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"I fed off a flower person and I spent six hours watching my hand move."
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January 03 2008

(SPOILER) For the discussion of Buffy #10. A good issue and a great way to start the year. Oh and Brian K. Vaughan says "this script contained a few of the funniest things Joss Whedon has ever written, which is obviously saying a lot".

This is definitely out in the UK today as I got in my local comic book shop in Belfast, dunno if it's out in the States and Canada (as the shipping date still says tomorrow).

Anyhow this thread will contain spoilers for the issue. Oh and when Robin turned up, that was really cool.

25 beautiful pages of pure genius.

Go get it as soon as you can.
Yeah, we US of Aers are getting it tomorrow. Damn...
Just like that Pavement song it was full of lies and betrayal. I enjoyed the Willow/Kennedy scene, that was a real highlight.
Yep, tomorrow or maybe Saturday for the states. I will go bug the guys at my local shop. They like that. Also, cypher's comment makes me happy.

*runs away, covering eyes*
Not for sale yet in the Netherlands :/ Then again, I still have to buy issue's 1-9 :P (and the Heroes hardcover, but thats OT :P)

I'm not really into comics, but I guess anything Buffy is worth buying.

[ edited by Krusher on 2008-01-03 21:00 ]
I love comics and I haven’t read any of season eight (shame), and now I feel like I’m missing an important part of the story. The problem is I can’t find the first few issues. Where I live there aren’t very good stores for that kind of thing. I’ve decided to just order them all online.
I can finally talk about this! We got to read it Monday because Scott sent us an advance copy. I thought it would lessen the anxiety (and it did) but then I was going nuts wanting to discuss it!

I can't get over how breathtaking this issue is. I loved Robin's role and Joss wrote her perfectly. It seemed like she stepped right into the comic!

It's been very helpful, too, just this week. She's had a lot of episodes lately where she thinks people are coming after her to wrap her in barbwire and put her on the train to Hell, so she needs to find her tickets. I'll just remind her of the (incredibly accurate) metaphors that Joss used in the issue and she was able to come out of it easier. The visuals helped bring things into perspective that Buffy and Willow really are there for her.

Even though the thread is labeled "SPOILER," I'll wait on saying more until more people can read it. Sorry, I'm just really excited.
It comes out in the states tomorrow.
JerrodBalzer, was your Robin the winner then? Wow, that's wonderful. I was really moved when I read the winning selection on the Dark Horse page. No apologies necessary-I'd be thrilled myself. Can't wait to read it.
Yep, Betsy :) And the news column has my essay along with the runners-up. The entire thing is an excellent tribute to what Joss has done for all of us. It's a tearjerker, for sure.
Incredible....I cannot wait for this issue; I'm even more impatient than usual for Buffy, which is hard to do!
I haven't read it yet, but I'm dying to. I especially wanna read that Willow/Kennedy scene, wanna know what the hell went with the two of them.
probably shouldn't allow myself to afford it until next weeekennnd........
I especially wanna read that Willow/Kennedy scene

It wasn't what I expected and it was all the better for it.
JerrodBalzer, I can understand why you're so happy. Robin is brought into the series so beautifully and meaningfully. What a brilliant metaphor Joss hit upon. To be a canonical character in the Congratulations to Robin, and to you for bringing this about for her.

I generally loved this issue. Poor Willow. Poor Buffy. Poor then happy (at end) Robin. Poor Dawn. Lies, betrayal. Excellent. I was surprised by Dawn's deed. I like being surprised. I wonder what happens to Dawn now? Does she get degiantized and sent off into the sunset (not the twilight!) to Berkeley? Xander was hilarious.

Are we meant to think that the Swiss Bank robbery has in fact taken place but without Buffy involved, except in that weird bendy vision of it? Or is it a possible future that the Twilight dude & his pals saw? Or did Buffy really get money that way? If so, yikes. My god, *who* would betray Buffy? Is it wrong of me to suddenly think of Satsu?

Why does Buffy say "the imbalance between our worlds is going to rain destruction on all our heads?" What imbalance is she talking about, specifically? The creation of hordes of slayers after "Chosen?" 'Cause that's the only imbalance between the worlds I can think of. As for the "death of magic" bit, I'm so excited by the seeming connection of this series to Fray. Or am I wrong? Only time and plenty more issues will tell, I guess.

The only negative thing I can say is that I really wasn't fond of the Cliff Richards art. All that cross-hatching and shading isn't my bag. Different strokes, I guess. I loved the cover, though. Both versions.

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2008-01-04 18:50 ]
I'm particularly glad that Jerrod and Robin got a kick out of it.
Great issue, though again with the disjointed, at least to me. Interesting comics related and strike related sidenote:

Question: Any chance that while his TV pencil is down, Rob Thomas has picked up his comic-book pencil? Please tell me Veronica Mars Issue 1 has been written. I need to feel like there is some faintly silverish, if translucent, lining to this dark, Snappleless cloud that is the WGA strike. — Dan

Ausiello: I forwarded your Q to Rob and here's his faintly silverish-lined response: "I had a second meeting with DC comics. I heard that the [WGA] didn't want [TV writers penning TV-based] comic books during the strike as it would promote a network property. We're investigating whether there are similar hurdles for a defunct TV series like Veronica Mars. Naturally, I won't be writing it if the Guild doesn't want me to, but we're hoping that's not the case."

Jarrod- Robin and you have my best wishes. I was touched by what you wrote on Robin's behalf, and touched that Joss and Scott chose her for the role in the book. To be part of canon is both odd and also appropriate, so far as the reality of the show exists. And to know that these characters can help, in the really real world, is just incredible.
No spoilers since I know some folks are waiting but it was exquisite--plus, I am so in love with the flying cover. Robin's part was beautiful. I'm still stuck on "wow" for a description--not as verbose as I would like, but it works.

It was worth having to wait until Friday. Every bit.
I enjoyed this a great deal. Full of humor and surprises. phlebotinin, I read the Swiss bank robbery scene as a revelation of a past event in which Buffy indeed stole much "sparkly" goods to finance the Slayer army. Very Faith-like, that.

I loved the likeness of Kennedy. The artist really captured Iyari Limon's eyes. Willow's likeness missed more than it hit, generally. Also, a very good Daniel Craig.

I had one reservation about this issue, and it may have more to do with my inability to fully immerse myself in the comics medium: The emotionally wrought scenes between Will and Kennedy and then Will and Buffy played oddly flat to me. Not because of the writing or the drawing. Those scenes begged for actors doing their wonderful acting best -- and instead we got words and inks. Take the same script and turn it over to the TV production crew and the actors, and the scene would have brought tears to my eyes. Limitation of the medium or the reader? Maybe both.
Joss's issues are so dense that it's nearly overwhelming (in a good way). I wasn't expecting so much ground covered in terms of Willow and Dawn, but I'm all the happier for it. Definitely some shockers: Dawn being "acres of skank" (love that line); Willow's heartfelt conversation with Kennedy, as well as her "six-month mystical walk-about" that (I think) involved some sexy snake woman; and Buffy robbing a bank vault! You don't say!

It's nearly impossible to read the letters section this month without tearing up or all-out crying. Jerrod's letter was as heartbreaking as it was selfless, and I couldn't be more proud of him for winning. Robin's character is a true highlight in an already wonderful issue. The rest of the letters, as well, were well-written and honest. I especially related to the young woman, Rachel from Texas, who said Buffy helped her realize, deal with, and embrace her sexuality. For me, that is something that hits home, and the story of Buffy has always been a wonderful metaphor for coming out and dealing with being an outsider. It may seem odd, but I consider myself as close, if not closer, to Buffy than many of my friends. She's gone through so much, and realizing makes me feel stronger when I'm struggling.

Here, here, Joss! Another strong issue!
So can we assume that most of the information we found out about Buffy and the Slayers in Angel: Season 5 was actually true? When reading the beginnings of Buffy: S8, I always assumed Andrew and Giles were feeding complete lies, but Willow's "six month mystical walk-about" seems to gel with why she couldn't go to L.A. to save Fred.
French translation (from The Google, so caveat lector (but you gotta translate my Latin yourself))

The Wit of the Staircase.

[ edited by Pointy on 2008-01-04 22:57 ]
Personally, even just hints of what this issue contains are enough to put me off the whole comic series...

When I read the first four, I was a little disappointed, but I assumed it was because I expected a lot, which, it being Buffy, of course I expected a lot. There were points I thought needed work, but the characters felt reasonably the same, and that was both expected and familiar, and WELCOME. However, with the retconning of Warren, I started to get pissed. And when I saw The Chain, I was furious. I didn't mind the new girl. I didn't even mind the stunt double plotline. But the additives (i.e. fairies...) felt so Charmed-like I felt like puking.

But all my previous problems with the series was forgotten when I saw the Faith arc. No Future For You felt good, and it was well-done. Faith is still a character with her own identity, and her being "good" hasn't changed it much. Besides, the new relationship with her and Giles seems promising. I thought that after this arc, we would see improvement.

... And then I hear outrageous things. Willow blames bringing back Buffy for Tara's death? Buffy is robbing banks to finance her mission? WTF?? Who is writing this???

How can all of a sudden Willow blame her own best friend for "putting Tara in front of the bullet" when, in a whole year, we hear nothing of the kind? We don't even see hints, which, if we remember, is what Joss and co. used to be so good at sowing. For things like this to show up, there have to be roots. That's just good writing practice.

