Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Whedonverse Dresses Up!

I find this article so humorous, mostly because I can picture David Boreano strutting his stuff at a Frat party in a skin tight green leotard. It's both exciting and frightening at the same time. Willow must feel the same way as she is seemingly eating pieces of Borenano's Riddler costume in a fit of rage and confusion. Anywho, check out some of the Whedonverse's favorite Halloween costumes in preparation for this weekend.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Angel #38 Micro Interview With Mariah Huehner and David Tischman & Review (SPOILERS)

We caught up with Mariah and David for another in our series of micro interviews.  The first two questions are pretty vague but the third contains a rather large spoiler so I'm actually blacking out the whole thing.  Scroll over the text to read it.  Seriously.  It's so good that I've actually kept the review (which you'll find below) almost completely spoiler free for once.  So.  Here we are, then.  Interview first! 

Buffyfest: You just wrapped another man's (Bill Willingham) story arc.  What were the challenges with that and, honestly, how much did you deviate from his original plan? 

David Tischman: That's funny, because I don't know what Bill's plan was.  I would say, we're using and integrating some of the elements Bill had been tinkering with, but totally in our own way.  The story we're telling is 100% based on conversations Mariah and I had, about what the fans love about ANGEL, and about where we wanted to take the characters.  My inspiration is always the TV series.  Specifically, Season 1 and Season 5.  That's where I wanted to take these issues.  Keep the themes from those seasons in mind, make the characters' voices authentic, and that's ANGEL.  And I think we're there. 

Mariah Huehner: What we mostly did was take plot points I'd discussed with Bill, specifically around the Sisterhood and James, and then maneuvered them to get us where we knew the characters needed to be for the last arc. We deviated a lot, in the sense that we had the end game to plan for, so we really needed the story to go a certain way and end up where it does. Bill set up so much, and if we'd had the time, there were a lot of threads I would have loved to develop and explore more. But the reality is, we had to very quickly set up the last arc. And most of it was really getting to #38 and making sure that the emotional moments felt true and earned. Which I hope they do.

Buffyfest: Connor's evolution took a surprising turn this issue.  Will it play out further in the final arc?  What is Team Connor going to get up to while Angel is in the future 

David Tischman: Connor's evolution--your word, not mine--isn't over.  So, yeah, there's more to come.  That kind of power is scary and unpredictable, and it freaks people out.  I think we hit all of that.  By paring down the number of people bouncing around the panels on each page, we're going to be able to focus on character, and relationships.  And the evil in the world.  Some good action.  And a change of address. 

Buffyfest: That moment on the roof with Connor and Angel was huge.  Can you tell us how that idea evolved and what it's inspiration was? 

David Tischman: Look…there's only so many times you can tell the same story.  Or hit the same beat.  How long have we been dancing around this, "I don't know how to talk to my son" bit?  And, frankly, at this point, Angel should be more evolved than that.  We also need to move the story forward.  Mariah and I talked about it, and we agreed that it was time for that conversation on the roof.  The fallout from that conversation pushes Angel and Connor--both--to pursue their individual stories in this last arc.

 Mariah Huehner: The inspiration was kind of their entire relationship up until this point. Connor and Angel have this tendency to take a step forward, and then like 10 back. So, we really wanted to define them as father and son and what that means to Angel.  The other moment I thought about a lot was at the end of ATF, when Angel meets Connor after the dial back. There was a bit of mirroring it, emotionally anyway, and we wanted it to feel "big". That this was an important, defining place that they've reached. Everything in our last arc comes out of this moment, so, it really had to matter and it really had to make the reader -feel- the way they did when watching the show. We  wanted people to feel the bittersweetness that's at the heart of pretty much all of Angel (the show and the character), all the hardship he's been through with Connor, how difficult it is for him as a father. I think Connor brings out the humanity in Angel. So hopefully we accomplished that on some level. It's always so hard when you're dealing with the page because actors are what make emotional moments work on screen. They bring that other level to it. But hopefully we managed to do that a little here. 

With that pesky interview business out of the way... onto the review!

The Preamble: It's been just shy of a year since Bill Willingham's arc began and, this Wednesday, we'll finally see his story come to a close.  At times controversial, this season saw Connor take center stage, Spike struggle with soul difficulties, and Angel get bored.  We saw some new faces, some goodies turned out to be baddies, and not everyone made it out alive.  With Connor's life (and all of L.A.) hanging in the balance, Angel and co. stand fast as they begin their final battle with the Sisterhood of the Jaro Hull.

The Plot: I've been told that I spoil far too much in these reviews so I shall keep this brief and only give away a little.  The preview, which you've seen, shows Angel and Illyria attempting a rescue of the very much alive (for now, anyway) Connor.  Just as the Sisterhood takes up arms, Spike and the rest of the team turn up in the nick of time.  There's a battle, a revelation concerning Connor's "evolution", and then we find ourselves back on the top of a building, Angel looking tired.  What happens there I will not spoil but I will say that it was, to me, beautiful and long overdue.  We end with a new paradigm and the return of an old enemy.

The Review: You know, I've heard people say that IDW ought to be taking notes from Dark Horse on how to properly portray Spike.  Frankly, I think it's Dark Horse who should be picking up a copy of this issue for a refresher course on who Angel is.  After a long time of Angel taking the back seat, he is, without question, the focus of this issue and, as we already know, going to be the focus for the story moving forward.  Quite simply, this is the best Angel has been written in the five years he's been at IDW.  He felt so real to me and the scene with him on the roof was so palpable, that I am not ashamed to admit that I shed a few (very manly) tears.  Outside of that I have the same complaint that I will always have about the IDW comics: like the second half of Angel Season 5, the story moves too fast and not as much as I'd like gets explained.  I never quite understood why the Sistrhood of the Jaro Hull were such a threat and I wish I had a better understanding of Connor's evolution.  It also feels like not a lot actually happened in this issue even though, by the end of it, everything is different.  Ultimately, though, the emotional punch more than makes up for the flaws.

Angel #38 hits stores today!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Interview with Ian Klein - Essayist for Inside Joss' Dollhouse: From Alpha to Rossum

Last week we attended the book release party of Inside Joss' Dollhouse: From Alpha to Rossum hosted by essayist, Ian Klein, here in New York. The book is an anthology of 18 reflective and critical essays about Joss Whedon's show Dollhouse edited by Jane Espenson. Not just edited, but selected from an exhaustive group of submissions from writers both experienced and green.  Ian wrote one of the included essays about the character of Claire Saunders called "'I Like My Scars': Claire Saunders and the Narrative of Flesh". Before the event, we sat down with Ian to discuss the book, the Whedonverse, and more. Check out some photos of the night and our interview below.

Buffyfest: What is it that intrigues you about Dollhouse?

