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"I'm the go-to girl for dirty deeds done dirt cheap."
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May 07 2008

(SPOILER) For the discussion of Buffy #14. The Buffster takes the fight to Japan in the third part of Drew Goddard's 'Wolves at the Gate' arc.

I hope to have my copies of Buffy and Angel tonight.
Is it out already?
It comes out today as does Angel:ATF #7.
On top of that, I got a bad case of the dizzies last night and
almost let a vamp stake me. With my own stake!

-- Buffy Summers, "Helpless"

He just beat me.

-- Buffy Summers, "Fool For Love"

Well, 8.14 jumps the arc and the season back on track with the best read since "A Beautiful Sunset" -- nothing gratuitous or soapy here. The 'shippy stuff all seems to follow from the characters and the story, and is more or less all entertaining. I'm especially loving the Xander/Renee thing right now. Girl definitely knows how to look cute in the schoolgirl get up. It's nice to see her take the initiative, too, and kiss him while he hems and haws over whether or not hunting a misty vamp with Buffy counts as a date. Even Dracula thinks they're too cute to watch. I really look forward to seeing where they take this relati--


Oh. Nevermind.

Well, at least we can take Renee off the list of traitor suspects, courtesy of Toru's brilliantly played trap and the cruel, cruel bitter irony of Renee being skewered to death, staked through the heart, even, by the very scythe that made her into a Slayer.

What was it Buffy says about her saying the word and some girl dying? My biggest concern about this plan of marching everyone off to Tokyo and going boots tromping over the hillside after this enemy was that it would be Dirty Girls all over again. And, while they at least had some idea of what they were facing this time, they still took too much for granted. And now, as then, they pay in dearest blood. I was really getting to like you, Renee.

Xander will obviously take this badly, and not just because it's his face her blood sprayed on when she was killed, but because he's again lost the girl. Anya, killed. Cordy, dead and all but forgotten and unacknowledged. And now Renee. The very night of their first kiss. I really sincerely hope he gets to be the one that does for Toru now. It's a comic book medium, he's one of the 'superheroes' in it, he is occasionally allowed to be the one who 'gets' the bad guy, and this would be the *perfect time* for that. I don't care if its Buffy's name on the cover -- Toru embarrassed her and stole her scythe. Toru murdered Xander's girl and cover him in her blood. Weigh it.

On less murderous notes, I love that Dawn gets to get in the fight and is not, in fact, a bad guy. She's a weapon, and a damn useful one. Her being 'ported in reminded me of that scene in "Galaxy Quest" :) I also loved Renee, bless her, playing the role of bait so well.

Things are on a warm simmer on the Buffy/Satsu front, with Buffy actually... being a spaz about her safety and sort of infantalizing her, however she wants to dress it up. And Satsu not having any part of it. I *really* like that. Satsu needed a scene to get her strength back from all that public embarrassment in 8.12, and that was it. Willow's pep talk probably did help. But, I'm still leaning about 60% toward Satsu being the traitor anyway, so it all may be moot if she's just acting anyway.
Eeep,Joss's old MO at work again,I

Can't wait to read it.
Effing Hell! Can we have one relationship in the Buffyverse that doesn't end badly??
Was that Andrew in the panel beneath Dawnzilla? Just wondering.
Renee dies? -.- Great one Joss...I'm really starting to dislike you. Please don't do X/B, I don't want Xander to jump the shark too o_0

[ edited by Hanselel on 2008-05-07 19:00 ]
I loved the issue! While Renee's death at the end was pretty terrifying (and thus awesome), Buffy setting that vampire on fire inside the floating box is what did it for me. "This is war." I felt that it was something she didn't enjoy doing, but knew it was necessary. I loved the moment. The arc may have started more as a drama, but it seems we're about to get an action packed drama next issue! Best combination, hehe.
QuanticoMVP, I think that is Andrew. I like how his presence is announced, and he doesn't even need any lines. I'm really enjoying this comic. It doesn't feel estranged from the show in any way.

[ edited by Valentyn on 2008-05-07 20:40 ]
Let's see. Another kiss, another death. Gee, what a surprise. I bet no one saw that coming. Sigh. This tactic is just old already; no, it was old a long time ago. No reason to invest in anyone at all. I'm waiting for the day someone kisses someone and lives. Could be a long wait.

I want so much to like this, but everything is just conspiring to turn me into what I don't like, someone who just gives up because nothing matters. This is the Buffy death song, building toward the end of the slayer line unto Fray. To me, this is Joss saying goodbye to this world. Later, of course, but coming.
That hurt a lot more than I was expecting it to. I was just starting to like Renee, and she and Xander were being so cute, and then... it was a horribly graphic picture too. I'm crying on the inside.

Dracula is funny. I like him. But I wonder if Buffy will kill him for good at the end of the arc? After all, he is a bad guy. And it would work with the darker tone of the series.

Hanselel, I don't think B/X would necessarily mean jumping the shark if was done the right way. Especially if they're both afraid of starting new relationships (and I think Renee's death will have that effect on Buffy as well as Xander), and craving intimacy, etc. I'm not saying that it'll happen, just that nothing is taboo if there's a way to do it while keeping everyone in character. I didn't think Buffy would sleep with a girl, but the way it happened (and the aftermath) makes perfect sense with where she's at right now.
Actually, what's old is the constant hoping for a happily ever after. Wrong fandom... try again. Granted the constant bad endings of relationships has become a somewhat Buffyverse trademark, but to still be disappointed is a sign that people are still hopeful. Certain things don't change.
I mean, reading it the first time, I had alarm bells going off already, and sure enough... sad ending. Disappointed? Not really. In fact, I thought that it was an even more visceral end to a Slayer than what happened to Aoki. I mean, to be taken out when surrounded by friends sounds a lot better when they're around your deathbed, not when you're stabbed in the chest. But whether she really dies or not... who knows. She's been skewered before (not in the chest though), and lived. Also, the convenient Wicca hospital is nearby.

I agree with Valentyn that Buffy's declaration of war was pretty awesome. Also, it seems that she's finally got her head screwed back on right. Sure, it wasn't such a hot idea to drag the girls into unknown danger, especially since she hadn't worked out how to deal with transmogrifying vampires yet, but if we're really talking about a vamp army in the ballpark of a thousand or so, then she's going to need the back-up. Also, her plan makes sense: remove the Scythe from the equation, and all is fine and dandy... except for the vampire army bit.
Only problem is... well, trap. Can't believe that her entire crew wasn't watching their flanks more... it looked as though everyone was focused in the front (okay... so Toru's standing right there... but sneak attacks are a common tactic, no?).

EDIT: I meant Aiko... I just blanked.

[ edited by wenxina on 2008-05-08 18:48 ]
I was going to make of list of things I liked/disliked in this issue but then I realized that I think I liked just about the whole thing. Everything from the somberness of the opening to the shocking ending was great. I am VERY bummed that they killed off Renee though and I found myself thinking of ways she could be brought back ("Willow can heal mighty quick right?") but I'm pretty sure she's done for good.

This was the first issues I actually liked Dracula, the "fire box" was damn pretty awesome, and Dawnie gettting to kick butt made me smile. This run has been a lot of ups and downs for me. I liked #12 and thought it was hilarious, I though #13 was the weakest issue to date, and this one was strong had some very cool action moments in it. Hopefully the finale will be as strong as this issue.
I absolutely loved the issue, like others I am saddened by Rene's apparent death (looked to be straight through the heart) will be interesting to see how Joss & Company play Xander's reaction. Drac reminds us in a dark yet comical manner that he's a vampire ("is somebody going to finish eating this?") but you have to like the character (as I did in season five). Looking forward to the battle between Willow and Kumiko, should be very interesting!
Eh...Renee never totally resonated with me, and her death smacked way too much of the guy-you-never-saw-before on the Star Trek away team.

This issue seemed a little forced, relative to the others in this series. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't up to the level of the previous two.
Shoot...I shouldn't have read this. Unfortunately, I am stuck at home in bed with Strep throat, and I think driving 20 minutes each way to the comic book shop would be over exerting myself. =(

Though I haven't read this issue yet, I am surprised that Renee dies. I mean, it just seemed to *obvious* of a thing to happen. As Spike has said (many many times) "I've memorized this tune." Well, at least I can hope for some emotional resonance when I read it.
Sniffle. I liked Renee.
I was so scared to turn to that last page. Poor Xander :(
I'm not surprised that Renee is dead. I am surprised that it was this soon. I was thinking her death would be more of an end of the season type thing.
In the main panel opposite the page with the X/R snogging, why is Andrew so hunched over and ... simian?

