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"She'll turn you in before you can say ... 'Don't turn me in'."
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June 04 2008

(SPOILER) For the discussion of Buffy #15. It's the final part of Drew Goddard's Buffy season 8 'Wolves at the Gate' arc.

Well, just read 8.15. This is an excellent issue, truly exciting. Proof of what the comic medium can bring to the Buffyverse than nothing else can. Only complaint, really, is that there is nothing particularly zOMG crazy on the last page, as Scott Allie pretty firmly suggested, and… that actually had the issue airing on a vague note of disappointment. But really, taken as it is, it’s one of the best stories there is. I still think “No Future For You” is the best arc to date, but this is a great arc and really moved the story ahead.

Goddard really got so much right in this issue, hysterical fun but also pain and angst. The Buffy in it. Especially Mecha-Dawn. Impossible to see it coming, impossible to not love. Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla, and yet, Mechadon phonetically, it’s awesome. Especially when it starts imitating her. Are you kidding me? That is incredible.

I also love the solution to the vampire problem. For months, a lot of us thought this was a handy way to de-Slayerize at least part of the world, and, really, it’s best that it wasn’t. There were good arguments on both sides, but it’d be too much strain on the very, very expansive plot. One question I'm not clear on -- is Dracula a regular vampire now? If so... wow. Way to take one for the (not your) team.

I also owe Drew Goddard an apology – a couple months ago I thought 8.13 was a retread of the horrible days of buttmonkeydom… and it was in some ways. But now I see the point. Without a glimpse of how it was, it would have been harder to appreciate how it is now. And maybe part of this was an apology to the character for “Antique” in the first place? I don’t know. But the point is, Xander had a lot of powerful stuff in this issue, and this arc, and it was a joy to read. He got justice for Renee with Dracula’s sword, managed to finally put the thrall at its end by telling him where he can stick the “manservant” stuff. And… it was just evident he *mattered* to people (there were whole stretches in the televised seasons where this didn’t always seem to be the case), shown by how much care Buffy and Dracula both showed. So I’m sorry, Drew, and thanks. On a wardrobe note… we see Xander in different clothes! But I worry about the context. The one time I would have been reassured to see him in uniform, he’s out of it, and showing at least a day’s growth of beard. But, still, civilian clothes for him are good. Casual Fridays at the BHC now, I hope.

No review of the issue or the arc is complete without discussing Buffy and Satsu. They had sex again. Ooh. Aah. Also slightly what-ev, but I’ll come back to that. First, my sympathy through this has been with Satsu. We all love Buffy, but we also all know that she can be a bit of a noodge in relationships. And here is Satsu all in love with her. I’m very glad that she found a way to make a graceful exit from the situation without actually getting turned out. As for Buffy… look, I’m struggling to really find out what the point of this subplot was. Buffy and Satsu aren’t together, presumably aren’t going to be, we’ve known that since 8.12. The only thing I can think of is that this was a way for Buffy to learn that she can, in fact, accept love from someone else without being afraid for their well-being. Which is a big deal for her. She may have learned this from someone who she doesn’t love in return, but if she learned it, it will help her next relationship out a great deal.

Willow… oh Will, hon, what have you done? Not only does it seem like Snake Lady is bad news, but it’s apparently bad news Willow is still invested in. If there was anything surprising on the last page, it was seeing Willow apparently summon this chick. She’s got a lot of ‘splaining to do, and if she’s not starting to do it by 8.16, than we have reason to worry. Also love her and Buffy’s awkward scene. I found it… surprisingly hostile, actually. It seemed too harsh in tone to be playing for sexual tension.

Dawn rules in this issue. I loved her taking command on the ground as their lines started to break. And Rowena… thank you, your courage will be noted in the log. Andrew also was great in his moment – his whole life was in readiness for that moment, heh. Even better than this Thunderdome bit from “Showtime”.

As the issue ends, we’re basically reduced by the two new characters who’ve received the most development. Renee, dead, and Satsu, kicked upstairs voluntarily to run the Tokyo team. I really enjoy both characters, but I think this is for the good overall. Which fans could say they don’t really want more facetime for the main characters? Now we’ll have it. It’s still awful to see Renee killed, and she’ll be missed.

Bound to have more thoughts, such as traitor speculation based on this issue, but for now I think I’ll get to work on the transcript.
I probably won't be able to pick up my comics until tomorrow so I won't have it until then but it sounds like a good wrap up to the arc.I think if Buffy/Satsu had sex again in the issue then this is probably what Scott Allie was making light of.I seem to remember him saying that if Buffy/Satsu pissed some people off in issue 12 then issue 15 would really have them going nuts.The fact that they have sex again I think might do that since some of the assumptions out there,based off of Joss's comments, were that them sleeping together in issue 12 would be a one time thing which it clearly isn't.

