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"But you, REALLY got under my skin."
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May 08 2007

(SPOILER) Dark Horse release info and cover art for Buffy #5. It's worth noting that this standalone 40 page issue is "personally important to... Joss Whedon". This'll come out on August 1st with the the regular Jo Chen cover and also variant covers by Georges Jeanty and Paul Lee.

August!? (whimper...)
Yeah, I clocked that date Rowan. We'll survive.
So maybe we find out more about the Buffy decoy in Rome who hung out with The Immortal?
We went several years without fresh Buffy...I think I can hold out for a month.

Barely. :)

And although it will probably be the Immortal dating stand-in, I'm hoping it will be someone completely new.

Considering the blurb, I wonder if it will be Robin Balzer, the contest winner? (I may have gotten the name wrong, apologies if so.)
This'll be Robin & Jerrod's issue, I'm betting - Robin as one of the decoy slayers, and what happened to her...


In my mind, I just made up a whole story there...

I don't like waiting, but I think this'll be worth the wait. Just guessing...
I thought that Robin wouldn't make her appearance until issue 10. Wasn't that what Joss said?
So maybe we find out more about the Buffy decoy in Rome who hung out with The Immortal?

That would be my guess.
Sounds great! 40 pages too!
Or the one who's "underground. Literally."? And maybe also figuratively? The covers are all awesome, and the Jo Chen one is incredibly well done, and clever.

[ edited by toast on 2007-05-09 20:28 ]
Yeah, he did say issue 10 when they announced the winner:

"I read a lot of moving entries," Joss writes, "but the enormity of Robin Balzer's struggle was overwhelming just to hear about. She deserves a place not just in the book but in the mythology of Buffy. I thought it would be hard to put someone in the book gracefully, but just thinking about Robin opened up not only a cameo character but another branch of the Buffy mythos. She'll appear in issue ten, and it feels as though she's been waiting there already. I'm grateful to her husband Jerrod for sharing their story with me, and for helping build ours."

But somehow I think it may have been changed to five - Scott Allie noted that # ten "is quite a bit further down the line than we originally planned to feature the winner" - and maybe that's why we won't see five 'til August... The storyline, in my mind, just seems to fit. Anyway, I hope it's true, for Robin's sake - it must really be hard to wait...
I actually had this issue pegged as a special Joyce story. I really need to look at those entrails again to figure out what will happen next.
Well, it's not like I have any mainline to the PTB or anything - it's just that the phrase, " 'The Chain' tells the story of one of the decoy 'Buffy' Slayers, a tale personally important to series creator Joss Whedon..." just conjures up Robin for me...

I don't always think with my brain so much, though...

You may wanna throw them bones again for us, Simon...
Scott Allie in his April 25th letter on the Dark Horse site, says:
The winner, Robin Balzer, will be drawn into issue ten of the comic. Joss was working on the story for that issue around the time he was judging the entries, and Robin's story about battling mental illness really connected with what he was doing, so while the contest promised the winner a cameo in a comic, Robin will get a real role in the history of these characters.

No cover? :(

"I should probably say that it's the awesomest thing ever."

It is! Possibly only Mal in a floral bonnet was a tiny bit awesomer. I figure this is friendly competition here.

"I'm having so much fun."

It's fun to read, too.

August 1 is a fantastic day to release a comic, and more importantly to celebrate one's birthday with a trip to the comic store for 40 new pages of Buffy. I suppose it's a good day to celebrate one's un-birthday in the same fashion too.
Maybe there is no cover to view yet, because of the previously discussed revealing subtitle? Or was that #6?
I'm with toast. I think this'll be a "flashback" story about the slayer who's underground, and how she got there.
Okay, my big question:

Why have they been withholding the cover all this time? I mean, we've already seen the #6 cover...this makes me very intrigued, and also kind of worried considering we all know the Jossman has a penchant for killing people and the cover might be some sort of spoiler...
Joss evidently went to the Shakespeare "And then Everybody You Care About Dies" school of writing. :)
But, on the plus side, no one can argue that there's no conflict in his stories...
It almost certainly would be about the decoy who is "Underground. Literally." No need to rehash the Buffy in Rome story - that's been done and dusted.

And Joss has said issue five was an important story to him long before he chose a winner for the Dark Horse competition. I guess the original winner was supposed to be name-checked in #5, but when he realised he wanted to feature Robin as a character, she was moved back to #10 for a whole new story.