As for Renée death (and I assume it's final), I agree that it's all a bit ... I dunno ... over the top? pat? predictable? completely unrealistic even within the suspended reality of the Buffyverse? Yes, relationships frequently suck. But they can't all suck. There is tragedy in life. But it's not all tragedy. Where's the balance here?
Yeah, uh...great issue marred by the woefully predictable death of Renee. I mean, I was saddened by it, as I actually loved Renee (especially lately), but Joss' pony just did its trick again.

Still, I'm all for Xander going heroic next issue, and if he does, I will no doubt get very emotional. I just think Renee's death was routine and unnecessary. Though I must admit that I'm loving the symbolism of her getting staked by the scythe.

(Was I the only one who, based on the bloody "SSHHRRACK" panel, thought that Xander was the one getting stuck?)
I didn't think it was Xander getting stuck like that. I think I realized it was Renee before I turned the page, though. I hope Xander's going to go all heroic, but I suspect he'll go all dark or something. Scary veiny Xander? Nah. But maybe Xander Wyndham-Price, Angel Season 4 style, all tricked out with collapsible swords and firearms? Bring the Nick Fury thing more fully to fruition?
Well, I probably can't afford this until the 16th, but this is interesting.

As to Renee, well it's been said above,and I liked her but now I can still keep ripping off S-8 stuff in my ficverse with good conscience.

But I'm tempted to give incompletely to my own attitudes as "the personal anti-Joss for an audience of me" and well, given that I'd started writing before any of them died, I was forced to find ways to "Retrieve Tara Jonatahn Anya Wesley and Fred (I still think the official story of Cordelia 's death will be revealed as a fake) so I figured "With all that what's one more?" so I rbought back Jennie too. So I might as well find a way to raise Larry too and send him off to Rome. Add soem honesty, male muscle, and moral courage to complement Andrew 's sneaky cleverness.
I really liked Renee right from the first time we saw her, and I even realized then that getting to know and care about one of the red shirts back up slayers was opening myself up to heart break, because they are always cannon fodder. But somehow I forgot for a minute, and now I'm all upset... *sniffle*
Before we get too anti-Joss

And I love that Buffy finds it sexy when Satsu calls her "ma'am".

[ edited by Capt. Logic on 2008-05-08 19:51 ]
Renee died?


Pardon me while I go build a shrine to Riley/Sam and light candles in the hope that they continue to exist in good health and happiness.

[ edited by menomegirl on 2008-05-08 02:17 ]
Capt. Logic, wouldn't be the first or last misdirect on a piece of cover art in the history of comic books. Who knows, maybe even Scott Allie's remark about there being something amazing on the last page of 8.15 was just a misdirect so we'd think 8.14 is mostly filler and set up.
Well, that is an interesting catch, Capt. Logic, but I'm inclined to agree with KingofCretins. I could be proven wrong, though, which would be lovely.
Either the cover was a psych out, or maybe she's not as dead as she looks and we're being psyched out with "Oh, great, first kiss, dead as a doornail--getting old, Joss" the expected reaction, and the real story to come next issue.
All I can say about this issue is WOW.My favorite issue of this arc so far.
Oh my oh my. That was an awesome issue. Things are getting really hairy.
Um, what is sexy about Buffy finding the person she just slept with calling her "ma'am?" Power differential, anyone?
I also liked this best of the arc so far.

Random thoughts:
* I still don't buy Buffy finding Satsu sexy. I can't even hear the character saying the lines in my head.
* "This is war" was great, and I loved Xander and Renee and Dracula.

And a silly thing:
* Some of the Japanese is a little wrong (mostly an extra little dash or tail where it doesn't belong), but on page 4 when Buffy carries Aiko into the shrine, the scroll on the wall says GOJIRA. Gojira is what the Japanese call Godzilla. :)
My heart has finally gotten itself lodged out of my throat and back to its normal place.


Poor Renee.

Poor Xander, the man can't buy a break. His hatred for vampires will only intensify after this. He and Renee were adorable cute together and now he won't have it anymore.

I actually think that Dracula wanted them to invite him on their first date. He's jealous.

I'm loving Buffy more and more in this series. She's still vulnerable, but she's showing it more. I'm glad that Satsu stood up to her and didn't let Buffy coddle her. I hope she isn't the betrayer. I don't believe we will find out the betrayer in this arc because it seems too soon after we find out Buffy will be betrayed.

I think the use of Giganto-Dawn was brilliant and Andrew's reaction was quite funny.

I like this issue, but it is mainly set-up for the issue finale, which I believe will legend...

...wait for it...

Dana5140, I agree with what I think you're saying about the power differential. Buffy may have her head in the game with respect to the vampires, but her personal life seems to be lacking a moral compass... a bit S6ish, seems to me.
Buffy's turn-on might be misplaced because of the literal power differential, but I am going to assume Joss and Drew were just aiming for a light sort of "hey, look, Buffy has dominant tendencies in bed" joke.

As far as Xander's hatred of vampires... I hardly consider that unfortunate. Frankly, his attitude has always been a pretty well adjusted one all the way back since "The Harvest" -- he doesn't like vampires, and he's on record that they're bad. Nothing has ever happened to even suggest that wasn't a sound default position.

Buffy's love life felt season 6-ish in 8.12... here it felt Season 5-ish. Ridiculously overprotective because she apparently still seems to think everyone she's been involved with is no good on their own. She might as well have called Satsu all weak and kitteny.

I re-read the very lovely first (last) kiss scene with Xander and Renee. Very painful, that after she kissed him, she told him "now you don't have to worry about what happens at the end". Very meta. And painful.
As most have said, the Rene "death" (not convinced she's dead yet) was spottable a mile off once they had their first kiss. I actually figured she'd just be a typical casualty of the big fight, not being skewered by one of the head honchos. Whoops, figured wrong I guess. I'm not particularly bummed by it. I might be if we get some reaction from Xander though. I'm usually more saddened by people's reactions to death rather than the deaths themselves (...says the kid who had to rewatch the end of "Chosen" because he was bawling too hard after Anya died to pay attention).

Highlights of this issue for me was Giant Dawnzilla and Dracula. I've always been a fan of the way Buffy undercuts the sweet/intense/scary moments with humour, and it has transferred well to the comic.
Seems like a great issue. Can't wait to read it. *tries her best not to read comments but can't seem to resist*
Well I actually didn't see it coming, though I really should have. I was even thinking how cute they were, which should have been a dead giveaway (heh). Guess I wasn't thinking. Thought maybe something would happen to Satsu, and then... "aaagh!" Heh. I'm not sick of it though. It was a pretty (morbidly) great panel. Xander should never date ever again. All his girlfriends either get impaled or sliced in half.

For a giant godzilla impersonator, Dawn was awfully adorable.

Did the temple place remind anyone else of Serenity: Better Days #1?
I do seriously hope that Capt Logic is right, otherwise the ending was just a repetition of a repetition of a repetition. I have to say, it was pretty effectively written and drawn, to the point of actually being shocking for a couple of seconds before the "oh, this again" disappointment. Mostly a big let-down though, too obvious, too repetitive, too old.

The rest of the comic was solid though, especially Dawnzilla was awesome. Kind of a "I should have seen this coming" thing, but I really didn't. Totally awesome. I do hope Dracula gets a part in the finale though.
I read the Xander/Renee kiss scene and I actualy said outloud "oh yay, I'm so happy that finally happened". I will never know why I didn't recognise that as a curse and just put the issue down then and walk away from it.
What an amateur.

It was a really good issue though, if I was a puppy I would wag my tail. Obviously.
I liked everything in this issue. Once I open a book I suspend predictions for the most part and let the story unfold. I didn't expect the last page. I let out an "ah, shit" when I turned the page. But I don't know if she's actually dead. That's quite a wound, but her slayer powers weren't taken away before hand. And Willow's I just don't know. I'll have to wait and see.

I'm amused that Buffy thinks it's sexy that Satsu calls her Ma'am.

Sometimes things aren't what they seem. But I'm somewhat amused that people spoil the story for themselves. If you make enough guesses and have enough expectations, odds are you'll be right some of the time.
I just can't contemplate that she's not dead based on what we saw*. Even Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard do not have a limitless cache of narrative credibility where they can end an issue with this very definitive establishment that Renee is dead, give us a month to process that emotionally, and then just wish it away. It's cheap and gimmicky to not have her be dead after that. Maybe it's a side effect of the medium -- I wasn't watching at the time; were people wringing their hands after "Becoming, Part I" questioning if Kendra was really dead or not?

