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February 06 2008

(SPOILER) For the discussion of Buffy #11. Buffy in danger? It must be a Wednesday.

As usual, spoilers galore for this issue will appear in the comments.

Decent issue. Nothing really breathtaking, though it basically confirms that Twilight is someone we've met before.
Ah, thanks, Simon.

Some of the fun stuff about this issue: crackling Jossian dialogue, great Buffy-Xander interaction, the "party" scene, Twilight seeming to be about to unmask himself, then "sorry, itchy neck." Heh. Xander saying, "Stop changing the subject to true things." Such a quintessentially Jossian statement.

The more darker, more emotional stuff: Buffy talking with Satsu. It's moving to see Buffy so grown up (relatively) and playing the wise, older sister. She did that with Dawn, but here she feels even older and more mature to me. Their back and forth in the graveyard reminded me of Buffy being counseled in the graveyard by the vampire in Conversations with Dead People. Similar conclusion, similar problems emerging for Buffy.

As for Buffy's interaction with Twilight, wow. I was wondering when I watched Chosen about the darker potentialities of this great thing Buffy and Willow had done. She has unleashed some bad slayers out there, indeed. The question is, if she and Willow hadn't empowered all the potentials in the world, might bad slayers never emerged? Faith was not wonderful, at times, but you could argue that she got worse - much worse - after her experiences with Buffy in Sunnydale. Maybe the mystical forces that have controlled the Slayer line all this time have worked to choose the best Slayer for every generation. Now things are different.

Poor Buffy. She seems to be the only one who feels ambivalent about the post-Chosen world. Contrast her feelings in this issue with the unquestioning commitment to the cause made by the unnamed Slayer in The Chain. There's quite a difference.

Some other things I noted or am wondering about:
1. Some of Twilight's supporters are demons. Interesting. Had we known that before?
2. Twilight mentions having watched Buffy and Willow flying (in the last issue.) Was there any hint of this for us? Anything I missed?
3. Who IS Twilight? Why can't I shake the feeling that we've encountered him before in the Buffyverse?
4. Joss explains in the letters section who Janie Kleinman was. ("The Chain" was dedicated to her.) Sad, moving, inspirational words by our Joss.

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2008-02-06 19:57 ]
"Only one thing is gonna walk you through this... belief.

They'll come at you sideways. It's how they think. It's how they move; sidle up and smile, hit you where you're weak. Sort of man they're like to send believes hard. Kills, and never asks why."

-- Shepherd Book, "Serenity"

I begin my response to 8.11 "A Beautiful Sunset" with that quote, because it's so fitting. Joss really is poaching his own work, but in only the most brilliant ways -- Twilight is very much like the Operative, and the dilemma he presents Buffy is quite similar to what Mal faced in "Serenity".

And, right now, she's not up to it. Not even a little. Because she thinks he might be right.

Twilight is far more capable than we got the impression. He has super strength, and his ability to fly is, ostensibly, even more adept than Willow's. And he completely dominated Buffy and could have killed her at his discretion. And this is what happened when he just came to talk.

"A Beautiful Sunset" is "No Place Like Home" fused with "Conversations With Dead People" in terms of the drastic severity of the crisis it presents both Buffy and the audience with. Twilight is easily the most capable and powerful villain we've seen Buffy faced with that isn't Glory.


As for who Twilight is? We got some value here. First of all... Twilight IS male. So *stop it*. Heh.

But, we get some other insight. My list of suspects is down to four credible suspects, one of which I really doubt. It's one of Buffy's exes, or Caleb. Caleb being the most doubtful. I'd say the two most likely right now are Riley, followed by Angel.

The speech patterns work for any of them. His voice is distorted somehow, as announced by the font change, a comic convention. But what he says is believable for any of those characters. Again, least likely being Caleb.

Another interesting thing is that Buffy tries to cleave him through the nuts with the scythe, and he blocks it... telling her "he knows that move" (the one she finished Caleb with). Only two people definitely *saw* the move first hand (Caleb and Angel), and Spike *probably* saw it -- anyone else had to either be told, or saw her do something similar off screen to another enemy with a different weapon (which is plausible). But right now, I'm leaning towards Riley -- and I am totally the one that called that if it's true. But Angel is definitely in this discussion, "After the Fall" or not. If he's not revealed until after that story is over, there's really no issue.

The most important thing is that Twilight *knows* Buffy. I mean, he knows her. He knows who she is, inside. So he is either someone with an intimate past with her, or is working with someone with an intimate knowledge of her. There's no other way.


Buffy's talk with Satsu was both more and less than I hoped it would be. She handled the letdown very well, although, honestly, it didn't come across as if Buffy was *completely* closed to the idea. But, she also quickly made it about her own stuff, and it's almost hard to blame Twilight for interrupting. She was being a real cry-buffy. But whatever else happens, they've managed to convince me that Satsu rules, she's a real *character* now, not a throwaway or an add-on.

It's with great disappointment that I have to say that, at least for the time being, Buffy/Xander is off. And we, meaning I, may just have to get over it. Buffy encouraging him to ask out Renee, and Xander agreeing that he should, really makes the idea of growing tension and mutual attraction there difficult to address at least for a while. Especially since even Buffy, as mentioned, doesn't seem completely disinterested in Satsu.

I still prefer him with Dawn if not Buffy, but Renee is growing on me.

One thing struck me as off... not out of character, not suspicious, just a little of a funny thing for Xander to say, is him pitching to Buffy the idea that maybe because she's in charge, she doesn't get to feel connected. He says it genially, kind of like his relationship talk in "I Was Made To Love You", but it just feels off that he doesn't realize that's not quite what she needs. But, that could also be a byproduct of her spending too much time alone. It's pretty clear right now that Xander and Satsu (amongst her Alpha Team) are the people she spends the most time with, and even then, doesn't open up very well or very much.
The Dark Shape: how does this issue confirm that Twilight is someone we've met before. To me, the knowledge he claims about Buffy could have come from watching her, studying her. I get the strong *feeling* that we've met him before, but saw no direct proof of it. What am I missing?

I actually also thought of Riley as being Twilight. So we both called it! I can't accept that it'd be Angel, though. Would Angel ever kill Buffy and her cohort in the devastating way Twilight plans? I can't wrap my mind around it. It seems vastly out of character. Based on their history and the lovely way in which they last saw one another, I imagine he'd at least try to talk with her first, unmasked. Then again, we don't know what has transpired between the "cookies" interaction and now. Huh. Also, it is extremely interesting that Twilight refers back to the cleaving that Buffy gave Caleb. Angel, Spike, The First, and Caleb were there to see that. (At least I think Spike was.) Huh.

I find myself strangely disappointed that it looks like Xuffy is not to be. I had initially been not hot on the idea but it was growing on me. Oh well.
I don't have time to write at length now, but I did want to pop in on the iPhone and say that I was reading the issue over a sushi lunch and when I turned the page of the Twilight itchy-necked non-reveal, I cackled so loudly my waiter moseyed on over to ask what was so funny (I told him. He didn't get it.). Brills.
There are other candidates for Twilight- Doc, for one; Glory in a new body; Moloch; Sweet; a member of the old Watcher's Council like Quentin Travers; even Rack (though Buffy never really saw him, only Willow- though I highly doubt it is Rack for many reasons, not the least of which is that he's dead) and so on. I do not see it being Riley and I cannot see it being Angel or Spike- that would smack of opportunism. Basically, I think it has to be someone that we know, and that we understand how he came by his powers; otherwise, the comic will need to expend a great deal of time (and more importantly space) to let us know how a character we already know well has obtained powers he could not possibly have.
It's Oz.
Just a normal "i have absolutely nothing to prove this with" theory. ;)
Twilight is substantially taller than Buffy.

Oz... isn't :)
Some great discussion going on here, cheers guys.
The itchy neck joke was fabulous.

A great issue all around. I have no idea who Twilight is. None of the possible candidates mentioned so far sound remotely plausible.
Gah! The Twilight non-reveal is killing me!

Damn you Joss Whedon and your powers of suspense!

I'm torn...the misogyny and the scythe cleaving move swing me toward Caleb, except he's dead. The familiarity with Buffy's moral certainty, the military connection and the chiseled jaw have me thinking Riley. But as far as we know he isn't super strong or able to fly. I'm assuming Spike and Angel are too preoccupied with W&H/Hell to develop a plan to overthrow the slayers and kill Buffy. I don't think there would have been the reveal tease if Twilight was a totally new character. Man...this is going to make me think!

As for the Satsu/Buffy bits, I loved it. Satsu totally grew on me during this issue (was I the only one who was afraid Joss would off her in the last few pages?) and I think she'll be a good addition to the group.
Excellent issue, one of the best so far, and it gives so much to think about!
The beginning is outstanding in how it presents the dilemma of the outcome of Chosen. And Buffy's words about saving the world = keeping the status quo vs. changing the world = apocalypse with unclear outcome are heavy hitters. They resonate with the discussions we had about meaning of NFA and Angel's last stand. Angel tried to change the world and brought about an apocalypse, which fits perfectly into Buffy's words here. With the outcome of chaos being ruled by morons, as we can see in Angel: ATF.
What Buffy did in Chosen was double-edged, and we are left to ponder about both edges in this issue. And vow - the foreboding. All those little hints that more Slayers lead to more demons in the world, and thus more fighting. The "disaster" Twilight is speaking about. The girls getting a purpose, and connection. And some of them using it to do bad things. The things which're similar to what Buffy & Co did in #10 - parallel between Simone and her crew and Buffy and her crew robbing that bank was deliberate, IMHO.
I can't wait to see where it's leading us.

Some scattered thoughts.
I was uneasy about Xander in this issue, and became more suspicious of him. He's acting as an enabler, encouraging Buffy on dangerous paths - patting her on a back for bank robbing, saying that it's her fate to be alone because she's a leader... What is he playing at?
I liked Satsu here. She's shaping up as a nice character. And Buffy's finally baring her heart on a cemetary? Sounds familiar. And we still can't tell whether Buffy knows that Spike is alive. She lists him in the same context as Angel - who returned from Hell dimension, and then left her. So this one is still a mystery.
The moment with Twilight scratching his neck was great! I laughed out loud. Also I loved "church me". All the dialogue is brilliant, in fact.
Who is Twilight? Good points were made for him being Caleb, or Angel, with knowing that Buffy's axe move. Or maybe materialized First Evil? Or another guy fused with it, and thus coming into this knowledge? His saying "just like a girl" sounds a bit misogynistic, which points to Caleb again. Or, heavens forbid, Warren.
The girls-only party made me sad. Teenage girls who have to hang out strictly with each other, deprived of the boys' company who knows for how long? And why? What kind of connection do they get which connects them to each other but separates them from the rest of the world, from their communities, families, boyfriends, school? Again, can't wait to see where it is all going, but Joss is not playing safe, as always, and is not afraid to put tough questions for us to ponder.
Also - see how casually Buffy and Xander talk about wiccans wiping the memories of those guards. Contrast and compare with Tabula Rasa, with how they reacted to Willow doing it on them. Or with Tara's reaction to Willow's spell. Chilling!
I am actually operating under the assumption that Twilight doesn't have any inherent powers, that they are driven by artifacts of some kind. I've felt this ever since I read the first theories about the parallels between Twilight and Brian K. Vaughan's character "The Hood". Not assuming they are the same character, but it put me in mind of the idea that *things* can make someone super strong, able to fly, etc.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2008-02-06 22:22 ]
Also-see how casually Buffy and Xander talk about wiccans wiping the memories of those guards. Contrast and compare with Tabula Rasa, with how they reacted to Willow doing it on them.