Joss said that Buffy wasn't going gay.He never said they weren't going to sleep together more then once or the Buffy/Satsu story wouldn't be playing out.

So maybe that's what Scott Allie was referring to?
Oh, it clearly was (although Willow summoning Snake Lady was the far more interesting idea on that page), but Buffy and Satsu having sex again barely rose to the level of an O RLY? for me. Of all the possible interpretations of Allie's tease, it was... the most straightforward and least actually surprising way the issue could have gone. As it was, it appears to be quasi-breakup sex so, again... struggling to see what the point of it was.
What colour is the border and where is the logo on the original cover? Just curious as Dark Horse haven't even updated their site to show this...
The Willow plot does sound very interesting.Granted,I haven't read the issue yet so I have no context on how the snake lady stuff plays out but going back to some stuff in issue 10 and now on top of this,I wonder if Willow could invertantly be the traitor and she dosen't even know it.

I don't think Buffy and Satsu having sex a second time is very shocking either but I think based on the mail Dark Horse got over issue 12 and some of the reaction Scott Allie has talked about,I'm sure he's counting on or expecting a second sex scene whether it was break up sex or not to cause another tizzy and get a reaction.
The border of the cover is... to my terrible color sense, kind of gray, but kind of taupe-ish.

The title appears centered at the bottom of the cover.
Butsu; Just guessing having never even had an IGE let alone an SGE but but I think the whole thing makes more sense, it'd probably take to long to explain my reasoning, if it's not strictly a one-nighter. And more menaingful to Buffy in the "loving me doesn't always destroy lesson" sense.

Have to worry about Willow, I guess.
If this snake lady is Hecate, then Willow's dealing with a powerful goddess of witches, dark places and the "Queen of Ghosts" who predates the Olympian gods. Does this mean Willow is looking to extend her power, or does it mean she's looking to contact a certain blonde ghost? My hope is on the ghost, but I fear Willow's attraction to power. Either way has dangers.

As for Buffy and Satsu having sweaty relations again, I see it as a way to say goodbye to what "could have been." Buffy needs to be close to someone, Satsu is more than willing, and they're both slayers who just had a hell of a battle. Thus, sexual tension needs to be exercised. It makes sense.

I read Willow and Buffy's little back-and-forth over "I didn't want to sleep with you anyway" as more defense for Willow than anything else. I think she felt a little hurt that Buffy "experimented" with somebody else.

[ edited by quantumac on 2008-06-04 19:13 ]
A most excellent finale to the Wolves at the Gate arc. Pacing, action, humor, pathos ... and dark hints of things coming (i.e., Willow and Snake Lady). KingofCretins pretty much nailed all the highlights of this issue. I found the Willow/Buffy dialogue to be quite funny actually, and didn't read any hostility in it.

Per quantumac's question about Snake Lady, I took her to be Saga Vasuki.
1starbuckstown: there is some speculation that Saga Vasuki could be Hecate, since Hecate is sometimes depicted as a serpent, she's the goddess of witches and has been referred to before. It may play out that way or may not.
I haven't read the issue yet, but kinda disappointed that there was an arc called "Wolves at the Gate" with no sight of our favorite wolfie, Oz.

I'd rather see Willow tangling with a snake lady than Kennedy anytime! Just so not into that character, like... ever.
Saga Vasuki could be Hecate.

Kat Jetson: Here, here! I've never really been into Kennedy either. Or perhaps it's that I like Tara a whole lot more. Way more. If I were writing this story, Willow would've already been visited by a paradise-defying sword wielding blonde archangel, and there would be much drama and soul searching because of it (you know, the traditional Buffyverse musings).
Man, I laughed longer and harder at Mecha-Dawn than anything in the series so far. I still chuckle a little just thinking about it.

Good issue, good story overall. But it's funny that, for all the fanfare, this arc didn't seemingly have much to do with the overall seasonal story and doesn't really move forward at all with Twilight.

Were the Japanese vamps even working for Twilight? Depowering slayers seems like it'd be on his To-Do List, and I thought I remembered seeing his symbol on something of theirs, but I can't find it now.

I noticed we don't actually see Kumiko get dusted on-panel. Buffy just stabbed her in the back. I wouldn't be surprised if she pops up again down the road.