*The only exception I can think of is if the whole thing is a misdirect and she hasn't even been harmed. I suppose it's plausible that if she were a double agent, and Twilight is the one pulling the strings here, this could have been her extraction point. It would put a different context on what she said to Xander about not having to worry about what happens at the end. But, seriously, I'd give that approach like a 5% chance of being possible. But that's the only way she can survive -- if we didn't *see* what we thought we saw, and it was an illusion or something. At face value, she's toast, and *should* be toast, if we're supposed to take this season seriously.
With Willow there and aware of the problem before it even started I'm hoping Capt Logic is right too. Otherwise Joss/Drew just made his very own 'woman in a refrigerator' and that would be bad. Otherwise the issue was very good.
Maybe Willow has a four-second window before Renee dies of shock...? ;-)
Best. Issue. Yet. And not just because they literally delivered on that Dawnzilla promise.

Sniffle. I liked Renee.

Yeah, me too. Even more so in this issue.

So where are these robots I hear tell of?
I assume the "woman in the refridgerator" is a reference to the infamous "Green Lantern" incident -- I disagree with the characterization. That was deeply gratuitous, quasi-torture porn against an innocent bystander. Renee was a combatant killed in the way that combatants (particularly Slayer and vampire combatants) are killed. And I don't consider it too graphic -- heck, Aiko's display was more graphic for my taste.
I just don't think that

she's toast, and *should* be toast, if we're supposed to take this season seriously.

No, really.
I believe 'Woman in a Refrigerator Syndrome' or "Gwen Stacy Syndrome' has become a general term for a female character (usually supporting) being brutally maimed or murdered by the villian in order to provide a motivating personal tragedy for a male hero. I like Renee but she's not been around very long and her main role has been as a romantic interest for Xander. If her death is used, as people have been suggesting it might be, simply as a motivator for Xander to go all badass on Toru then it's going to look like a text book case. If she doesn't die, if Toru's aim proves as bad as Warren's where Slayers are concerned, or if she dies and comes back in a form that has more significance to the story than just to provide angst for Xander then not so much.
Hayes, then you might be a fan of my alternative "it's just a sham, she wasn't harmed, she's a double agent being pulled out by her handlers" thing -- because her non-death would provide the angst, *and* she'd have later signifiance.

See, to me, I'm not nearly as concerned with the putative "gwen stacy" effects as I am with the really dubious credibility of just having her survive *that* if it was an actual attack. In short, 'tis better to pull a "woman in the fridge" than to mortgage the good faith of your audience by plainly killing her off but then going back on it a month later.
*muses* You know, it occurs to me that if people keep coming up with Scenarios That Can't Be Used Because [fitb], pretty soon there won't be any Scenarios That Can Be Used (because who's interested in pulling out some list to check every time they have an idea for a story? Not me, for sure,) and then what will those people find to complain about?
Can't be used?

Y'know, I had a band director (yes, I'm a band geek) who told us to get on the "four way plan" if we didn't like something. 1. Get out of high school, 2. go to college, 3. get a music degree, 4. get our own band.

I won't say any device *can't* be used because I'd expect Joss to put us on the four way plan -- 1. get off the internet, 2. get into the entertainment business, 3. create our own fictional universe with a massive fanbase, 4. write our own comic book.

But I will say "oughtn't", in the sense that there are stories that have customarily worked and customarily haven't because of the effects they have on an audience. And screwing around with characters being dead but not really is a quick way to torque your audience right out of the story. Joss has said as much, hasn't he? That's why Tara and Anya never came back? Why they had Angelus snap Jenny's neck and not vamp her so people wouldn't think she'd be back? And that's at work here, too -- you oughtn't just do it and then pretend you didn't.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2008-05-08 17:00 ]
KoC, actually, my post was more in response to the 'Woman in a Refrigerator Syndrome', 'Dead Lesbian Cliche', etc, but, since you mention it, I will say that I think it applies to a certain extent to nearly any scenario. Yes, there are those that rarely work, and those that are old and worn out, but - as with anything else - whether or not they work depends on the execution. The horror genre itself is fairly well old and worn out by this time; lots of publishers state up front that they don't want to see "anything with vampires, werewolves..." but then they go ahead and publish an ungodly number of those stories anyway. To say that anything can't work regardless of the writer is to take an awful lot for granted. Which, admittedly, seems to be what audiences are all about these days...
Regarding the originality of this or that storytelling device, pretty much everything that can be done has been done -- many, many times. It's how you do it that matters. For me, Renee's apparent staking seems to work fine for the story, despite the fact that many could have predicted it and such incidents are legion in the Jossverse.
I just don't see Willow bringing a dead Renee back- that does not work for me on too many levels, one of which is that Willow should not have that kind of power and if she did there are other people I think she'd be bringing back, right? I can't see this.

I can see Renee being a vamp herself, or magically related to Twilight as noted above, etc. I can write scenarios that work, but I think we have a box- either she is dead, and this is the same old thing, or she is not, and it is meta the same old thing. Either way, it's the same old thing.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2008-05-08 17:39 ]
1starbuckstown, my point exactly. And with a month between issues, people are sitting around devising every possible scenario that could occur, and then when one of those scenarios does occur, then it's Wow! Was that predictable, or what?!?

Dana5140, so it's the same old thing no matter what happens? Well, I gotta say, some things are the same old thing, that's for sure...
Either way it'll keep a lot of us anxiously waiting for the next issue and in the end that is the point.
Hey, I am nothing if not predictable, rowan! :-)

On a more serious note, it may be that I was not clear in my intent. If Renee is indeed dead after kissing Xander for the first time, that is very much the same old thing, so to say. That is, we have seen such events before. If on the other hand, this is a means for Joss to "play a joke" on us by making us think that he killed Renee when he did not, that's meta- it is his way of noting that he has indeed killed people in such situations in the past, and here he is making us think he did it again, when he did not. By saying that this is also the same old thing, what I mean is that his acknowledgement of doing this is proof that he does indeed do this.

Boy, that may not be much clearer! Same old me! :-)
My guess, the apparent Renee death is a set-up for Dracula somehow saving her life, demonstrating that he does in his own bizarre way have a fondness for Xander.

This does NOT mean I find Dracula morally ambiguous. I just see all the elements of a plot twist setup here.

Oh, and the Dark Horse site might want to make it a little more clear that the author of this particular arc is "acclaimed." 'Cos otherwise somewhat might not catch that particular fact.
Like beckyboo said.

I really want to see part four *now* and the meta-anxiety about how Joss can avoid sinking into the type of not-very-feminist cliché I would have thought he abhorred is all part of that. I don’t particularly care how he does it and I do think he has a track record of skating so, so close then swerving away or subverting at the last minute. Buffy and Faith have survived pretty lethal looking bombs and bullets and drownings with and without Willow’s intervention. Fred’s death turned out to be about Illyria as much as Wesley. Jenny and Tara were well enough established for their deaths to be tragedies in their own right. So when is it June already?

[ edited by hayes62 on 2008-05-08 20:12 ]
Dana5140, as soon as my eyes stop crossing trying to figure that out, I'll get back to ya...
Loved this issue, it's very intense, stakes are getting higher, and yet it had the trademark Buffyverse snark. Thanks to Dracula for bringing that in. I hope he sticks around.
Renee's death I didn't expect, but was more happy for Dracula (who was so heart-broken over Renee/Xander kiss, heh) than sad for her, sorry. She never crossed it from Star Trek red-shirt category for me, and I spent too much time convinced she was a traitor, so I never grew to like her.

But the possibility of her revived somehow is intriguing - otherwise it's too much of a Jossverse cliche. But probably not, and I think that Xander might be tipped over not just by her death, but, say, by Willow having to choose to spend her magic to help Buffy with the fight, rather than to help Renee.

Buffy finding it sexy to be called "m'am"? Mmm, sexy. :) And I believe the word she was looking for was "mistress". Nice touch, and good for Satsu for standing up to her. Actually, I didn't recognize it was Satsu until Buffy called her by name... I thought it was the head of this local Japanese castle.
Japanese vamps were cool-looking, I love how Jeanty draws them and Dracula. I find his bad guys drawn better for some reason - I also liked how he did Gigi and Roden.

Also loved Buffy setting that vamp on fire! Badass, but also practical. He wasn't going to knit sweaters if let go, after all.
Eh. I came to find Renee downrighting enchanting as a new love interest for Xander, especially in this arc, but even then, I'm going to be getting close to fed up if she's not dead. It seems like every month people go into a hold pattern and wait an extra month for the following issue before we can get everyone to accept that what happened in the current issue actually happened. Isn't there at least a *presumption* that she's dead for real, not that she'll survive?