As for the whole Buffy robbing banks and having no moral qualms about it.... I have not the words. They cannot be serious. If Buffy had no problems with moral ambiguities (forget that, with immorality) like this, then the whole of Season 6 should never have happened. So yeah, if you think that this is something plausible that Buffy would do... Well, let me not start namecalling.

I just can't be happy with the direction this is taking. I just can't.

The complete assassination of my favorite character's character... The awfulness that used to be my favorite non-romantic relationship (Buffy/Giles)... The supernatural element that used to be reasonably understated and is now so in your face it's not a metaphor anymore.... The insistence that Kennedy/Willow is an actual relationship on par with Willow/Tara despite there being no real basis for them to be together besides the fact that they were stuck in the same house and both happen to be lesbian...


The Season 8 comics. *Spit*

Let us speak of them no more.
Oh, Pointy, thank you. What a superb blog that is - how good to read that bit of Eliot again...

"Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it."

*tries not to tear up, and fails miserably...*
I don't want to spit on Buffy S8 - I love it - but I do agree with one of MistressApplePie's heartfelt points. I don't buy Buffy robbing banks and not seeming to feel bad about it. I had been hoping that that was a possible vision rather than a reality. Buffy is not a perfect person, something I think makes her character that much more interesting and fabulous. But robbing Swiss banks? Huh?

Perhaps, though, we will be getting more background info on what has transpired in the year or so since Chosen that has led Buffy to this place. The structure of the TV show has not been the structure of the comics. With the first issue, we came into the action after much other action has passed and we're now slowly being let in on what the heck is up with our folks. There's still so much we don't know about Willow since Chosen, for example. Ditto the Buffy/Giles relationship. There's a story there we have yet to read. And we're only now finding out about Dawn and her gianthood. So perhaps we'll get an explanation for what seems to me (and MIstressApplePie) a really odd and uncharacteristic character development with Buffy's bank robbery?
I don't buy Buffy robbing banks and not seeming to feel bad about it.

I think she feels bad about it but it's done and at the time I'm sure it felt necessary. 500 Slayers to support, it's not power that corrupts but responsibility. But it gnaws at her.

More with “what the hell am I doing?”(8.1)

Buffy you are the dark.(8.2)

And the slips into defensive moral indignation:

Are you talking about the girls who are protecting the world from…(8.4)

You were given a gift and you used it to hurt innocent girls? Other Slayers? (8.8)

That’s how it started maybe. Girls getting killed. Or finding the world a much wilder place beyond Sunnydale, a mere Scythe not cutting it. Those last two episodes of the Faith arc, I think it’s all there. It opens with Buffy and Willow at word play, drawn almost cartoonishly, bunches and butter wouldn’t melt. This is how Buffy always reacts to her darker impulses, puts up the facade of ultranormal. And just as she jumped at the vision of Willow’s corruption, of course she needed to think the worse of Faith. Faith, the road not travelled, while Buffy set off to change the world, Faith followed the old model, a lone Slayer guarding her personal hellmouth, no connections, no responsibilities beyond her own redemption, no temptations.

[ edited by hayes62 on 2008-01-05 00:46 ]
It's out of character no matter how they'll try to rationalize it...

I'd believe it from Faith (despite my love for her) a hundred times over before I'd believe it from Miss Goody-Two-Shoes True Hero of the world Buffy. This is my favorite character--I know. I've spent ages analyzing every virtue and character flaw. Buffy would not do this. Unless, of course, someone (I'm speaking extra-Buffyverse, of course) needed to turn a quick buck.

It's like they forgot how to write the characters or something...
Not to be a dick, but I'd argue Whedon knows more about writing Buffy characters than you, MistressApplePie, regardless of how much time you've spent analyzing.

Buffy's defensiveness about the money being insured leads me to think it wasn't her idea.
Thank you, QuoterGal, and sorry. I didn't actually read the page I linked to beyond the definition at the top of the French phrase I didn't understand in issue #10. I think it's misspelled in the issue (or, wildly improbably, on the Internet) so I thought a link could help. I didn't know what I was unleashing. TS has his moments.
I was not thrilled with the revelation that Buffy sanctioned/took part in bank robbery, but must trust to Joss that it fits her evolution as a character and will be further explored as the story unfolds. As an editor (check out the screen name!) I have learned that writers are not perfect, but they are the best judges of their own creations. I may not have agreed with every plot point over the years, but Buffy always satisfies my need for a good story with excellent, realistic and human characters.

And I love the story of season 8. It has all (except the great actors) the show had to offer. And television’s Tina Fey! That is gold! I thought this was the strongest issue yet (though I loved the Faith arc).

And Robin's touching inclusion was proof positive that this whole community, from Joss to fan, is an exceptional thing.
I don't see it as out of Buffy's character at all. It was shocking and even heartbreaking to see her doing that, but I bought it. She didn't need a lot of encouragement following Faith into that sporting goods store when they first met. I'd hoped Buffy had grown from that experience, but it was IN her to do it or she never would have.

The stress of having all those slayers under her responsibility was obvious on her in season 7. I remember waiting for her to break down back then. Now increase those responsibilities to worldwide proportions and it's quite a load on her shoulders. I could imagine Faith's original reasonings coming to mind during desperate times.

We are capable of horrible things when we're in deep and the last nerve has snapped. And perhaps she felt she could do enough good afterwards to redeem her actions. She's certainly seen worse obstacles in her life, morally or otherwise.

My opinion, of course.
There are some points in what MAP says. About 2 weeks ago I sent a lengthy letter to Scott Allie about concerns I had with the way the comic was developing; it was meant to be personal so I have not posted it here, nor have I done so anywhere else. I have not heard back from Mr. Allie, but I do feel there are some areas where the comic is going off point fairly badly. Some of these problems may be due to long-term plotting; for example, it is 10 issues before we get any kind of answer about Dawn, even though we know one is coming and has to come; it is just as long before we find out anything about Kennedy at all. There is a troll or dwarf working with Giles, and there are fairies, and neither are really part of the Buffyverse (save for Olaf), but you know, Giles working with a Dwarf? And Buffy and he at odds for reasons we do not know? Anyway, these are some the issues I see, among many others, that are beginning to affect my enjoyment of the series. And Dark Shape, yes, Joss is creatively creative- but criticism is fair game and fairly done and it accomplishes nothing to dismiss sincere criticism by saying he knows more about it.

And, btw, inone of my comments should take anything away from Robin's appearance here, which I think is so far beyond cool I am nearly speechless, and just sincerely glad she is canonical. :-)
When we saw the preview for this, which primarily contained Buffy's fantasy sequence, I commented that I didn't like Cliff Richard's art.

I was wrong.

The consistency is improved. Willow looks much more like herself. The close-up pics of Xander and Kennedy were just about dead-on likenesses. This guy can come back any time!

Other stuff I liked:
* Tina Fey! I rather fancy her myself!
* Amusing dialogue. I could hear all the characters' voices.
* Buffy and Will having a sincere conversation. After the action-oriented first arc, I was a little worried that things like this wouldn't be included as much.
* I also didn't expect the Willow/Kennedy issue to be what it was. I'd never considered it, but yet it makes perfect sense.

Lingering questions:
* Giles gave them this mission? So, what happened after the phone call last time?

This may be my favorite one so far. Like OMWF, a mystical thing is used to expose secrets the characters have been concealing, which is what I expect mystical things to do in my Buffy - propel character development.
If I may share a moment that just happened, Robin was just yelling about monsters trying to come in the house to kill her. I reminded her that Buffy and Willow are every bit as real as those monsters, and then I held the comic in front of her. It took a moment to process, but then she said, "I'm a minder. Buffy and Willow's got my back!"

I said, "That's right. If anything tries to mess with your mind, they'll kick butt and cut tails off."

"Yeah!" Her face brightened and her face went "normal" again. "Can I have some decaf coffee?"

"Sure, sweetheart."

"With marshmallows?"

Her episodes can last a lot longer than that. I could have been working with her all night, the poor thing terrified that she wasn't safe. But not with that comic, and I'm not fooling her, either. Buffy and Willow really ARE as real as her hallucinations. They're a part of all of us.

I also keep reminding her that fellow Buffy fans all over the world are rooting for her and it means so much to both of us. Thanks again for everyone's support.
I haven't read it yet, but it sounds like they still haven't mentioned Anya yet. :( Is that for real?
Sorry, Buffy having no qualms about robbing banks? There were plenty.

The Swiss bank they broke into had a stolen Watteau in the vault, taken during the Nazi occupation. They returned it anonymously to the Tate, as Buffy hastily points out once she's discovered. She says that the bank was insured, in a small, weak voice, which indicates that she knows THAT's not gonna fly. She had lied to Willow about who was funding them, and may have kept it from Giles and Xander, too, hardly the actions of someone who feels no pangs. She sees a scene from Willow's life presented by the demon and is relieved because Willow is doing bad too, as Buffy says. How is that guilt-free?

If there was no way for Giles to access the Council's funds, and obviously there wasn't, then financing the slayers would have to be accomplished somehow, or Buffy would just have to let everybody fend for themselves. It hardly seems a stretch for me that the Buffy of S7, who believed the law didn't cover most of the decisions she had to make, might feel, even if queasily, that the benefit to the world of what she was bringing outweighed the legalities. Precisely the kind of thing that Twilight members thought and feared might happen, by the way.

