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March 06 2008

(SPOILER) Solicitation for Buffy # 15. Dark Horse has released the cover art and info for the last part of Wolves at the Gate.

Gorgeous cover (of course), and best rendition of Buffy's face ever.

Along the way, Buffy and the legion of Slayers join forces with the irresistible Dracula to defeat a tight-nit group of nefarious vampires, in which the Slayers suffer a massive hit.

That sounds... ominous.

Pssst Dark Horse. Tight-knit. Unless there are lice or trivialities involved, and it's a pun, of course.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-03-07 04:18 ]
Great, now somebody is getting killed off. This is just the most wonderful week of Buffy ever.
Is is just me, or does the scythe look a little bit dinky? Maybe it's just seeing it on a computer as opposed to real life, but it looks too small.
Great, now somebody is getting killed off.

I think Joss is of the love, blood and rhetoric school.

This is just the most wonderful week of Buffy ever.

I was just thinking that, only for serious. Different brains.
Well, maybe not someone getting killed off. I'm going to root for a nearly complete reversal of the Slayer spell being the bit 'hit' they take.

I don't get the 'love, blood, and rhetoric' reference.

I think this is actually about as bad a week of Buffy as there has been. She went from once upon a time telling Spike that using him was 'killing her' to now, per the exact words of both Joss and Scott, 'using' Satsu to cure loneliness, horniness, and curiousity. Now, we're getting teased with at least a decent chance that one of our beloved characters is going to get wiped out. I really hope that's not what the 'hit' is.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2008-03-07 04:30 ]
Well, maybe not someone getting killed off. I'm going to root for a nearly complete reversal of the Slayer spell being the bit 'hit' they take.

Oh dear heavenly father PLEASE let it be so!!!
Wait, the spell thing, or the killing off thing?
Sorry, I should have been clear. Let me try that again...

I'm going to root for a nearly complete reversal of the Slayer spell being the bit [sic] 'hit' they take.

Oh dear heavenly father PLEASE let it be so!!!
I don't get the 'love, blood, and rhetoric' reference.

It's a line from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, an absurdist play based on the two minor characters from Hamlet. The Player explains that love and rhetoric are optional in his theatre group's performances, but blood is compulsory. It's a kind of tongue-in-cheek reference to tragic plays but also to the body count in Hamlet, which is very high. Shakespeare liked to kill characters. It pops in my head every time I see "Joss kills characters!" type discussions here. So, most weeks.

The Player: We're more of the love, blood, and rhetoric school. Well, we can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and we can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and we can do you all three concurrent or consecutive. But we can't give you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory. They're all blood, you see.
Guildenstern: Is that what people want?
The Player: It's what we do.

It always pops into my head partially because of the character deaths, but also because of the conflict between the audience's desire to watch a good story unfold, knowing deaths are likely if not guaranteed, and their desire to not see their favorites die. And then there's the writer's love of the characters and enjoyment of crafting a story with dramatic deaths. Plus there's always been something Shakespearean about the level of the drama and mortality in Buffy, to me.

Long clip. It's a good ways in there, almost 7 minutes, but Richard Dreyfuss has the line, and he's brilliant with it.

/ overdoing a reference
I wouldn't mind a character getting murked in the Buffy comic. Willow's been begging to go, what with the whole "I am no longer interesting" thing she's been pulling for the past few seasons.
That is a lovely cover (though I must say I am still anxiously awaiting Jo Chen...).

I'm wondering if the hit involves an attack on the castle or some other kind of setback that may not necessarily be a character death since we haven't seen any threat to the base since the Scottish zombies. Hmm.
patxshand, you crushed me with that whole "Willow's been begging to go" riff. That smarts.

Also, I'm probably stating the uber-obvious here, but I just don't see Buffy being Buffy without Willow and Xander. Make 'em hate one another, betray one another, sleep with one another.. but for the love of ... something, don't go killing off 1/4th of "the core."
Wow I love that cover. Love the lines Foster uses.
The guesses I have about the "hit" they take are...