Let the meta-text and subtext be what they'll be. It might be a "Jossverse cliche" if she's dead, but it's a "every other show ever cliche" if she's not.
I have to say I really loved Dracula in this issue. The actual "Buffy vs. Dracula" ep? Ok, especially when Xander so wryly sums up how he's constantly on the receiving end of humiliation, but in the comic? Genius.

"Is someone going to finish this?" to the body in the temple? Giving Xander and Renee the fish eye? I love Dracula!
KingofCretins: There is "presumption" but that is wide open for personal takes. You may feel very strongly that she's dead, and I'll give you that... she does seem toast to me, but others may "presume" that she's not quite done yet, which is equally valid.
The wait for the next issue for confirmation is not ridiculous; arguing something that might seem "presumptuous" however, is rather.

Nata: IF, Renee died, I don't think that Willow would be able to revive her. At least S8 Willow wouldn't even try. Renee's "death" while tragic and all, was a natural death. Being killed at the hands of a vampire by the Slayer Scythe doesn't make it unnatural. Therefore, no revival should be possible.

[ edited by wenxina on 2008-05-08 19:16 ]
Rather than "same old," this arc feels like a loveletter to the Buffyverse to me. And not in the "it's going to be just like the good old days" way but in the "ahh, the fun and dramatic possibilities of a Buffy script" way. I think Drew Goddard must have had a blast writing this.

Oh, and the Dark Horse site might want to make it a little more clear that the author of this particular arc is "acclaimed."

Yeah, it was the same way with that other guy, whatshisname with the baldness. They just need to sell those accolades harder. Maybe if the text blinked.

I get it though-- Dark Horse is hoping people other than the current Buffy fanbase pick up a few issues to try it out. Seems fair to me.
Lemme see now, getting killed by a vampire (an unnatural creature) is natural, even more so when the death is by a weapon forged by prehistoric Guardians using the power of demons? :-) Weird world we play in, for sure. Hee.

And hey, major dealie today. jclemens agreed with me and rowan is suffering from strabismus!
Dana, if you reason it that way *every single vampire bite victim, as well as murder victim of a vampire* (i.e. Jenny Calender) died an unnatural death and is fair game for resurrection.

I really don't think that's the wide net Joss meant to cast back in Season 6 when he threw out that human/mystical, natural/supernatural distinction vis a vis Buffy or Tara. The point of that was to carve out this very narrow, one-shot-deal exception that made it possible to bring Buffy back in Season 6. If Toru had shot Renee through the head, would that not be a natural death?

I thought it was pretty obvious, both then and now, that the point was the efficient cause of the death. Buffy was killed by mystical dimensional energy doing something shady and undefined to her body/blood = supernatural. Buffy drowned after passing out from blood loss from a vampire bite = natural. Renee was skewered through many major organs by a piece of wood on the end of a metal rod. Gross, yes, but unmistakably natural in this context. Toru and the mystical qualities of the scythe are incidental, window dressing. If this isn't a "natural" death for the purposes of the Buffyverse's metaphysics, than there really isn't any such thing.
Yep, KoC, have to agree with that - it doesn't matter who happens to fling that chunk of lead or sliver of wood, those things are still of this world.
About the issue of natural vs. unnatural deaths: Thank you KingofCretins. What he said... really.
Dana5140 & wenxina, Willow could revive Renee if she needed/wanted to. Let's stroll down Season 6, shall we?

Tara's death= natural/dead as a door bell. She died, Willow mourned first, then asked for mystical assistance. Denied, she got really mad.

Buffy was also shot too, and on the verge of death. She was taken to the hospital, and the doctors couldn't save her and she FLATLINED before Willow entered. Willow came in, magically removed the bullet, grew new skin, got the heart pumping, and brought new life to Buffy.

Death by bullet= natural death (see Tara).

Ta da! It can be done. Just need to get the timing right. :)
As for Buffy setting the vamp on fire, I think this shows where Buffy's headed, the "new Buffy" so to speak. She's becoming a hard-edge, the thing she feared most in Season 5, only this time she's not turning away. She has a job to do, a war to fight.

The old Buffy would have said, "I can make your end quick and painless, or long and sorely painful." The new Buffy lets the enemy squirm, assume that if he cooperates she'll let him go, and then kills him long and painfully anyway.

In a sense, Buffy has become a user. She used Satsu for comfort, and just now, she used the vampire for information. She's cut herself off, and she's going to have a rough ride because of it. Will she end up using Willow, Xander or Giles in some way?

I predict many fiery sparks are headed this way.
An intense issue with a lot of developments.Probably my favorite issue of the Wolves At the Gate arc so far.I thought last issue was slow with the buildup.

I loved the Buffy/Satsu moment.Buffy has a history of doing this with others she cared about before(Dawn,Xander,Angel,Spike,Joyce).But I love how Satsu wouldn't let her.I had begun to really like Renee but Satsu I was sort of in-different to up to this point.This moment pushed me over to really liking her.

Really liked the cute Xander/Renee scene where they share their first kiss.Very sad considering what happens at the end of the issue but Drac has some of the best lines in this one.

Funny scene with Dawn and of course the big payoff shot of having an arc set in Japan with a

What we get next is the shocker and the heartbreaker as Joss's MO rears it's head once again.I believe the last time officially in the verse was the Angel episode,"A Hole In The World" with Fred and Wes/Fred.There's been many before that and now we get the latest for Renee and Xander/Renee.

Unless,their is a last minute surprise next issue(the Jeanty cover having her on it along side the others),Renee is dead.The last few issues I have really warmed to Renee and I feel for Xander.

Poor guy

Cordy dead
Anya dead
Renee dead

I hope he's actually the one who takes out Toru.He deserves to.

I can't wait to see where this takes Xander's arc now in season 8.

Great issue.
Man, if Willow can’t use her mojo to patch up Renée… poor Xander. I got a strange flash about Andrew being there for Xander to lean on rather than it being Buffy. *blink* Wonder if Dracula and Andrew would get into a cat fight.

Oh, well, the thought was amusing while it lasted.

I actually liked Renée. She won me over completely when she wisely translated Xander’s babble and kissed him. Sure they grossed out Drac, but that was half the fun. *ponders* I can’t help but wonder in the next issue how big a smile Dracula would have… the fiend. Until, Renée heals like new and Dracula starts making jabs on how Willow smells again.

Side note: I kinda wished it was Satsu that was stabbed (I’m on the suspicious traitor camp--- she slept with Buffy! Nothing good comes from that. Fandom fact *wink*), but the spatter on Xander right away hinted to Renée. Plus, if Satsu was indeed the fox in the overly-hen house, it wouldn’t make sense to smack her off with the Whedon stick so quickly.

Dawn. Love that she came ready with gloves for convenient building smashing.

Korkster is probably on to something. Not to be too much a Rolemaster geek, but how many rounds does Willow have to act until soul departure? If we saw what we saw, and if Renee's going to end up alive, then it's up to Willow to re-grow Renee a heart, associated major vessels, and a spine before brain death. But then again, if she could do that so soon after teleporting Giant Dawn from Scotland, we have an even worse case of deus ex wicca going on, which must have some consequences sometime...
I personally found the fire-in-a-box thing more disturbing than anything else... it felt to me to be more along the lines of abuses of power, etc. that we've commented on in other places.

As for all this about Renee being the betrayer, or Xander, et al., have we considered the possibility of it being Buffy herself? For that matter, are we even sure who it is who gets betrayed in the first place?
Speaking of betrayal isn't the giant red magnifying orb of imminent onlineness rather similar in appearance to the broken red orby thing in the original vision of Buffy being betrayed? Not identical but they're both the colour of the Twilight symbol on Roden's book or for that matter the dried blood marking General Voll's chest.
I think that the most likely places this can go for Xander is either completely off the deep end, Wesley-style, or toward an eventual Buffy/Xander hook-up. I've seen (and didn't even come up with!) the argument that they are each being given a palate clearing relationship that will simultaneously get fans over their old relationships and provide motivation toward each other. Right now I don't know which way is more likely though, that they end up together or that Xander is going to lose his shit completely over this. Maybe both?

I have no problem with the fireboxing of vampires on general principle, but especially not here where thus far, that has been the only thing they've come up with to kill any of them.
This is one of those rare occasions where I made a comment in jest and had it taken seriously (usually it is the reverse :-))- I was just riffing on the fact that the entire idea of a vampire is not natural; ergo, death, though by a natural mechanism (ie, bullet) came from an unnatural creature- and so this world we are in is one that is an odd one where the vamps are actually a natural part of that world.