Ah, I hadn't thought of that, Nata. Good observation. It's interesting how "twilight" is taking on more and more metaphor for that murky half-lit, half-dark world that Buffy ushered in with her choice in Chosen. Good slayers, bad slayers, good slayers like Buffy doing bad things (robbing banks, using magic to alter memories) ... for a good cause. How will all this blending of moral boundaries end up? Especially since the literal Twilight believes that Buffy's greatest "armor" has been her "moral certainty"? Lots more shades of grey on the way, I expect.
Nata's note regarding being uneasy about Xander triggered the thought that he may be Twilight. I see no motive for him, but Twilight knows a lot about the details of Buffy's life and day to day actions, Xander has the military connections, would be someone close to Buffy betraying her, a la the revelation from last months issue, etc.

I cannot actually bring myself to believe this little theory of mine, and hope it is not the case, but there is a plausibility factor there.

Regardless, I loved this issue. I liked the shot of Dawn holding the keg like it was a Dixie cup. And the Twilight reveal fake-out was very Jossian.
It's interesting how "twilight" is taking on more and more metaphor for that murky half-lit, half-dark world that Buffy ushered in with her choice in Chosen.
Oh yes! Twilight could as well be a dark mirror for Buffy. That's what I thought looking at their fight: they were even dressed the same, same shiny black armor! They looked like two peas in a pod in a way.
I laughed as much as karosurly did over the itchy neck thing. Lucky I was alone because I couldn't stop.

I liked the issue but it didn't grab me the way the previous one did. It was mostly set-up, along with some nice character moments. Satsu still seems less real to me than Renee, though.
Great observations, Nata. Though I'm not sure that 'mind-wiping' is understood as a Really Bad Thing in the verse. Maybe more like a misdemeanor? A lot depends on how AtF treats Angel's massive mind wipe. And how you read Tara's decision to get back together with Willow despite never really having it out with her about the specific violation involved in mindwiping her TWICE. It's never been obvious to me that the people in the verse think it's as bad a thing as I think it is.

We are getting so many dark/light mirrors for Buffy. It really is gorgeous how it's setting up. Faith seems to have shifted to being the light to Buffy's dark. So it makes sense we'd need a new dark. And in the wake of the reversal with the Faith/Buffy mirror there's an added layer of ambiguity when we look at the new dark mirror setting up.

Don't see Angel as Twilight. (Cause really, how does that fit?). Caleb fits, but I want someone with more power to the story. Riley would fit in a more interesting way, with Twilight echoing and magnifying themes that had been subtext with Riley (especially his metaphorical experience of the move Twilight stops her from making here).

Something is totally up with Xander. Open question, though as to what it is. But there are interesting possibilities if Riley is Xander, cause there's a history of a connection there.

Glad Spike finally got a mention. So bang-on Buffy to line up the fates of her ex-lovers that way and not notice that at least two of the three actually survived the bad experience and (in the case of Riley) went on to a genuinely 'happy' ending. I would love it if Spike were the one that didn't fit: i.e. the one with the genuinely unhappy (from her POV) ending. It would provide a mirror of the other asymmetry in the presentation of the ex-lovers, namely Angel and Riley's appearance in her dreamspace in contrast to Spike's non-appearance. But, yeah, the line tells us nothing about whether she does or does not know about Spike's subsequent resurrection.

Lots of good stuff happening in the issue. But I agree with Shambleau that it is mostly set up to what comes next.
Satsu is a goner. Once you are set up to care more about certain secondary characters, they are fodder.

I am beginning to think Twilight could be Warren- who has technology and magic but little power. Or perhaps it could be Andrew's brother, Tucker. Did he live? Caleb also seems possible, but so far as I know he was mortal and getting split in half sort of ends the mortal coil, so to say.
I think Twilight being Angel is very unlikely for several reasons.I do think it's someone we've seen before.Here's a very out there idea but how about it being Ethan Rayne?I don't really want another dead character return but his death was so quick and his return so brief.Could the stuff in the first arc with Ethan have been a cover to throw Buffy off and he really didn't die but somehow faked it?I don't know,probably a dumb idea.I'm just trying to think outside the box.

Twilight reminds me a little of The Monitors in the current Countdown To Final Crisis weekly series and Arion in the recent Kurt Busiek Superman storyline,Camelot Falls.

These last two standalone issues by Joss have really been great.
The idea that Xander may be up to something sends chills down my spine. And yet it doesn't seem impossible, unlike, say, Angel being Twilight. (Angel being Twilight really seems completely out of character to me.)

You guys are right. It sort of feels like Xander is not entirely on the up and up. I hope we're wrong. I also hope that Twilight isn't Warren. I just don't think he is. Twilight seems to be on a moral crusade. A twisted moral crusade, but a moral crusade nonetheless. Warren? He strikes me as pretty much about hating women and Buffy/Willow in particular. Twilight did let fly with some misogynistic talk, but his beef with Buffy and all her Slayers seems much bigger than that. Twilight wants the death of magic, doesn't he? I don't think that's Warren's thing.

How could Twilight be Caleb? It makes so much sense except that Caleb is dead. Dead, dead, dead.

Satsu feels very real to me. I'm pleased about this - my finding a character introduced via the comics as real to me as one introduced via the TV series. I similarly found the unnamed Slayer of issue #5 very real to me. Renee is also taking more and more shape in my mind.

I am totally and irrevocably loving this series. Yup.
Another Riley connection that I'm surprised hasn't been brought up is the military. That army guy in the first arc had a Twilight marking. Perhaps he met Riley and hence Twilight through the military. As far as motivation, perhaps Riley's wife got killed by some kind of magic entity and that caused him to go off the deep end.

It would also explain why Twilight is so tall. ;)

PS: I hate Joss for that fake unveiling. That tricky...
This was easily my favorite issue so far. I did find it a little too short due to all the action that takes place, but all the content was amazing.

Loved all the Slayers partying on Giant Dawn and the parts with Satsu were great. Going from funny, to "WOAH!", to sweet, to very sad. Poor Buffy, I really hope she feels the "connection" soon. I just want to give her a hug.

Twilight was pretty badass. I'm really look forward to a lot more from him. It seems like he is going to go after Buffy not with violence, but by getting under her skin. I'm also jumping on the bandwagon with thinking that Riley is Twilight. It did seem like he knew her personally and he knew her moves. He also attacks her right when she mentions her exes.

The fight scene was pretty cool and the "itchy neck" is a classic, even if it did piss me off a lot. And how cool was it seeing Buffy slaying vamps in a cemetery again? It felt like old times.

Can't for Wolves at the Gate!
Not much to add, but I must express disbelief that the possibility of Angel being Twilight is being seriously considered. How? What? How?? Three very good questions. Makes no kind of sense a'tall.

Also, why on earth would Caleb being dead exclude him from the running? Are we talking about the same world here? The one with gods and vampires and zombies, etc? I see nonreason whatsoever that Caleb's death needs to ne any more permanent than anyone elses.
I feel obliged to defend myself on mentioning Angel. First of all, I think it's Riley. I'm just unable to rule out Angel as a suspect. If there was no reveal until after "After the Fall" wrapped up, it wouldn't really be a crossover. But, here's three things that I think make Angel at least rationally plausible. The first two include spoilers for "Angel: After the Fall".



-- Twilight had seen that specific move before. While it's not hard to believe that Buffy had cleaved something from the balls on up before, we never saw it happen. Certainly not with the scythe. If Twilight is speaking literally about seeing that move, than either he *is* Angel, Caleb, or Spike, or got information on Buffy from one of them.
It makes no sense for this to be Riley- why would he give a rats tush about ending magic? What have we ever seen with him that would suggest that would be a goal? He just wanted to end evil, and did a good job of it, ended his relationship with Buffy but met Sam. I would hate for this tale to be so banal as to suggest that, for example, (a) Sam got killed by magical means, (b) turning Riley so evil that not only does he want to hurt Buffy- whom he loved- but that he also wants to end evil. Does. Not. Work. For. Me.
I think Twilight was being literal with the whole seeing the Scythe move thing. I would find it a big stretch to have them try and say Twilight was in there watching along with Spike and Angel...*lame*
It could be Angel, it could be Spike. Maybe that's why Joss has masked him. I'm leaning towards Riley, he has never liked magic and I could see him being fueled by rage if something had happened to his wife.
But in watching "As You Were" right now for reference, he clearly still loves Buffy. He was hurt and angered that she was sleeping with Spike. Although he was married and moved on he still cared about her, and regarded her as "the best". His exit was a more or less happy one too. I don't see why he'd want to rid the world of slayers, etc when he used to idolize Buffy for that.
I can't wait to see what the next theory is as to Twilight's identity. My money's on Buffy's dad. Or Clem.

Why can't this be the first (possibly through Caleb)? I've never really seen any evidence that Season 7 was the end of the first, all that happened was that the army of Ubervamps was defeated, the first could easily be moving to Plan B, especially given that the "mystical energy" surrounding the slayer will be even more disrupted than it was the first time around due to the multiple slayer thing.
Twilight is definitely Clem. Of course!

Riley does seem unlikelyish as Twilight (except for the tallness and square jawedness), but not impossible. He's a crusader against bad things, after all, and perhaps from other points of view not-Scooby Gang, what resulted from Chosen was a bad thing, even though Buffy et al meant well. Nope, doesn't strike me as crazy. Just....Riley? Such an apple-cheeked Grandma Moses boy.

As for Caleb being resurrected to be Twilight, I feel that'd be a little bit Friday the 13thish. Kinda like when Buffy was joking about Dracula always coming back after being dusted. It feels shlocky to me. Sure, people/demons have been resurrected on Buffy before, but I'm trying to think of a Big Bad having been vanquished and then reemerging a season or two later. Unless I'm missing something, which is always possible with me, I can only think of The First, which I suppose is what Caleb was serving. Okay, maybe it's Caleb, but maybe it's someone else serving the First and being a mouthpiece for it. The First was all about playing mind games and egging on peoples' weaknesses to get them to self-destruct. Sounds like our Twilight.

Plus are we sure the First was vanquished at the end of S7? I don't really think it was.

Unless Twilight is Xander. Please, not Xander.
I've always thought the First went down too easily in season seven, BobReturns. I'm sure it's out there biding its time, whether we see it in this series or not.

I loved this issue. It has taken a while but I feel completely now that this is truly the Buffy I love in comic form. The characters are all clicking and even the art is advancing nicely. The only critique I have about the issue is that after everyone the Scoobys have fought, having the new bad guy being just a kinda human-ish critter is slightly underwhelming. It's cool if it's done right (AKA Glory or Illyria), so my judgment is withheld until we get more about the character.