I am looking forward to #5 very, very much. It feels like this will be the equivalent of one of Joss' important mythos changing episodes from the TV series. (Or perhaps more of a gimmick episode, where we just follow this decoy around instead of the main cast?)
So this issue will be dealing with one of the fake Buffys.
Thanks JusticeDemon!

...Wow. This looks like it will be intense... and depressing.
Whattya guys mean "No cover"???? That's one freakin amazing Jo Chened image. It's the best likeness of Buffy yet--and it's not even her. Very creepy, but beautiful. Go to JusticeDemon's posted URL if you're not seeing it.

Oh, and we get a bonus 8 pages for our two-month wait!

It's worth noting that ComicBookResources has posted WAAY higher quality images of the covers. Yes, plural--there will be two variants. The Jeanty one is hilarious. Even with short black hair, I can see why Buffy picked this one to be her double.

[ edited by CaptainB on 2007-05-09 01:33 ]
Wonder to what extent that mask if a metaphor for being a fake-out Buffy and to what extent her disguise involved an actual amsk in story context.

And just *saying* the Immortal's girlfriend was a decoy Buffy doesn't necessarily mean that story is complete.

Glad I never finished and posted my fic about Xander showing up in Rome to take Buffy on a picnic brunch and she has a Callucci's Department style meltdown in front of him.
Thanks CaptainB! Two Variant covers?! $$$They look great$$$
$ is right. I'm lucky that my shop doesn't charge extra for them. I saw issue #3 variant for $6 the day it came out. Diabolical marketing strategy, much? Though I guess more on the part of Dark Horse than the shop.
That depends. The comic shop I frequent sells the variant for the same price as the regular - for now, anyway, though the variant will probably go up in price sooner than the regular.
Hmmm. Is the cover a give-away that the decoy is a slayer we already know, such as Vi or Rona? Isn't a slayer "close" to Buffy supposed to die? I would imagine that "close" means that we've already seen her interacting with this slayer and that would have to have been sometime in season 7. Or "close" could very much mean body double/decoy, I guess that would make two people pretty close as well :) Hmmm. I'm perplexed!

Rowan Hawthorn, that's what I meant by "I'm lucky." I feel sorry for the flans who have to shell out double-cost or more when they needen't.

ChosenGuy317, no, I wouldn't consider the covers spoilery any more than the solicitation description. The only recognizable character on all three is "Buffy."
Feeling dumb now. The link takes me to what appears to be the Dark Horse home page, but nowhere can I find "info for Buffy #5". am I missing something?
The Dark Horse Link didn't work for me, but luckily Captain B's one did, so I didn't have to make the incredible effort to get to Dark Horse all by myself.

I find the Jo Chen cover sexy, yet disturbing.
I take it to mean that the Buffy we've been seeing has been hiding behind a mask.
Could Haggis-Buffy be the decoy after all, with the real Buffy floating around elsewhere?

Given Faith's low profile, I'm totally down with her being a decoy. I find the concept quite clever, given the body switch in 'This Years Girl/Who are You'. Could also fit the 'Faith arc' that we've been told is coming.

As long as Faith doesn't get killed off, that is!
The Jo Chen cover inspires the accustomed awe, but the Georges Jeanty cover says "Heartbreak's A-Coming." Of the very best kind, of course. I can almost see the part of decoy slayer being played by Winona Ryder.
I can totally see the decoy slayer turning out to be Faith. It would make sense, since they haven't mentioned her and since her arc is coming up!
I don't think the decoy's Faith.
(1) I'm totally expecting this slayer to die.
(2) On the Jeanty cover the girl has short black hair and looks nothing like Faith.

While I still like Jo Chen's style better, I like the image on Jeanty's cover better.

CaptainB Thanks for the link! And you said we get 8 preview pages? Where are those?
TFAW has #4 coming out in will I survive til August?
Wow, three great covers! The mask one is a little freaky though. Is the black haired girl a decoy Buffy too? The facial features are similar to the real Buffy.

I don't think one of the decoys would be Faith, but the idea that one of them is someone Buffy knew from S. 7 sounds like that could be it to me.
Wow. Can Jo Chen do the covers forever please. They are amazing.
lorelei_frolick, I think CaptainB just meant that #5 will be 40 pages and not the usual 32.
Oh. Okay.

That's cool too. :)
Oh my God, that is an amazing cover. Jo did an incredible job; my favorite cover of the six we've seen so far. And two variants? The shop I bought #2 and #3 at charged $6 for the variant, but they were also kind of assholes to me and I'm going to find a new that will hopefully not jack up the price of the variants.