And Willow blames herself, not Buffy, for being so focused on bringing back Buffy that she never once considered not doing it, and that her choice led to Buffy's misery and yes, eventually Tara's death. That we didn't see any of those issues during S7 is because she didn't have a lover until late in the season. Her relationship with Kennedy didn't solidify until the season was almost over, so her issues regarding Tara had no reason to be brought up. Once Willow and Kennedy were truly a couple, it's not surprising that the issue would take on relevance for Willow. And Willow didn't bring it up, the demon forced the issue.

I don't get why fairies and dwarves are deal-breakers when loan-sharks, hamburger-spirits, demon bikers, the Knights of Byzantium, four-inch tall fear demons, giant floating eyes and the like weren't, but everybody's limits to suspension of belief are different, I guess. Shrug.

Same shrug to impatience with the Dawn storyline or what's happening with Giles and Buffy. I'm fine with it, personally. I don't expect others to agree, but having something to speculate about was one of the great pleasures of the show, and I'm feeling that same pleasure again.
shambleau - GET OUT OF MY BRAIN!!!! Seriously, I was going to say exactly all that stuff you just posted (but you arranged the words in a nicer way than I would have).

Jerrod - thank you for sharing that. The issue was wonderful, as was Robin's role in it, but it makes it even more wonderful that it's actually helping her.
re: Buffy robbing a bank. I haven't read it yet, but I couldn't resist this spoiler thread. Trust me, I tried. For like, 18 hours in a row! Anyhow, I say Buffy needed the coin for cereal. Do you remember how much cereal those little Potentials consumed? Lots of sugary goodness. But that's just me being cheeky. Even with my self-induced spoilerage, I simply can't wait to get my greedy-Buffy hands on this issue.
Yes, Shambleau, thanks.

Regarding how long it took to reveal certain things... it helps to keep in mind that although it's been many months for us, if this were all televised, we'd be around ep 3 or something right now. Surely we wouldn't be expecting all the cards to be played that early in a TV season?
Very well said, Shambleau.
I also thought it was very much in character. Not only that, it's also something that we NEEDED to know. How many times have we asked, "How can they afford all this shiznit?" A whole lot, I'm thinking. Now we know. Joss, all at once, gave us an answer to an annoying ass question AND a new plot twist that breaks the heart a little.

Great writing, and very consistent with what we got from the show.
Plot Points:

I assume Willow's walkabout was due to Kennedy's mystical death, and maybe she needed to have sex with the snake lady in order to find a cure. If that's not the case, then I can still believe Willow cheated on Kennedy for some other reason. Their relationship doesn't feel "permanent" to me.

Willow doesn't blame Buffy for the consequences of bringing Buffy back. She blames herself, but she doesn't want to risk Buffy's "bad karma" bleeding into Kennedy's path. It's forming a rift between Buffy and Willow, and that makes sense.

As for Buffy's moral-lapse, I can only say the money has to come from somewhere. I assumed it was money left over from the old Watcher's Council, but that was too obvious.

Who's going to betray Buffy? Willow assures us it won't be her, but I kind of doubt it. I know one reason she would betray Buffy. Amy and Warren are smart, they're into the dark magics, and I'm sure they'll figure it out. Or they will if Joss thinks like me. Put yourself in Willow's shoes and ask yourself, "what's the thing I'd like most in the world?" Hint - it's a person, and it's not Kennedy and it's not Oz.

Story Pacing:

I, like many of you guys, am frustrated at the slow pace. This is caused by the limits imposed by comic books. If I were in charge at Dark Horse, I'd allocate more artists and crank the stories out faster, but that's just me.
At the risk of seeming a tad inconsistent, I have to also say, well said, Shambleau. I am still a little taken aback by Buffy and the bank heisting, but in no way do I think that Joss doesn't know what he is doing. I may wonder at times what's going on, but I get off the train when I start to read that the creator of the universe I love doesn't know what he's doing. It's Joss. Enough for me. My point above, maybe not very well made, was that the comics are slowly filling in the gaps that we have since Chosen. There is still a lot we don't know. I fully believe that we'll find out the reasons for the stuff we're wondering about, and more stuff besides. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't wonder and be startled at times.

I'm fully on board with Willow's ambivalence/guilt about Buffy and her indirect - very indirect - relationship to Tara's death. Poor Willow. The clues have been there for a long time. There's deep love between the core scoobies but also some mixed feelings, as there often is between friends who have shared such a history. I agree with quantumac that it is indeed possible that Willow might betray Buffy, but when Robin said that the betrayal would come from the closest source, I wondered about Dawn. Or maybe even Giles. Yikes. There's a satisfying if shuddery darkness growing in Buffy Season 8.

I actually am not frustrated by the slow pace of the release of information. I savor the slowness. I *am* frustrated by only one comic a month, but that's just the way it is. I suck it up.
shambleau- they are just not right, not to me. They are too deus ex machina, there when needed for whatever they are needed for. And they just don't really fit, even with demons and so on. Just too precious for me.

What really bothered me was the mistake with Warren. He was dead.And I don't even want to get into how it affects Willow's arc. Scott Allie says Joss admitted it was a mistake. But in my mind, even if Joss glitched on this in the comic, that's what you have editors for- and I was an editor for 20 years. So that you don't make mistakes like that, not with a fan base that will try to reconcile what that mistake means in the context of an 8-year love affair. If Warren was not dead, the First could not portray him. Period. And The First did. Any one of us would have caught that error, and then we would not need to bend over into a moebius strip to explain it away, especially when it really was a mistake.

Jerrod, my heart goes out to you. We're picking nits, well, some of us, and you are dealing with real life.
Joss said the Warren thing was a mistake, but then maybe that's just a misdirect for later. Or maybe he'll make it a story point, now that it's been pointed out.

As a writer, I sympathize. I know how hard it is to keep your universe consistent through several stories.

Perhaps Warren doesn't even know the truth of it. Amy can be so deceitful, and if you think about it, Warren is on Amy's short leash. She issues a single word and he really is dead. Or dead again. After all, Warren did die by mystical forces, and Amy envies Willow's power. Maybe she brought back Warren just to see if she could do it, and she's keeping that fact secret so he doesn't know how powerful she really is.

[ edited by quantumac on 2008-01-05 05:41 ]
Loved this issue. I have no problems with the bank robbing or Willow blaming herself (and it is herself, she's not blaming Buffy for being back, she's blaming herself for bringing her back) for Tara's death, and Dawn's skankiness. In fact, I think it's all brilliant. It gives the characters something to answer for. It shows their flaws, that they make mistakes, that heroes aren't perfect.

I mean, that's what Joss does, right? Happy characters are boring, when everything is going fine, then the "show" isn't exciting. I can only speak for myself, but my favourite parts of the show, all of Joss' shows, of all shows in general, are when the protagonists are all at odds with eachother. Xander trying to stop Buffy from going after Anya in season seven. Buffy trying to run again in "Dead Man's Party." Angel isolating himself from his team in Season Two of Angel. Wesley kidnapping Connor. Simon and Mal in the pilot. Wash and Mal in "War Stories." Those are all my favourite moments, and the fall out of those moments. My second-favourite moments are when those are resolved, because they are never without consequence.

So obviously, I like that the characters have answering to do, to themselves and to eachother. But that's just me.

Next month can't come fast enough.
I got the issue tonight and have not gone back and labored through it the second time yet. (With any other medium it is a fun revisit and treasure hunt, but with comics it is feeling more and more like rather annoying work for limited rewards.) First impressions are that I like Robin's character very much. It is good to have a new character who feels really human in the mix. I have not felt like any of the characters were human until this point. (Unfortunately more about that later.) I hope she shows up again. I also have no real problem with the story elements.

If I think about the end of S7, a bank heist does not seem out of the question. Buffy just watched her world fall apart. They had been scavenging (some might call it looting ) for some time before her world fell into itself and left her with nothing but new and even bigger responsibilities. Her reality would seem a lot different from the one she had been living in a short time before. That about post traumatic stress! Anything would be possible. I agree that she shows definite signs of not thinking it was totally ok.

I also did not have a problem with the whole Willow & Kennedy thing. As was said, Willow did not blame Buffy for Tara's death, she blames herself.

My problem is that none of it affected me. It was cartoons on a page that flipped back and forth from one story to another throwing tidbits of information at me.
This issue made me realize that these comics are, for me, somewhere between getting the story in teaser form and reading summaries with pictures. At first I thought there was yet again no content. Thinking about what to say about it, I started thinking, "What did we find out?" The list got fairly long and I wondered why there was so much information but I still felt like nothing had happened. I think it is because for me, nothing did. I feel like I am being given facts and moments, but not a story. It is just bits and pieces that are disconnected from each other and from me.

Admittedly, it is very likely my own deficiency. I devour stories if I like them. I have to be careful not to start a book unless I have the time to read it obsessively until it is done. I sometimes read them too fast to be able to fully digest the first time, but they burrow into my do theater, movies and television. It is why I cannot watch or read horror; it is too real to me. On the other hand, those summaries of difficult literature that they used to give you in school sometimes, where all the language is left out and only the plot remains, never appealed to me. They took out the good stuff and left only the bones. That is what this feels like.

It is incredibly frustrating to have something that has found such a place inside my consciousness to be so incredibly distant from me in this incarnation. I thought I had found an apathetic place I could go to and not care until the next issue comes out, but I am now thinking I was fooling myself. I am happy people are happy and enjoying this, but I may stop buying them at this point. In a few years they will be collected and I can check them out. Maybe that will be something that will touch me, but I'm not sure that will even do it.

This really makes me very sad, and kind of teary. How weird is that?