Also, I loved that vampire from the nest she was taking out while having the conversation, "THE SWEETEST THING WILL BE YOUR BLOO-" That guy was hilarious and I hope he makes a return in the background at least in future comics.
I won't specualte on Twilight; partly ebcause I'ven't read it yet (friday nights are my usual anymore since I got sick of the comic store at the mall on Sundays) but also because it's obvious we have nothing real to go on.

Satsu's long-term future; I've my own ideas there but I doubt that, now Joss knows the Evil Dead Lesbian cliche exists, would play with it again. But my own notions go beyond that; I won't go into details because I'm as much into wish-fulfillment as Dana5140 *grin.

Again, Xander and Renee; even if Anya and Xander had still been engaged in "Chosen" this is over a year later. Willow waited a lot less time to seek out her own charity whocka-whocka. (RIP Susanne Pleshette & thanks for the term) And as I had Xander say elsewhere, "We weren't even in a relationship when - when it happened."

And if Willow is going to continue to act as an "Air Taxi Service without the plane," she needs to invest in some kind of safety gear, maybe a pair of feetbelts like the turtle in the _BC_ comics.
You see Willatsu, DCA? It could happen, I suppose; why add yet another lesbian when you have two already? Unless Joss is setting Kennedy up to bite it, which would never happen in 40 billion years, since he is not silly enough to make that mistake again. Or, with wish fulfillment, it could be Kennatsu, since we have seen evidence of some strife between Willow and Kennedy- and if you can conjure up a Kennatsu, it could only be to get Tara back. With all safe and sound. :-) Except that I believe that Joss needs to have some characters we cre about in order to kill them, and I cannot see him killing Renee after Xander already lost Anya, just as you note a second dead lesbian cliche would be problematic, but yikes, I hope he does not go there, even though I think Satsu is on the burner. It'll just be, y'know, a Noble death this time. :-(

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2008-02-07 01:38 ]
I don't think I can speculate as to who Twilight is yet. But I was thinking back to issue 10, where Buffy is shown her betrayal. She's in the top of some sort of castle thing (like their headquarters?) and there is that broken red egg hanging there. What was that all about? Does that mean anything to anyone? Help at all with ideas as to her betrayer/ID of Twilight?
Dana5140; Well, you spelled out what I was reluctant to admit I'm wishing for *wink.
It makes so much sense except that Caleb is dead. Dead, dead, dead.

So is Warren. Flayed, dead, poof. Oh, wait.

I love Buffy mentoring Satsu. And also Buffy actually starting to open up to someone. She seems so lost, herself. She's beautifully clear on how to break it to Satsu though. Buffy is connected to the new generation of Slayers in that respect-- she identifies with Satsu a lot.

Much love for the vampires being totally irrelevant in the scene yet entirely convinced of their own greatness.

I keep thinking Warren is Twilight now, especially with his commentary on women here, except I think he was still trapped under Sunnydale when we first saw Floaty Boots. And his motivations still seem much more personal than Twilight's.

That itchy move seems so Andrew. But I have real trouble imagining Andrew motivated to end magic, either. But I don't have the best handle on him nowadays. I think he's capable of more than people tend to give him credit for (both good and bad), but he's always seemed happiest as someone's sidekick.
When Twilight did the itchy neck thing, I thought it might be someone Buffy beheaded. Did Caleb get beheaded?

I'd kind of love it to be Riley, as long as there's an interesting backstory to it -- then, I loved Riley on the show.

Anyway, great issue; I really feel like this series is gaining momentum as it goes on. I enjoyed the first arc well enough, but I thought the series picked up a notch when BKV wrote it; and ever since Joss got back on the book, I'm really starting to feel it. So, awesome!
Well, The First was certainly there, all melded with Caleb, when he "had to split."

Could Riley have died, and the First taken on his appearance? His military connections could believe the First was Riley. Certainly his Army friends were not fond of magic. Or Buffy.

What makes us think the First is entirely eliminated, anyway? Twilight is seriously tall. I'm just saying.
I don't think the First is an entity you can kill. But the First wouldn't want to end magic.
I haven't received my copy yet, so I could be completely off the mark here but could Twilight be Giles? It could fit with whole betrayal aspect.
I could see Riley getting with the flying. He rather liked all the enhancements he'd been given before, after all. And he was always rather self rightous about what he was fighting for. But I can't see him turn against Buffy.
It did seem that Twilight is someone we should now but really, this could be a classic Jossian misdirect. The almost face reveal tells us that we should want to see his face, but maybe, when we do, it won't be familiar. Anyone who knows Slayers could study up on Buffy, it seems to me and didn't we see Twilight's feet up in the air early on?
And toast, Twilight may be tall, but Buffy is certainly small.
First, I have so much love for the Buffy and Satsu talk (especially the "are you going to kick me out?"--yes, I nearly cried because I am a sap.)

Plus, I am intrigued by Buffy not saying that she was straight.. (1) could this be the huge surprise in issue #12? (2)(It is also lovely to see Buffy opening up to someone and how tender she was--I also thought the image of Satsu and Buffy healing up was a nice reflection of her and Willow in "Same Time, Same Place".

I also loved the shoutouts to "Restless" and "When She Was Bad" as well as Satsu's Equality Now button.

Twilight--yeesh. I am deeply puzzled and deeply scared. I also agree that Xander's acting a little weird and enablerish...why is he accentuating her loneliness and isolation?
I also found the timing of the "true things " comment very puzzling given Buffy's previous statement.

Darn it. It's not March yet, is it?

(1) My inner slashy brain is going "na na na na na na na na na na na na BATSU!" a la the Sixties Batman theme, but that's my own problem.
(2) Well, now that I've said so, most likely no but it is interesting. It does also open up some interesting ideas, e.g., who is more likely to follow you to hell and back than someone who is in love with you? What does this mean about obedience, loyalty and the final showdown with Twilight?

[ edited by JessicaMelusine on 2008-02-07 05:12 ]
Okay, you guys have made me want to re-read this issue. I didn't care for it much at first, and the I came here. So... Kudos.
Okay, Angel? Yes, he may not be a vampire now. He may be thinking that the only way for him to actually live a happy life with Buffy is to eliminate magic. Okay,I get that. But. Angel? I really think that would be a complete reversal of the character, even though I convinced me a little, right there. Plus, he has his OWN show, his OWN comic. I figure he'll stay there for a while.
Riley? I really doubt it. Maybe Sam died, and maybe it was really magicy and enough to mess him up completely. But, I think it would be really difficult to believe it. He staked Spike with a plastic stake, for crying out loud! He's not a bad boy!
Xander... Hm... I'm never much of a fan of having good guys go really, really bad because it feels forced, but let's think. With Willow, recently, not bringing Ken around because Buffy gets her friends killed, and Xander just about to start dating his SLAYER girlfriend, I could understand him wanting to destroy magic. Add into that the fact that Xander was always the outcast. He wasn't a slayer, he wasn't a witch, he wasn't a werewolf, he was a guy. It would even the playing field a bit. And he is slightly something's-up-my-sleeve-ish. But, I doubt it's him, too.
I do certainly think it's someone that we've seen before, why else the itchy neck moment. Which was classic.

Oh, also? Twilight flies and beats the snot out of Buffy. I have trouble seeing Angel, Riley, or Xander beating the snot out of Buffy. And none of them fly. But, never forget, Buffy gets betrayed. Hmmm...

I like the Tucker idea, but not as a Big Bad.

Okay, I hope I wasn't too ranty.
Buffy had one other lover that no one is mentioning, Parker. I just believe that there is no way under heaven it can be any of the following: Riley, Oz, Angel, Spike, Giles or most especially Xander. The only way it can be Xander if it is not Xander, if you get my drift. You cannot just take main characters that are completely well known and completely reverse everything about them and hope that some kind of back story will explain it away. That's just expediency, and nothing more. All we have are hints this is someone we know. That's it, and we are trying to retrofit various characters into that single piece of information and all of a sudden we have a groundswell for Riley. It ain't Riley. Not going to happen. Not. If it is someone we know, it is someone who makes sense. I am just guessing it will be someone that had a small part, like Tucker, or Parker, or the goth kid or something. Or Quentin. Or Adam, since he only lost his power source. Or Mr. Trick. Or or or or or or or. All the rest is a mislead.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2008-02-07 04:39 ]
OOH! I forgot about the idea of someone from the Watcher's Council! I like that idea most of all!

However, I'd be really surprised if it was anyone that we've suggested, thus far.
That guy was hilarious and I hope he makes a return in the background at least in future comics.
Oh yes, that guy was great, and the whole Buffy-kicking-vamp-butt-on-a-cemetary thing was such a classic. But unfortunately Buffy kicked him out into a setting sun, and he burned up. So no, I don't think he'll return.

As for the Twilight guy: he looked like Giles when he bared his chin. Or maybe like Xander. My first thought was Xander, then Giles - just because of the shape of his face. Now I don't now. Andrew seems like a possibility, but "just like a girl" comment doesn't suit any of those three. Even though they might have valid motivations in trying to stop what Buffy did.
Buffy spelled it out herself - she changed the world, and so brought about an apocalypse of some kind, which we don't see yet. So Giles, for example, could be just doing his job here. Preserving the status quo...
The weird thing is that Twilight works with both demons and humans - is he feeding demons the same spiel as to Roden, that they will be spared if they help him? Or maybe it's not about destroying all magic/demons at all? But just getting rid of Buffy and the changes she brought about?

I agree that this Big Bad is very intriguing and powerful. A worthy opponent.
My money's on Buffy's dad.

Whoa, that would be interesting. I'm going to make that my guess, too. It's about time he showed up in the story again, anyway.

I'd go with Giles, but "itchy neck" doesn't sound like something he'd say.
I've read most of the things that have been said, and there are some brilliant ideas out there. Some of you guys should start writing your own shows ;-)
I personally love the idea of Twilight being either Xander or Giles. It would hurt me if it happened, but Buffy always hurt so good anyway. I just hope it's someone big (which I'm sure he will be).

Although I think it would be out of character, I'd kind of like to see Buffy and Satsu get together. Even better if it's in a weird platonic way. There's so much drama potential there, it's delicious! Seeing Buffy handle the situation without hesitation brought up even more respect for her. Buffy is far from perfect. But she is still a real role model in my eyes.

The references to Restless and When She Was Bad were a real treat. I had to laugh at myself when I caught the mud dream. How big a fan do you need to be to notice such things? And how awesome is it that people do on the first try? :-)

I suppose the only bad thing I have to say about the issue (and it's nothing that important) is that the backgrounds in the frames seemed kind of... insignificant. I would have liked to have seen more detail. But as I said, this didn't really matter to me that much. I just noticed it.

All in all, a great issue. Not the best, but then again, I don't think I could choose a favorite anyway. I see them all as a whole. And I can't wait to see what happens next!
The dialog between Buffy and Twilight reeks of so many different characters that it makes your head swim.

There is a heavy "First Evil" vibe...Just like a girl, worrying about doing what's right, it's about power....all from Lessons and that fantastic morphing scene.