And to whoever said that the Buffy we've been seeing may have been the decoy...nope. What with all of the internal monologuing and dream sequencing--including Ethan popping up in her mind to guide her and to bear witness to her innermost feelings--it had to have been the real deal. I doubt a decoy could replicate the Slayer psychologically as well as physically.

(Also, awesome about it being 40 pages. No price boost? Sweet.)
Thanks for that CaptainB, I've changed the link over to the CBR one.

That Jo Chen cover is very powerful (and somewhat disturbing to boot).
Yeah, that's one scary arsed Buffy!

Are we ever going to see Giles share a cover with anyone though!!!
Agreed on the Jo Chen cover - WOW. Again I say wow. And I'm sorry in advance, but the second image, the school girl uniform with the high folded arms made me think of Molly Shannon's SNL character (I think it was Mary Katherine Gallager or something) 'Sometimes when I get nervous...' Yep I'm going to go to sleep now.
Does anybody find a piece of demonic skin under the unglued mask a bit disturbing?
It's just disturbing full stop :p. If anyone was expecting season 8 to be a light fluffy comic book read, well I think that cover will prove them wrong.

I'd love for Dark Horse to do a coffee table cover art book once the series is finished.
Um, yeah, eek. I first saw the Jo Chen cover and thought "Gorgeous! Unbelievably GORGEOUS!" And then I looked closely at the mask-gap, took my glasses off and cleaned them all Giles-like and shuddered aloud. Good Lord. Is that Warren under there?
Oooo covers. Thanks for the links.

Does anybody find a piece of demonic skin under the unglued mask a bit disturbing?

I think the demony-looking skin is shadow and some stretchy glue?

That image on the far right of the page is scary! I hope there is backup of some kind behind her.
"And I'm sorry in advance, but the second image, the school girl uniform with the high folded arms made me think of Molly Shannon's SNL character (I think it was Mary Katherine Gallager or something) 'Sometimes when I get nervous...' Yep I'm going to go to sleep now."

For some reason, that picture made me think of V for Vendetta, and honestly, I don't know why. I think its sort of the Authoritarian tone of the picture, "I want you, to be strong", in direct conflict with both the U.S Army, but also held up as sort of an authoritarian regime.

Could the story of season 8 be sort of a reverse V for Vendetta? One where the guy tries to take down the regime but fails to see that the regime is actually good?

And yeah, that first cover is awesome. Its the best likeness of SMG yet...

ETA: I just figured something out. I know why I was reminded of V for Vendetta. There is something....wrong...with this. My first thought when I saw the cover was "hmmm, well thats just wrong, that person with the blood should be Buffy". I understand why they have decoys, but its something that just doesn't sit well with me. What if they die because someone was targeting Buffy? How fair is that? Aren't all authoritarian regime's inherently wrong? Just a thought...

[ edited by jerryst3161 on 2007-05-09 16:26 ]
I don't think that the girl with dark hair is the decoy, I think she's a slayer who chose not to fight. She looks nervous and un-sure of herself and is standing in front of a poster with some angry woman telling her she needs to be strong. Very season 7-ish.

I'm still betting that the decoy is one of the potentials from season 7.
The last cover is my favorite, the decoy(?) that is jumping in the fray with her axe.
Now that's a warrior.
I understand why they have decoys, but its something that just doesn't sit well with me. What if they die because someone was targeting Buffy? How fair is that? Aren't all authoritarian regime's inherently wrong?

I suspect this is the territory Joss will be exploring. What if they die because someone was targeting Buffy being the core of the story.
I imagine Buffy's shoes are quite difficult to fill, even with Slayer-powers and Slayer-squad backup, as we began to see in #3. And doubtless it's even more difficult for whomever is actually pretending to be her. It will be interesting to see how where the writers go with this.

I can't help but wonder how the Watcher's Council is taking all this, too.
I can't help but wonder how the Watcher's Council is taking all this, too.

I'm sure they are spinning in their graves.
Oh. I thought some of them were still alive.
Well Faux Wesley's dad said in Lineage mentioned that were some remaining Watchers about so there could be some element of truth to what he (it?) told Wesley.

Plus Sirk is probably still knocking about the place. Be interesting to see Buffy go up against a former Watcher who crossed over to the other side.
oohh...I had forgotten all about Sirk. Going along with the idea of the remaining, unemployed watchers, what if they caught wind of the sudden surplus of strong girls? how would they react? I'm picturing a war between two different factions who see themselves as good....
I hope some Watchers are still around-- it would make things very interesting. I guess I was reading what I wanted to see happen into some of Giles' comments in #2. "Scales have tipped of late." But it's true that as far as we know they could all be gone.

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