Ian Klein: I think what intrigues me about Dollhouse is what it attempted to do versus what it did actually do. I know one of the early criticisms of the show was "Who are we supposed to root for?" and "There's no central character here" but as someone who is interested in the creative development of television and thought, wow, that's a pretty big challenge. Even if I as a regular television viewer has never seen the work of Joss Whedon before I would think "wow, let's see how character transformations are made if we're leading toward a reaffirmation of identity or just this complete defragmentation of identity". So for me it was sort of about the creative challenge that the show posted initially and then it was interesting that I didn't end up latching onto Echo at all as a central character which for m was fine because there were plenty of other characters (including Claire Saunders) that I were more interesting and felt more real to me whether or not they were actual people.

Buffyfest: I want to talk about Claire. Why her? Why was she the one you chose to write about?

IK: I think Claire's vulnerability and her presence that was always behind the scenes was so intriguing and was one of the things that I saw in earlier postings online and that one of the things I noticed in the early promos for the show was that she was shown as being this mysterious and intriguing figure and was relegated to the background for some reason for so long. But, on the flip side, she still had such a strong character arc and you really felt empathy toward her throughout all the episodes and even though she was in, I think, only three episodes of the second season, her story still felt whole to me in a way that I did not feel about any of the other characters who are in every single episode. And the fact that she's scarred, too. When you see someone who is scarred in any popular medium, that's an immediate in into their psyche and you know that they have a past and you know that there's some sort of damage beyond the surface going on and the scar is just an external representation of the things you can't hide that are so traumatic that they have burst onto the surface of their being.

Buffyfest: In the trailer, the question is raised "Can you wipe away a soul?" which begs the much larger question "Do you believe in the human soul?"

IK: I do believe we have a soul. In terms of how that relates to the show, every character, I think, ultimately, has a fragment of their previous self in them and that is the core of themselves and that is what makes connections between the characters in a really meaningful way. So that sense of relationship that has developed through those core fragments, call it the soul, or what their purpose is on the show and of what our purpose is in life.

Buffyfest: Do you think the future as portrayed in Epitaphs one and two could happen to us in the real world? Or something akin to it?

IK: Yeah, I absolutely believe something like that could happen, especially with our current affinity for digital identity. Ten years ago it was the fear that someone was going to steal your credit card and make a purchase. Now, the stakes are a lot higher because so much of us is on hard disks (aka wedges) and that's scary. You know, I was reading this political cartoon about Google and it was just these two people talking at Google and saying "Well, we have everybody's information, what do we do now?" and it was sort of this question of "Who is going to make that move beyond where we are right now with our digital selves?" and ultimately it's going to come down to money as everything in the Dollhouse does. There's an essay in here about the economy that the Dollhouse sets up and that to make this world believable you have to address everything we have in our world but one of those biggest things is money. It's interesting, I just reread "Fray", and with Epitaph the world reminds me of a lot of the stuff that "Fray" talks about in terms of the classes, were they live, what they have... Fray has the sil,the bracelets that are the currency and she makes a mention to her sister about things being all about "cred" and "up" and the upper part of future Manhattan. So I think that something that Joss Whedon is playing with and I wish we would have seen more of that future.

Buffyfest: You've been reading the comics though, haven't you? The Buffy and Angel ones.

IK: Yes, which I feel play a lot more with that. Maybe it's because those writers or anyone who is writing comics is going to talk about what's happening right now in our world through that lens. It's the same thing that's happening in Buffy Season 8. WHo has magic and who doesn't. That's a kind of currency and skill as well that some people have and some people don't. So what happens when that's taken away from everybody, what happens when one person has more than someone else?

Buffyfest: Let's talk about the complication that comes of the reveal about Boyd as it relates to Claire. The importance of her having her own autonomy isn't just important to her, as a character, it's important to the show as a whole. Do you think that when we find that that Boyd is at the heart of everything that it in any way diminishes Claire's autonomy and who she is?

IK: I don't think it diminishes the autonomy that she's developed within this oppressive system because we know that there is some degree of programming, of course, already in the Claire Saunders imprint but she has, to steal from my own quote "She has succeeded even Topher's expectations in how far she has developed". So when the Boyd thing comes along I see it as this tragic manipulation with him using what power he has over her, whether that be literal or otherwise and based on her own knowledge, her own character, she was led to this. I do think she made a choice to be with Boyd and there's an essay in here that suggests that maybe she feels that Boyd is the one person that loved her most and she needed that and that it was a safe kind of relationship to have where she was.

Buffyfest: I want to draw a parallel between the nature of vampires on Buffy and the nature of actives in the Dollhouse. When a person becomes a vampire, they lose their soul and become a monster but, despite what the Watchers seem to think and what the slayers try to ignore, we've seen incontrovertible proof that these demons retain something of what the person was before. If we look at the actives, it's very similar. In that context, even though Claire denies her original personality, isn't it still relevant to who she is?

IK: Oh, yes, absolutely. I think were the show to go on and if we were to get more backstory, I think you would find someone who was, too some extent, shy, very compassionate and empathetic, and a caretaker. I think it's not so much that it's irrelevant but that Claire Saunders is an evolution in a way to that nameless person who came before Whiskey. So she's ultimately more powerful than the original idenitity but, having incorporated that, I think it's still respectful of that original identity. So we don't fail bad as viewers that we'll never know and she will never know who that original person is because we haven't identified with that original we've only identified with this amalgamation and the end product of that identity.

Buffyfest: Let's do the easy stuff. What is your favorite Joss Whedon show?

IK: Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my favorite Joss Whedon Show.

Buffyfest: What is your favorite season of Buffy?

IK: Season 6.

Buffyfest: What is your favorite episode of Season 6?

IK: For some odd reason (or maybe perfectly legitimate reason), I often watch the trio of Smashed, Wrecked, and Gone. All in one sitting. I guess I like dark things and that downfall is really interesting to me and how those are all euphemisms for being high. It's just a great character study in those three episodes.

Buffyfest: Who is your favorite character?

IK: I'd say Willow.

Buffyfest: Why?

IK: I think it's because of the dark places she goes and she's arguable the most innocent when the show begins. Buffy goes to some dark, personal places, for sure, and has gone evil for an episode or two but Willow was going to destroy the world. And she ripped the skin off of somebody. It's kind of dark. But that's so truthful. I like that she went there and I like the beginning of season 7 where she's apprehensive about being with her friends again and I think that's something that a lot of people can identify with, being ostracized, doing terrible things, and having earn peoples' trust again.

Buffyfest: Do you identify with Willow? Have you ever tried to destroy the world, Ian?

IK: I haven't. Not yet, anyway. Haven't had any desire to. But I've done terrible things. I've had to regain peoples' trust.

Buffyfest: Let's do the Dollhouse thing Favorite episode?

IK: I would say my favorite episodes is "Vows". Probably because of Claire's breakdown. Now I'm so in love with Claire and I feel for her so much, not that I want to see her hurt but, that scene, when she breaks down with Topher is really moving.

Buffyfest: So Claire is your favorite character then?

IK: Yeah, absolutely. I felt that I go to know Claire better by writing this. I had this thought that I knew there was psychological depth to her. She became so real in my mind. Especially this scarring which is such a universal thing.