Twilight blocks the crotch move cause he's seen it before...Only two people witnessed that, right? The First and Angel. Twilight thinks he knows what will take Buffy out...there was another bad that thought he knew how to take out the slayer. Where IS he now that Angel is Human anyway? I mean, he has to be somewhere, right? Really hoping it isn't him but an Angelus who can now fly? Scarier than Darla's guns in "Angel".
hitnrun017 said:
Twilight was pretty badass. I'm really look forward to a lot more from him. It seems like he is going to go after Buffy not with violence, but by getting under her skin.

I haven't read this issue yet ... and wasn't able to read every post .. but this sounds like Angelus to me .... and given the fact that Angel maybe this is where he went.

[ edited by resa on 2008-02-07 05:02 ]
I can't for the life of me picture Angel saying, "Sorry. Itchy neck."
Angelus not Angel. Talk about a twist, that would surely be one.
So Angel/ Angelus have physically split?

Hmmm. I'm thinking that Twilight may seem, at first, to be someone different than he actually is. Good point Lioness, pretty much anyone seems tall next to Buffy. But that doesn't include Oz. Too tall for Oz, definitely.

[ edited by toast on 2008-02-07 13:34 ]
I don't buy the idea of an Angel/Angelus split on the basis that there's no legitimate and clear textual reason to think that they are separate beings in that way. It's far too outlandish to go theorizing on.

And yes, I do think Angel could say "itchy neck". This is the guy who stood in front of a mirror wondering why nobody told him his hair looked like that. The dialogue all works best for Riley or Angel if it's a familiar character. Of course, the unmasking joke could have been more than just a tease, it could also have been a practical joke on our theories -- we treat it as this huge unmasking moment, but, really, Twilight is just Twilight.

But if he's not a familiar character, Joss would have to work overtime explaining how he can understand Buffy in such detail based only on being *told* about her.
Twilight is the Loan Shark. QED.

I don't think Twilight is Riley. While Riley is military, he was never comfortable working with demons and Twilight is clearly lined up with some demon baddies. Plus, Riley might think an army of slayers has certain tactical advantages.

Satsu is now my front runner for the upcoming betrayal. I was originally leaning towards Xander, but after this issue I've changed my mind. Buffy being betrayed by the only person she's opening up to/mentoring sounds like vintage Joss.

Part of me is still dying to see the Buffy/Xander relationship. As much as I like the possibilities stemming from Renee and Satsu, part of me just wants to see those kids end up together. Xander's already close to Buffy, so no new danger for either one. And the Slayer's power originally came from a demon and Xander's a demon magnet. It just makes sense!!!
I love how close Buffy and Xander feel. She is clearly opening up to Satsu in a new way that we've never seen before, but it's also apparent that her and Xander are really in sync in this setting. When I wrote the transcript, I described them as looking like proud parents of a sort when they were watching the party from the balcony, and that same feel is repeated at the end of the issue. The idea of them taking one more step seems so natural that it will feel like an unresolved chord if it never happens.
What was the 'When She was Bad' reference? I missed that one...
5X5B, I may have outclevered myself there...Xander refers to them showing the Slayers how dancing is "done" like they did when it was a Thursday and she wore blue.

I thought it was a reference to the sexy dance to "Sugar Water"--however, Xander appears to be the only one wearing blue. Either that or it's a cultural reference I completely missed.

Or maybe Xander just wants to dance.
Well I doubt that we're having any crossovers at this point, so I'm discounting Angel or Spike. And I really don't see Riley taking up flying, in fact I'd think it was more likely to be Buffy's Dad than Riley (great suggestion BTW). But upon reflection I'm guessing it is Superman...who finally came up with a better disguise than just taking off his glasses (expect that the stupid hood makes his neck itch).

I'm really enjoying this, it doesn't seem quite as dire as 'After the Fall', but it is definitely entertaining!
I have a feeling that Xander being Twilight is gonna be another Maybe-Giles-is-The-First.
This discussion will shortly be linked to on the sidebar on the front page so people can carry on chatting. If Twilight is Riley, I will be annoyed at Joss as I've always liked the character and he better come with a darn good reason as why he's now turned into Doctor Doom.

It'll also completely invalidate my President Finn fanfic series ("Zombie Games", "Sum of All Vampires", "Clear and Present Demons") and I'll be forced to make it clear that they are now AU Buffyverse stories.
Well Riley wore a LOT of turtlenecks, which sure would explain the itchy neck. Perhaps he's speaking metaphorically when he felt that Buffy hacked through his, err, parts, too.

Meanwhile, the idea of Twilight being Angelus is intriguing. He has every reason to want to rid the world of magic, particularly Gypsy magic. (*spit*) Plus, Willow's not all cute and helpless anymore.
But how that would work with the events of ATF and the need for 2 separate bodies is tricky. (Unless the Toth from 'The Replacement' somehow managed to come back for seconds.)

Reveal, already!
Re Giles: If he is Twilight then his earlier bargaining with the demons was certainly ultra tricky and a weird detail.
I don't think it's Giles or Xander, there's just no way, and I'll be happy if it was a new character. Though I guess that's out now.
Hmm... still not *entirely* convinced it will be a completely recognizable character. But, then again, I'm probably wrong.

I'm interested in seeing if Twilight is perhaps a character that is closely related to the Fray series, especially considering his ultimate goal. Perhaps he is a demon linked to those two ghosty demons from Fray #1?

Or I'm completely wrong and it's Larry.
Unless Giles and Xander are able to be in 2 places at once, it cannot be them. And it is not them anyway. There is no reason for it to be them, nothing in their character that would have them turn against Buffy. It is fun to read all these comments, though, as everyone projects their Buffy perceptions into them.
I really enjoyed this issue. I've gone back and read through it a few times, just to savor it. This series is pulling me in.

But ... suddenly I have a question. Why WOULDN'T Twilight kill Buffy when he had the chance? I realize he says it would not have helped, but then why would Voll and his team -- Twilight operatives all -- have bothered to send Amy on a kill-Buffy mission in the first arc of the series?
Ethan's dead, or at least appears to be. And we now know it's not Warren, what with the skin and all.

I have absolutely no idea at this point.
Wow, what an amazing read this was... I think I flipped pages in record time. I was literally biting my nails!

I have an idea of who Twilight really is, but I won't say. Traditional Buffy style would make the situation seem like this is a Big Bad that Buffy's faced before, but knowing Joss's style of constantly throwing us a curveball, this could turn out to be someone we didn't expect at all - like Jonathan. (Yes, I realize he's dead, but death is just the beginning for many of these characters.)
Jonathan does not work, either. He respects Buffy, was helped by her many times, and realized what he had done wrong when Andrew killed him. BTW, Andrew has never really atoned either, for what he did. Not enough,anyway.
What evidence have we seen that Twilight is evil? I don't really see any evidence that he is actually a villain; he goal is to end all magic. That isn't exactly an evil thing, ending all magic could mean ending everything supernatural in the Buffyverse (all demons disappear/become human, slayers and witches lose their powers). If this were the case then Twilight could easily be defeating a lot of evil in the world by destroying all magic, the only evil left in the world would be human-induced evil.

Having said this, I can definitely see Riley using this mindset (all demons are evil, magic is unnatural), plus the military connections and it makes a lot of sense. I can't see him wanting to hurt Buffy though, but we haven't seen him in a while, maybe is a puppet again (Primeval). I can't see the Riley we know and love acting like Twilight, but aspects of his character match, so in my opinion he is the most likely candidate.

Also I reckon Xander will be the betrayer. I reckon he will see the logic in ending all magic in ways that the others won't (also could be Dawn). I don't think this season will be about good and evil, but about right and wrong. Moral dilemmas. I don't think there will be a conclusive answer, but I could see the logic in both arguments. Getting rid of magic gets rid of a lot of evil, but keeping magic around could enable people to fight evil better.

Those are just my opinions. Loving this season! Satsu rocks! But where was Willow? We haven't had much Willow/Xander interaction.

[ edited by Vortigun on 2008-02-07 16:25 ]
The itchy neck scene was awfully reminiscent of the Jo Chen cover for The Chain. If there can be three of Buffy why not multiple Twilights all taking turns to wear the cheese? It could be Angel and Riley and Synder and Travers and Parker and Scot Hope ( the ringworm). A whole big cabal of patriachal propriety. Also Buffy versus the Superhero comic establishment. The guy certainly had the cape and tights.
I don't buy for a second that Xander would ever *knowingly* participate in any such plot or scheme that would put Buffy in actual danger. And as of this issue, he would know that it does. So he absolutely would either renounce such a plan at that point, or wouldn't have been a part of it in the first place.
Simon; I almost almost wish you weren't joking about a President Riley fanfic series as I almost almost want to read those.
It can't be Angel or Spike, since Dark Horse no longer owns the creative rights to have those characters in their comics.

I was wondering if it was the Mayor, myself, but nah, couldn't be. He was blowed up real good, and he never cared much about Buffy, just his own ascension.

And I don't think Twilight is necessarily a villain. He seems to be genuinely concerned for the fate of humanity, unless it's just a lot of talk to throw Buffy off of her high horse.
I'm really not sold on the whole Riley theory. I just don't get why there would be so much build up for a reveal on a character that many people find to be, well, boring. Granted, this would be a way to make him less boring. But would him being a "villain" really pack much of an emotional punch for Buffy? I mean, the writers themselves have said that they realize the Buffy/Riley (tempted to write Biley) relationship didn't have much fire. And after her first boyfriend went evil already (and how!)... it just doesn't seem like the next step.

ETA: Still not sure that Ethan Rayne is out of the running. His body could have easily been a glamour. Plus, his outfit is even sort of the same... mostly-ish.

[ edited by Knuckleball on 2008-02-07 19:12 ]
Ethan is barely plausible, but plausible. We don't have any textual evidence that Buffy examined the body at all. Him sabotaging Amy's mission makes sense, since we've seen Twilight employ and then turn on other supernatural people (Roden and Genevieve). You could even buy that his knowledge of Buffy comes from both past experience and access to her dream space (which may have been the point of Amy's attack, to give him that access?).

But I don't think it would have the emotional impact unless Giles was the man on the inside that had been working with him.
Ethan worships chaos, and magic helps increase chaos. It ain't Ethan. :-)
I like the idea of it being Riley, but I'm not sure what his reason would be. The Xander theory's interesting because he never has been the Big Bad. Many of the other characters have had a chance, so maybe it's his turn. It's contradictory for him to be upset about the expanded slayer line while basically running the whole operation...but then I've often found his moral high ground to be shaky at times. Still, probably not. Could be a corporeal First. Maybe killing Ben didn't kill Glory. But nah, she probably wouldn't say the "just like a girl" thing, since she'd probably cry over a broken nail. I don't know.

I can't really get over Twilight being against magic and yet being able to fly. What does that mean? Is he just a hypocrite?