BTW, WIllow has used magic twice to save or bring Buffy back from death, once with her resurrection spell(when Buffy was really dead) and once when she had the bullet removed (when Buffy was dying). But I think you need to tread carefully here with her use of that kind of magic; it is a bit too much deus ex machina for me. She can do anything, really, that the story requires her to with the right magic, whatever that is. Except apparently, bring Tara back. :-(
I agree with you, Dana5140, that "Willow saves the day" is a song well hummed, but no one really knows the words. I'd much rather learn a new tune.

I just brought that up to point out that it is possible to bring a person of "natural" death back to life.

No painted corners here.
Buffy was also shot too, and on the verge of death. She was taken to the hospital, and the doctors couldn't save her and she FLATLINED before Willow entered. Willow came in, magically removed the bullet, grew new skin, got the heart pumping, and brought new life to Buffy.

But she wasn't actually dead. There's a difference from saving someone's life as opposed to actually bringing them back from the dead.
Loved the issue. I'm sad to see Renee go if indeed she is dead. She was my favorite red shirt... I mean baby slayer.

My theory (since everyone must have one) is that this doesn't so much push Xander to be badass or angsty so much as angry. With Buffy. The betrayal she'll never see coming... I could see how this could drive Xander to Twilight's team to prevent the loss of anymore slayers.

Of course, if Twilight is Riley (and I kinda hope he is, because it would give Riley some added badass cool points in my book) then that may be the betrayal plain and simple.
I personally found the fire-in-a-box thing more disturbing than anything else.

Me too, qui_ca. It seemed gratuitously cruel. Buffy isn't just, as Giles once instructed her, using her stake to "plunge and move on." She's lingering before the kill, giving the vampire a few moments to contemplate the agony of fire-death before she smites him. That's a disturbing turn for her character.
But... fireboxing, so far, *is* the "plunge and move on" of dealing with these vamps. I'm not seeing the problem here, I guess. She should have let the murderous vermin live because the usual stuff isn't working? And "I never agreed to that" being the obligatory witty repartee?

Marion, I have actually given much thought to the same thing you're suggesting about Xander -- but even then, the first logical step would be him going a little badass. But I still hope so much that it won't happen. I mean, the story for 11 years for us as an audience has been about the three of them, right? Shoulder to shoulder, like on the brilliant Chen cover of the "The Long Way Home" trade paperback? I get the how Joss could do it, I just frankly don't get the why he would.
But isn't fire just another quick way to kill a vamp, like a stake? Vamps are killed by: a stake to the heart, beheading, push to daylight or being set on fire.
They can't die slowly from fireburn - they'll just dust in a second like from staking. Remember Spike setting a vamp on fire in Bargaining? He wasn't cruel then, he was just creative, as that vamp was too quick to stake.

Buffy was cruel here only in letting him hope he'd escape non-dusted. She wasn't torturing him, she was dusting him like she would any other vampire, in the only way she could (as he'd escape otherwise). Well, letting him escape un-dusted would be irresponsible. She was irresponsible with Spike and Dru as well, and later with Spike in Lover's Walk, and now with Dracula, but those were rules bent for story reasons.
But she wasn't actually dead. There's a difference from saving someone's life as opposed to actually bringing them back from the dead.

True, Simon, there is a difference. Saving someone's life could be as simple as shoving them out of the way of a moving car that may have inevitably killed them. However, this kind of works against you. See below:

opposed to actually bringing them back from the dead:

Xander saved Buffy's life by giving her CPR in Season 1. However, he also brought her back from the dead because she is, technically, dead. She even comments this on several occasions, one fondly remembered being in OMWF: "Hey, I died twice." Once in Season 1 (Xander brought her back), once in Season 5 (Willow brought her back). As long as Buffy's technically dead, she's dead.

She was technically dead from the bullet in Season 6. Like I said, she flatlined in the ER before Willow worked her mojo.

I do agree with you, though, that there is a difference in ability. Willow obviously has the power to bring people back to life after months of being dead, and also reverse a fatal blow immediately following death's kiss. Xander has the limited ability to bring those back from the dead immeadiately after they die, and only with luck & certain criteria met (i.e, no bullets to the heart).
Poor Renee!

I thought Xander had changed his outfit when they were hiding on the tree but sadly he was just wearing a jacket over his stupid outfit. Please let him wear something else soon.
She also set her first high school gym on fire to kill a bunch of vampires. So death by flames is not in itself a cruel death. But hanging the possibility of release... that's cold, so I agree with Nata here.
However, given the nature of the trap and all, it almost seems like Toru had foreseen Buffy coming in, one way or another. He even said that it was likely that she wouldn't hit from the front.
I've been playing with the idea of that particular vampire committing harakiri, for the sole purpose of playing Buffy and Co.
Just musing...

korkster: Xander bringing Buffy back from the dead was a natural (i.e. human way of doing things. So I don't see where this line of argument was going.
However, I acknowledge your point that Buffy did flatline when Willow removed the bullet. Whether it was because she wasn't entirely gone (i.e. not brain dead or because of Slayer healing abilities) or a case of Dark Willow being able to bend the rules of nature, I don't know. Could be, as you mentioned, she can reverse death should no major organs be damaged. However, I'm more inclined to writing the flatlining off to dramatic urgency than to try to retcon canon.
Like I said, she flatlined in the ER before Willow worked her mojo.

This is of course relying on the (non-textual) assumption that she actually coded and it wasn't a case of her monitor being knocked out of position or such as the medical personnel fled the room.
It seemed gratuitously cruel. Buffy isn't just, as Giles once instructed her, using her stake to "plunge and move on." She's lingering before the kill, giving the vampire a few moments to contemplate the agony of fire-death before she smites him. That's a disturbing turn for her character.

That isn't new for Buffy. There's a scene (in season 2, I believe) where Buffy is questioning a vampire for information. When she doesn't get it fast enough, she pours holy water into the vampire's mouth, then holds her hand under its chin.
menomegirl, I think it was a cross that she put in the vampire's mouth. Unless that was another time. Either way, your point is well made.
I thought the firebox was cool. Buffy needed information, and she got it. There was no reason for her to let the vamp live as he probably would've run off to warn the others.

I always figured that Willow only removed the bullet from Buffy, and Buffy's healing slayer power took over from there. Flatlining doesn't mean dead anyway. It means the heart stopped. You can live for a few moments after the heart has stopped. Plenty of people have been brought back after flatlining even without a witch and slayer healing.
I agree with the bit about flatlining, but I don't think that Slayer healing is that fast. Pretty sure that Dark Willow sped up the process as the wound healed in seconds.
Poor Xander =/ I really liked Renee, ever since that scene on the balcony where he asks her out. It was cool for Xander to have a spunky, *gasp* normalish girl for a change (as opposed to demons and... demons, or bitchy cheerleaders, or best-friend-future-lesbians).

Only negative comment is that I thought a couple of the Drac jokes were kind of hammy (partly because I think the accompanying art overdid the joke a bit). Otherwise, grade A stuff here.
I guess I gave up comics too long ago to know what Green Lantern Syndrome and Woman in rEfrigerator mean. While I'm curious, extremely so, perhaps I also don't really want that knowledge in my head.

And it's not that Willwo mourned Tara briefly first but restored operating-room Buffy 's life immediately. Even we don't go for more plausible explanations of Buffy's revival (Slayer healing, Willow just did the operation more quickly, the monitor flstlined ebcause it was unplugged) the fact is DArkWillow was brimming with magic and ways to use it. "Seeing Red" Willow was still cold turkey and didn't have he rmojo handy. Also, even if Buffy did a real flatline, it was just clinical death, a moribund state. Tara was already very dead (no heart left *to* beta) while she was still standing up. No window.

And Cordy's was faked, I say! Fie upon it, you're all as gullible as Angel, that you are.

I don't ever like to hear about floating red orbs. I get disturbing visions of socially backward kids running around shouting "Bah-LOON Bah-LOON."

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2008-05-09 01:27 ]
Question- if, and I say if, Renee really is dead, what is the chance that Dracula can turn her and bring her back as a vamp? Oh, the irony if that were to occur! (Truth in lending: this is not my idea, but I think it has merit).

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2008-05-09 03:09 ]
I refuse to believe Renee is dead! It's just too much, too obvious... yeah, no, it can't be... I remain unconvinced until next issue.
My favorite parts were the big fire box of doom, SO badass, and the snippet of Buffy/Satsu interaction that was something other than depressing or awkward. Yay!
I really really really don't want Satsu to be the betrayer! Batsu makes me so giddy!
Question- if, and I say is, Renee really is dead, what is the chance that Dracula can turn her and bring her back as a vamp? Oh, the irony if that were to occur! (Truth in lending: this is not my idea, but I think it has merit).