Thanks so much to Ian Klein for sitting down with us. Inside Joss' Dollhouse: From Alpha to Rossum is available now.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Last Chance for Can't Stop The Serenity's Auction!

Can’t Stop the Serenity 2010 is coming to a close, but there’s still once last chance for you to support Equality Now and win fantastic prizes! CSTS is auctioning off a whole host of amazing prizes, donated by the global sponsors. In this promo video, see Eliza Dusku, Summer Glau and Dichen Lachman signing one of the featured prizes!

With Buffyfest being a proud global sponsor of Can't Stop The Serenity, we were thrilled to donate part of the package below:

"This is your chance to win an amazing collection of items from Joss Whedon’s world of slayers and vampires. Three volumes of the “Buffy Omnibus” series (volumes 5, 6 and 7) have each been autographed by Buffy writer, Jane Espensen. Scott Allie and Brad Metzler have signed copies of Buffy Season 8 “Twiglight” Parts 3 & 4. And if that’s not enough, this collection includes volumes 1-6 of Buffy Season 8! This amazing collection has been generously donated by Jane Espensen, Dark Horse Comics and Buffyfest."

Go bid on this collection or one of the other fabulous items and lots up for auction! This is a wonderful opportunity to own some awesome Whedonverse items, and help Equality Now fight for the rights of women and girls who can’t fight for themselves, so bid high and bid often!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The 3rd Annual Whedonverse Holiday Ornament Swap!

It's that time of year again! You're invited to join our 3rd Annual Whedonverse Holiday Ornament Swap. We're so excited to do this every year, the results are amazing and our homes fill up with Whedonverse cheer. See for yourself the fantastic holiday craftiness from the past couple of years:

Wasn't that awesome? If this is your first time reading about the swap, let us explain. The event is about crafting 4-6 ornaments with a Whedonverse theme and sending them to 4-6 different recipients. In return you will receive 4-6 completely different handmade ornaments from around the globe to adorn your xmas tree, holiday bush, menorah, or any place you'd like. As you can see from the photos, you really can make them out of anything: Wood, knit, sew, paint, draw, sculpt, paper craft, recycle old ornaments (earth friendly!)....have fun with it!

If you'd like to join, sign-ups begin right now and will end on Friday, November 5th at 11:59 PM U.S. EST. Please be willing to go through with this entire thing before signing up, though! Deadbeats will ruin the holiday cheer for everyone and make people sad. Here are the guidelines in 7 easy steps:

1. Sign up for the swap by sending an email with the following information to by November 5th.
- name
- address
- email address
- your website or blog (if you have one)
- whether your are willing to ship internationally*

2. On November 7th you'll receive an email from us containing the addresses and email addresses of 4-6 swap participants for you to send your ornaments to. (Again, you will have access to each others home addresses, as well as email addresses. Please contact each other with any questions, disputes or praise.)

3. Design and create multiple Whedon themed ornaments!

4. Package your ornaments well - especially if you create anything fragile. (Note that most international shipping requirements do not allow for any plant life or food type stuff.)

5. Send one of your ornaments to each person on the list of 4-6 other swap participants in your group by December 1st.

6. Sit back and relax as you wait to receive 4-6 lovely Whedonverse ornaments in the mail!

7. If you would like to share photos of the ornaments you make and receive, please do so in the swap flickr group here: You will need a flickr account to upload photos, which is easy to set up.

*A note on international shipping: Please only select international shipping if you are willing to ship at least 2-3 of your ornaments overseas. Take the cost of shipping into account when you design your ornament. Lighter and more compact ornaments are cheaper to ship.

Any questions? Email

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Know Why Luke Perry Cries

So Luke Perry was at Dragon Con a few months back and was doing the old photo op thing.  You can see the best of the bunch here but I have randomly selected one which I feel is representative of the pack.

Labyrinth Rules!
There is a certain sadness behind those 90210 eyes.  I think it's because Dylan is really down that Pike didn't get to make his come back in Buffy Season 8 as the big bad, Twilight.  The fandom (and Hank Summers)  feels your pain, sir.  Hang in there!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Angel #38: Exclusive Preview Pages

By: Bill Willingham, Bill Williams, Mariah Huehner, David Tischman, Elena Casagrande, Jenny Frison

Death. Destruction. Destiny. None of these can compare with the betrayal Team Angel is about to face, the old enemy that's about to re-surface, and the epic showdown Angel and Connor are going to have to tackle together. And someone other than the readers finally wonders, just what the hell is really up with Spike?

32 pages
In stores 27 October 2010

 Click the below images to enlarge:


*Please note that these preview pages are not final images. Any errors will be corrected for the actual release.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Micro-Interview with TV Night Organizers Jeremy & Michael

Last week we attended Brooklyn's Knitting Factory for their TV Party that's held every Monday night. The special event: both "Once More, With Feeling" AND Dr. Horrible sing-alongs! They also showed some other Buffy eps, had fantastic games and even a customized menu. Check out the cocktails:

BEFORE THE DAWN - tequila, orange juice, and grenadine syrup
BLOODY BUFFY- tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce
Faith's Shot to the Heart - Malibu® coconut rum and peach schnapps
BLACK FROST (turns you into a caveman) - Guinness and Lemonade
The Cordelia - Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Cranberry Juice
Team Spike - captain morgan's spiced rum, raspberry liqueur - on ice
Team Angel - whiskey, lemonade, maraschino cherry
The Evil Willow - vodka, Jagermeister liqueur, grenadine syrup, raspberry liqueur

We personally preferred the "Team Spike" over the "Team Angel," which is worth noting. Bitsy decided to stake me with a rather large umbrella in a contest to try and win a free "Team Spike". Thanks a lot, Bits. For people in the audience that weren't Whedonites or never watched Buffy (there were a few!) organizer Michael put together this fantastic vid of all 7 seasons of Buffy. Reminisce on the good times:

After the show we caught up with organizers Jeremy Pollet and Michael Austin for a micro-interview. Check it out:

Buffyfest: What made you add a Buffy themed event to your TV night lineup?

Jeremy Pollet: My friend Michael [Austin] and I decided to host TV Parties, because, well...why watch TV at home alone when you can have a TV Party instead? And who better to party with than Buffy fans? Two of my all time favorite women on this planet, my sister Alison and my pal Elisabeth, are both Buffy fanatics, and I have always loved watching episodes with them- laughing and engaging with the show (pointing stuff out, explaining the connections, interpreting the meanings). So, it seemed obvious. Must throw a Buffy party.

Michael Austin: Women

Buffyfest: How did you get into Whedon?

JP: My sister has introduced me to a lot of great things in this world. Whedon is one. She forwards me links to articles about him, essays by him, and general Whedon news. So I give her full credit. Her influence is all over TV Party's 2010 line-up. She showed me Freaks and Geeks (which we're doing in Nov.) and Twin Peaks (Dec.) and she's taught me how to make a mean tuna melt (which I'm doing sometime soon, I hope. With cheddar).