I really liked this issue. I'm not sure what it is...there've been issues that were funnier or more exciting or jaw-dropping. But there was just something about this one that felt...right.
There are only 2 misogynists in Buffy- Caleb and Warren. And neither really fits here in terms of wishing to end magic. Yes, Caleb could make a "just like a girl comment" but I see it more like he say "just like a dirty girl." And we've already seen Warren. Glory could make such a comment because (1) She is a god and not really female, and (2) she would see herself as a woman, and not a girl.
But there was just something about this one that felt...right.

That's exactly how I feel too. This is my favourite of the one-shots to date.
The immediate conclusion would be that Twilight isn't using magic to fly. Or at least not magic inherent unto himself, but magical props, or even technologicaly ones. "The Hood", a Brian K. Vaughan character, stole boots and a cloak from the "Nisanti"* demon which gave him the ability to fly, turn invisible when holding his breath, and some kind of electrical bolts. I'd be willing to buy that Twilight's boots, armor, coat, whatever give him his strength and his ability to fly.

*Nisanti is also a word that appears multiple times throughout "No Future For You" -- it appears in one of the spells from the Twilight guidebook. Could be a coincidence and Vaughan just likes the word, or could be a clue to at least the template for Twilight, if not the specific character.

Twilight seems very human. His strength is incredible, but he doesn't *appear* to be invulnerable -- Buffy hooks his foot with the scythe, and they emote pain/surprise for Twilight at that. Could have just caught the boot and not the foot, but still, it's something.

Really need to see Twilight vs. Willow one on one at some point in the undercard. Mandatory elements to include a mid-air fight and a flying chase. Optional inclusion of Willow giving herself superstrength again.
I think we should be thinking about who would gain something from the end of magic. I mean...if magic goes away, does anyone regain their freedom? Maybe someone is trapped or was killed by magical forces, and they want to end it so they are free/alive? I can't think of who that might be, besides maybe a vampire who wants to be human, or, say, Amy's mom.

Amy's mom! That's it!!
Can we be sure now that Twilight's goal is really an end of all magic? Demons in his entourage suggest that he might be manipulating both demons and humans and feeding them lies about his true goals. For humans his goal is "death of magic". For demons - maybe "death of slayers"?
And his real goal might be hinted to in his talk with Buffy. Undo what she did in Chosen. Change the world back from her change.
Also Buffy's words about more slayers just leading to more demons might indicate the imbalance in the world with the powers she unleashed. Maybe Twilight wants the balance back?

I don't know, but I'm no longer buying death of magic as his ultimate and only goal.
Good issue, not my favourite, but not every one can be. I could hardly bear to turn the page when it seemed Twilight was going to be unmasked - I want to know, but also I don't (at least not yet). Just kept laughing at what happened next - typical Joss ;).

Nearly every male character that's ever been on Buffy has been suggested for Twilight by now, but how about one more - Ben. Unlikely, yes, but so far everybody seems unlikely. He's got reasons to hate magic (Glory sharing/ruining his life) and Buffy & co (Giles killing him). So, ok, he's dead and never had any powers. Hmmm, maybe he was somehow able to nick Glory's powers and then cheated death. . .

I can't really see it - but, hey, I still want the credit if it's right ;) - just thought I'd throw it out there. If I was betting, I'd say we haven't met Twilight before and we're just being teased.

Each time Scotland gets mentioned I can't help cheering in my head. Still don't quite believe that Joss chose to bring the story here - it's just too damn great. Loved the party scene as well.
Ah, wild, unhinged speculation is always fun, isn't it? ;-)

The only suggestion I find plausible thus far is Ethan. That occurred to me as well, and would surely be interesting, but as Dana5140 said, he worships chaos and without magic, there would be no chaos.

The idea of Angel and Angelus having physically split is very intriguing, and even though I'm not sure that would actually make sense, I'm already exploring it in my head.

This was a great issue, and I agree that the "itchy neck" thing was fucking classic. Like many of you, I literally laughed out loud at that moment. Luckily, it was 5:30 in the morning and I was by myself, or else I would've been getting some very strange looks. The last time I laughed that hard was...well, the Buffy/Angel/Spike threesome.

"A Beautiful Sunset" isn't as good as "Anywhere But Here," but it comes close.
5X5B- That is an interesting approach. Or a similar question: who might be likely to blame magic (and/or women) for whatever has gone wrong for him? Well, Warren, of course, but I don't think that would be interesting enough for a reveal. Certainly you could say that Dawn's life has been majorly screwed up by magic in many ways. But it's not her. She wouldn't exist if not for magic. Amy is messed up with magic gone wrong from way back- but she (and Ethan, too) are all about magic. Who, who, who?
Just to be difficult...

Maybe AMy's mom is busy elsewhere because, the plan in the opening arc seemed too evil for AMy even insane.

Glory wasn't human but maybe she was really female in her natural form.

What this has to dow ith Twilight, well, nothing except they've been mentioned above >snerk DaddyCatALSO | February 07, 17:08 CET

Whoa, toast, you just said something there that is really prescient. You said "She wouldn't exist if not for magic. " So, if this person really wants to get rid of magic, maybe he wants to in order to get rid of Dawn? Who would not want Dawn around? And why? I have to think about this... Doc and Glory needed her, so it can't be then, so Ben also makes no sense. One of the Knights? Hmmm....
Well then it must be Kenny! It's the ultimate revenge for being cheated on. Erase a girl completely from existence. Oh, Joss, and his metaphors.
Well, in my crazy theory, Ben is now separate from Glory, so whether or not it makes sense doesn't rely on her motives and the whole key thing (plenty of other problems with it though).

Meant to mention earlier that it was interesting how an issue called "A Beautiful Sunset" was mainly set at sunrise.
Any chance it's that guy Nick that Dawn did the horizontal polka with?
Between practicing the bass in his buddy's garage and being a dreamy, standoffish college freshman at Berkeley (GO BEARS!!), Nick is secretly trying to destroy the world of magical forces! That's it!

Jim..that wasn't meant to be so sassy. Just funny. =P
Jim - I had the same thought, if only because it would explain not only how Twilight knows so much about Buffy, but also the "betrayal" that everyone's been talking about. Maybe Dawnie's not careful enough with her pillow talk...
Has anyone else thought that Twilight is Hank Summers?

I really hope he's not Caleb, to be honest. Too one-note a character. My instinct has been that he's Riley, but it doesn't quite mesh altogether. And I love the idea of it being Angel, to be honest.

Good issue.
toast you just made me think; if this is the end of magic, does that mean Dawn dies? That would seem the ultimate penalty for Buffy, and a reason for her to keep fighting, over keeping her own powers...

Dawn was created by magic, but she doesn't need magic to sustain her existence? Maybe that means she wouldn't disappear if all magic was destroyed... still that would be a very Joss thing to do; Buffy accepts that magic has to end; lets Twilight win to save everyone else, but at the cost of her sister?

This would be very poetic, especially if Buffy thought Dawn was the betrayer, but it turns out it wasn't her.

I don't know. I just think it would be the worst thing if the end of magic meant the end of Dawn. Worse than losing Tara? No. But still pretty damn bad.
The issue is called "A Beautiful Sunset," and "twilight" means "the time of day immediately following sunset." Is the issue title code for "a beautiful Twilight"? If so, what the f*%@k does that mean, 'cuz I got no clue.

Twilight's dialog reminded me most of Spike. Don't see how (or why) it could be him, but that's sorta who he sounded like to me.

I've never read comics before, but between Buffy and ATF, I'm really getting into them. I'm just as sucked into the stories as ever . . .
Ethan has never been able to stand against Buffy that long, so I don't think it is him. I like the idea of it being Clem. That explains why she wasn't harmed. He's just trying to be a bad guy.;)
What I enjoy most in all of this is that after we are sure we discussed to death every possible suggestion, Joss will surprise us with someone we have never thought of but who will, of course be perfect and perfectly obvious.
One other possibility for Twilight who hasn't been mentioned: Graham. He was in the military, knows Buffy as the Slayer, and seemed to stay committed to "the mission" even after the Initiative fiasco. Plus he had one very square jaw.

Also, I do remember Giles cooperating with someone who had a distorted voice, maybe back around issue 2? Have to go check.
I feel like has to be some kind of relationship to the Initiative, just because it wouldn't resonant right if there were two entirelyunrelated American military connections in the saga. But it can't be an obvious relationship. and it's got to have to do with blaming magic, and women. Adam was tall.

[ edited by toast on 2008-02-08 04:25 ]
beck, I believe the title is a reference to Buffy's interpretation of the Twilight symbol, back in the first issue. Xander thought it was a guy with a monocle frowning, and Buffy thought it was a beautiful sunset. Granted, this is probably just a surface interpretation...
toast you just made me think; if this is the end of magic, does that mean Dawn dies? That would seem the ultimate penalty for Buffy, and a reason for her to keep fighting, over keeping her own powers...

Seems like Dawn and Buffy would both die. Dawn was created by magic and Buffy was brought back to life by magic (Willow's spell). So if magic ceases to exist ... seems like they both would as well.
And we now know it's not Warren, what with the skin and all.

Oh wow. I had bypassed that logic entirely. Duh, me.

But there was just something about this one that felt...right.

That's exactly how I feel too. This is my favourite of the one-shots to date.

I noticed this too, especially during the graveyard scene. I seriously think it's the magic formula of Buffy + pain + talk&fight. Which we haven't had an opportunity to see so much lately, except for that amazing fight scene with Faith. The comics have been good, but the scene with Satsu here was like being home. And I can't think of a less cheesy way to say that.

And then when you also add in graveyard/vampires + emotional reveal + SUDDEN SCARY BAD GUY, it's literally like being home. Except on the moor.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-02-08 05:50 ]
I'm not entirely convinced that Buffy/Dawn would cease to exist. All that we know is that magic brought them to Earth, there's not evidence to say that magic is what keeps them alive. If they were to suddenly cease to exist, then I think it wouldn't necessarily be "the end of magic," but rather the erasing of magic from all history. Even then, I think it would only be Dawn who would no longer be around, since Buffy wasn't created to be a Slayer, she was, of course, chosen.
I wonder if Buffy has to learn this season to let others be as willing to die for the ones they love as she is. She has been willing to lay down her life for her friends, her family, her lovers, and the fourth category we call Dawn. There is no greater love; should Satsu never love that way?

Buffy wants to protect the ones who love her from death, but the only way to protect people from death is to protect them from life. Being protected from life is like death, but slower, less meaningful, and not unavoidable. (In "Unstoppable," which is a synonym for unavoidable, the thing that makes Kitty wary of being with Peter is her knowledge that he might go away -- through death or his own free will.)

People will break your heart if you love them, and if you don't, your heart suffers a worse fate. Buffy confronts the consequences of empowering people in #11. Mohawk slayer makes her feel bad about herself by demonstrating the ugly ones, and Satsu makes her feel worse about herself by revealing the most beautiful one -- inspiring a love to die for.