First, I think it's nearly impossible. We don't know if it's even possible -- she's been drained of most of her blood, sure, but does siring require that it be drained *by* the sire, or at least by a vampire? And aside from which, she does have to be able to drink it, which I really doubt she can do at this point (I think she's already dead in that panel anyway).

Second, why on earth would anyone let him do that to her? Fate worse than death and all that? Soulless vampire, demon sets up shop, walks and talks and remembers your life, but it isn't you? Gunn feeling his greatest personal failure was that his sister got vamped, and staking her rather than letting her do it to him?

I guess I gave up comics too long ago to know what Green Lantern Syndrome and Woman in rEfrigerator mean. While I'm curious, extremely so, perhaps I also don't really want that knowledge in my head.

Well, here's the explanation in spoilers --

The part about the whole "women in refridgerators"/"Gwen Stacy syndrome" watchdog thing is that... the most famous example of that device in comic lore I can think of is from the *same book* as Gwen Stacy, and over a decade earlier, involving a male -- Ben Parker. Uncle Ben was killed by a burglar (in the comics) and a carjacker (in the films) as a way to highlight Spidey's irresponsibility and to give him his motivation. And it was controversy to the amount of zero. To call it scandalous in the GL or Gwen Stacy reiterations of the device is basically to carve out a rule where it's okay in any case except female victim/male superhero -- and what kind of shite is that?

But I digress.

I still prefer Satsu as the traitor vs. any Scooby, and prefer it prohibitively.
Marion the Geek-You're right-it was a cross, not holy water. Different object of torture, same method.
Re: the fire-box death of the vampire. As many of you pointed out, Buffy had to kill the vampire -- she is the, I mean, a, slayer. Agreed. No cruelty there. And Buffy has used extreme tactics in the past (the cross in the mouth example from Season 1, as menomegirl reminded us). But did she really have to taunt ("I never agreed to that") the vampire while igniting the lighter? She wasn't making a quip. She wanted the vampire to know in his final seconds that his fear of being burned was indeed going to come true. What does that gain? He had already told Buffy everything. Also, why did she have to burn him? The Carolina's Grasp box apparently is permeable, otherwise how could Willow pour gasoline over him and how could Buffy light him on fire? She could have staked him, which surely would have been more humane than inviting him to think about his agonizing death by fire and then setting him ablaze. I see cruelty in these choices, and that seems new for Buffy.
Flatlining does mean dead, medically. No two ways about it. Actually, any time a person has no pulse, he or she is in cardiac arrest: dead. Brain death is another matter entirely, but brain damage will progress quickly after death, absent effective CPR.

Actually, to be technically accurate, flatlining (asystole) generally means someone isn't coming back. Lots of people whose hearts are producing no discernable pulse have some other sort of non-flatline pattern--ventricular fibrillation, pulseless electrical activity, or the like. If the heart's not even trying to beat--asystole--then it's relatively likely the heart muscle is severely damaged or dead.

ETA: Oh, than the point of all this is that she was likely MORE dead in Seeing Red than in Prophecy Girl.

[ edited by jclemens on 2008-05-09 02:53 ]
Pity the poor vampire who, left to his own devices, was going to kill Renee.

Seriously, is it any less capricious than bonding with Holden and still staking him? Any less arbitrary than staking the vampire who tried to beg off a fight with her because she smelled like Doublemeat food?
Buffy torches a vamp in a mime box and declares war and totally doesn't know how to deal with Satsu - I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that Buffy is not entirely well, she's messed up and careless, which makes complete sense with all she's been through, and I'm very interested to see where it's all going.
Satsu is a very fascinating character for whom I have much sympathy. Part of me wants to see her happy, but part of me wants to be blown away by interesting stories, so I'm just gonna go along for the ride and see what happens.
It's nice to see Dawn cloverfielding it.
I'm no doctor, but that on that last page there looked like a pretty dead Renee. However, on one of the covers for the next issue, she appears to be alive and standing. I smell some sort of a clever mislead - much too clever for me to smell in detail - one way or the other. I for one am looking forward to the details in the next issue. The plot thickens. Whether Renee is dead or not, I doubt there's any reason to suspect that this will play out anything like any of the previous post-kiss deaths. I have a feeling we're getting an entirely new take on the trope, that's gonna turn every expectation upside down. If not, Joss and the gang have gotten lazy, which does not compute. Either way, I do hope this is the final goodbye to the ol' kiss'n'die.

Anyway, great issue, in spite of the ol' "funny trick" (which is starting to become slightly annoying, but I'm holding out for the next issue before I make a final judgement on the matter).
Goddard's still doing great, and Jeanty is not getting nearly enough love for the awesome work he's doing.
1starbuckstown: The Carolina's Grip box was only permeable because Willow made it so. If you look at that panel. she says something just as she sticks the spout of the gas tank in.
Also, the spell is a containment spell. It's possible that the vampire can still turn to mist, but not get away, so staking might be pointless. Torching him however... that would prove effective. In any case, would you really want to stick your arm in there?

As for taunting him... well, they taunted her by breaching her stronghold, stealing her Scythe, killing her girls viciously... I'd say that it's become rather personal. no?
It's been pointed out that she's been this violent and cold-hearted before, so why not now? As to what could be gained from torching the vampire? 1. It's one vampire less to deal with. 2. It's a message, a declaration of war.
So why the heck not?
Yeah I don't see anything cruel about what Buffy did to the vampire either.

He's evil, he's a killer, and she's a *vampire slayer* I don't see it as anymore cruel if she had staked him, or cut his head off.

Buffy's only problem with Faith "living large" on the vampire in 'Faith, Hope & Trick' wasn't about the well-being of the vampire, but about what it meant for Faith to get so wrapped up in the violence.

Killing vamps, in anyway, has never really been an issue on the show.

They deserve to die, and don't deserve kindness from Buffy either.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2008-05-09 04:30 ]

[ edited by Sirk on 2013-04-02 19:32 ]
Actually, Vampmogs, Buffy's main interest in Faith "living large" on the vamp was that Buffy's ass was in a pretty big sling in the meantime. She left her wingman, so to speak. But the point is still the same -- Buffy has never tried to be humane about staking vampires. She taunts and mocks them constantly, it's part of her appeal. So this time she made it more harsh than usual, I actually grade her high on style points.

Speaking of style, loved everyone's clothes in this issue. Buffy continues to have nifty t-shirts hiding amongst her tactical gear. And I'm a big fan of the tactical stuff she and alpha team favor. Xander's coat was pretty dang cool, too. Renee in schoolgirl uniform was much more appreciable before she was all brutally killed and stuff, but still. I am starting to agree that Xander needs something else to wear from time to time. It's a comic book medium now, and that is a place of uniforms, but still. I was disappointed that Satsu didn't have all her pieces of flair, though -- no purple teddy bear shoulder pad or rude girl buttons.
This is in response to comments made a while back in this thread.

As far as what an author can or cannot (or should or should not) do with his stories (I'm thinking about the refrigerator thing and the dead lesbian thing), I think over analysis is completely capable of killing a story. Before hearing all about the cliche of the murderous lesbian out for revenge on this site, I was completely unaware of such a thing. And I'm gay, and I have lesbian friends. And we read, and watch TV.

Maybe I'm just ignorant, but I think my point is that yes, when someone's lover is killed by horrible soulless demons (or Warren), they are going to want revenge. I don't care what gender roles are at play here, the murder of a loved one is bound to spark a certain amount of insanity.

I guess we'll have to see how the next arc plays out, but I would not be surprised or upset if Xander goes all apeshit and heroic.
This entry and the Angel one are now linked to on the sidebar for ease of discussion.
Uncle Ben was killed by a burglar (in the comics) and a carjacker (in the films) as a way to highlight Spidey's irresponsibility and to give him his motivation. And it was controversy to the amount of zero. To call it scandalous in the GL or Gwen Stacy reiterations of the device is basically to carve out a rule where it's okay in any case except female victim/male superhero -- and what kind of shite is that?

The kind of shite where numbers matter. The original ‘women in refrigerators’ site simply listed superheroes who had been killed, maimed or depowered in comic books to demonstrate how much ridiculously more common these fates were for female than male heroes. The more specific idea that such killings, maimings and disempowerings were done to motivate their male counterparts is something that seems to have been take up by later critcs. The underlying problem may not be so much that audiences and writers enjoy seeing women killed, maimed or disempowered more than men but the presumption that the (white) male characters are the ones who matter and the women (of color) are only there to further their arcs. Buffy shouldn’t fall into this category and does indeed provide many counter instances of male characters suffering (but surving) and that suffering motivating the heroine. It’s also hard to think of a male or female damsel on the show whose sole purpose was to give Buffy or Willow a reason to go apeshit when he/she died although that’s more an issue of good writing than sexual politics.