MA: 75% of my friends in high school watched Buffy and Firefly and I was kind of on the fringe watching an episode here or there. Definitely way more of Buffy. I definitely watched the first 3 seasons in their entirety as a kid. Watched more when I got older. especially when my college roommate had the entire series on DVD. He also had the complete Golden Girls...not sure what that's about. Oddly enough I got into Whedon more watching Angel as a kid. Dr Horrible sealed the deal and now that he's directing/writing The Avengers movie we're super tight.

Buffyfest: Favorite episode?

JP: I know it's not very original to say, but...Once More With Feeling.

MA: I always liked the Halloween episode myself. Xander turning into a bad ass military guy, Willow as a ghost and all that fun stuff. Although I do have a new found appreciation for Once More With Feeling now that I know what "You make me complete" is actually referring to. Don't know how I missed the implied sex the first time around.

Buffyfest: Favorite Whedonverse character?

JP: Buffy!

MA: Dr. Horrible! (Although Penny=crazy hot in my book so also a fav)

And there you have it! If you want to check out TV night, tonight they are holding an X-Files event and an Arrested Development one is in the works! Check out the Facebook page here:

Bits as he falls into the Hellmouth.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Episode 2 of Buffyfest's Halloween Guest Spot on Joss'd

Halloween is drawing near and once again the kick-ass crew over at everyone's favorite Whedon podcast, Joss'd, invited us to guest on a series of special spooky eps. In this second part we discuss the very Halloweeny Season 4 episode "Fear, Itself". Listen in on us cracking up at Giles' sombrero, Anya's bunny costume, Xander's insecurity and more at

Oh and if you missed part 1 where we discussed the classic S.2 episode "Halloween", click here.

Thanks again to everyone at Joss'd for including us in this very festive fun!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Buffy Sing-Along tonight at Brooklyn's Knitting Factory

Do you live in the New York area or just still in town from this past weekend's NYCC? Well at 8 pm tonight is part 2 of a FREE Whedoney TV event in Brooklyn's Knitting Factory. Go check it out and find our Bitsy, who will be in attendence!

From the promoters:
"Why watch TV at home alone when you can have a TV Party instead? This is a shout-out to all the Buffy-lovers out there. Let's celebrate at the Knitting Factory, which by the way is located directly over the Hellmouth!

We'll be screening "Once More With Feeling" as a sing-along, and a few other of our favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes. There'll be free Band Candy, Bobbing for Beers, plastic fangs, Team Trivia, and some amazing Buffy-themed cocktails....including the Evil Willow, Team Spike and Team Angel beverages!"

Knitting Factory Brooklyn
361 Metropolitan Avenue (L/G to Lorimer St.)
Brooklyn, NY
Facebook page

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Buffyfest Interviews Dark Horse's Scott Allie at NYCC 2010

Lots of news has come out of NYCC 2010 so far in regards to Buffy & Co. It seems that Season 9 will be chock full of stories come its debut next year. Earlier today it was confirmed that, along with Buffy and Angel, Willow and Spike will also be getting their very own spin-offs. Aw, they're all growns-up! Major Faith Comic rumors were circling about this weekend, too, so we met up with Super Scott Allie to dish about that, the notorious upcoming Issue #39 and all things Whedon.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

(Spoilers) Buffyfest Interviews IDW's Mariah Huehner & David Tischman at NYCC 2010

Buffyfest: This is Dan aka Bitsy and I'm here on the floor of NYCC with Bufyfest and we're with David Tischman and Mariah Huehner who are the co-writers of the Angel book.

Buffyfest: How are you doing at the con so far?

David Tishman: Having fun.

Mariah Huehner: Yeah, we're good. I mean we're kind of crazed but we're good.

DT: Busy day.

Buffyfest: Have you managed to do anything that is not con related while you've been in New York, Mariah?

MH: Not really. I saw my mom, that's it.

Buffyfest; So you've been working on something that was originally based around someone else's story (Bill WIllingham) but in #39, you're gonna be taking over. It's going to be all you.

DT: It's a brave, new world with #39. It's a world (dramatic pause) that James T. Kirk could have done. And I reference Captain Kirk and Star Trek because as I'd mentioned in another interview (once it's in two interviews it's research), as of issue #39... you know, Angel has such a great cast and a lot of, I think, Mariah and I, as writers and I think the fans as well... you know Connor is such a big character and there's so much about Connor and so many things are happening to Connor right now and there's also Angel and obviously Angel, his name's on the book. The name's on the cover, it's about him. So we tried to find a way to get the best of both worlds and in fact we have the best of both worlds and we did that by taking Angel and getting him transported into the future.

Buffyfest: Tell me what you can about what the future is like.

MH: Uh... has anybody watched Blade Runner?

DT: Worse.

B: Are there any flying cars?

DT: You know what? There's no flying. It's a shit hole.

MH: Yeah. We really wanted this to be different than After the Fall. After the Fall ias hell is a very specific kind of LA. This is a very different, very bleak, very unpleasant, very demon-centric (because that's going on everywhere) and Angel really doesn't know this for a while so you kind of just jump right in and I think here's an interesting juxtaposition between him and Connor. You know some of the earlier storytelling stuff definitely put the focus on the cast of team Angel. THis is doesn't really do that in thae sense that Angel is at the center of this book. But there's a parallel going on in the story that starts to get pretty weird and it has a lot to do with things that are upcoming for Angel as we near the end of this arc. So there's going to be a lot of general stuff that he's gonna have to deal with.

B: How far in the future is he going?

DT: It's far in the future.

MH: It's far.

B: Would anybody else be alive? Nobody?

DT: You're going to have to be it and see the last page of issue #39. Let me put it this way: it is far enough in the future what James, who is our big bad, who as we have seen in some of the earlier issues ... James has turned Earth into a demon breeding ground. It's a farm. Okay? it's a puppy mill for demons and because of that demons, vampires, humans they all sort of live side by side. They're all sort of this underclass. james doesn't care about ecology. He doesn't care about anything really other than birthing these demons which, by the way, he needs humans to host.

B: Ew.

DT: Exactly:

MH: It's nasty.

DT: So it's really gross. So there is this underclass of demons, vampires, humans, all kinds of things going around but the other thing is that Earth has become kind of a company town and James is the company. So everything is around him. Now, you might ask yourself, in a world like that, who are the good guys? Well, believe it or not, Angel is brought to the future by the one group who wants to get rid of James more than Angel does. DO you know who that might be?

B: Wolfram & Hart?

DT: Because as James has taken over the planet, Wolfram & Hart has been completely sidelined.

B: Their apocalypse is kind of ousted.

DT: Nobody cares about them anymore.

MH: It's been hinted before, that no matter how much they want to present themselves as this all knowing, all powerful group... you know, Illyria hinted that, oh, hey were really not that far above the vampires at one point so it's clear that they can screw up and screw up monumentally and the time shift that brought everybody back to the alley, we've been showing for a while that it's been having a lot of consequences. This keeps that going and shows that this has farther reaching rammifications than they were prepared for. They just sort of do things and then go "Oops". Thi is a really big "oops" because it allows a lot of things back that wouldn't have been able to get back and James is really taking advantage of the situation. Wolfram &Hart is not in the position they once were and they want t be. You know, they don't like being not in charge.