[ edited by dingoes8 on 2008-06-04 20:02 ]
I saw the snake lady not as Vasuki but as Manasa. Vasuki is male. As for Hecate, generally she is depicted as 3-headed, only one of which may be presented as a serpent aspect, but not always. Although I cannot deny the possibility, I don't really see Hecate as a high possibility. Hecate has played a powerful role in Wicca, though. Wikipedia offers this comment on Manasa: "Her myths emphasize her bad temper and unhappiness, due to rejection by her father Shiva or sage Kashyapa and her husband and the hate of her stepmother Chandi (Shiva's wife, identified with Parvati in this context). Manasa is depicted as kind to her devotees, but harsh on people who refused to worship her. Denied full godhead by her mixed parentage, Manasa’s aim was to fully establish her authority as a goddess and to acquire steadfast human devotees."
Not reading the comics, but...could "Snake Lady" be Prosperexa?

'cause...the temple Dark!Willow raised had a huge snake wrapped around her, and she had what looked like a forked tongue.

Just a shot in the dark.

And if it is, then...whoa Nelly.
Also pondering a few imponderables here; what's the chronology?

We were told up front the first arc was in June 2004*. It only took a few days but it's also clear the arcs don't start either immediately or an exact month after the previous one closes.

So, "No Future For you" was in August?

And now we're what, in October? Or already in 2005?

*and I still say that's too evil for Amy, even insane. I think it's Katherine again.
8.11 "A Beautiful Sunset" referenced Buffy's birthday as coming up, so presumably that and this arc were both in mid to late January 2005. I recall nothing upfront that said June 2004. In fact, I've always put the start of "The Long Way Home" in late October, early November of 2004, since Joss' "at least a year and a half" trumps Allie's "only about a year" since "Chosen".
ShadowQuest: Prosperexa? Hadn't thought of that. Yes, indeed, a mega-whoa Nelly! If Willow thinks she can handle that kind of dark magic again, she needs to put her thinking cap on.

Dana5140: Manasa is an interesting notion as well.

Willow fans are in for a rough ride, methinks.
I won't say that this is my favorite issue by any means, but it was stellar: I laughed and I cried, it answered a lot of questions and raised new one, so basically it was a great read!
KingofCretins: Thanks. Part normal curiosity ,part my usual egotistical

Your chronology makes more sense and also gives me more time to squeeze my Faith-Harmony slash piece (set in San Bernardino in "late spring" of '04, and recall spring goes to June 22nd) where I have Faith say her parole officer is her Watcher's wife, and still get Faith out to CLeveland for whatever untold heroics she was doing there before "NFFY." Of course I have to reconcile her Watcher with ol' Rupert.
As much as I laughed when I saw Mecha-Dawn (and laughed more at its dialog) it didn't really make any sense to me. Did they plan on Dawn coming? Did they conjure it magically? I'm all about the funny, and this issue definitely brought it, but I like it more when the funny makes sense.

I'm starting to like Georges' art more and more. I can't decide if its me just getting used to it or him getting better.

For some reason, as a whole, I don't think I liked it as much as 14, but I still thought it was excellent. I'm pumped about the next arc and hope they start addressing this Twilight plot more (they have to, right?)
Superb issue all-around. The comic reads as a little more glib than the show - but then the show was a good deal more darkly melodramatic than the film, so Buffy's seen a pretty wide tonal range over time and between media. That said, I miss the sustained darkness of the late-season show, sometimes. This might be weird to say, but I'm ready for less funny!

Maybe that's only to say that I wish I was reading forty collected issues of the book instead of a monthly. I finally bought Fray today, having read it ages ago, and I find that Joss's jokey dialogue (and that of his stable of writers) works better as counterpoint to Endless Big Trouble (over an hour, or a season, or an arc) than in a one-off. Lynch's Angel book is clearly going for this, and maybe I'll enjoy it more several issues at a time, but a higher percentage of Lynch's jokes are momentum-killers, whereas Goddard (for instance) writes blistering fast action this month with the quippage only increasing the velocity. There's something manic about the Jossverse, an occasional difficulty syncing joke-speed and plot-speed, that can be a little off-putting at times. Before today it had never bugged me, and Goddard's closing issue was so good, but thinking back to the rest of his arc, I think that's the little thing that's been irritating me, almost subconsciously, about it.