-- the Slayer spell is reversed in full or in part. Either just Buffy and Faith, or them and a relatively small group of Slayers are still empowered (Kennedy, Renee, Satsu, the major named Slayers).

-- the BHC is destroyed, setting the gang adrift again without their fortress. Either in a big fight or by sneak attack/sabotage, like the Watchers.

-- someone getting killed off, which is easily the least preferable of the three.
Maybe the 'big hit' is a literal pun about Dawn. Or should that be... Dawnzilla!

Still, why that would affect the slayer-s (plural) is a bit bewildering. And that cover positively screams magic.

I personally, would find it freaking hilarious if the slayer spell got reversed and Buffy discovered that it affected her chemistry with Satsu. It'd almost be like 'Innocence' reversed.

Or, as Jerry would put it-
'I had a lesbian liason with my boss and she dumped me when I lost my superpowers!'
Without spoiling, I think something to do with the spell would make the most obvious and natural segue into 8.16.
This is something I haven't been able to say in a while--and it's something I used to say a lot, so "whew deja!"--but, "I agree with you, King."
Suddenly having only Buffy, Faith, and maybe Satsu, Renee, Leah, Rowena, Kennedy, and a few others as Slayers would constitute a "massive hit".

And it does say "the Slayers" suffer the hit -- that, again, seems to be their power, or their home... not, hopefully, something more personal and specific to the gang.
I always wondered if reverting the Scythe spell would mean getting the line back to its natural state, I mean before Xander's Miraculous Resuscitating CPR of Heaven. Having one Slayer, and not Buffy.. Faith, which is the natural end-point of the "normal" line for now. From a storyline POV, and a character development one, it would be a gorgeous and bleak story for Buffy. But yeah, probably the Slayer circle will be trimmed.

But what if it's Satsu that bites it ? Japanese slayer, suddenly in the spotlight, glorious death at home.. mmhh..
If Satsu bites it, that might be overkill (horrible pun not intended). I always support Joss' brutal killings (Tara, Wash, Wesley, etc.), but I dunno, that might finally get me to agree with the whole "Joss kills half of every couple in the entire world" argument.

The reversal of the spell would be incredible, though it would kind of fly in the face of Joss' intended message for "Chosen," that of sharing female power. Still, it sounds like the best story option, and if it does happen, I hope that Faith is the only one left with Slayer skills (though not "mad skillz"; I hate that line).

That would also jibe with a certain someone's certain facial expression on a certain future cover. For a certain comic book series, I should add, in case that wasn't vague enough.
But it's likely Buffy and Satsu will never get to couple stage, so it'll be more of a "soldier sacrifices for general" scenario. Which is equally tragic, by the way, but hardly fit for the Wesley/Fred or Willow/Tara category.

Personally I think Joss always adapts and customizes the message according to what he wants to tell, so if he wants to see the Slayers' reaction to not be Slayers anymore, he'll do it, female sharing power or not. Faith as The Slayer might be overkill in another sense, though, that is taking away from Buffy what represents her most (see Helpless). It's such a bold thing to do, but also incredibly cruel. Which makes it so much more likely to happen, knowing Joss:-)
remember in issue 10, "betrayal, the closest, the most unexpected"? what if the betrayal is somehow her slayer powers, her body, her destiny etc betraying made total sense when i thought about it before
I have this nagging idea.. that Buffy herself is the traitor.. someway, in some twisted coincidence, she's gonna condemn all she built to ruin. Yeah, I'm on medication..
@Long Clip: If I ever had the chance to join a discussion with Joss, I would love to bring up the topic about the difference in Shakespeare killing off people and Joss killing them off. I suspect there is one crucial difference.
The deeper we get into this "season" the more I'm suspecting that Buffy might actually survive her run in comics and be decommissioned, one way or another. Scythe is a likely player. And given what's going on over in L.A. while our friends are fighting wolves at the gate, I'm beginning to imagine a day where Buffy and Angel truly are finished with their callings, and somehow normalized -- giving them a chance to try to be together. Not necessarily rooting for that... but it's starting to seem possible.
Sunfire: thank you for that clip from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and for bringing it up. I've loved absurdist theater for forever (in my younger days, I actually acted in Jack or the Submission, Sand Box, and Nausea- and met my first wife as a result), and I read voluminously Ionesco, Stoppard, Beckett, Genet, Jarry and others. That little reference made me smile, plus it was really spot on.