B: Are humans bad in this future? Is there an upper class that includes humans?

DT: That's actually a very good question because humans are actually an underclass.

B: Right but are there exceptions to that rule?

DT: Well there are always exceptions to that rule, but I'm not sure we're necessarily going to see that. What I will say is that by us bringing Angel to this future and having him kind of fighting with Wolfam &Hart against James, he is very much a return to Angel the TV show Season One. In it's tone, in who Angel is and what his mission is and remember we've got all this great supporting cast. They have their own story. It's also a world where Angel doesn't have to hold back. It's also a world that is so ecologically screwed up that no sunshine gets through so he can walk around anytime day or night.

B: He's without limit at that point.

DT: Correct. Now in our time, in the past, you have Angel Investigations.

MH: We have Connor, Gunn is back. There's a little bit of tension between those two but we do explore that relationship a little bit further because there was that whole sort of melt down. Illyria is off for a bit for her own little miniseries. That does tie into Angel #42 and there will be a really big reveal for that. kate goes off to do her own thing.

B: Oh, yeah, Kate.

MH: Yes.

DT: Yeah, chances are you won't see Kate. In a panel. Once.

MH: Maybe. But Laura and Polyphemus are still and around and they are still figuring out how to sort of run everything. it sounds very complicated but the reality is that it's two parallel stories that are working towards each other and when they finally get to the crux of where things need to go it's a really big, epic story.

DT: And because the Angel Investigations story has its own space to breath, one of the things Mariah and I have talked a lot about is trying to play with Larua and Mr. P (as I like to call him) and really play that as Thin Man, like real weird psycho love story. He's in love with her but he's a ball of rock. And there's fun stuff to play with there.

MH: I personally really like the floating, demon library. I think that's fun.

B: You've got six issues to do all this.

DT: That's all you need.

B: So that's not been a challenge to you at all.

MH: The real challenge has been #33 to #38 which is wrapping up someone else's story line which is not an easy thing to do. Bill was great as we were coming in, giving us the plot and his plans and I think that was really terrific, but we had to make sure that ended up where we needed it to so that #39 could really just take off and we could really do what we needed to do with it and that story line, I think David just really took it and ran with it. he said "This is what I think we need to do with this" and I said "Yes. The character needs to end up here, this is how we need to take it and he did it really quickly, and I think it came out pretty easily. Not to get too much into what's happening at Dark Horse but we're not telling the pre-Twilight story. We are telling our own story. But, you know, there are some there are some easter eggs for the fans to look for throughout the course of this story line that fans should keep their eyes peeled for.

B: I want to switch gears. David, I want to talk about these two other books that you're working on.

DT: I announced a book today that is going to be digital and be released on the MTV Geek site. That is called Beowolf Jones. Beowolf Jones is a warrior for hire. He likes his meat rare and his damsels young. he is a Raymond Chandler style hero in a barbarian world. it is Conan meets Shaft. There are wizards instead of drug dealers, there a slave merchants instead of pimps, and there are whores because there are always whores. Beowolf Jones is contacted by the Protorian Guard to find a girl. It turns out the girl is really his long ago love who once meant more to him than anything in the world.

B: That's a real classic story.

DT: Exactly. As he unravels this, in a Chandler way, we find out that it is never about black and white, it's always about green. it's about money and the greed, it's about power, and it's about what people have to do to survive.

B: Do we know when MTV is going to debut this?

DT: It should debut in February 2011. The artist on it is Todd Harris. He did a book called prodigal for APE. Todd is a storyboard artist so his action sequences are phenomenal. It's a really great balls to the walls action story with a guy who keeps it close to the vest but there's really a lot going on there.

B: Let's talk about the other book.

DT: There is another vampire book.

B: Tell me about it.

DT: I can't say a whole lot right now.

B: Vague it up.

DT: Have you seen "Let Me in"?

B: I haven't.

MH: You really should.

DT: D you watch the True Blood

B: I do watch the True Blood.

DT: Were you a fan of Godrich?

B: Yes.

DT: I think if you were to put Godrich and "Let Me In" in a box and shake it. That's sort of where we might be.

Dark Horse Panel at NYCC 2010

Dark Horse also had their panel at New York Comic Con today. Some Whedonish bullet points were:

- Shepherd Book comic is coming out later this year.
- The Dollhouse series has finally been confirmed.
- They're doing more extensive Guild books.
- Angel will be getting his own book in 2011 (duh)
- and *maybe* Spike *maybe*

Check out the full video below and some Q&A as well:

Finally, VP of Marketing Micha Hershman had this important announcement to make about the future of Dark Horse Digital Media:

In that video, Micha mentioned that Fray and Serenity: Better Days #1 will be free on iTunes this weekend along with a slew of other Dark Horse titles. So go and get your NYCC freebies, even if you're not here at the convention!


During IDW's panel, Chris Ryall and company made a little announcement regarding the final future of their Angel properties. Here's some video and accompanying images. Some spoilers are ahead so, you know, avast!

James Marsters Experience NYCC 2010

For the second time we got the chance to see James Marsters answer fan questions and for the second time he absolutely blew us away. Such a gentleman, so gracious. We took as much video as we could and, as things went on, I got bolder and, hence, closer to the man himself. Unfortuantely the camera died before James sang a song (I know!) but, if someone else got footage of it, I will find it, link to it, and give credit where credit is due. Until then, please enjoy the footage we do have.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Spike #1 Review (SPOILERS)

The Preamble: I heard a rumor that a few fans have been wanting to see IDW do a Spike comic.  Have you heard that?  I'm sure someone said it at some point somewhere.  These quiet whispers (barely noticeable, really) make me ask: Who is this Spike guy?  I mean I thought he was an outer space bounty hunter who used to work for a crime syndicate on Mars but apparently he's actually a vampire of some sort.  With cheekbones.  Serious cheek bones.

And now he has a comic.  By Brian something or other.

The Plot: There's a a slot machine junkie on the prowl in the casinos of Las Vegas and she's about to reach the end of her winning streak.  Pull the lever, let's see what comes up.

Wolf. Ram. Heart.

No, seriously, the last one is a heart.  Isn't that sweet?  Then bugs come pouring out of the machine and devour everyone in the place. 

The end. 

Too short?  Okay.

Let me tell you a little story.  Once upon a time, there was a poet named William.  He wasn't always appreciated but he tried his best and was a good son to his doting mother.  Then the monsters came.  Pretty, poetry appreciating monsters who liked to kill everything in sight and then drink it.  They sucked the life out of poor little Willy and when they were done, Spike stood in his place.  He was a whole new kind of monster, like Billy Idol with fangs.  He killed and pillaged and tortured for years and then, one day, he met a girl who changed everything.  She was the girl who couldn't be killed.  And he loved her.  So much, in fact, that he fought for his soul just so that he wouldn't be a monster anymore.