In the real world:
JerrodBalzer, thanks for the glimpse at how this is affecting Robin. It is wonderful that it helps her. Please know that we are all pulling for her to beat the demons.
I'm gonna echo many people, but here I go anyway.

Shambleau, I agree with everything you wrote. I'm buying it on all fronts, and for all the reasons you listed.

Jerrod, your posts are both touching and inspiring. Really, truly, thank you for sharing with us.

Prediction time: I think Buffy's eventual betrayer is Giles. I have no facts to support that, and I'm basing it on nothing but instinct and guesswork, but that's where my vote goes.

[ edited by NimNams on 2008-01-05 06:46 ]
Hey Dana, don't sweat me. I love a good discussion, especially on one of my favorite subjects. And a discussion where everyone agrees would be boring, indeed.

The Warren mistake has probably been discussed since it was in the first arc, but I do have some thoughts on it. If I echo someone else's similar thoughts from previous threads, I apologize.

The First also took the form of Buffy because she had died. Automatically, her sacrifice for Dawn comes to mind, but I'm also thinking of the death at the end of Season 1. That was only a few seconds and yet it was enough for the next slayer to take her place.

So what if, like already stated, Warren had died for a few seconds and Amy wasn't completely honest about it? Perhaps her ego wouldn't allow her to admit that she was almost too late. Anyway, that may have been enough for the First to take his form.

I may not be totally accurate with that idea, but it works enough to my satisfaction :)
I did not have what could be called a "good day" today, but the fact that I got "Anywhere But Here" on my hands made me happy. I thought this was a brilliant issue, the best yet.

Buffy stealing from the bank, Willow's problems with Kennedy (who I actually didn't find completely irritating and pointless for about the first time ever)...both totally convincing to me.

The dialogue was also extra-sparkly here, and I liked Cliff's art.

Robin was a beautiful part of the story, and JerrodBalzer, thanks for sharing those moments. Truly touching.

(MistressApplePie...maybe you should read before spitting? A suggestion.)
Robin was my favorite part of the issue, the big moment for me being when Willow said that Minders are chosen. Brought new dimensions to that heroically meaningful word. There are parts of the issue I don't know how I feel about, but so many great moments/scenes/lines that I know it will be resonating around my cranium. (The Dawn/Xander dialogue alone was worth the price of admission. Those two tend to bring out the better in one another. Very sweet.) And cool story you told about Robin, Jerrod! "With marshmallows?" Among Joss's talents is the power of a mental comfortador.
Maybe the whole 'Willow blaming herself for Tara's death' thing is Joss's version of retconning? Since Whedon wasn't very involved with the seventh season of BtVs, maybe he's trying to make up for it now by finally going in the direction he wanted to back during the seventh season (i.e., with Willow's character development).

[ edited by QuanticoMVP on 2008-01-05 19:33 ]
Again, Willow doesn't blame Buffy for Tara's death.

Pointy, I agree with the Minders-are-chosen part being great. I especially loved the next panel. Robin standing there, the wind blowing her hair and skirt, leaves falling around her, gazing over the meadow. Damn! Poignant and powerful.

Nolan, you are me.

By the way, when Xander tells Dawn "...this dode took advantage" what does that mean? Is it a misprint of dude, or am I missing something?
Dana5140, re the Warren thing, I though you were the big supporter of reader response over authorial intent so shouldn’t Joss being diplomatic on the letters page be more or less irrelevant? As far as this reader goes I saw that Warren’s human life had ended and Amy’s skin spell had 4 seconds of shock within which to be initiated but may not have taken effect until after the mystical death point.

newcj, I kind of agree with you about comics being less immersive than TV or books, at least on first reading, they rush past too quickly. The nearest to an emotional response I’ve had on a first read of any of the comics is a LOL or a WTF did they really just go there? Followed by scrabbling back through the pages to check. But that changes with re-reading and they are so very easy to re-read. Reading about Robin didn’t make me teary on the first reading but it suddenly hit me on the third.

Jerrod, Thank you so much for sharing your and Robin’s experiences.

phlebotonin, I completely agree about savouring the slow reveals, this issue could have followed on directly from The Long Way Home but it wouldn’t have had the resonance then that it does now. I’m sure this isn’t going to be the last we hear of the bank heist and its ramifications but I love it because it makes me look at previous statements and actions of Buffy’s in a new light.

Finally is Buffy’s Christian Bale scenario further evidence that she’s into fantasy threesomes?
As far as "dode" is concerned, I took it as an exageration of the word "dude," as if a really surfer-type might be like "whoah, dode, that was tight." Having had roommates that speak like that, it isn't much of a stretch.

I can't believe it took us so long to talk about the celebrity cameos! Ever since I saw the new James Bond in a speedo, I've been having very similar fantasies, so I'm right there with you, Buff. It took me a second to figure out what was going on with the two Christian Bale's but it is golden that it's actually shown instead of simply stated. Hilarious. Anyone notice that "Reign of Fire Christian Bale's" outfit looks strikingly similar to Xander's? More fuel to the Bander fire. On that note, would Xander PLEASE change his clothes! Even Dawn's finally getting a new outfit.

Oh, by the way, loved the reference to Parker being a mistake. Oh, the life of a college student! So did Dawn lose her virginity to Kenny's friend? Cuz she seemed oddly cavalier about it, so my impression was that she had already lost it.
Xander did say he had two of those outfits; maybe he's been doing a lot of laundry to work off some of the frustration from - y'know - the action he's been not getting... :-)
Hi, all, and good morning!

Jarrod- thank you!

Quantum- but you make my point here. I said that because of this mistake, we are all bedning ourselves into pretzels to try and explain it because it flies in the face of what we understand about the universe our tale is set in. And that is what you just did.

Hayes- well, you, too. Yes, I am majorly RRT. But I cannot reconcile this error in any meaningful way, especially since in the real world Joss said it was a mistake. Unless he is a liar, which I do not believe he is, I have to assume he is simply telling the truth. He made an error. We can all apply our critical faculties to find some means to explain this under the rules of the universe, but there is no correct answer and there can be no correct answer, because it was a mistake to begin with. I don't see Joss being deceitful about this. It is just a mistake, albeit one with significant implications for the 'verse if left unattended.

Finally, I fully believe that you do not bring up Tara's death without there having to be some sort of payoff about this issue down the road. What will beineresting is to see what that payoff is.
Some random thoughts -

So would permission have to be sought from Daniel Craig, Tina Fey and Christian Bale to include them in the comic?

Personally, I really liked Cliff Richards' art - hope he gets to do some more issues in the future.

Robin says to Buffy that she rescues the prince. While I've got zero idea what this could mean, I'm betting that it means something.

Where Willow is saying "I was never naughty here. I don't even . . ." what was the next word going to be before she changed tack? Perhaps "remember"? Still quite a bit more to learn about Willow's six-month magical mystery tour.

Who on earth is going to be the one to betray Buffy? "The closest, the most unexpected". Willow and Giles seem to now be ruled out on both of those counts. That appears to leave Xander and Dawn, but I struggle to see either as Twilight's "man on the inside". Hmm.

The Willow/Buffy/Kennedy double page was amazing, heart-breaking stuff. Really pleased to see the issue of Tara addressed and that her death is still having consequences. However, I'm not expecting any specific pay-off.

I can agree with you on the Warren thing though, Dana5140. Not only does it not really work at the moment, it damages one of my favourite scenes from the show. Amy stalking around in the woods, casting the spell that made Warren disappear and Dark Willow doesn't even notice? Sigh.

This impending war is intriguing stuff - guess we'll find out more about Twilight in the next issue.

[ edited by cypher on 2008-01-05 19:53 ]
Well, I've seen speculation on other boards that the one who betrays Buffy is Buffy, that it's all metaphorical, which is unprecedented in this universe, right? She is heading in the wrong direction, and if she gets some people killed because of it...
Well, "closest" can have several meanings- it can mean: closest to her heart, closest to her in friendship, closest in terms of family, closest in terms of physical proximity, etc.

My bet? Dawn.
Willow blames bringing back Buffy for Tara's death? Buffy is robbing banks to finance her mission? WTF?? Who is writing this???

Maybe you should read it first, sweetheart, before you state your opinions. I haven't read it, but I've read four well analyzed reviews of fans who had, and it was Willow blaming *Willow* of Tara's death. There was no blaming of Buffy in any way as far as I've heard.

[ edited by Sosa Lola on 2008-01-05 19:50 ]
I saw a theory elsewhere suggesting that Willow is a time traveller.
That would be intriguing.
. . . in the real world Joss said it was a mistake. Unless he is a liar, which I do not believe he is, I have to assume he is simply telling the truth.

Or keep in mind that Joss engages in self-deprecating humor pretty much every time he talks about his work.

There are many ways to be dead and not dead in the Buffyverse. Warren's status is not exactly clear, and this reader wonders how much he's Amy's magical meat puppet and how much he's his own monster.
No, he said it was a mistake. Clearly. Sometimes, an apple is just an apple. And this is a mistake. Let's get past it, from the sense of trying to excuse it away. Warren is dead, Willow killed him; change any of that and you alter, irrevocably, the entire meaning of the last 4 episodes of S6, and the import and meaning of S7. And not for the better.
The "chosen" thing is just brilliant. I've been thinking about it since the issue arrived this afternoon. Wonderful.

