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June 09 2007

Herc's seen episode 8.4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Aint It Cool News' Herc reviews the latest Buffy S8 Issue.

Wait, can someone explain to me what the hints about in this issue are? Herc says there are some, but I'm completely at a loss....
Yeah, I'm puzzled by some of Herc's review as well. For instance, with issue 5, it was my understanding that it would be about a Buffy decoy, but not the one we saw with the Immortal in Angel season 5. Does Herc know something we don't? or is it just bad information?
I can't explain the hint WilliamTheB but I've been wondering whether the decoy in issue 5 might be played by the person you've hidden in spoiler text.
My question is when he referred to "Winifred Burkle. Go." I read through that, and my wife read through it and we must have missed what he was talking about. Did anyone else get this?
Concerning the Kennedy reference, I think 'Herc' was referring to Warren's line about he and Amy casting a spell on Willow and Kennedy. I think he may have misunderstood the line, thinking it was referring to something new, rather than to the creepy spell Amy cast on Willow in the episode "The Killer in Me."

[ edited by NimNams on 2007-06-10 03:01 ]
"Winifred Burkle. Go." is what Angel says in A Hole in the World when Fred is dying and everyone's gathered together in a huddle, instead of a sappy speech like "Listen, you all know how much Fred means to all of us, so it's really important that we blah blah blah." Personally, I'm not a huge fan of that line, but the point is, everyone realizes the stakes, so it's not necessary to get into all that.

I believe the line in this issue that he was referring to is "Bring me back a witch." Short and to the point. Sorta the same idea.

Herc obviously isn't perfect, since I don't think those two lines are that similar, and a few of his other things are off, too. The Kennedy thing that was probably refering to the season 7 episode, the misinformation about the next issue. Most of us probably put a lot more thought into Buffy than he does, but we don't have columns on huge fansites. ;)
I've been kind of puzzled by the Buffy decoy thing since it was first mentioned in issue one. I like the idea of Buffy decoys, but I read that as though there were slayers found that physically resembled Buffy, but weren't "Buffy". Kind of like the idea that in this world everyone has a "twin" that they'll never meet. Anyway that's how I interpreted the multiple Buffys. It wasn't until I read some online discussions that the idea of slayers wearing Buffy disguises or maybe looking like Buffy through some kind of magical glamor occurred to me. The Chen cover for issue 5 certainly supports the Buffy disguises, but the cover could also be interpreted artistically (i.e. the person pulling off the Buffy mask really does look like Buffy underneath but isn't free to be herself...she has to be someone she is not). In the Jeanty cover, the girl standing under the Buffy poster, kind of resembles Buffy if she were paler and had black hair.

Anyway maybe I'm reading too much into the covers. I can't wait for issue 5 to see what exactly they mean by Buffy decoy.

[ edited by Celina on 2007-06-10 04:44 ]
For instance, with issue 5, it was my understanding that it would be about a Buffy decoy, but not the one we saw with the Immortal in Angel season 5. Does Herc know something we don't? or is it just bad information?

Given what Scott Allie says on the letters page about "a character who probably didn't even exist in his mind before he penned the opening pages of Season Eight #1", I can see where Herc might get the idea. But the teaser in the letters page, at the end, refers to the "short but profound career" of one Slayer -- which sounds a lot more like the decoy Buffy says is "underground, literally" than it sounds like the Immortal-dater.
theonetruebix, based on all the information we've been given on from Allie and in the comic about the decoy story, I thought it was a given that issue 5 wouldn't be about the Immortal-dater. So, it basically boils down to what dingoes8 said about Herc not being perfect and not being as familiar with the story and the teasers as the rest of us seem to be. But yeah, I'm thinking the one issue will be centered around the underground Buffy. The quote about this character probably not existing before seems to refute the idea that the Buffy decoy could be any of the slayers we saw in Season 7.

[ edited by Celina on 2007-06-10 06:12 ]
I thought the new character in issue five was going to be the winner of the Dark Horse contest about how BtVS changed your life...? At any rate, I usually really enjoy the one shot comics and I'm looking forward to issue 5 with glee.
Good review, good issue. For me the first arc has been a good way of getting to know Buffy in this new medium. I don't know if it's better or worse then the tv-series, because tv had alot more time developing,evolving the show. So i'll just wait a couple of years before giving out a final judgement.

My minor issues with the first arc are Willow being a little too powerful, magic is sorta lame like that, you don't have to follow any rules but i still think that Buffy or Spike would be able to take out a strong witch with speed and efficiency, everyone can be taken down, including Willow.
And i also wanted more about Buffy's journey and less about Xander, since next comic is a stand-alone and then a Faith arc.