As to the "hit," I cannot see it being Satsu dying. You mean, kill another lesbian not long after she sleeps with someone? Not gonna happen. :-)

The hit, to me, is more along the lines of the slayer line, or perhaps a lot of slayers. But looking at recent interviews, the real fun is not supposed to begin until issue 21, so I think this is still setting that up. Reversal of the spell seems more and more likely. Something has to happen between our time and the interegnum that finally gets us to Fray...
I, too, am fascinated by the possibility (and at this point, seeming likelihood) that the 'hit' somehow involves the Slayer powers. Specifically the possibility of a reduction in the number of overall Slayers, including the potential that at some point the line normalizes and we see Buffy decommissioned as Slayer with Faith carrying on the line. That would definitely put a cap on this epic tale, though I'm not sure Joss is ready to go there quite yet. Still, fascinating possibilities and I'm excited to see how things play out over the next several years.
Slayer power reversal seems like the most likely possibility to me so far. Buffy finally being left a "normal girl" and having to actually earn her power back really hits on some key issues from Season 7. As Anya says, Buffy wasn't "better" than them... she was "luckier" than them.

If Satsu retains her power and Buffy loses it, all the more drama. Who knows, Buffy may try to reverse the reversal and wind up in the future. Just don't kill Willow!
And... A de-slayer'ed Buffy would have verrry intererrresting consequences for an ATF crossover, wouldn't it?
Ah, the Bangel can of worms..:-)

[ edited by Perseo on 2008-03-07 18:19 ]
I agree with Dana5140, I think killing Satsu off would be much too similar to Tara's death. Of course they are completely different characters and she would probably get a heroic death rather than a tragic accidental one, but regardless of that, I doubt Joss would kill off another lesbian character not too long after she has had sex with another woman.

I don't think he ever does anything in order to provoke a reaction, and I think something like that would really anger a lot of the people who were upset by Tara's death. And it would just feel like a regurgitation of an old idea. Sometimes I think killing characters off is almost an easier way to develop a plot or avoid having to find something meaningful to do with them (for example killing off one character in a love triangle just so you can put the other two characters together without having to see what choices the characters would make if all three remained intact). It's not something I think Joss has ever done so I doubt he'd start now.

I think the idea of the scythe/slayer spell being reversed might be interesting, plot developments which affect our characters and place them in more interesting situations would be preferable to simply offing another character.

At the same time, I do wonder whether reversing the spell would detract from the empowering message in Chosen. I didn't think that Buffy's resurrection in season six diminished her noble sacrifice in The Gift, but that was because her death was still meaningful and there were deep, dangerous consequences as a result of it. But I don't really see how a mass deslayering could accomplish that. The whole point was that Buffy was empowering hundreds of young women, striking a heavy blow for the powers of good and also saving herself from a lonely and dangerous position.

Changing that would undoubtedly offer up a lot of dramatic potential, but might again result in Buffy being isolated, a plotline which many people had thought had gone for good post-Chosen. I was quite disappointed that it wasn't.

The early seasons of Buffy saw her deal with being alone because of all this reponsibility being placed on her and the likelihood of a premature death, on an individual level. Bringing in Kendra and Faith was another way of experimenting with those themes. But in the last season, Buffy was learning to become a leader, and dealing with the responsibility of her actions on others. I felt that aspect of her character's journey was well explored, and ended beautifully as she realised her mistakes, regained leadership from Faith, saved the world and created an army of slayers.

So it was slightly disappointing to then see Buffy forced back into the role of a leader with so much responsibility placed on her head, and her being completely isolated as a result of it, just like "Empty Places" and "Touched". I thought that the themes of equality and friendship that ran so deeply throughout the show (which were always hindered by Buffy's separation from others because of her unique position as the slayer) would form a large part of the ethos of season 8. I had imagined a more democratic organisation that would have people like Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles as leaders dealing with problems together rather than seemingly ignoring a lot of the progress their characters had made.