Re the bank robbery-is it possible that was the other decoy Buffy, who was supposedly partying with the Immortal? Buffy denied knowing at first, before she offered the excuses. If she was there, wouldn't she have known Willow would see her? Could someone else have planned it and Buffy found out after it happened? Or has it not happened yet? But then, why would she keep either secret from Willow, once the fact of the robbery is revealed to her?

Seems like there is more to this robbery to find out. And Buffy's keeping important secrets again, no matter how you look at it.
Hayes- well, you, too. Yes, I am majorly RRT. But I cannot reconcile this error in any meaningful way, especially since in the real world Joss said it was a mistake. Unless he is a liar, which I do not believe he is, I have to assume he is simply telling the truth. He made an error.

I’m sorry but I genuinely don’t see how I’m making your point by giving a simple two sentence summary of how I interpreted the comic the first time I read it. Maybe my brain is just naturally pretzel-shaped but I was honestly baffled to come online and find people claiming it showed that Warren hadn’t died.

I do, however, think you are continuing to make *my* point by using Joss’s out-of-context statement and its non-medacious intent three times as the main support for your interpretation of the scene. I also saw Willow killing Warren as the most merciful thing she could have done to him after skinning him alive. After that she seemed to completely cease caring what happened. Her “Bored Now,” is stated utterly without affect.
I thought this issue was amazing, so far it seems that I am enjoying the stand-alones more than the actual arcs (I am enjoying the arcs though). Issue 5 is my favorite (I get all emotional at the end).

Overall I am loving Buffy Season 8, as far as I'm concerned if Joss is writing it then it is all going to be great, and I am just so happy that I get my favorite show back from when i was growing up. I just hope the universe expands (does anyone else want a Faith/Giles spin-off already?) and we get Angel and Buffy back in the same place at some point.

In terms of this issue I thought the Kennedy/Willow issue was cool, I never seemed to have as much of a problem with them in the show, but I always considered Kennedy as a kind of 'rebound'. I really hope the 'six-month mysical thing' has something to do with Tara.

One of the most moving parts of this issue though was the letters section; very touching. The letter from Rachel is pretty much what I would have written in terms of 'how buffy changed my life' but it was Tara and Willow's relationship that made me feel so good about being gay. I guess the trigger for Rachel was a crush on Faith, but being a guy, no so much for me. All the letters, but especially Rachel's moved me significantly. I just wish we could have Tara back, because Willow and Kennedy doesn't make sense for me in the way that Willow and Tara did.

Th slowness feels good to me, I don't want it all at once, I don't want it over quickly; a season on television seems so quick to me (maybe that's because we only got half of one last year). I am watching Veronica Mars and My So Called Life, and one season just doesn't last long enough for me. I hope that Buffy Season 8 goes on for a good few years.
Vortigun; Willow and Tara meant a lot of things to many people, and I do wonder if Joss is going to expand on his "You wished for shoes?" scenario eventually.

Willow blaming either Buffy or herself; You can make a twisted jsutiifcation for blaming Buffy; if she'd let Warren get away with hsi cash he couldn't have come back after her so no gun blabbitty-blah. I've argued that myself.
Willow blaming herself? In the sense of "I did wrong byr aising Buffy so tara was taken from me as punsihment." perhaps (I ahn't gotten the issue yet. MAybe I'm being too religious here but that's ridiculous. Things happen. That would eb Willow 's ego talking, not either her conscience or her rational moral sense.)

And maybe the bank is owned by teh bad guys.

Very well said, Shambleau.
JerrodBalzer | January 05, 03:53 CE

I also agree completely with Shambleau:
Joss had to some up with something that would REALLY shock Willow (and all of us) and the bank robbery angle is clearly doing that!

I don't get wanting all of Dawn's problems revealed immediately, that is what the story telling is for, to slowly reveal the er um story.

And personally I don't think any dwarves or fairies could ever be as silly and cute as the Loan Shark!

Jerrod Balzer: your entry to Dark Horse was beautifully written and I have really appreciate your comments here. I lost my sister, who was similarly afflicted, and I know how much she would have adored Buffy and all the Scoobie gang. Robin's character is a beautiful inspiration.

I haven't really had a chance to reread and absorb, because of having no power for the last two days (I just got it back, that is why I'm posting!) my local comic book store has been closed, luckily the post office delivered the copy I had ordered online (good old PO showing up in spite of high winds and heavy rains and even some flooding...).

[ edited by embers on 2008-01-05 22:33 ]
Hayes says: "I’m sorry but I genuinely don’t see how I’m making your point by giving a simple two sentence summary of how I interpreted the comic the first time I read it." By definition, interpretation IS reader-response in action. Once you begin to offer an interpretation, you are putting your own spin on what you have read. Your interpretation may jibe with what the author (Joss, in this case) intended, but then again it may not; it is simply your interpretation, neither "right" nor "wrong," per se.

As to the scene, I am NOT offering an interpretation of it, and have not offered an interpretation of it. I am not trying to explain it. I am simply saying, Joss said he made a mistake with that scene, and ever since everyone has tried to explain it away when it is effectively unexplainable because it is a mistake. If Joss were to come and say, listen, fooled you, I really meant it, THEN we would have to try and understand how it fits into canon. I have shied away from offering an interpretation of it- outside of offering nothing more than my general comment about how it affects the end of S6 and all of S7- but I have not said HOW I think it would affect that. That would then be me being all RRT. Because I take Joss at his word, I am not offering that because there is no reason to; it was, in the end, just a mistake.
Loved the Robin's character in this. It was beautifully done, and I really liked that she was both powerful and chosen. So glad to hear it is helping the real Robin, JerrodBalzer.

Lingering questions:
* Giles gave them this mission? So, what happened after the phone call last time?

I don't think so. I think they're just referring to general demon knowledge that Giles told them long ago during one of the various information sessions in the library or magic shop. Hence the joke about whether or not Buffy was paying attention. Although Willow seems even more knowledgeable than usual lately.

I, like many of you guys, am frustrated at the slow pace. This is caused by the limits imposed by comic books. If I were in charge at Dark Horse, I'd allocate more artists and crank the stories out faster, but that's just me.

I really missed Jeanty's touch on this one, myself. The art was better than I expected it to be from the preview (Willow and Dawn got better later on, Kennedy was spot on), but the women's faces overall were kind of generically pretty, and the emotions were not very subtle or nuanced. I felt that absence most with Buffy. It was always what SMG did well-- deliver lines that mixed aspects of the everyday girl she wants to be and superhero she fights to be and make them real, believable, and very complex. Jeanty has done the same thing well on paper, but this issue's Buffy lacked that. To be fair, I imagine it's probably the hardest part about drawing this comic. The writing was really strong in this one, which helped counterbalance it a little bit. I think the less this comic passes from artist to artist, the better, simply because I think Buffy is difficult to depict on paper. I'm willing to wait.

Finally is Buffy’s Christian Bale scenario further evidence that she’s into fantasy threesomes?

I think so, especially if one guy's kind of pretty and do-goody and the other's got more of a tough badass look going on. ;)

I do find Buffy stealing to fund her operation to be a bit difficult to believe. Not that she wouldn't ever, just that I would have expected her mental justification for such a thing only to have allowed something more subtle or a gradual descent into criminal activity. But planning and carrying out a bank heist with a slayer squad, already in the past, this early on? Wow. Just wow. So is Xander an accomplice in this? Does Giles know? Her best slayers robbed a bank with her! Yikes.

My favorite part (well, besides the Tina Fey fantasy) was that Dawn was not innocent as everyone around her more or less assumed. Rather she was the one who made a mistake. I also like that we're seeing Buffy's confidence is not so real right now.
Curious that no one here is suggesting that Xander is the one who will betray Buffy. Isn't he the only one (aside from Dawn) who never has? Buffy has broken away from Giles a couple of times and Dark Willow might certainly be considered a betrayal.

I'm personally have some trouble with all of Willow's skills - the flying and the whatnot - it all seems to be too easy for her. Which must mean it will be an issue at some point!
I liked the art work a lot - I haven't been a big fan of Jeanty- and thought this one was excellent - although it took a couple of frames to recognize Kennedy. NOT happy with her still being around. Ah well.
As for the robbing of the bank - I'm used to the characters changing as they need to fit the story. Was Giles a bumbling librarian or a dangerous man with dark experiences in his past? Was Spike a nasty piece of work or a source of much humour? Spike in particular changed season to season. So, if Joss wants to say that Buffy robbed a bank, I'll chalk it down to a change in her character.
newcj, I feel your pain. I've only been reading comics for a couple of years now and I cannot enter into the story the way I can for books, TV/movies, plays. It is very disappointing although I will continue to buy and read them.
I considered it a betrayal when Xander didn't tell Buffy that Willow was working on restoring Angel's soul in Season 2. But I agree that Xander is probably going to be the betrayer. I am crying about it already.

I loved Buffy's voice in this issue, and I loved the depth of their interactions. And Robin was fantastic.
Xander as betrayer would certainly be the most astounding surprise to me. So astounding, in fact, that I can't even conceive of it being the case! It /can't/ be Xander! :)
I don't know why the first part of Joss admitting his mistake isn't ever mentioned. He said Warren was dead for a few seconds and Amy hadn't told him. He could actually have left it at that. People would still have been disgruntled - I certainly would have been. But it would have been accepted by most people, and that would be that. It's not that outlandish of a retcon, to me. In fact, if he HAD remembered about the First, but still wanted Warren in the story anyway, he would have come up with something similar. I have a much harder time with Amy following Willow around and Willow not realizing that Warren had been spirited away by her than I do with Warren being briefly dead.