And what's up with the Spike hate-mail, yes you are entiteld to you own opinion but that doesn't mean that DarkHorse should constantly run them. In this issue the hate-mail was focused on everybody but mostly on Spike, and in the previous issue there had already been Spike-haters. Why? The guy isn't even in these comics. I don't buy these comics to read my favorite character being degraded with lies and hate, i see enough of that crap on the internet, these comics are supposed to be neutral, for All fans of the Buffyverse.
these comics are supposed to be neutral

I don't remember anyone setting that rule.
Wait, can someone explain to me what the hints about Kennedy in this issue are? Herc says there are some, but I'm completely at a loss....

Five Conduits has confirmed that "no return from natural death" principle is still working, so we may assume that Kennedy's temp death was magical.

Vergil - I agree about hate-mail. It's very rude and unprofessional to alienate part of fandom. But Spike may be paying for Dark Horse' past clash with James Marsters.

[ edited by Moscow Watcher on 2007-06-10 13:01 ]
"I don't remember anyone setting that rule."

It's a given.
DarkHorse should emulate,represent Joss's attitude on his creations. He also has his favorites(Willow,ect) but he gives all the main-characters equal love.
And if you want to sell as many copies as you can(which DH does) then you should be neutral and not neglect or badmouth a part of the fandom, which in this case is Spike.
I have no problem with one letter, but this isn't the first one.

[ edited by Vergil on 2007-06-10 11:19 ]
Clearly it's not a given, as they aren't following that line of thinking, Vergil. The fan mail sections in the comics are, frankly, scary shit. I've no idea who writes those letters, but seriously - take away most of their pencils.
I'd rather see one or two half-decently written hate-mail letters printed than have pretty much all the letters turn out to be gushy lap-it-up-like-a-dog works of flowery unquestioning praise. That gets real boring after two issues. That's how a whole lotta letters pages look in the comic book industry. When comics even bother to feature a letters page anymore. They're kinda redundant with message boards existing now (though yes, I know not everyone in the world has the internet, though I bet most folks who can afford to regularly buy comics do).

I think what'd be better than a traditional letters column would be having editor Scott Allie devote a page or two to answering the popular questions and criticisms of the month (referring to Joss to get answers, if possible), plus saying his piece each issue. So when the inevitable questions roll in for issue #4 ("How could the First appear as Warren if he never died?", "Why is Amy batshit-crazy?", "Were Ethan's communications purely out of self-interest?", etc), he'll have the space necessary to tackle them all in a satisfactory manner instead of the one or two small italicized lines he allows after each letter like we have now. Anyone else really not feel satisfied with those responses sometimes ?

Better yet, not to wish Allie out of a job (nah, he does lots at Dark Horse), have Joss handle Slay The Critics instead, time permitting. Even if only once every several issues. When the writer's addressing people's criticisms of his/her story directly, letters pages are usually a hell of a lot more interesting.

[ edited by Kris on 2007-06-10 14:50 ]
I think Joss has enough writing to do, though I think it would be cool if every now and then Scott Allie called him and said, "Name one of your favorite comic books and tell us what you love about it," then printed the answer.

1. "How could the First appear as Warren if he never died?"
The Magical Misogynist Meat Puppet's story smells funky. He implies that he did die ("last two words of my human life") and that he didn't die ("she had maybe a four-second window after my skin came off before I died of shock alone") on the same page. I think this is groundwork for future story revelations.

2. "Why is Amy batshit-crazy?"
Poor parenting. She needed love, her mom gave her domination. Any more specific cause will come out in future stories, not in a letter column.

3. "Were Ethan's communications purely out of self-interest?" Sounds like very fertile ground for character exploration. In a future story.

IMHO, Joss can't answer our quesitons without becoming his own spoiler.
As I've said before the letter was equally uncomplimentary about Angel, Buffy and Willow. I've seen a lot of things in the Buffy fandom and in my opinion, this letter was not solely devoted to bashing Spike. To suggest otherwise would be wrong in my book. Dark Horse printed a rant. Comic books companies do this. It happens. One does not make a summer or indeed an anti Spike conspiracy at Dark Horse.