But that's not the end of the story.  Oh, no.  That's just the beginning.  Spike's had so many stories.  He's been a ghost, a playboy in a hell moment, a lady, apparently, and one time he twinkled with some spider woman.

That's not our story either.  Heck, some of that stuff didn't even really happen.  Although, between you and me, I hear Spike pretties up good in makeup and the right dress.  Ahem.  Anyway.  Did someone mention Vegas?  Oh, yes.  I did.  That's where Spike's story continues.  But first he needs a little help from his friends.

First up: Beck.  She's a sweet, teenage girl who has the power to light things on fire with her mind.  She used to be Spike's biggest cheerleader but I hear the girl's picked up some fresh daddy issues since last the two met.  I'm sure it'll be fine.

Next: Beta George.  he's a big, flying fish who reads thoughts.  He also has the ability to make himself look like whatever it is people want to see.  That's a handy gift to have when you're a purple fish that floats.

So off they go.  A man, the pyromaniac jail bait, and their pal, the big fish.  It's a nice motorcycle ride from Los Angeles to Vegas.  They missed their chance to see the world's largest ball of twine on the way but, don't worry, in Vegas there's the world's largest ball of Elvis Impersonators.

Like a Demon Katamari all full of hunk upon hunk of burning love, it barrels down the city streets.  Some might call that dangerous.  Some might call it neat.  Spike would probably call it a bit of both but he'll be damned (and he is) if he'll let it keep going.  So into the breech once more and at the center of the circle is a face.  A big, spooky one, too, with tentacles all around it.

I'll take "This is a trap" for 200, Alex.  Well, not so much a trap as a test.  Who has come to paint the town red?  It's Spike and, apparently, he's in for a world of hurt and maybe a few surprises.  But that's not what matters now.  That's future Spike's problem.  Right now the day needs saving so he plunges his sword into the great big face o' demon and, I'll be damned if the day?  Saved.  Good on ya, mate.

But the future is bounding forward faster than Spike knows.  In an nondescript hotel room a phone rings, letting the man who picks up know that Spike's in town.  There's a lady laying next to him, naked and beautiful.  He covers her body in kisses and she relishes the attention.  It's a fun game for her but, you see, she's not meant for this man.  She's meant for Spike.  Because she's the one that made him the man he is today.


She tells the man that Spike will always have her heart and that he wouldn't understand.  That's okay, he says.  I can do you one better.

That bastard has my soul.

To be continued!

The Review: It's funny reading this hot off the heels of Buffy #37.  In that comic it's all about how Buffy and Spike relate to one another.  And that is great.  But the thing I like best about IDW's Spike is that it's a chance to see him on his own, making his own team, being the master of his own destiny.  That's where Brian excels.  He knows how to craft a Spike story unencumbered by that pesky question: Who is Buffy's one true love?  In this comic, that doesn't matter.

It's issue one and, like you'd expect it reads an awful lot like "Hey, let's get the old band back together".  I love Beck and George and seeing them together with Spike on a motorcycle is the kind of reunion that comic nerd dreams are made of.  There's a dynamic there.  You know they're all like Spike, kind of antagonistic, always wanting the final word, and just a bit chaotic neutral, so to speak.  But you know they'll stand behind Spike, do what he says.

A giant ball full of Elvises is a sure sign you're reading a Brian Lynch book.  That man knows how to bring the quirky comedy.  Brian's Spike is lord of the snarky quip and the world he surveys is not short on things to point and laugh at.  There's always that comedic undertone in Brian's writing, that clever turn that makes you laugh when you least expect to.

And there's Drusilla.  I'm one of those fans who, for years, kept saying "Where the hell is she?" and now I finally get my answer.  Some might say Drusilla and Spike, there's no story left to tell there.  But Spike's got a soul now and who knows what Dru's been up to so I beg to differ.  It's been a long time coming.

In the comic biz there always needs to be a hook in that last panel, something that will make the kids come back for more and that final line made me jump out of my seat.  Spike has someone else's soul?  What does that even mean?  I have no idea but it made me excited.  And that's what good comic writing does.  It makes you excited enough that one month's wait feels like an eternity.

Just one final note: let's all give a little love to the return of Franco Urru, whose art has become synonymous with Brian's Angelverse books.  He has an ability like no other to capture these characters and provide the perfect complement to Brian's words.  It's not just Spike who got the old band back together, Brian did, too.  With Brian, Franco, and, now, Mariah, we've got a creative team that can't be beat.

If you love Spike, this isn't even a question.  Pick it up or face the certainty that I will be shaking my head in disappointment at you.  You don't want that, do you?  I didn't think so.  Spike #1 hits stands everywhere next Wednesday, the 13th of September.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Buffyfest Interview with Dark Horse Editor Sierra Hahn

We've been dying to interview Sierra Hahn, Dark Horse editor extraordinaire, for quite awhile, but as you'll see below she's a very busy bee, juggling a lot of titles both Whedonverse and beyond. So we finally had the chance and it definitely stood up to the hype! There is a great energy and passion in her answers to our queries. It's always nice to know that the creatives are just as enthusiastic as the fans.

Buffyfest: Let’s start off with an introduction. You've worked in comics for a while, starting at Vertigo before moving to Dark Horse. How did you get into comics in the first place?

Sierra Hahn: I started reading comics as a kid, probably around five or six years old. My oldest brother has always been a comics fan and I would accompany him to the comics shop every week. While he was picking up Watchmen, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and X-men, I was clamoring for DC Comics' Amethyst, and Marvel’s Ewoks. My interest in comics petered out over time until my big brother introduced me to Vertigo Comics' Y: The Last Man and 100 Bullets—two series that I still love, love, love—and suddenly I was adding comics into my regular reading habits. I had been missing a lot of great comics over the years and some catching up to do.

After I completed my undergraduate degree in English, I applied to a publishing crash course at Columbia University. Best decision ever, and it got me in the door at DC Comics where I met Karen Berger (editor of the original Amethyst and head of Vertigo). We talked comics, and she suggested I apply for an available job doing publicity. I applied, got the job, and spent an amazing couple of years promoting some of my favorite comics. But my heart was in editing, and I eventually made the leap to Dark Horse to explore a different side of the industry.

Buffyfest: What titles do you edit at Dark Horse? What are you working on at this moment?

SH: I edit the Dr. Horrible comics and Terminator both with Zack Whedon as writer. I worked with Janet and Alex Evanovich on a unique project called Troublemaker where we took characters from two of Janet's best-selling novels and continued their adventure in comics format. I'm also editing a graphic novel about a real life police detective who pursued a serial killer from the Pacific Northwest—the Green River Killer—for twenty years. It's written by Jeff Jensen, an entertainment reporter for Entertainment Weekly, whose father was that detective. It's been an incredible project to be involved with—part autobiography, part true crime... It's a very unique and special book.

On a lighter note I've been working with the incredible Jill Thompson to bring her Scary Godmother stories back to print. And I work closely with Scott Allie on Buffy(one of the reasons I couldn't pass up the job at Dark Horse), and other Joss Whedon books like Serenity, and Sugarshock.