So, for me I mostly just go with the explanation that Joss gave at first, before his fit of honesty. For the part of me that still doesn't buy it, I file it away with other continuity glitches like Drusilla as Spike's sire, Summers blood being identical and the ubervamps suddenly losing their strength in Chosen. None of those things ruined Fool For Love, The Gift, or Chosen for me, but I know people who stopped watching because of a couple of those. They couldn't handle it.

I get it. For some people consistency is tremendously important. Joss puts less importance on continuity than many of his most rabid fans. If he can tell a cool story with huge emotional resonance, but that's going to have inconsistencies, he'll choose to do it every time. So be it. Since his stories have affected me more than anyone else's, I'll accept that. I wish every story he told fit together in every way, with not one hole in it, even though he's telling long-running open-ended stories that run for years. But I'm with the Mayor - it's batting average that counts and Joss is the record holder there, as far as I'm concerned.
Hi. Long-time reader, first-time poster here.... I think the word "dode" is a callback to "The Pack," when Buffy refers to Xander's new friends as the "dode patrol." As to what "dode" meant then, one theory is that it's a corruption of "dodo." The hyena gang didn't really act dodo-like, but Buffy could have been commenting on their presumed lack of intelligence.

About the betrayal issue, does it actually have to be someone consciously working with Twilight against Buffy? Maybe instead, someone close to Buffy will oppose just one particular thing she wants to do, and with the best of intentions try to stop her, and that will unintentionally lead to tragedy. It could even be that that person gets tricked into their betrayal, much as Wesley does in Angel season 3. Either way, I think that would be more interesting than simply finding out that whoops, one of Buffy's old friends has turned evil.

Anyway, I really liked this issue. I was kind of surprised that it focused so much on the main story arc, instead of telling its own self-contained story like #5, but that's not a bad thing at all -- just different from what I had expected.
I'm late to this party. Oh well.

Buffy robbing a bank: I thought it was funny. Is that just me? (Banks are big corporations. I have a thing -- morality-thing -- about big corporations. And interest-collection. Not so sure about it. Robin Hood anyone? Am I being too Marxist? I don't see bank robbery as being nearly as bad as giving some poor guards headaches. And Buffy has shown little compunction about the giving of headaches before.) So sparkly...

Comics: They make me cry more than any other medium. I understand that this is odd. And don't really care. Scott McCloud understands me.

Willow with Snake-Lady: Awaiting the action figure. (What?)

I really enjoyed the issue. And Robin was badass.
Dode= corruption/combination of Dude and dodo= dode.

shambleau: you say "If he can tell a cool story with huge emotional resonance, but that's going to have inconsistencies, he'll choose to do it every time." If I had a nickle for every time someone told me exactly what Joss will do- even though they are not Joss and cannot possible know what he will do- I'd be wealthy and could go retire. Let's be real; we don't know what Joss will do or why. What you are trying to say here, really, is that you simply don't mind the errors. That's cool. But, you know, let it be because of you, not because of what you think Joss would do.

Me? I do mind errors. Because it cuts into the unreality of the world I am playing in, and brings me to this one. It's like water in the face; it stops me cold and I lose that "willing suspension of disbelief."
This issue was hands down Joss' best yet of Season Eight. He was firing on all cylinders and everything finally clicked and felt like Buffy. I was concerned how Joss aka The Master could follow up BKV, but now I must flog myself for doubting Master's prowess. Even the art was perfect; I prefer it over the regular artist at the moment.

Buffy and Angel are back!
Maybe instead, someone close to Buffy will oppose just one particular thing she wants to do, and with the best of intentions try to stop her, and that will unintentionally lead to tragedy. It could even be that that person gets tricked into their betrayal, much as Wesley does in Angel season 3.

That's what I'm thinking, too. Since Buffy looks kind of beat up but seems to be not really badly injured, there's a broken egg-like thing in the background, and she's crying really hard, I'm wondering if someone destroyed something she needed to accomplish... whatever. It's becoming increasingly plausible that Buffy won't be trying to do the right thing at the end of this. Although I do hope otherwise. I'm not sure how I'd cope with her (admittedly, flawed) heroism becoming something much darker. At this point I could see anyone close to her being the one to do it. Everyone has crossed her when they thought her moral compass had strayed before. Willow intervened indirectly when she wanted to kill Anya, Xander intervened directly with Anya and lied about Angel's soul, Giles tried to kill Spike (and talked about possibly killing Dawn in S5), and Dawn foiled the attempt to remove her from the final battle. I could see any one of them getting in her way if they think she's way out of line and it's in a world-saving context (isn't it always?). So I'm also suspecting it will be more than that, too.
You bring up some good points, Sunfire.

The biggest betrayal of them all for me was Season 7 when they did their little Kick-Buffy-to-the-Curb roundtable with the Slayerettes after Caleb poked Xander's eye out. They thought she was off/wrong and they stepped up to say something about it.

I wanted to kick them all repeatedly in the head for it, but that's exactly what they did. I suspect this betrayal, if it's not just a device by the bad guys to sow mistrust amongst the Slayers, will be of a similiar vein.
I love the idea of someone merely opposing something that Buffy wants to do and then mucking it up, but in "No Future for You," Twilight and that lady from the military talk about their "inside man."

The question is now:

Is this betrayer the same as the inside man?
The only main scoob I can think of that never betrayed Buffy is Dawn. Xander did it with Willow in S2 with Angel. Also, we should not forget that Xander betrayed Anya at their wedding. Giles betrayed Buffy by allowing her to be dumped as lead Slayer. And in allowing her to be tested on her birthday.
Dana5140 said:
Hayes says: "I’m sorry but I genuinely don’t see how I’m making your point by giving a simple two sentence summary of how I interpreted the comic the first time I read it." By definition, interpretation IS reader-response in action. Once you begin to offer an interpretation, you are putting your own spin on what you have read. Your interpretation may jibe with what the author (Joss, in this case) intended, but then again it may not; it is simply your interpretation, neither "right" nor "wrong," per se.

Ok I think I begin to see where the confusion lies. We actually have several points. One of your points is the one you made to Quantum about people bending themselves into pretzels and that was the one I was responding to with the brain-pretzel paragraph you quote part of. In other contexts you make a point of championing RRT – Joss’s stated intent makes no difference with respect to the dead lesbian cliché, if it was invoked for some viewers than it was invoked. In this thread your point seems to be that readers like myself seeing otherwise makes no difference, Joss ‘s lack of intent with respect to making it clear whether Warren lived or died is all that matters. My original point was that those last two points appear contradictory.

Shambleau said:

I don't know why the first part of Joss admitting his mistake isn't ever mentioned. He said Warren was dead for a few seconds and Amy hadn't told him. He could actually have left it at that. People would still have been disgruntled

Possibly he wanted to defuse the disgruntlement. It was a nice polite letter and it would hardly have been appropriate to be pissy and point out that despite the letter writer’s claim, Warren never *says* that he was never dead. That’s what the internets are for.

And I think the betrayer quite likely isn’t the same person as the inside man, which means it could still be Willow even though she doesn’t know it yet. She did imply she would never choose Buffy over the woman she loved again. Kennedy could be her Achilles heel.
Oh man...I would be so upset if Willow chose Kennedy over Buffy. For the sake of the world and the Scooby Gang, I think relationships should be outlawed. That way, we wont have those sticky moral dilemmas.
The image of Robin under the words "You Get Chosen." Iconic. Says a lot about Buffydom. Might make a good poster.
Buffy might have gotten the idea for the bank heist from the events of the Season 7 episode "Him" where Anya pulls off several bank robberies to impress the football player with the enchanted coat. I've heard it speculated that the Scoobies used the stolen cash to feed and clothe the potentials during the rest of the season. As far as we know, nobody ever suggested that the money be returned!

Second, when Sephrilian is discussing the final battle against Twilight he suggests that the outcome will be, "your life's goal achieved, Slayer. The death of magic". The final sentence is a dialog balloon in the next panel with a closeup of an unhappy Willow. This suggests that Willow may be just a little unenthusiastic about the whole "death of magic" thing that Buffy would obviously support and prefigures a um "disagreement" between the two of them that might lead to the betrayal we've been discussing.

Finally, the expression,"You reek of lies" that the demon uses to greet them is a call out to Principal Snyder in Season 2, "I Only Have Eyes For You"! Maybe he's the masked Twilight Marvel Super Villain?
Hi, Hayes: when Joss comes out and says, hey, I screwed up and made a mistake, it sort of trumps RRT; there is simply no way to counter that and say, well, no you didn't. I see this as vastly different from Joss saying, I did not mean to invoke the dead lesbian cliche, because despite what he meant, it was all to easy to read things that way, since it was still there by definition. If you see what I am saying?
Ooh, this one was fun and different. Reminds me a lot of the episode "Restless" with all the bizarre dreams (and that one is a favorite of mine). Can't say I'm happy to see Kennedy back, though -- I agree with Buffy that she's more than a bit bratty. But the Robin character is absolutely lovely.

Did any of the other Doctor Who fans in here jump when Buffy said the house was "bigger on the inside"? I'd call it a coincidence, if it weren't that dead ringers for the Doctor and Rose randomly showed up near Giles' apartment in the first issue of the Faith arc. Made me laugh, anyway. :)
In the Latin - I did :) I said to myself "Ooh, TARDIS-y!".
Oh hey, I said this over on .Org and meant to say it over here:

During the robbery flashback, look at the "Slayer" closest to us besides's Zoe. Made my heart go all fluttery.
During the robbery flashback, look at the "Slayer" closest to us besides's Zoe. Made my heart go all fluttery.