I'm no doctor, but that on that last page there looked like a pretty dead Renee. However, on one of the covers for the next issue, she appears to be alive and standing. I smell some sort of a clever mislead - much too clever for me to smell in detail - one way or the other.

I smell a mislead too or at least the possibility of one. Compare the previous issue –Aiko’s actual death moment occurs off screen, we don’t see the body until next week but Toru doesn’t just kill her, he licks his lips and the story moves on. If this week's episode had opened with her being revived after instant teleportation to Slayer A&E that would have been a big cheat. Renee's stabbing through the chest by contrast is the very last panel and screams cliffhanger. Which could be cliffhanger as to how Xander, Buffy or the new slayers will react or could be cliffhanger as to is this really what it looks like? Or is it going to be another case of Buffy being shot at the end of Seeing Red or Faith being turned by Angelus at the end of Release.

[ edited by hayes62 on 2008-05-09 09:24 ]
Wow. That last page was truly shocking, after all of this issue's good vibes leading up to it. My theory as to how this is going to play out, though, is that with Renee on the brink of death, Dracula's going to save his buddy Xander's love interest the only way he knows, thus making her the first Vampire Vampire Slayer. This especially makes sense given the line in the last issue about Xander having visted with Drac after Anya's death. Perhaps we'll even see a flashback to that visit-and Xander's grief then compared to the happiness he was finding with Renee-next issue. I really hope that's how it plays out, at least, because it's far more original than the standard "Couple's Happiness is Quickly Snatched Away by Violence" set up. It's starting to get gimmicky.
For all our talk about the subject, I really think that 8.15 won't even *raise the question* of whether or not Renee might be saved or brought back, and that her being dead will be as matter of fact and obvious as 8.14 was meant to reveal.

I'm unconvinced on the "women in refridgerators" thing -- every "woman in a refridgerator" is a moment that's derivative of a moment with a male victim and a male hero, family members. So the idea that the device is rooted in sexual politics, or the notion that motivation of (white) male superhero is more important than the life and dignity of a (non-white) female character is simply untrue. It's agenda-reading. I'd half expect that the fact that Bruce Wayne's mother being killed in the mugging that provides his pathos is proof of misogyny in the Batman franchise -- never mind that his father was killed right alongside. Speaking of Batman... isn't Jason Todd a "woman in the refridgerator" that, inconveniently, isn't a woman?
KoC it's a statistical argument that any one instance neither proves nor disproves, merely adds to the trend. Or doesn't. The original list can be found at

As far as I can tell it covers Marvel comics up to 1999 and just lists the female superheroines but reads pretty damningly. I'm not a comics person myself but no-one who is seems to be arguing against the simple assertion that these things happen disproportionately to female superheroes. In the same way that slasher movie victims are disproportionately female and blonde.

[ edited by hayes62 on 2008-05-09 12:15 ]
Because comic readers are predominantly male.

BTW, on Buffy, what was the ratio of prominent women who died to prominent men? On the good side, that is (so, take Warren out of the quation).

Joyce, Tara, Anya, Jenny, Kendra, Buffy, Buffy

Jonathan, Forest (evil at the time), ANgelus (not dead, really)
KoC it's a statistical argument

Well, it would be if it were at all concerned with statistics, but its not. Its just a list that isn't compared against any other list with no statistical analysis performed against it. What we really need is a list of de-powered/murdered/abused male and female characters or it doesn't mean all that much (which is a shame, because it could shock some creators out of lazy habits/traps they've seemingly fallen into). What it does show, however, is that comics were long (this has been changing) targeted at adolescent straight males and so a lot of female characters ordeals were used as motivation to drive male heroes to heroic action. Not inherently sexist, necessarily, but a big lame cliche by this point in time. The same can be said of the death of the heroes' parents, etc. Do read Devin Grayson's essay, though. Well thought out and fascinating.

ETA - Check out Christy Marx' response as well.

Joyce, Tara, Anya, Jenny, Kendra, Buffy, Buffy

Jonathan, Forest (evil at the time), ANgelus (not dead, really)

Warren (not really dead), Wesley (not really dead? does he count - he was a Buffy character), and Buffy always comes back, not sure if she counts. Does Jesse count? He looked like he was a major character! Darla offed herself.
I would be totally down with Drac vamping Renee. Seriously, that would be insanely awesome. The only problem is, it looks like Toru got her right through the motherfucking heart, which kind of makes that an impossibility.

I've got a really cruel thought in my head where Willow expends some magic to save Renee (she couldn't do it for Aiko--or, if we wanna bring it up again, Tara--because she had been dead for too long), and while doing killed. Willow in exchange for Renee. That would be dramatic motivation for everyone.
The argument is one about statistics, the list is part of the raw data from which the argument is made. The point made by the site was that the list constituted pretty much every female superhero. Readers, I assume, were intended to draw their own conclusions from whether they could come with a similarly comprehensive list of male superheroes. I mean, I assume that's how the list can be said to show that comics were targeted at adolescent males.

Joyce, Tara, Anya, Jenny, Kendra, Buffy, Buffy

Jonathan, Forest (evil at the time), ANgelus (not dead, really)

If Angelus doesn't count neither does Buffy either time. Forrest was killed, turned evil and killed so I guess he counts the first time. Maggie Walsh was evil but killed by an even bigger bad does she merit a half point? How prominent is prominent? Jesse was around for two episodes Deputy Finch for several.
While I get some of the points that Gail is trying to make, it would be more effective if it came out and said more and/or had additional information about the fates of male heroes as well (and I see John Bartol's Dead men Defrosting list, but its less precise/specific. I also find the 'specific statistics aren't the point' to be a bit of a sidestep. I get what the point really is, but it makes it seem [note I didn't say that it is, just that it makes it seem] disingenuous and/or imprecise). As I said above, it certainly does highlight the laziness of comic writers in using such shortcuts, but it could be even more effective. Good points on Finch/Jesse, I would say that Jesse was presented as a major character (specifically to show us that major characters could be lost). YMMV as to whether that qualifies him or disqualifies him :)
"They liked the book the better the more it made them cry."
- Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer
I would be totally down with Drac vamping Renee. Seriously, that would be insanely awesome.

She'd be evil. :(
I would not consider Finch or Jesse prominent in the sense that they were characters we had really come to care for. If I use that particular "definition," it is clear that the women have it far wrose on Buffy (and let's stick with Buffy).

Tara, Joyce, Anya, Jenny, Kendra
Wait, are you trying to say that Tara's an important character? ;)
Larry was a somewhat prominent continuing character; more than AMy less than Jonathan.

And, I really don't think (and watch Joss prove me wrong with the next issue) Joss is capable of grasping the repetitive nature of what he's been doing. It just won't occur to him that it's a problem or even a pattern; I don't think his mind works that way.
I thought this was a really good issue. Great cliff hanger. But seeing as Renee shouldn't have been killed cause she's a woman or something like that, I'll read it again and find faults with it.

Also Buffy killing the vampire was very "no more second chances, I'm that sort of a man". Drew for Who, that's what I say.
DaddyCatALSO: "And, I really don't think (and watch Joss prove me wrong with the next issue) Joss is capable of grasping the repetitive nature of what he's been doing. It just won't occur to him that it's a problem or even a pattern; I don't think his mind works that way."

Gotta say, find that pretty patronizing... "not capable of grasping"? And I'm pretty sure we're not capable of fully grasping or summarizing "how his mind works" based on our viewing of his TV shows and a few movies and reading a few comics and scripts... there are clues and signs and indications and so forth, but wow! I find that judgment altogether too sweeping and unwarranted.

And personally, I find Joss' "repetitive" use of "death following his character's love and attachment to other characters" to be a "pattern" based on the nature of love and death pretty much throughout humanity and the universe as we know it... but hey - maybe that's just me.
ZG: I know, I know. I'm never clear on that issue. ;-)
Behold, the base-rate fallacy -- there are, generally speaking, more female character overall than male character, especially Buffy-side, ergo, it follows logically that more killed off characters have been female than male. That is even *more* likely to be the case in Season 8, where Andrew and Giles are at best "recurring" characters leaving regular male characters numbering exactly ONE.
That would be true if the decisions being made were being randomly made, which is not the case. You are offering a too simplistic statistical model.
Are there more female characters overall in BtVS (the TV series) than male? A quick list I made just five minutes ago came up with more males than females. So presuming I missed out a bunch of folk I'm going for an even ratio.
Gojira is what the Japanese call Godzilla.