Buffyfest: Can you tell us a little bit about your specific role in the “Whedonverse” division?

SH: My duties vary quite a bit. Most of the time (along with assistant editor Freddye Lins) I'm pestering writers and artist to hit their deadlines. Sometimes I provide notes on scripts and artwork. I write a lot of the promotional copy—the text on back covers or in catalogs. Going into Season 9 and having the Angel titles, I'm offering input on writers and artists that would be great for the line books. This general role I play with any of the Joss-related titles with the expection of Dr. Horrible, which became my darling over the last year.

Buffyfest: How has your experience been working on the Whedon titles? Have you had much interaction with the fandom?

SH: I love working on Buffy. I love working with Joss, and all of the wonderful writers from the show. I've learned a lot from everyone who has worked on the series thus far—what makes a great story, and how to have characters that shine and are distinctive, how to make a reader feel like he or she is a part of the journey.

I haven't had much interaction with Buffy fans except at San Diego Comic Con during Joss' signings and panels. Over the past few years I’ve had some involvement with the Portland Browncoats’ annual “Can’t Stop the Serenity” event, which is always a fantastic affair.

Buffyfest: Were you a fan of Whedon's shows before they were revived in comic form?

SH: When I was in high school my family had a satellite dish that aired Buffy at 5 PM. As a result I would bail on all of my after school activities and time with friends to rush home and watch Buffy. I loved the show before it even aired. My whole family would tease me about watching the show—they thought the premise was pretty goofy, but then, over time, my two older brothers started watching, my parents started watching, my brother's girlfriend starting watching... and everyone became very loyal right up until the end. I'm still recruiting Buffy fans.

Buffyfest: If you had to pick between all of Joss Whedon’s works, which story would be your favorite and why?

SH: I don't think I have a favorite. Some stories I have a stronger affinity for than others. That said, I've been re-reading Fray and it's an awesome book. I absolutely love that character, that world, and how it really feels like a fully formed Joss story—that (even though it took awhile to get done) he was very present in the make up of that story. It’s funny, smart, tragic, and action packed—all the makings of a Joss story at its best.

Buffyfest: What about a favorite character?

SH: Guh...! What a painful question! I have so much love for so many characters for so many reasons. But... if I really think on it... it's gotta be Buffy. She's my girl. She's strong, smart, sexy, funny, totally flawed and human in the midst of all her superness.

Buffyfest: Which season of Buffy(besides season 8) is your favorite?

SH: Season Two. You’ve got Spike and Dru, Ms. Calendar, Oz, and Buffy and Angel falling in love. There’s so much drama and tension. It was a very moving Season. The characters and what makes them unique really started to take shape effectively establishing who they would eventually become.

Buffyfest: As for Season 8, which arc was your favorite to work on? Which was the most challenging?

SH: My favorite arc to work on thus far... probably Brian K. Vaughan's No Future For You. It's the first storyline I worked on after moving from DC Comics to Dark Horse, and I had a preexisting relationship with Vaughan as one of his publicists at Vertigo. I also really dug a story focused on Faith and Giles. Vaughan did a fantastic job capturing the sensibilities of those characters. The most challenging arc has gotta be the current one—Last Gleaming. I don't know if anyone has heard but Joss is in charge of making a really important movie AND he's trying to wrap up Season Eight. Daunting. But what's really cool about every single person involved with this series is that they rally, big time, to do their best and get the book to out on time. It's challenging, but it's exciting too. I'm dying to read issue #40.

Buffyfest: Buffy Season 8 has introduced a lot of women and girls into the comic book world. Why do you think it is a great medium for girls?

SH: Comics are a great medium for everyone who enjoys a great story. Comic books are varied across the board tackling every theme and topic imaginable. Just like regular ol' books or movies or our lives. There is something for everyone.

Buffyfest: On the other hand, there’s been some criticism of Season 8 saying the feminist message has been lost. What's your take?

SH: Each season of Buffy—be it on TV or in comics—has followed this heroine into fantastic and also awful situations. The writers of Buffy have made choices for the cast of characters that I don't always agree with. I’ve been outright pissed and disgusted or just sad. But I see these choices as Buffy's. She's especially compelling to me because she's imperfect. The girl can FLY and yet she's still driven by irrational, spur of the moment decisions that she'll suffer the consequences for. These "flaws" make her wonderfully relatable. Human. They are her choices. And even if I don't always agree with said choices, I'm still eager to find out where they will land her. Will she grow? Will she recover? Will she crumble? Will the people who love her forgive her? Again? Will she become more cold, distant—a soldier with the weight of the world on her back? She's allowed to be flawed, and she'll always try and make up for it. That's one thing I can count on, and it brings me back. Buffy's empowering even if she's making bad choices—self destructive or otherwise. Most of the time she's saving the world and trying to make sure everyone is provided for to the detriment of her self. I find her empowering because of all of those things—being a strong, fearless woman, and human when she's something other worldly altogether.

Buffyfest: The now infamous Twilight-gate cover leak must have been a hard day at the office. Can you describe the climate at Dark Horse that day?

SH: The cover leak was awful. We were pretty deflated by the whole experience. It had been this incredibly exciting secret that had been kept under wrap for years, and then suddenly the news was out, and we had to do some damage control. There was no great way to come out of that situation gracefully. And then… you’re on the next thing, trying to keep the book coming out on time and hoping there are still some secrets remaining by the very end.

Buffyfest: Now that the word is out that Angel is moving over to Dark Horse, everyone is getting excited for the expanded world that will be Buffy Season 9. How involved are you in this early stage? Will you be choosing artists, etc?

SH: I'll be offering input on artists and writers for the various titles. I'm a tad opinionated, and I want these new books to kick ass and continue to raise the bar and give fans a unique and fulfilling experience. Scott and I are working closely—and certainly with Joss—to figure what to do with Season Nine and any titles coming out of the Angel license. I'm really looking forward to getting more immersed in this world.

Buffyfest: Speaking of Angel, he is a very controversial character in the Buffyverse. What’s your take on him?

SH: I like Angel. I especially liked him when I was fifteen years old and first watching the show . . . ahem. As I've grown older my feelings toward Angel have changed from swoony to thinking he's charming but a bit of a goober. And goober is a good thing! It's endearing! But honestly when I go back and watch episodes of the show there are moments between Buffy and Angel that still totally move me. It's some of the best writing.

Buffyfest: Recently, at Dragon Con, both Scott Allie and Georges Jeanty gave some ominous comments about the upcoming Buffy Issue # 39. If you could give one word to explain your feelings about the events of that issue, what would it be?

SH: ill.

Buffyfest: Uh, oh. For the last question, let's move on to something lighter. What’s got your interest these days? Any comics that you think are a must read for any Buffy fan?