*carries beginnings of debate over from .Org*

I think it's Satsu. But granted not the clearest rendition ever. The clothes look kinda her style (but more theftish) and more importantly, Leah and Rowena are standing right there. They tend to appear together in backgrounds.

I do miss Zoe.
Very interesting stuff in this issue.

I am really enjoying the idea that Buffy could be going dark. The bank robbery wasn't the first sign she was changing, but it was one big sign that this has been going on for a while. I love the idea that the castle of slayers to most people would represent 'good' but the foundations were actually built on some pretty shady and morally grey actions. And Buffy's "above the law" attitude reminded me a lot of Faith's break in during 'Bad Girls' which I suspect is the point. Buffy's played with the idea of "Want. Take. Have" but the thing stopping her was seeing Faith go off the deep end after accidentally killing Finch. But Buffys already beginning to cross that line in 'No Future For You' when we see her beginning to reflect on her 'No Killing Humans Policy.' Her whole arc reminds me a lot of Angel's arc from season five. Like Lorne stated about Angel, Buffy's never had any power, not any global power anyway. Now she's the "queen" of the castle, has a "master race" at her finger tips and has lost contact with most of the outside world. Bet this is doing nothing but feeding her superiority complex and her "slayer only attitude" Willow commented on in 'Consequences' after she began spending a lot of time with Faith. And the best part of all this, Buffy's still my favourite character, this just makes her more interesting to me.

Other things I'd like to quickly comment on;

*Did Willow cheat on Kennedy, if so.. wow?
*I really would like the betrayer not to be Xander, feels too weird for me. But if it is the case (same goes for Dawn) I really hope it is more interesting than a "they've gone evil" storyline.
* Will Buffy and Willow ever truly be great friends again? When I saw them in 'The Long Way Home' hugging and giggling I thought we may finally have gotten them back to a really close place, but after this episode I'm not too sure!

And lastly;

* Does Xander know Buffy stole the money? Find it kind of hard to see how he couldn't after I get the impression he's been there from the very beginning, establishing the castle ect. If he doesn't does this mean he may eventually walk away from Buffy? If he does, does this mean he may be going as corrupt as she may turn out to be?
"You get chosen."

Amazing, just amazing. Thank you Joss.

And, thanks Jerrod for sharing your's and Robin's story.

As to the "Betrayal", I still think the reference to Dawn and Berkley in issue one is a reference to Shakespeare's Richard the Second and deliberately parallels her with the usurper Bolingbroke. Buffy hasn't only been presented as a queen (addressed as 'Ma,am', living in a castle, above the law etc.), but Gigi also refered to her as the Queen. I think Dawn'll try to usurp her position, which'd be an interesting way to comment on the unrelatedness of Buffy's regal pretentions to her role as a slayer, as Dawn (of course) isn't a slayer.
Hmm, did Willow cheat? Now, let's say for the moment she did. What would that imply? Certainly, that her relation with Kennedy is not strong. What would that then imply? Potentially, an end to it. What would that imply? Well, let's see; we know Satsu is in love with Buffy, potentially suggesting she is gay (though it may simply be she is in LOVE with Buffy, or the idea of Buffy). So there is a rebound potential for Kennedy if she ends up apart from Willow. BUt would a break-up with Willow somehow affect the Brat in a bad way, and lead her to betraying Buffy? Doubtful since she is not "close" to Buffy (unless again, it means close in proximity, which could occur down the road).

But in the end, IF Willow cheated, there is no possible way to see a good in that, in the sense of the current story, I mean, not to whether it implies anything for Willow (ie, Tara) down the road. If she cheated, there will be repercussions, 'cause this is the Buffyverse.
Jerrod, thank you for your post. I'm so glad that Willow and Buffy are there for Robin and for what it's worth, my thoughts are with you too.

Re: Willow and Snake Lady action figure, I hope I am the first to say that I'll be in my bunk.;)

I was rereading and I am suddenly very intrigued by Xander calling Willow "Elphaba" in issue #4. Seeing what looks like Buffy's acting above the law and overpowering, I wonder if we're going to see a reversal of authority. I noticed that several characters (including herself) have mentioned the constant worry that Willow will "go dark" again (ie, Dawn, Warren, even Willow)and that despite being good now, Willow is still viewed as ready for a relapse--which isn't happening to Buffy.
So, in playing around with the ideas of having intrinsic evil and badness, it's Willow, the one who has been acknowledged as being a potential evil, who reveals what Buffy has been doing and names it for what it is.

To sum up, Buffy could be "going dark" with no one calling her on it, while they are always remembering Willow--it's always in the air (which is understandable).
I find myself wondering if it will be Buffy who turns on Willow, especially with the last panel and that the betrayal may be in fact, Buffy's turning on all those who love her.I don't know for sure, but we could have a really interesting inversion of evil/good/Big Bad going on here. (I also wonder if Buffy's tension is because she is used to having Willow as a sidekick and now Willow is Willow, but she's also a woman with different priorities too. Would her having newer priorities automatically make her wicked?)
It also struck me how we could also be seeing how fighting evil is a constant strain and takes its toll--the Scoobies have been basically at war for almost eight years since they were teens and I wonder if we're also seeing combat fatigue and exhaustion as another enemy.
At any rate, I'm anxiously awaiting next month.
I find myself wondering if it will be Buffy who turns on Willow, especially with the last panel and that the betrayal may be in fact, Buffy's turning on all those who love her.I don't know for sure, but we could have a really interesting inversion of evil/good/Big Bad going on here. (I also wonder if Buffy's tension is because she is used to having Willow as a sidekick and now Willow is Willow, but she's also a woman with different priorities too. Would her having newer priorities automatically make her wicked?)

Oooo. I like that a lot. I don't think Buffy would see her as wicked though, but rather as no longer an ally or someone she could trust. Which maybe just happened.

So, after reading various ideas about who betrays Buffy here, I created a poll over on .Org to get a rough quantitative sense of who people think it will be.
I just read it. I LOVE it so much. Form others' comments, I thought that Willow had cheated. But now I have seconds doubts, is the scene between her and snake lady in the future or is it really in the past?
I usually come to this comics not knowing what to expect but with high expectations nevertheless, and always I end up being greatly surprised. I'm still not a fan of the illustrations though. This issue has been the best for me, I forgot i was reading a comic. And all the revelations were great. I hope it continues to be like that.
About the Daniel Craig cameo:
Who else was reminded of Joss Whedon's statement:
Daniel Craig is a god, I want him in me! (sfx151 p60)
Did anyone else notice the letters in the back, consisting of the winner (and finalists) for the contest in which you can get yourself in the comic book by writing about how Buffy changed your life? The winner wrote on behalf of his wife, Robin, who suffers from schizophrenia, and found it easy to relate to Buffy (characters like Drusilla and River from Firefly/Serenity).

Then Robin appeared in the comic book as the "minder" who has difficulty keeping her thoughts straight. Maybe its really obvious, but I don't think that its a coincidence. That Robin fit so perfectly into the story, and that her character was clearly based on the real life woman suffering from schizophrenia, was very impressive.
Yep, everbeen. And for anyone who didn't totally pick up on all the metaphors relating to Robin, here's my own interpretation:

First, a few facts about Robin. She's bipolar, manic-depressive, paranoid schizophrenic... severely. The voices in her head constantly tell her lies, such as (and these are specific):

"Jerrod is going to leave you. He's lying to you."
"You are worthless and a burden on everyone. Nobody loves you and they would all be happier if you'd kill yourself."
"We're sending people after you to take you to Hell."
"We're outside the house, and we're coming in to bash your head in with baseball bats."
"There are worms under your skin, and if you cut your wrists, you can get them out."
"If you drink bleach or take all your pills at once, you'll be cured and we'll leave you alone."

If she tries to ignore them, they only get louder.

Even with meds, she's in and out of reality every day. She has terror sleep throughout the night that people are stabbing her. She sees people covered in blood outside the windows so she's afraid to go outside a lot of times.

So with all this in mind, take a look at the comic. She's a minder, signifying that her purpose relates to her mind. The cottage IS her mind, and inside, reality is unstable. There is a demon that talks about lies and betrayal.

So Robin, as in life, allows Buffy and Willow into her "mind" to confront one of her demons. The demon, in turn, really screws with their heads, much like Robin's voices. The only difference here is that the lies and betrayal in the comic appear to be true for Buffy and Willow. They defeat the demon for Robin and help solve the instability in reality, but Robin knows that she'll have more to deal with later (she'll be reassigned). Just as in life, we help her through one episode, but there will only be more later.

Although the essay surely gave Joss ideas, it was mindblowing how accurate the imagery was, at least for me. Of course, with his characters like Dru and River, it seems he has a clear grasp of what it's like to have such problems.

As everbeen said, this may have seemed obvious to some, but it's interesting to talk about. And for those who didn't know some of the details, you can now see how this issue was touching in even deeper ways than winning the contest, etc. My appreciation to Joss and Dark Horse goes to so many different levels, it would be impossible to fully describe.

I'm also hoping this issue inspires other people fighting the same fight, because there are plenty of tortured souls out there who can use the encouragement.