Perhaps I'm being naive or idealistic, but I think the character seems to have regressed to some extent. It would be cool if the deslayering makes Buffy remember the value of having other active slayers to live and work with. Then maybe a reslayering would put her back in the emotional place she was at the end of season seven, willing to trust and value others rather than feeling like a loner.
You know, I often think that our genuine wishes for Buffy to develop a healthy serene normal life clash with the dramatic necessity to have struggle and hardship in her story. What would the interest be if Buffy had no problem, no doubts, no hurdle whatsoever ? Like Joss once said, Happy Buffy makes for Boring Buffy.

It was nice to see her smile at the end of Chosen, and I for one was very happy to finally see her in a good place emotionally, relieved of her Chosen One burden, but if the story continues, you have to take that smile away, you have to put her back in a drama-worthy situation, otherwise she simply cannot work as a lead. Imagine, Buffy Slayers up a couple thousand girls all over the world, she retires to an atol in the Pacific, end credits, bye. No Season 8. You have to give Buffy a hard time for her to be Buffy.

Hence, I think making Buffy realize she's now more alone than ever, because she's alone at the top, even with her army, AFTER she thought sharing the burden would get rid of that feeling, is a perfect segue for Chosen. She was responsible for the world, which is a vague blurry concept, now she's responsible DIRECTLY for thousands of lives that she herself willingly changed. Very different, and I think scarier.
While I'll agree the massive hit could be the loss of the slayer powers, I think a character death is a real possibility. I don't think Joss would kill Satsu for the reasons mentioned above, but what about Renee. It would make sense for Joss to do this. She is developing a relationship with Xander, and losing her would be a big hit for all the Scoobs because it seems she is an important slayer. This would continue the theme of Xander losing someone he loves because of the mission. You have Anya dead, I'm pretty sure the gang knows about Cordelia being dead, so the two women he had serious long-term relationships with are dead. I wonder what that will do with his perspective on relationships, will he think that he is doomed to live alone.
The whole point was that Buffy was empowering hundreds of young women, striking a heavy blow for the powers of good and also saving herself from a lonely and dangerous position.

Without giving them the choice (thus making them "chosen" just like her, which she spent seven seasons getting more and more upset about) and in the end, as we're seeing now, she's still in a lonely and dangerous position.

But that's a whole other can of worms that I'm not going to get into anymore. Well, at least not here and now. ;)

Given where the next story arc appears to be going I really don't think it's that far a stretch to imagine that something will be happening with the multi-Slayer situation. In fact it could even have something to do with the prophesied "betrayal". Perhaps Willow, being the one who originally cast the spell, for some reason has to be the one to break the spell. She could be forced to, or tricked to, or even do it willingly because she knows it's what has to be done even if Buffy doesn't agree...
Haunt, I agree that there are different ways of looking at the slayer creation, and I think the idea of all these women having this power forced upon them rather than them being blessed with it is a very interesting topic. I think it was almost touched on in "The Chain" but it is the kind of issue I'd like to see explored.

How do they identify and recruit slayers? In the first issue of season 8 I believe Buffy mentioned there are 1800 girls that they'd identified, and 500 have been recruited. How much of an option are they given? I think there's a lot of dramatic potential there. Buffy occasionally struggled with the responsibility, and temporarily quit in Prophecy Girl. The one thing that forced her back into it was because she knew that she was the only one who could do anything to stop it. Wouldn't it be interesting if Buffy were to quit now that there are other people to do her job? What would convince her to come back?

I think there's a lot of different, new issues to be explored, and that's why I feel going back to Buffy's loner complex is a waste of a lot of these new ideas that could be used instead. More focus on issues like how this slayer force is organised, and funded (I definitely think that the bank robbing should be explored further). How the world perceives such a force. What difference are the slayers actually making?

I think it's a chance to continue developing the personal issues that Buffy has always explored (for example the conflict between Buffy and both Willow and Giles) whilst delving deeper into the more external political and social themes that were starting to develop in season seven.

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