and in the previous issue there had already been Spike-haters

There was no mention of Spike in the letters printed in issue 3. So I don't know where you're getting that from.
Comic fans are among the most passive aggressive people, and they have outlets in letters pages. This isn't unique to Buffy. There's a never-ending supply of (imagine this in the Comic Book Guy's voice from Simpsons): "I write in to respectfully inform you that I am dropping your title. It is not what it used to be and I cannot with good conscience finanically support the current creative team." I think if books are willing to publish letters that actually insult the creative team, there's no reason they wouldn't publish ones that insult the fictional characters, who have no feelings to hurt and are not getting paid.
Pointy, thanks for the answers and all, only I was suggesting that those might be the questions folks will write in with. Followed the threads for each issue and figured those would be some of the possible explanations myself. And yeah, at least one of those threads will hopefully be picked up and explored a little (I think in the case of Warren especially, it's necessary after such a big retcon. With Amy at least, we had indicators in Season 6 and 7 that she might go off the rails and end up where she has in Season 8, though there are certainly a few big gaps the audience has to fill in for itself, same as with Buffy's current situation/operation. Far as Ethan's motivations go, it could simply be left to interpretation without any problem).

[ edited by Kris on 2007-06-10 17:33 ]
It can be even worse on the forums and message boards.Sometimes they even insult the creative teams directly to their online faces.I've seen various writers,artist and editors getting into it with people on the boards and it becoming pretty nasty at times.

So yeah,I agree with dingoes8.Insulting characters is nothing new in letter pages and tame in comparison to insulting the real people working on the books.

Also agree with Simon.That letter also bashed Angel,Buffy and Willow.Although I think Vergil is referring to a letter that was published in issue 2,not issue 3.

I wouldn't get upset by a letter page though.I've seen letter pages where all the letters are bashing and negative.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2007-06-10 17:38 ]
Pointy, thanks for the answers and all, only I was suggesting that those might be the questions folks will write in with.

*Daydreaming of a syndicated "Ask Pointy" column . . . *

[ edited by Pointy on 2007-06-10 17:54 ]
The fact is , a year and a half has passed since we last saw the characters, a lot usually happened to them in that time span during the tv show.Willows made new friends, and its been nearly two years since Amy's last appearance.

The Warren thing is really easy to explain away, his human life ended, the First could appear as Drusilla/Spike/Buffy, none of whom are dead, but they have died.
Simon, it was supposed to be "issues".
The letter in issue2 and in the previous issue Scott sayed that strong opinions about Spike will be in next month's letter-page. But why would they have a letter where the writer seemed to hate 95% of the Buffyverse, what's the point? And no i'm not into conspiracy theories, this could have also been another character and it still would have annoyed me. The full-out bashing is what is disturbing me.

There's a big difference between critiquing something, and spouting off hateful comments.
For example, you are allowed to critique here at Whedonesque, but bashing will instantly result in being banned. I consider Whedonesque(one of the only)neutral "Buffy" sites on the net, i just hoped DH would be like that.
Here's an idea. If irrational fan vitriol bothers you that much, stick to sites like Whedonesque instead of comic book letters columns. You'll get the exact same discussions here, but without the nasty bits. ;)
Oh, bite me NekoDono (I'm totally kidding, of course ;-)!

I just wish someone could wave a magic wand over my head and make me understand, and then like, comic books. I just don't get it- AT ALL!- so to me, reading "season 8" is really no different than reading, say, "Spiderman" or "Love and Capes" (shameless plug for my friend Thom Zahler :-). The characters simply aren't MY Buffy characters. Sigh...
OzLady - Heh.

And as far as comics go, maybe you just haven't found the right one. It's just another medium of storytelling, like any other. Problem is that 90% of all entertainment these days is crap. The thing about comics that appeals to me is that it's like mainlining the thoughts of a writer directly into my head.

The juxtaposition of words and images is actually the best way to convey information to the human brain. It goes all the way back to hieroglyphics and it's the reason the Army has historically used comic books as training manuals. Heck, the same principle even applies to everyday things like stop signs. To me, a good comic is storytelling at it's most pure. Like you're directly experiencing the mind of the author through their collaboration with a good artist.

The challenge of having to fill in the nuances of things like dialogue and pacing with your own mind, in my opinion, can sometimes add a richness to a story which even the best auteur directors are often hard-pressed to achieve in their films. And if you look hard enough, you can find plenty of comics that cover genres not given much attention by the mainstream publishers (such as the companies which produce stuff like Spider-Man and Buffy). Or by other mediums, for that matter. Comics have pretty much saved the crime-noir genre in the last decade or so.

But hey, no harm done if comics really just aren't your thing. Luckily there's so much art in the world that even if most of it sucks, there's still more great stuff out there in every medium than you could ever get through in a lifetime.
I just wish people would stop going on about that letter. You'd think it's Watergate.