SH: I’ve been plowing through a lot of novels lately—most recently Zadie Smith’s On Beauty and the massive Justin Cronin post-apocalyptic vampire insanity The Passage. As far as comics that Buffy fans might enjoy… Y: The Last Man is still a favorite. It’s politically savvy and timeless. The characters are hilarious and compelling. Lately, I’ve really been enjoying Gabrielle Bell’s work—brilliantly written, and darkly humorous slice of life stories, which she writes and draws herself. I’m also biased when it comes to recommending The Guild comics written by Felicia Day (creator of the hit web show of the same name). The comics (published by Dark Horse) are quirky, fun, and totally relatable. Anything with Zack Whedon’s name on it is sure to win my favor. Yeah… we work together, but the kid is a blast to work with, and an incredible talent. He’s really adapted well to the comics medium. Everyone has to pick up Zack’s first endeavor into the world of Serenity with The Shepherd’s Tale out in November. Tear jerker!

Thanks, Sierra!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Buffyfest Guests on 'A Very Special Joss'd Halloween!'

Super exciting and Halloweeny news! The fabulous crew over at everyone's favorite Whedon podcast, Joss'd invited us over to their cozy home as guests a few weeks ago for a series of special eps. We all met up virtually together, got in the spooky Halloween spirit and recorded the hell out of those podcasts! The first episode is up right now which covers the uber-classic Buffy Season 2 episode "Halloween". What are you waiting for? Go check it out at

A huge thanks to everyone at Joss'd for including us in this festive occasion!

Buffy #37 Review (SPOILERS)

The Preamble: The title to this issue should be "The Tightrope" because, good lord a'mighty, is everyone walking it: the characters, the writers, the readers.  We are all of us perched precariously upon the precipice that is this final arc, full of expectation, worried we won't be satisfied, afraid the magic is gone (more on that in a bit) but full of hope that, somehow, against the odds, we'll all blunder through.  Casualties of war are certain and I've got my fair share of wounds to show the wife when I get back home but the battle's not yet done and the best and worst are yet to come.  On that little rhyme, let's soldier forth with Buffy #37.

The Plot: It's the Exposition Hour with your host, William the Bloody.  He tells Buffy that the Seed of Wonder is the source of all magic in the world, that the world itself came from the seed, and that it is like a cork, pull it out and the world goes bye bye.

Spike tells Buffy that her and Angel's groiny behavior has created a new universe, one that threatens this one we live in.  Buffy insists it wasn't her fault, because the universe made them do it but also says she and Angel weren't out of control.  She says it was "Elemental.  Like we were outside ourselves, in each other... like we were the wind that swept us up"  Spike doesn't want to hear it.  Buffy apologizes but says that Spike is her guy, the one she can tell the things she knows she shouldn't tell anyone.  "You're my dark place, Spike".

Then Buffy and Spike make out. Buffy's imagination.  While Buffy was fantasizing, Spike apparently explained how to save the world.  She says she got distracted and Spike assumes she's thinking of Angel.  He tells her it's time they got to bed.

Then Buffy and Spike have sex. Buffy's head.  "My brain's turning into Cinemax over here".  Indeed.

Meanwhile Xander and Dawn are talking about getting a place together and making a go of a normal life once the smoke clears.  In Japan, Angel is helping slayers fight giant demons.

Back with the full group, Willow suddenly passes out and finds herself with her old snakey pal, Aluwyn.  Aluwyn, tells Willow that there are more than two options available.  The seed can be protected, it can be removed, or it can be destroyed.  That third option, she says, is the one that Spike and Giles will realize soon.  It's like if you break a cork inside the bottle, then the cork can never be removed.  But there is a price.  The seed is cracked and magic goes bye bye, save for the demons that already exist and the slayers who were already called.  In other words: the Fray future.

Willow wakes up and declares "We have to protect the seed".
Meanwhile Angel is fighting off as many demons as he can find.  Back on Spike's ship, Giles and Faith talk about what's coming, how neither of them expected it but how they both hope there are still girls left when the fight is over that they can guide and teach.

Sunnydale.  A shell of what it once was.  A crater.  And it is full of demon hordes and human armies.  It's war.  Buffy's war.  She and Spike fly into the center of it, through the ground and into the core.  Buffy wants to know where the Seed is but first she has to face its protector.

The Master.  He smacks Buffy down like she's a high school kid and then he comes for Spike.  "It said you'd come.  Although she was supposed to be with the other one.  Twilight."  He asks why Buffy would bring Spike as her protection.  But that's not why Spike's there.  "Not protection.  Distraction."  A rock is hurled at the Master's head.

Buffy.  "I'm sorry.  You were talking about power."  She pummels the Master's head into the ground.  Spike, looks up: "My hero."

Finally, Angel rests, staring at a crumbling city, piles of bodies everywhere, bodies of demons and slayers.  A feast fit for the vermin of this world.  Angel knows he has to continue fighting but someone has other plans.  It's a cat and a bird and they are talking again.

"It'll be a fight alright.  Your work is nearly done."

Angel: "I liked it when you were the dog better."
"Oh, I was just talking through those forms... Father.  The real me wasn't born yet.  But I'm here now.  Father.  You can't deny the universe you created."

The bird and the cat combine, transforming into a huge lion with green flames around it's head and Angel wings.

"You will finish what you started."

To be continued!

The Review: I think this was probably the best issue of the comic ever.  It might even be one of the best episodes (as it were) in the show's storied history.  It was, in a word: epic.  The over exposition between Buffy and Spike was well worth the great dialogue we got and, man is this crow tasty, because the Spuffy was palpable and, I have to admit, both hot and sweet.  I still don't think the story will ever end with wedding bells for these two but there' really no denying the spark's still there, at least for Buffy.  Some might argue Spike is over her.  Not sure I agree.  I think he's just on mission. 

Lots of great little moments.  I love the set up for doom with Xander and Dawn.  After talking with Nick Brendon and being reminded that Joss planned to kill Xander in "Chosen", I'm now suspicious that our young Mr. Harris's time may be up.  The Faith and Giles moment was short but necessary.  The comics are often guilty of losing the small but important give and takes that made the show what it was.  Seeing Giles and Faith talk about what they'd hoped for and what they have to do was important.  It made me feel connected to them.

Then there's Willow's vision.  How psyched am I that we're linking back to the Fray future?  It really feels like all the pieces are falling into place.  When Willow says that Aluwyn knows who the betrayer is, I got chills.  I love that Willow now has her own motivations, that, really, everyone is going to have a different take on what the right thing to do is.

And then there's Angel.  Poor bastard.  He and Buffy are destined, alright.  Destined to be on the opposite sides of the war to end all wars.  I know people don't like Angel, I know he's in the wrong but damned if I don't have a lot of sympathy for the guy.  He made some bad decisions this season and I suspect the worst is yet to come.

Can I get a what what for my girl, Buffy, who was so in character this issue, so strong, so... fun?  This is the Buffy I love, the one that knows it's all come down to her, that when the lights go out and everyone's freaked and doesn't know what to do, the decision is hers.  And she owns it.

If anyone out there still has beef with Scott Allie?  Read this issue.  You will be over it.  He and Joss knocked it out of the park and into the stratosphere.

Loved this issue.  Loved it.  More, please?