It's a very misunderstood disease, in my opinion. I'd venture that a large number of the homeless are mentally ill people that were swept under the rug and ignored, and a lot of drug addicts/alcoholics are schizophrenics who don't have the proper guidance, so they "self-medicate" to muffle the voices and other hallucinations.
Jerrod, again...thanks for that insight, and my best wishes to you and Robin.
the Scoobies have basically been at war for almost eight years since they were teens and I wonder if we're also seeing combat fatigue and exhaustion as another enemy.

There was a nice commentary on this idea in one of the Buffy essay books, I forget which. I think the writer posted here sometimes. The essay posited that combat-related stress in an unending war was a theme as early as S5 and that by S7 the show had morphed into a war epic. Buffy is the careworn commandant who has to send her solders out to die, Willow's the ace fighter pilot whose nerves have been shot by one too many missions, the enemy is a depersonalized horde, instead of the nuanced, human-like villains from previous seasons etc.

I'm simplifying what was a very nuanced analysis, but if someone's getting that idea from the comics too, it shows that the themes are still present. I like the idea of that continuity, although I hadn't really picked up on it much. The bank robbery and Buffy's willingness to expand who she kills does fit into the war-as-slippery-moral-slope idea. It seems to be primarily Buffy though, although Giles until his rapprochement with Faith could have fit, too.
Jerrod, just wow. Thank you so much for sharing and still sending good thoughts to you and Robin. I also really, really appreciate Joss's treatment of River and Drusilla as you noted--there's an incredible empathy there that is astonishing and very lacking from so many mainstream texts. It is a comfort to see.

Shambleau , thanks for the essay nod--if you know which collection it's in,please let me know because I would love to read it!
I also am curious if Twilight (aside from being a Big Bad)is also yet another symbol--I wonder if we're literally seeing a twilight of the heroes (maybe a scoobydammerung , if I can be twee)which as lots of other folks have posted, will lead into Fray...

oh, now I want to read more! Is it February yet?
JerrodBalzer - Wow. And thank you for sharing this with all of us here and with all who read the comic. Take care of Robin and take care of yourself, you are both an inspiration to us.
JessicaMelusine, I still don't remember the book, but you can read an extended version online. Just google Buffy Goes To War and click on the slayage online pdf file that comes up. I'd link, but my linking skills are abysmal.

[ edited by shambleau on 2008-01-09 01:13 ]
okay, here's the link, and the pdf is an html, the url shortened: Buffy goes to war.

Hope I could help!

Btw, This page explains nicely how to make links, and quotes and stuff like that. It's been my first teacher concerning html (and there weren't even that many afterwards).

[ edited by bookworm on 2008-01-09 16:37 ]
Thank you Shambleau and Bookworm. I thought it was an excellent article!
Sunfire you got me--I should so have had the umlaut!
I just meant I love the word, not to correct you. The umlaut is just there because I love them and they're rarely appropriate. I struggled for a German word for awesome to add to it but my German's gone to hell.
Sunfire , the umlaut just makes it even better--glad you enjoyed the word and thanks for the extra flair:)
I don't care for the word, myself. I've had enough bad experiences with ladders to have learned that the dämmerungs will turn on you every chance they get.

(looks around, bewildered) ....what?
Did anybody get chills when they saw Willow's face when the demon says that Buffy will bring about "the end of magic?" Maybe it wasn't intentional, but her eyes looked black. And she looked very sad.

That moment in particular struck me as hugely significant.
Sweets I get to comment on whedonesque about Buffy :)
Just got this today, love the longer issue and the story as a whole. But mostly I found it a little unsettling and sad, which I suppose it was meant to.

Actually my favourite part was when Willow talked about Robin, and she said that minders don't volunteer, they are chosen. Beautiful.

Willow is my favourite character, and has been until Buffy began to go darker. But she kinda pissed me off with keeping Kennedy at a distance because she blames Buffy for all the bad stuff that happens around her.

Buffy robbing a bank.. didn't see that coming. At first it really hit me as out of character. But then as I think back to her progression since even season 5, or prolly more like season 6, she has slipped to the dark side on certain occasions. If she is slipping, maybe she needs a betrayer.

I hope Xander isn't the betrayer.. I was looking forward to some more Bander smoochies. Joss is such a teaser 'closest and most unexpected'. Cliche yes, but always good.
I thought this was the most beautiful issue yet (and I've been enjoying the entire run hugely).

JerrodB, it is a marvel to me that you can write so articulately and with such clarity about Robin's situation when it must be nothing short of heartbreaking for you. May I echo Z, Unplugged, and JessicaM in thanking you.

Rowan, there's always double prizes for the fiendish foreign language pun. :-)
Been waiting a long time to join up here - thrilled to finally be a member...

Anyways, I thoroughly enjoyed episode 10 - one of the best of the season, in my opinion. I've missed the close friendship between Buffy and Willow ever since Season 2, and I was glad to see a story about the two of them and their relationship.

Also, I love how much of this episode (including the title) is a throwback to an old Season 2 episode. Amy Yip at the waterslide park, anyone?

Loving Season 8. Thank you, Joss. At first, I thought the pacing was too slow; I wanted more episodes faster. But now, I'm nice and settled in to the new format, enjoying the suspense-building wait just fine. Remember, everyone: every one of these issues is just a bonus - a real gift. Most shows don't get an afterlife.
Who is Amy Yip (different to rat Amy?)anyway. I wonder if that is still Xander's anywhere but here. Heh.
JerrodB - I'd like to echo SNT's comment above. Thank you so much.

Did any of the other Doctor Who fans in here jump when Buffy said the house was "bigger on the inside"?

I jumped when Willow said "we do later on" in response to Buffy's comment "I thought you hadn't met". That dialogue made me wonder which of the 'flashbacks' were actually 'flash-forwards' or potential flash-forwards. I read them in a ghost of Christmas past, present and future kind of way at first but shall now go back and read them again in the light of JerrodB's detailed comments.

On my first read through I saw Willow as a time traveler and the bank heist as something she had seen in the future (I now prefer the Buffy decoy theory). I've also wondered if Willow 'knows' the manner in which being close to Buffy 'will' harm Kennedy and is somehow hoping she can avert that outcome without deliberately messing with the future in a forbidden way [forbidden in the sense of some rule related to time travel]. Why have they come to see Robin - perhaps future Willow has sent them a clue. Dr Who fans may correctly surmise that I have only recently watched both Freema's first episode and 'Blink'. It seems Willow can do almost anything so why strike time travel off the list - on the other hand we have had enough hints/clues/info to fit most of what they see into the previous 18 months.

As for our heroes robbing banks - I didn't think Zoe specifically at the heist panels but I certainly did think Serenity.
My favorite issue so far. I loved the Dawn reveal so much and the Buffy/Willow stuff. I loved how gray our heroes became. My only wish though is for Xander to wear a different outfit, he's becoming too cartoon-y for my taste.
I've just the read the comic and my first stop to read the reaction was here but all I have to say is how moving I found Jerrod's last post about Robin. Thank you for taking the time to share just how important this comic was and is.
I only just read Issue 10 because I've just been too busy to get to the comic shop but let me say regardless of anything ...
HOLY CRAP THAT WAS AMAZING! the best one yet.
I felt like Buffy was truly back and things were really starting to heat up, just like old times.
There were some beautiful artwork moments - particularly of Willow and Kennedy.
Anyway Joss is the best. This was the best, ever.

[ edited by invisiblegrrrl on 2009-02-15 02:41 ]
Alexa , Amy Yip is a Hong Kong Category III (mature audiences) movie actress who I saw first back in 1997 in Sex and Zen( Xander knows his cult videos!

(I remember nearly falling out of my seat laughing when I heard that line...)
I, too, just got the comic yesterday and I wasn't able to finish reading the comments until now.

I have been looking forward to reading this issue every since Joss's comments about how he saw Robin's character - and I was not disappointed. I have enjoyed all of the 'episodes' so far, but this one I found very touching (given what we already knew about Robin) and engrossing.

Jerrod, thank you for sharing such personal details with us and I'm so glad that the comic has helped you both. You are a truly remarkable husband and person. I am sending good thoughts to both of you.

Wileyman, I also thought that Willow's eyes were black in that frame - and wondered about it.

And I immediately thought of the TARDIS when they said the room was larger inside - and of Dr. Who in general when they were discussing time and events.

I can't wait for the next issue!
I'm late posting because I was revising, but that was brilliant. I also got moved more when I read it the second time. I think I just need to slow down when I'm reading sometimes.

I like how everything isn't revealed straight away. It's a different and interesting way of telling the story. Jumping in in the middle and gradually finding out stuff is fun with Angel and Spike, so why not with Buffy?

I'm surprised that Dawn cheated, but it's not unbelievable. I'm really loving the way Xander is treating the whole situation. I'm sure Buffy won't be as forgiving.

And Willow is most definitely not going to be happy about the death of magic.

I'm still not completely convinced by Willow and Kennedy's relationship, but that was a really good flashback scene. I think that Buffy robbing a bank is completely plausible. I'm not saying that there aren't going to be repercussions, but she is saving the world.

And, yes, "bigger on the inside" made me think of Doctor Who.

Dana5140 said:
There is a troll or dwarf working with Giles, and there are fairies, and neither are really part of the Buffyverse

"Zombies, werewolves, incubi, succubi – everything you’ve ever dreamt was under your bed but told yourself couldn’t be by the light of day. They’re all real."
I think that opens up the possibility for pretty much anything.

Of course, Robin was a great addition. I loved the "you get chosen" panel. The letters column really moved me. It's amazing how fiction with such good characterization can have such a positive affect on people's lives.

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