I suspect that Satsu and Kennedy will decide that the attempts by Buffy and Willow to protect them are actually hurting them, that they would rather die fighting by the side of the ones they love than live by avoiding the battle. And Buffy and Willow will have to accept, despite their self-doubts, that there are people who love them that much, and not unwisely.
I've been thinking about Nata's comment that the slayer party made her sad. I hadn't thought of it, but Buffy's new arrangement actually approximates the way that the Council used to isolate their slayers. They may have each other, which is an improvement, but the slayers are still cut off from people who are different from them. It is troubling, actually. If slayers can leave at any time, and new blood is constantly coming in, then maybe it wouldn't foster an elitist seperation from humanity. Maybe. But all that stuff about the chain connecting all slayers, Xander's talk about how everybody's filled with purpose and confidence seems a tad creepy all of a sudden.

Sidebar, with all these young healthy vibrant women around, why has Xander still not been getting any? Renee should have rivals all over the place. So should Satsu for that matter. It has to be hormones on parade, right? It can't be only Buffy with all the fantasies. In fact, the castle that night after that drunken party was probably...

I'll be in my bunk.
One thing that just struck me about Twilight. After rereading the Twilight/Buffy conversation, he doesn't seem to have a personal grudge against her. If we take him at his word (Dawn sized IF there) then he thinks he was forced into this war. He wasn't out to get Buffy from the beginning, but only as a results of "Chosen". Twilight says one slayer was fine that he is trying to prevent "disaster". We also heard the general at the end of issue #4 talk about Buffy upsetting the balance. The motivation seems to be the creation of the slayers not that BUFFY created all the slayers.

If that's the case then its probably not someone with a personal and specific vendetta against Buffy. Twilight may have known her in the past, but not have a deep emotional connection like Angel, Giles, Riley, ect... The person we're looking is someone who thinks he's on the moral high ground, fighting the good fight. I guess that could still be Riley, but I really don't seem him allying with a bunch of demons to fight Buffy.

On a different note, anyone remember a character who "hates to see" Buffy cry? That line seemed very much in the familiar, more so than the one about seeing her moves before. Maybe that's because getting cut in half isn't as personal as crying....just a stray thought.
Hmm...what's between Twilight and Dawn? Darkness.

Wait, shouldn't the party have turned into a cavewoman convention? Isn't that what beer does?
shambleau: The vibe I had off the party wasn't so much with the sad. More girls liking to have fun, sisters doing it for themselves, even with (shock horror) no mens there. It was certainly a very different, more individualistic vibe than the one at a certain mansion in hell. Having said that I do think the fine line between activism and fanaticism/terrorism is being addressed. Specifically with the Simone storyline but it's very much from the perspective of girls having the power to make their own bad choices not about them being press-ganged into lonely servitude by

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Thanks Knuckleball for the beautiful sunset enlightenment! Now I'm off to re-read the past issues to see what else I've missed . . .
Another possibility- the captain that Riley coldcocked in NewMoon Rising.

Consider this- Buffy and Willow are doijng things to protect Satsu and Kennedy respectively. I think they are setting up the situation to force the two slayerettes together, which could have significant repurcussions for Willow. But only if Satsu is not death fodder.
hacksaway; Oh- that's really good. Twilight, Beautiful Sunset, [darkness, night, sleep, dream?], then Dawn. Hmmm. I wonder if Dawn is really, really important here, and if so, how?
Pointy: As always, insight and sense.

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Along the lines of the betrayal thread...what if Twilight is Principal Wood? He's tall enough, he's seen what has happened to the slayers since "Chosen", and he's in the inner circle. Remember that he was raised by Watchers, and Watchers sometimes have to do the dirty work. Plus, he would know about the move with the scythe.
windmillchaser, very few people have ever seen Buffy cry. She does it alone, usually. Willow, Dawn and Giles have been in scenes with Buffy crying, and presumably Joyce would have seen her do it when Buffy was younger. Other than them, the First could have witnessed something.

The line probably was just sarcasm.

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I agree with those few who think Twilight is on a moral mission and at least from his pov, is not standard evil. He may even be a twisted good who is using evil means and/or doing evil things. He says to Buffy, "One Slayer was all right. But all these others...The world can't contain them. And they will suffer for that."

I read that as Twilight giving a damn about the suffering of all the newly minted Slayers. What villain gives a damn about Slayers suffering? I think for this reason Twilight might be someone who might have been formerly aligned with Buffy and her gang, either directly or peripherally.

Of course, I realize that one could read Twilight's statement as more of a threat towards all the new Slayers. Maybe that makes more sense. Maybe I just want Twilight to be goodish but bad - that'd be a new twist in the Buffyverse, something I'd like to see.

As for the "death of magic" bit, remember Fray. When it opens, magic had been banished from the earthly plane a few hundred years previous by, get this, a Slayer and her helpers. Could it be that in the end Buffy brings about the Twilight of Magic herself?

Also, the broken red eggshell hovering above Buffy and Willow in the dimensional shack from Anywhere But Here? As someone said upthread, that is probably deeply significant. Plus that dark door? upright coffin? something? that appears with the eggshell thingie in one of the panels relating to Buffy's being betrayed in the future. I've been trying to figure out what those two symbols mean but cannot. Maybe in the end they'll turn out to be like the Cheeseman.....

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Something that windmillchaser said (about Twilight maybe not having a deep personal vendetta against Buffy) made me think--the Twilight storyline could have a structural similarity to the stories Joss was telling in "Objects and Space" (Jubal Early) and in Serenity (The Operative). I don't know, but this particular way of employing power seems to fascinate Joss--a cold, skillful, calculated pursuit where being on the payroll of a powerful entity like a government allows you to play fast and loose with ethical codes, wax philosophical, and scare people.

We'll have to see how the story plays out. If the structural similarity lasts, Twilight is probably someone we haven't met before. But who knows?

I really, really like the idea of Graham being Twilight. You reasoning really, really makes a whole lot of sense. The more I think of it, the more I like it.

I did like this issue. When I first read it, I thought Xander could be Twilight, but re-reading it, I just can't see Xander hurting Buffy at all.

I really feel for Buffy right now. She really can't connect with anyone because she's afraid that they might get hurt. It is a dramatic turnaround from "Conversations with Dead People" when she didn't want to connect people because she felt all superior.

I did love the conversation between Buffy and Satsu, it was so sweet and the fact it was during a fight with a bunch of vampires made it cool.

I'd say it earned an 8/10.
pinkie7, about Wood...if I remember correctly (I'm too lazy to actually drag the issue out of its safe little bag-and-board residing on my bookshelf), Twilight seemed to be white when the whole itchy neck thing happened.
Everyone chill I got this. Twilight is Larry. Now I know what you're saying. You're saying, "Daimen (well you would be if you knew my name before this, I guess) Larry's dead. He died in Graduation Day, remember?" Well I got that one covered. Twilight is actually Larry from the Wishverse and he hopped a ride into the regular universe during the Dawn rips that happened in the Gift (maybe he was riding the dragon and we just didn't see him). And he since then learned that his world was shite because of magic and indirectly Buffy, so he's gunning for some pay back. And what's with the women hating you wonder, well I reckon this Larry just hasn't come out yet so he's got some issues to work through. It's all there people! And how does he know about the scythe and dice? Well, you got me on that one. But Joss is really clever like way cleverer than me so I am sure he can figure it out. Or he can just make something up, it's not like we'd know any better.
Read it again and I have 2 more questions: What does, "My first gift is my last" mean?

All this "gift" talk is very first slayer-ish in tone, no? Does Twilight just mean his gift is not killing Buffy now? I think it's something more, but not sure what.

Second question: He does talk high moral tone with Buffy, but he does explain the tactic to his little group of followers as being designed to undermine Buffy's confidence. So does he actually believe he is in the right, or is he maybe just talking the talk to her, to that purpose? Undermining confidence, as did the First, in a different way, and with some success.

Unplugged crazy: Twilight's neck is an ambiguous color. He could be white, in the shadow, or brown.

[ edited by toast on 2008-02-09 17:44 ]
toast, I took that to be a simply cryptic way of saying, "Next time I see you, I'm going to kill you."
Dismissing Ethan this early on is pretty close-minded.

Since when are magic and chaos necessarily related? Ethan used magic to create chaos, but it certainly isn't the only way to do it. Also, Ethan is an easily influenced character. First he worshipped Eyghon, then chaos, and in the Chaos Bleeds video game (which is non-canon, granted), he's working for the First. And along the way he did other things just to piss off people he didn't like. I could see him easily being persuaded by some other force and latching himself onto it if it would benefit him in some way.

And the idea of Ethan finding some other thing to worship is a much easier jump than Riley deciding he's going to end all magic, put on a goofy costume, and fight Buffy.

There's no character in the Buffyverse who could just wake up and put on the costume and be Twilight. So no matter who it is, some crazy stuff had to happen off-panel for whomever it is to get to that point. And I really can't say for sure what crazy stuff Joss has cooking in his twisted little head. So it could be anyone, and anyone saying "It can't be __________" could be proved wrong incredibly easy. You may not think it's them, but I guarantee you it COULD be. All bets are off.
I'll take that bet. It ain't Ethan Rayne. 20 bucks to each other's fave charity says it isn't him. :-)
I'm not saying it IS him. I'm saying that there's no reason to say it isn't, aside from baseless speculation.

Whoever it does end up being, it's going to require some fancy storytelling. It's very possible that his identity has been guessed correctly on this page, and someone else has come back with a logical reason why it wouldn't be him, because they don't know the twists that will be revealed later on.

I personally don't think it's Riley or Buffy's dad, because that seems silly to me at this point. But I don't know for sure, and if Joss can pull it off convincingly, I'd be happy to be wrong.
Dude, Midnighter, (may I call you 'the'?) its obviously GILES!

He hates to see Buffy cry, cares about Slayers, has a fine square jaw, its Giles. (No bets plz, I'm cheap.)

Except the little pulling up the mask...with his right hand. Fine, I'll just wait here then, shall I?
MissKittysMom, you beat me to the Graham speculation, which I'd been holding on to, but didn't start reading the thread until I picked up my copy earlier today, so glad that idea wasn't as tardy as I was. I was actually thinking Graham, influenced by The First, but frankly, using The First in season 7 and again in 8 seems to be pushing the narrative convention a bit... Granted, there's enough time that's passed IRL and in the story between 7 and 8 that it's not out of the question, but it just seems a bit unoriginal to me.

The Angel/Angelus idea is fascinatingly intriguing--but Twilight doesn't seem evil enough to be Angelus. As several others mentioned above, Twilight seems to just want things back the way they were before the spell. If we don't assume that the Fray setup was the desired outcome Twilight was seeking, we have a lot more candidates--Angelus wouldn't want the death of all magic, but he WOULD want to go back to one slayer at a time, although I suspect he might prefer a different method of achieving that.

I'm tending to think along one of two lines, or maybe a cooperation between them: 1) The Initiative or things of that government ilk, or 2) forces of "balance" like the Knights of Byzantium. It almost feels appropriate that we get a "big bad" who's not all that bad, because it really ramps up the moral ambiguity.
Unplugged--I was reading in a dimly lit room! You are right, Twilight looks fair-skinned in the light. Bummer--that would have been an interesting twist.
The first thing that jumped to my mind when I saw Twighlight was those android type characters from "Lineage" in Angel season 5. His physical appearance was totally reminiscent of those dudes. Not to mention that whoever was behind that whole deal is still mysteriously at large, and in possesion of a significant ammount of power/resources. I always got the impression that Joss was saving that "organization" for a later big bad, and it does happen to be one of the few unresolved events of the buffyverse. It is a lot smaller of a jump for me to believe that Twighlight somehow ties in with that lot than it is to believe that he is Angel or Spike, or even Riley.