Aha! New term! Spikehategate! It rhymes! And it's fun to say!

Or if you wanna be boring and formal, you could always go with Lettergate.
Boy, I expected that letter to be a lot worse than it was, after reading about it here. You see more venomous stuff on the internet all the time, and it's even easier to ignore in the comic, I find, since it's not interrupting some discussion I'm interested in.

I just got my #4 yesterday, and I loved it. The 4 together seem to me just about the same amount of content, movement, and development as a single episode- so I figure we need about 80 of them for a season's worth! I'm getting more comfortable with the comic format, even found the fighting exciting action (and I'm not the world's biggest fight fan in any format.) Still miss alot the first time through, though, and have to read an issue several times to get most of the stuff. Think I might need to slow down some.

Are we sure Ethan's dead? Somehow, I'm not. All that stuff with the three X's- could that just have been so she could find cell #30? Don't think so. Amy's mother was a great touch. Pointy's explanation of Amy's nastiness and intense anti-Buffy/Willow motivations makes a lot of sense to me. But her attachment to Warren still needs some 'splaining.

[ edited by toast on 2007-06-11 10:59 ]
I'm still having some trouble with the way the issues have been laid out. They just feel a little choppy, with lots of small details and bits left out. It feels like a story that genuinely should have been a 6-issue run. The story and everything is great, but it feels like they had to heavily edit for time, so to speak.
enough of the Spike hate (if it really exist at all) and onto the Kennedy hate! ha, totally kidding.

I had to read this issue twice to "get it." The cinnamon lip gloss thing was neat. And I got all excited when i read the "Winifred Burkle. GO!" line (since Fred is my overall fav. Joss character). But then I realized it had nothing to do with what Xander said. So the excitment went away.

so, Kennedy hate? ;)
2. "Why is Amy batshit-crazy?"
Poor parenting.

Also, RAT ! ;-)

But why would they have a letter where the writer seemed to hate 95% of the Buffyverse, what's the point?

Well, in fairness the writer seemed to hate Buffy post season 5 which is actually only 2/7 of the Buffyverse (plus, possibly Angel season 5 so maybe 1/4, total ;). And i'd imagine the point is to give all view-points an airing and to make an effort to be neutral. Neutrality doesn't necessarily mean just presenting non-offensive views, it means presenting all views fairly and in representative proportion (the vast majority of the letters printed have been laudatory which IMO is in proportion to the fan response). If it irks just ignore it, see: ducks back, water off ;).

And yep, comics aren't everyone's bag just as some aren't massively into art (as in paintings) or music or books ('cept they're mentalists ;). Pity, cos the comics're great and I feel sorry for anyone that's missing out but c'est la vie.

(thought NekoDono might do it for me but if it's really a case of not 'getting' comics as a medium and since it's been literally time since the last one it's, yep, another plug for "Understanding Comics". Again. Honestly, i'm totally unaffiliated but it's a great intro to comic art, worth a look before you give up on the medium completely)
Saje - ordering it as we speak. I totally recognize that there's a problem in my wiring that causes me to have trouble processing stagnant (for lack of a better word), visual media like paintings or comic books or even most photography (though, oddly enough, photos of *people* really grab me. Go figure...). Words I have no problem with, and honestly if comic books were just pamphlets with stories, I'd probably be fine. Kind of sucks since a) my second favorte tv show of all time is being continued as a comic book and b) one of my best friends is a comic book author, among other things! I feel like a bad fan, a bad friend and, worst of all, NOT a big enough nerd! *sobs*
haha Saje... I also don't profit from anyone purchasing Understanding Comics (in case anyone was suspicious of my constant plugging of that book).

I really don't get the Spike hate, especially since (as someone said earlier) all of the characters have done things to annoy the hell out of me at one time or another. I read the letter in issue four and that person seemed to be a member of team BTVS-should've-ended-at-season 5. Even though I disagree with that fan, I found that letter to be more amusing than anything. I tend to take other people's hatred or extreme fondness for certain characters with a grain of salt.
I think the author might have been a bit quick to put this review up. I understand the impulse, but it takes a little time to process the material. An interesting review nonetheless.

But the teaser in the letters page, at the end, refers to the "short but profound career" of one Slayer -- which sounds a lot more like the decoy Buffy says is "underground, literally" than it sounds like the Immortal-dater.

That was my impression too.

*Daydreaming of a syndicated "Ask Pointy" column . . . *

Shall I begin my next comment Dear Pointy...?
Shall I begin my next comment Dear Pointy...?

Don't encourage him.

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