago so don't be surprised by what he is choosing now.
And no, as a Bangel fan, I'm not all happy because of this Bangel reunion. I love it but I also know that Bangel can't be happy.
They may always belong to each other and be a forever love, there's no happiness for them.

So yeah, I'm ready for a sad/heartbreaking end with I hope surprises, like always in Whedonverse, and till then I'm enjoying the ride.....