Just a thought.

And god I really hope it isn't Caleb, even though the frame of him and Buffy fighting at the start of the issue, and the scythe episode later on seem to be definite clues towards that end.

[ edited by Litwal on 2008-02-11 05:38 ]

[ edited by Litwal on 2008-02-11 05:39 ]
First post. Duly excited...

Re: Twilight, so much points to Caleb that it isn't likely to be a reanimated (That's some serious sewing...) him. And he feels pretty irrelevant at this point, especially as a great power...

And I don't think Twilight speaks with Riley's (or Graham's) voice, and though he wouldn't necessarily want to mention Willow by name, it doesn't ring true that he would refer to her as "the witch."

And when Riley let the vampire feed from him in season 5, it was from the arm, yes? So the itchy neck line wouldn't relate to a scar from a vamp bite, but I don't take that as a throw away line even though it served a humorous purpose and a purposeful, well, purpose as a teaser.

But then "let's ride" sounds fairly military... in Spike...which would give Buffy a good surprise if she doesn't know he's alive. And who's more representative of a moral conflict than a vampire with a soul? But not Angel 'cause, well, yawn...

Also, his face (and entire body) was covered, and he was out in daylight. Maybe it was about protection from a certain hugish celestial body than from his identity being grasped.

And Spike was in the tomb and could have seen the scythe move. And he doesn't like to see Buffy cry...

And he's insightful enough to know that killing her is less effective than making her doubt her moral certainty. And his statement that he gave her the gift (of letting her live) showed that he didn't mean to kill her with the turret. And he has the insideriness to be aware of the "hapless"ness of her personal life... trench.

As for ownership/legality...Angel and Spike appeared in Buffy's fantasy bubble thingy earlier in the season. I'm just sayin'.

Not convinced; just making a case.

Sidebar: Dawn is huge but we're given little more about her. I'm betting we're meant to miss her significance. Plus, she could just like step on the bad demony guys...

Hey, this was fun.

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I've figured it all out. It's Joss. In issue #12, Buffy finally finds out the identity of her nemisis, and it's Joss Whedon himself!!! (Mwuah ha ha ha ha!)
Brett; Riley was tasted on the neck by Sandy before he discovered the vamp hookers.

A couple comments:

Up -Buffy's response when Satsu said "But you're not gay," wasn't a flat-out "negative agreement," but a "Not so much." Ergo she's not totally unopen on those lines; so eprhaps the "Bring your own subtext" approach to Buffy's relationship with Faith in early S-3 is still viable.

Down -Buffy stealing her insults to Twilight from Chris Jericho rang a bit false to me. "Yah vell."

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2008-02-12 01:04 ]
Oddly enough, everyone I know who says, "Not so you'd notice" tends to use it in the sense of: "Not even a little bit," or "Not hardly." (à la John Wayne.) Must be one of them there regionalisms...

[ edited by Rowan Hawthorn on 2008-02-12 02:00 ]
First post. Hi!

I was worried it was Xander or Giles too. It didn't sound like Giles though and I can't see Xander being the evil mastermind to pull this off.

Could it be Kenny, the Thricewise?
If this thread keeps going for another 3 weeks weeks till the next one, will it be the longest one yet? Love the speculation and that previous lurkers have been drawn in to comment. Joss, you done good!
The connection of Twilight and Dawn seems so obvious that I feel a little sheepish that it didn't occur to me. Will it be significant? Who knows?
I hope this plays out tastefully...

although knowing the Jman I am not too worried.
First post here! Finally found a great reason to get all posty... This issue really had me going for a while, and I'm still upset/amused at the "itchy neck" moment. Dammit, I really want that mask to just GO! The issues just keep getting better!

I'm pretty content with whoever Twilight ends up being. I don't think I can speculate anything that anyone hasn't said yet, but I will say that I'm a fan of the Giles or Xander guesses (though I'd be pretty cheesed about that). Xander especially, but Giles is a possibility--though that scare of Giles as the First kinda negates that possibility a little bit (it might be seen as a bit overdone if he's a speculation again). I'm sorta worried, too, about this being just another one of those throw-offs like that. Still, there are some pretty good reasons for why Giles and Xander might see things a little different, with the world going in the unbalanced direction that Twilight says.

Spike is also an intriguing idea, as he seems to still be the most conflicted of Buffy's past loves, but to me, Angel is out (unless the Angel/Angelus split is somehow possible--and even still, Angelus would be all carnagey on those Slayers, I would think). I like the idea that Twilight is a vamp hiding himself from the sun.

Also, I was thinking at one point Warren or Ben, but Warren's grudge is too personal--and he's sorta held together by magic, and if he had skin again it would be due to some sort of magic. Also, Ben (if alive) could theoretically be against the whole idea of magic these days, but I don't see him caring much one way or another about one slayer versus lotsa Slayers. Before Glory came along, I'm sure he didn't even know what a Slayer was...

Caleb is too predictable, I think. And Angel (the non-Angelusy kind) makes no sense, unless this is part of his ultimate atonement for fixing things after sending LA to hell. After all, there's a total connection between him and the end of Buffy. He's partially to blame for the unbalanced world as well, with giving Buff the amulet and all.

Of course, for all we know, Twilight could be playing games with both sides, maybe to the point that he could even turn to Buffy's side--he could just be putting on an elaborate show for his followers (leaders?). That'd be a major twist, and so-far he really has no intentions on killing Buffy.

OH and I really like the Serenity parallels! Just throwing that out there. And... that's all. I think I've spoken my mind. :)

I’m intrigued by Twilight’s comment “I’ll not kill you now. My first gift is my last.” I think I see clues there.

Few speakers of American English these days say “I’ll not” instead of “I won’t” or “I’m not going to.” That seems to be a British locution and a fairly posh one (is this correct?), something Giles (but not Spike) might say. (And “avert” doesn’t show up often in spoken American English.) So Twilight seems a careful speaker, possibly British.

Giles has no reason that I can see for taking the Twilight role. Besides, he’s given Buffy many gifts--love, friendship, a check for a large sum of money, and much more--so he wouldn’t be speaking of his “first gift” here. Wesley has no reason to take this role either; also, he’s tied up in LA.

Ethan Rayne seems like a good possibility, if only because I can’t think of a persuasive reason for him *not* to take this role. I thought he seemed to be rushed off the stage a bit fast, and his death was hardly marked. I wondered at the time if he was actually dead, and now I’m wondering again.

Ethan had time to think about Buffy (and learn to hate her) while imprisoned by the Initiative, and we saw that he already knew some magic. He may have come to believe the slayers had to be stopped, and to this end he might have taught himself enough magic to fly and do, well, whatever else he’s going to do.

Or perhaps Twilight is a former watcher instead? Or one of the council agents sent to capture Faith the rogue slayer? They were awfully angry at Faith for stepping outside the boundaries prescribed for the slayer. One spat on her, and they were ready to kill her both on BVS and ATS (except for the one agent who softened a bit in BVS). If they hated Faith, I suspect they came to hate both Buffy and (assuming the agents survived) the other slayers she released into the world. Are there other candidates along these lines?

One other detail: Twilight seems to have been present when Buffy bisected Caleb, but he isn’t necessarily one of the men we know were in the room when Caleb, um, split. Twilight could have watched through a window or even stood at the doorway undetected.
Sorry for not having read through all the comments. But, I'm believing Twilight is an incarnation of the First. It was able to take on phsyical form because of Buffy and Willow tipping the scales, so to speak, in favor of the "good" guys.
Nobody has any reason to kick Buffy's ass. Angel/Spike/Giles... oh come on. Like they're going to spend time 'flying' around, taunting her and beating her up? Uh uh. Why would they?

I'm thinking Adam. He has the motive, and the altered voice. Andrew is way too lame, fucking eunich, I can't stand him and want him to go way away. Ethan is toast. Warren is off wringing his skinless hands with Amy plotting their next thing. What about Rack? Hmm.

Ok, my votes are Rack and Adam. Oh hey! What about the Master?? The return of the Master would be incredible, story-wise. Oh so cool.

Yeah, baby.
anniem, "I'll not" seems to me to be a midlands/northern British usage, rather than a posh one. I had a college friend from a working-class family in Bolton, Lancashire, who would have said that. I have posh relatives, and they'd say "I shan't kill you now," rather than "I'll not." (But one of the Council Special Ops teams said something similar to "I'll not," didn't he?) Of course, other Brits/linguistics profs may have a different view. (And since this is filtered through Joss, the phrase may not have a purely regional derivation at all.)
SoddingNancyTribe; Thanks for that info. The Watcher in my "Season 30" fanfics is from Hartlepoole so that gives me something distinctive for him to say besides "Aw, fiddle-faddle!"
For what it's worth, my money is on Riley.

To start with the obvious: the military has once again gotten involved in the Buffyverse. That, to me, is by itself practically enough to sell me on Twilight=Riley, but I'll elaborate.

Riley was and is (last we saw) the military's golden boy. Last we saw him, he was serving in an elite, covert demon-fighting unit (so, still active). And he never embraced the "mystical" side of the world - in many episodes, Riley and the Initiative were juxtaposed with the Scooby Gang and their reliance on tradition, history and the magicks. Perhaps something terrible happened to him - involving the death of his wife, as someone suggested above - and he's now taken up the Initiative's old mission to the utmost extreme? He's become a powerful tool - the arm of this new mission to end the reign of magic?

Plus, he's got the history with Buffy, and he's got the build/features to fit the costume. And the whole "itchy neck" teaser intentionally suggests audience familiarity with the character.

I wouldn't put too much stock in the "I've seen this move before" line, but if you're going to, then remember that Buffy later told the Gang about the move when she got home. My first gut reaction to Twilight, like many here, was Xander, and he definitely heard about the move back at the Summers residence. Why did I suspect Xander? No good argument, just a gut feeling. He did send Buffy to the vamp nest...

As for the issue as a whole: good, not great (loved it, but keeping it relative to other issues). I enjoyed the discussion on Buffy as a character - who she was and who she's become. It's one of those episodes that lays ground work, and I'm fine with it, because it means we're progressing.
I was going back and re-reading #11, and I just noticed something: Twilight is wearing gloves, but above those gloves, both arms appear to be bandaged. Check out page 17 (counting from the inside title page and including all ads) where he breaks Satsu's sword and then punches her, then page 18, where he grabs Buffy and takes off into the air.
When you throw in Xander sending Buffy to the graveyard you might think he's up to something, but if he's aligned with Twilight, he hasn't been well-briefed, since his moral support for Buffy undermines Twilight's efforts. Unless he is Twilight and is playing a very deep game.