Or, rather, Godzilla is what English-speaking people call Gojira.
Re: Women in Refridgerators

I think there is an important missing piece of data. Motive.

Sometimes writers write their fantasy, their wish, how they think things ought to be or just what turns them on (i.e. torture porn).

Sometimes writers write stories that disturb them, their worst fears, the terribleness of what is but shouldn't be.

Toss in the variable of the audience where some end up being turned on by something the writer intended to be disturbing, or disturbed by something the writer intended to be a turn on or cool.

I'm just not sure if the numbers can say anything more than both women and men seem to be more interested in the death and torture of women than of men. But the reasons for that interest vary.

I jokingly refer to Lifetime as "Television for Victims", and I'm not the only one. One could easily make a lengthy list of dead, tortured and/or victimized female characters in books, tv and film targeted towards women.

I think the gender bias is that strength is inherent in men (emerging in times of crisis or tragedy that happens around them), but women have to learn to be strong through experience (tragedy that happens to them).

IOW Male protagonists are born with the potential to be heroes. Female protagonists are born with the potential to be victims-turned-surivors-turned-heroes (repeat the cycle 'til she's dead or insane). Of course there are exceptions.
QuoterGal; I am a very experienced egotist, remember, It was intended to be both sweeping and patronizing.
Your most worthy mission accomplished, then.
Lazy, lazy writing. I hope it's a giant misdirect, but this sort of cliffhanger is lazy anyway. The first time I've truly been disappointed with Season Eight.
GrrrlRomeo - a most excellent post.
We enjoy seeing victimized women? Or we just so used to it, so thoroughly saturated with it, that the alternative just "feels" wrong, and so the only way for the strong woman to come through is in reversing the stereotype? Or that authors find it empowering to reverse or use said trope to a positive end?

Interesting that we read the crimes in the origin stories of several male characters as being distractions from their original strength or reminders to be faithful to it, rather than instances of victimization that are subverted... (you witness your parents murdered walking out of the theater, and that's not an instance of victimization?)
I only made it halfway through the comments and I apologize if someone already raised this point but...the obvious question to me is: Why doesn't giantess Dawn just smash the lens?
I enjoyed the issue as I always do. Sad ending, Xander just ain't catching a break and things aren't looking very good for Renee either.
In a story filled with women well there are going to be some women dying. By my count there are only 3 male lead or recurring characters in the book (Xander, Giles and Andrew) and at least a dozen women so it's going to be a lot easier to see women die than men.
About the women in the fridge dealymabob, if the main character is a male then of course it's going to be a female that is put in danger and yes sometimes killed because they're the person the lead cares the most about. How many incarnations of Steve Trevor have died in how many ways over the years? Death is just a part of story, especially in an action story. The fact that people care so much either way says they're doing their jobs. If you don't hate it sometimes then they're not taking chances. Because when you take chances you fail sometimes. Even it's just a case of it connecting with you personally the fact that so many other people did means the book is doing just fine. I mean I hate "Some Assemby Required" but I still love Season 2.
I can't wait for the next issue.
Again, statistics do not matter here. Every decision that is made, everything that ever happens, is a writing decision. You cannot apply random chance to this argument to dismiss the writing decisions Joss and colleagues make. It does not track.
Again, you can say that all that you want, but statistics are pertinent everywhere. To be clear, there are ways that they are relevant and ways that they are irrelevant in this particular discussion, but they are not completely irrelevant.
It's also a writing decision to write drama focused on women and empowerment, and to give those women superpowers to use in battle against literal demons. Female casualties are part of that world. Renee is not peripheral here. Her significance more than a potential romantic connection to Xander. She's a Slayer walking into an ambush. It does her great discredit to insist that her death (if it is that) be viewed as a plot device in a Xander-centric plotline.

That's why BtVS works. Women are not just the significant others to the heros. They are the heros, mainly. People can point to the deaths of individual female characters, but to ignore the surrounding narrative of female empowerment strikes me as very short-sighted.
BTW, WIllow has used magic twice to save or bring Buffy back from death, once with her resurrection spell(when Buffy was really dead) and once when she had the bullet removed (when Buffy was dying). But I think you need to tread carefully here with her use of that kind of magic; it is a bit too much deus ex machina for me. She can do anything, really, that the story requires her to with the right magic, whatever that is. Except apparently, bring Tara back. :-(

Aah, this again.

You are taking rather too seriously - personally - what is a storytelling device and nothing more. The 'rules' surrounding who gets to be brought back from the dead on Buffy are there to enable to the writers to tell certain kinds of stories, not to unproductively constrain them; they don't actually describe our world and they don't particularly bear on it.

In other words, from a storytelling standpoint, none of the details of this 'How can Renee come back?' garment-rending and hair-pulling matter at all; what matters is that you hope Renee makes it through somehow, that you're emotionally invested when we're dong hanging off the cliff. In 2002, what mattered was that you felt the pain of surviving Tara's death and the horror of Willow's reaction/loss-of-self. Trying to lawyer your way into moral 'correctness' here is strictly at odds with the letting-go-is-best, moving-on-is-best story of Buffy; that sort of action is about comfort, and even a two-year-old can tell you that the hardest thing in the world is, um, to live in it.

(Sidebar: I hate that line. It's a complex line - I take it to mean that really really living in the world, facing fear and doubt and making community in spite of it (the true definition of faith), is infinitely harder than living selfishly, disconnectedly, and I do love that moral outlook. Plus it's a neat line, poetically: Joss switches the emphasis from 'thing-in-the-world' to 'world-as-antagonist' across that simple central verb, and the anticlimax is quiet and desperate all at once (because of the two ways in which it's spoken on the show). So I can see why it's a good line, in other words. But for better or worse it bears the weight of summing up the entire moral outlook of the Buffyverse, and it always feels kind of inarticulate, in the way Whedon's characters can be (with their endless incantations along the lines of 'No, I just...[long pause, sigh]'). I twin it in my mind with Calamity Jane's profane insight on Deadwood: 'Every takes takes figuring out all over again how to fucking live' (or something like that). Hmm...maybe it's that I think of Joss Whedon as extremely articulate about emotions, very much in touch with his own feelings and those of his characters, and I sometimes wish he would give them freer rhetorical rein. Then again I've been watching John From Cincinnati again, which is David Milch's most declamatory work (good god those magnificent speeches!), and I guess I'm in a certain mood of late. OK sidebar over.)

All of which is separate from the rules-lawyering that makes people cry 'Unfair! Unfair!' when someone gets to live and bloody Tara doesn't. If you've managed to watch hundreds of hours of Joss Whedon's TV stories without learning or reinforcing the lesson that life is not fair, and fictional life (which is in Joss's hands partly didactic in aim) much less so - then you've misinterpreted Joss's offer of transformation as a promise of escape. Next thing you'll be telling me we all live forever if we just love one another enough...

Me, I think Renee's not toast. Somehow. I hope she makes it. I can't imagine caring right now about the mechanism by which that might be accomplished; your heart can go out to someone, even a fictional character, while your head sticks to more important matters. You know? (As if your metaphor-heart wasn't actually situated in your non-metaphor-head. But you know what I mean!)
Has a slayer ever been wounded by the scythe before?
waxbanks; I agree that things Xes aren't necessarily unfair because of things Ys. And that unfairness can be realistic. But they can also be inherently unfair to the point of damaging the integrity of the story as well. So arguments should be refuted rather than dismissed; I admit whining isn't refutable but legit arguments can be raised at times.

And if the mind is an epiphenomenon then perhaps it isnt' localizable.
We all knew that if Xander had a crush of any sort, they were susceptible to death. That's how his stories play for now. There will come a time when that's no longer true, but it's not time yet.

As for Renee's death: She was not specifically targeted to provoke Xander. She was part of a team that stupidly walked into a trap. In that sense, she's just another Slayer down. However, the writers knew she was the one to die which makes it not an accident. There are many possible ways this will play out and we just have to wait and see.

I was wondering about Dawn and the lens too.
Wow, who'd ever think that people who fight demons might get hurt?

If you don't want to read about people dying, ask Dark Horse to publish a Gilmore Girls Season 8 comic.
dingoes8 wrote:
Wow, who'd ever think that people who fight demons might get hurt?

If you don't want to read about people dying, ask Dark Horse to publish a Gilmore Girls Season 8 comic.

I don't think there is any need for a remark like that. This has been a fascinating discussion which has made me think about aspects of the show, the comics and comics in general in a new way. No-one is under any delusion that people aren't going to die in BtVS but we can certainly have an interesting debate about who and why.

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