Twilight seems to care for Buffy and the other slayers, but he also seems to think that they shouldn't exist; his "first gift is his last" leads me to believe that he's planning on killing Buffy and the others as an act of mercy. The title hints that he's really on the side of right, or at least is convinced he is; an Operative-style character would make sense. He definitely has an inside track on Buffy's personality, so he's either someone Buffy knows or he's got excellent sources. Note his response to Buffy's tears: he hits her really, really hard, knowing that the best way to get Buffy back together is to make her fight.

The scythe move is, I think, an elaborate mislead. We have a flashback panel of Caleb on the first page, then he says, "I know that move." We're supposed to think it's Caleb, or someone who watched that fight. I'm certain it isn't. After all, Angel was actually unconscious when Buffy pulled that trick on Caleb, and Spike wasn't there yet because otherwise he would have rushed in for the rescue. So I think it's more symbolic: Twilight can anticipate an emasculation move. It's about gender. And power. And orbs. I think.

The itchy neck line, I think, was just there to be hilarious. It worked.
I got it. It's Book. He's wearing the mask to hide the hair.
I must say that I was expecting Twilight to be someone new. In the first issues of The Long Way home I think Joss wore out the oh-it's-someone-from-the-past shock, when Warren appeared the technique was stale (specially since a friend brought to my attention that Warren being alive contradicted season 7 when the first appeared as Warren but i digress. That's the reason I'm not thrilled with the "revelation". I'm hoping it turns out to be just a Whedon tease and not some guy from the past. But if I had to guess I'd probably say it's Riley, or some obscure character like the demon Buffy killed at the beggining of OMWF or, Willy the Bartender...that would actually rule.
I still think this "gift" business has something to do with the slayer- watcher dynamic, the first slayer, or someone related to those early watchers who created her. Who seemed most invested in the one-slayer-in-all-the-world thing- the watchers' council, yeah? (although, the slayerization of the potentials certainly could have created a myriad of job opportunities for watchers, if they had played it better...supportive insead of arrogant and sneaky.)

And surely it also something to do with the Initiative, as it doesn't make sense to have two narrow-minded authoritarian american military organizations that are unrelated to each other. But what do all these guys have to do with wolves?

[ edited by toast on 2008-02-13 23:13 ]
This is the longest speculation thread ever.

But what do all these guys have to do with wolves?

My guess? Oz and a group of other werewolves need help. And Buffy needs Dracula's help to fight these new supervamps. Basically if Twilight wants to end all magic, good and bad, then it will take some interesting alliances to fight him. We may be seeing the beginning of that.

I had this whole theory about how S8-9 were going to be The First Evil: Global Edition vs. Slayerdom Internationale fighting on a global scale with the First using other entities as puppets to mislead Buffy and co and wear them down by degrees. The army, the old enemies, the new Slayer trained to take out Buffy.

It seems like it's this Twilight dude who's behind all that though. And nothing about him adds up. I could see the First changing as a consequence of Willow's spell-- maybe if you change the slayer ability, you change the thing it fights too-- why would that be its aim though? Even if The First could become corporeal now, why would it want to end all magic? Evil exists without magic, but this guy looks to be using magic, so why disarm your enemy and yourself at the same time?

The First would be patient, though. And Twilight seems to be that. The First would also act through others and know Buffy very, very well.

The little clues add up to Warren, now with new skin, with Andrew playing mole. But the big ones don't. So I'm kinda thinking Twilight is a proxy, too, and the "ending magic" thing is what he tells some of his pawns who have that agenda.
Hee-hee-hee, I'ven't seen this much speculating since S-6.

I do have to say that (while what seems to be coming out regarding the over-all worldview behind this season is truly putting me off) the individual stories are just getting better and better. Well, a lot of *keithtopping* people have always felt Joss isn't at his best in season openers, so we can expect that to go up, and he's not disappointed me on that so far.
#11 is completely great -- it's launched us all into this wonderful, chewy guess-fest! I'm absolutely on the moon to have more Buffyverse story, and am about to first re-read #1-10, then order the new Angel series, because now I feel like I'm missing something important. Comic-book-vortex, here I come.

Twilight's outfit and moral ambiguity remind me of a couple of folks: 1. Rorschach, from Watchmen, who is a murderer, but only of people he judges to be evil or dangerous, and 2. Wesley. Who would have the absolute conviction that he was doing the right thing, even if he's tragically, horribly wrong. Imagine him as vamp, maybe? No moral center, but absolute conviction? Hm...

[ edited by fleem on 2008-02-16 19:41 ]
I sure hope that Twilight is to be somebody new because I can't be doing with all of these old characters returning. I mean so far, we've had Amy and Warren, now the possibility of Oz, and we have Dracula, now the new/old Big Bad. This shows to me that Joss hasn't been thinking that hard about the 'new' season and is instead bringing back all of these characters whose stories were finished! Also, he has already slipped with the whole Warren not dying yet the First was able to appear in his form. I think that I'm gonna stop reading season 8 if this continues. I'm sorry for being a bit of a spoil sport but it's true. Every season had a new villian, totally separate from the previous, and I cannot bare the thought of Joss re-using a Big Bad.
Every season had a new villian, totally separate from the previous, and I cannot bare the thought of Joss re-using a Big Bad.

Well, S7 used an old Big Bad... The First already showed up in S3 "Amends".

I do agree with you, though. I want new characters. I'm so glad we got new characters of young slayers and not just repeated those we got in S7. But when it comes to Big Bads, Joss tends to repeat old characters with finished stories. Warren should have remained dead, unless Joss has something really interesting to tell about him.
'Well, S7 used an old Big Bad... The First already showed up in S3 "Amends".'

Yeah but The First wasn't a Big Bad in season 3, but more of a one off like say for instance, the worm thing in 'Beneath You'. Using a Big Bad like Caleb again for the big story is just to me, bad planning.
I like Litwal's suggestion that he's whoever set up the androids from Angel S5. Since one of those androids seemed to know Wesley intimately as Twilight seems to know Buffy, that part tracks. And since the android looked exactly like Wesley's father, we could also be getting set up.

Twilight takes off his mask and is revealed as Xander, Giles, Spike, or whoever. Fandom goes nuts with bitching, carping etc. Then, it's revealed Twilight is an android and we STILL don't know who's behind him. Very Jossian.

Although I don't know if even Joss would be able to do that over the long term without hurting his readership. If it were revealed in the same issue, people would be ok with it. If Joss did a Cordelia-is-really-Jasmine thing where we don't learn for several issues or more what's really going on, I think the dissatisfaction would so outweigh the eventual pay-off that it wouldn't be worth it.
I totally think it's Riley. Which makes me suspect that it is not Riley. Typical Joss misdirection, if you know what I mean.
The most important thing is that Twilight *knows* Buffy. I mean, he knows her. He knows who she is, inside. So he is either someone with an intimate past with her, or is working with someone with an intimate knowledge of her. There's no other way.

So, Twilight is Parker right?
I doubt anyone's still reading this thread, but a thought hit me on my way home tonight...

Xander and Twilight may be in cahoots, but for totally different reasons. I won't speculate further on Twilight's motivations. But if Xander is involved, then I suspect he's doing so to end Buffy's misery.

Remember: he knows full well how much Slayerhood dragged down on Buffy, and ruined her love life in so many ways. If he could take her powers away and make it so she didn't need them anymore (by getting rid of demons too) then he's doing Buffy a favor, keeping Willow from going off the rails again, etc. Being normal himself, he knows it's only bad when you've got someone special to compare to. (Personally I think Buffy would feel crippled without her powers, but Xander may not be thinking it through 100%.)

Remember this also: Xander just wants a happy ending, and is willing to take shortcuts to get there. In OMWF Xander knew everything, the whole time, and even after the deaths he said nothing.

Yeah. If Xander's helping Twilight, he's doing it purely out of love of Buffy and Willow. He wants to lay their arms down, let them rest at last, and slay their demons, forever. But that time is -- oh, all right. I won't do that to you. I'm not quite that cheesy.
Hey, good theory. I don't like it but it's good.
ManEnough, yeah I'm still a little bothered about Xander never being taken to task about the deaths in the otherwise fun and eventually a little painful "Once More, With Feeling". There are fans still holding on to the brilliantly vicious line he fed Buffy in "Becoming Part 2", they still want him to answer for that, but I think the nod to it in Drew Goddard's continuity-filled "Selfless" is all we'll ever get and I hope it never gets brought up again. Not everything in life gets resolved and I think the gang just wouldn't care enough to hash it out at this point, what's done is done, and Buffy always understood Xander's feelings on Angel anyway. A whole lotta heartache could've been avoided and Angel could've been saved god knows how many years' worth of torment in the hell dimension, but in the end Buffy Season 3 probably would've played out the same and Angel's alive either way.

I could see Xander wanting all that for Buffy and for those reasons. It would fit perfectly...but can't just one of her friends be near-infallible in her being able to trust them for the entire duration of the franchise ? A team-up/bargain between Twilight and Xander sounds interesting, but I'd almost rather him just stay the straight-up dependable good guy or have it revealed that he's totally gone off the deep end and actually turn out to be Twilight. The half-way point idea of him working with, I think for me, with Xander, one of the extremes would work better.

To those speculating that what Twilight knows about Buffy has to be derived from either witnessing it himself or hearing it from someone who was there...he could be a mind-reader, a dream-walker, and only recently came by all this info by using his telepathic abilities...or he could've been watching Buffy through his own little crystal ball or magic mirror, perhaps even for years.

Maybe, post-Season 4, the government's been spying on her with high tech sound and video tech, though this isn't my favorite theory.

The Hank Summers theory would be a little nuts, a giant "What The Fuck?!?" for a whole lotta fans (especially the casual ones or those who've never really given a damn about that character), though it might go a long way in...Well, not that "tramping around with his secretary" needs explaining, but they could put a spin on his distance from the family, his time in Europe...have we been given any other info about Buffy's dad ? I know we never saw him (man, was he even at Joyce's funeral ?) for real after Buffy Season...2 ? Or 1 ? Only as a dream/memory in Season 5 and as a hallucination in Season 6. He's kind of a huge untapped source for potentially meaningful storytelling. He was Buffy's dad, regularly present (as far as we know) for the first 15 years of her life, he had to have meant something to her (and Dawn), more than what we were shown in the series.

Twilight could be keeping Buffy alive specifically for that moment in the Fray flashback with the hand through the portal locking away magic forever (but not really forever, as evidenced by the same series). Perhaps he knows it's going to go down exactly like that, that Buffy should or maybe even needs to be the one to close it off. Maybe his messing with her mind will even make her a willing accomplice, in the very end. Maybe he's even right about what the world needs (assuming he's doing it for the overall benefit of the world).

If The First is involved...notice how we can see the outlines of Twilight's features under the mask a little ? The First has a thing for messed up faces, lack of certain features, as seen in "Amends" and the Season 7 ep where it possesses a bunch of the high school kids. Maybe Twilight is going to turn out to have blank-face or runes on his/its eyes.

I don't buy the whole First-can't-be-permanently-destroyed thing. I think The First is just something really old, maybe a demon (given the two glimpses we've seen of its pure form) that's more or less all talk, but not the definitive essence of evil or anything lame like that. It was too ineffective and, well, kinda stupid in Season 7 for me to accept that it's the Buffyverse version of Satan.

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