BKV's humour has a different texture, well-suited to Faith stories. But this arc has been...ha!! I know: it's been a little J-pop for me. :)

Well whether that makes sense or not, I've satisfied myself with a turn of phrase, so now I can turn off my computer. Swell!
A good issue overall, marred somewhat by Renee's death. Getting just a little predictable, guys. I know Whedon didn't write this issue, but it's still being seen as part of the old "all relationships end in doom and disaster" thing he's been saddled with, and I think it makes the reader less willing to become emotionally invested in any such pairing.

That said, Mecha Dawn excuses many sins.
I was delighted, although I think my biggest pleasant surprise was how much depth Dracula has received--we have motivations and some richness and some excellent badassery, plus some lovely melancholy with Xander (I loved the overlap of the "I thought we'd act like nothing happened. panel; it does not necessarily mean slash, but it does imply that for whatever reason Dracula has some deep liking for Xander(1)and a certain amount of warrior-to-warrior respect, even with the manservant business.

Xander--oh, man. Poor guy, poor suddenly very, very grown up guy. I don't know what repercussions this will have in the long run, but very intense. I also find it interesting that Xander has suddenly gotten a big dose of masculine revenge and has gotten to be the big man that he has always wanted to be (ie, he tells Dracula where to stick the "manservant" business, revenges Renee and sees her to her rest (*sob*), but what next?

Satsu and Buffy--I liked the graceful exit and the last (for this arc anyway) night. I also like that Satsu got to have some good agency and got to be the one to bring up moving the relationship onwards. I noticed that through this arc, they seem to keep switching power roles and hey, nothing horrible has happened either (well, yet.)Interesting to note, no romantic disaster of losing a friend or ally or death.

Willow--oh boy. I think we could be seeing a resurgence of Willow-the-non-sidekick, but that Willow may be wandering off into the realm of deity, which is fascinating. I also like the implication that whatever this big thing is, Willow has been hiding from it. (I wonder if it has to do with her mystical walkabout and her distance, as well as the brief blackeye flash in issue 10...also, is Willow part of the end of magic herself or the catalyst? I am curious.)I also enjoyed the combination of grouchy/funny in the conversation with Buffy(2)and wonder if we are going to see more sparkage later. I also wonder if Snake Lady has a place in the final battle or if this is really literally a realm beyond.
This is going to be, at the very least, interesting.

Dawn and Mecha-Dawn--Delightful.

Anyway, sigh. I want more, dammit!

(1)As well he should--Xander is very likeable and worthy.
(2) I didn't have a one true threesome before, but I think it may now be Buffy, Dame Judi Dench and Eleanor Roosevelt.

[ edited by JessicaMelusine on 2008-06-05 00:44 ]
About Xander ; I was thinking a few hours back (my on-line time is "rawther limiterree") that this is a near-penultimate step in a Xander super-arc stretching back into Season 4. (and strictly speaking, the comics should be Season 9, chronologically.) A series of necessary steps for him to really reach a certain plane of emotional and moral maturity. To become a person who, if he were first meeting Dracula now, wouldn't become Renfield redux. Who, if Anya had stayed away since "Graduation Day" and just now came back into his life, would either turn her down flatly or, if they got involved, would do it openly and with none of the changes he put her through.

Evan Waters; As I said before, Renee's death was preDICTAble with a capital DICTAtor. And that doesn't come out any funnier this time, is it?

TOASTERslayer; I have to agree, in a strong-ish way; funny is funnier when you know where it comes from.
The Satsu falling conversation plus Mecha-Dawn's lines had me rolling. So great.

The first couple of pages were very moving and effective, I thought. Nicely done.

Now I have to stop forgetting to order Fray so I can finish it by next month.
Wow, what an issue. I knew this issue would pack a emotional stomach punch, but Joss and Drew knocked the air out of me. Let me say first, that Xander is my favorite character (I kind of identify with him) so when something bad happens to him, it tends to hit me harder that anything. Those last panels with Xander looking broken really affected me. Dracula's speech at the end was extremely appropriate. It's going to take time for Xander to recover from this. My favorite page in the whole issue was the one where Buffy is giving directions to Satsu and Leah to kill every last one vampire while she is walking to Xander. I really love the panel where Buffy is holding Xander while Dracula looks on. It's gut-punchingly sad. I do believe Xander was falling for Renee, but part of me this is sadness is also part of the Xander's grief for losing Anya. I think he never really handled Anya's death properly, and with the combination of losing Renee and Ayna, he finally broke down. Like I said before, Xander just looks broken. I really want to see where his arc goes. If this was an actual episode with live action, I really can see Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" being played in the background during the last couple pages, starting with Buffy's walk towards Xander.

I loved the Dawn-MechaDawn battle, it kicked so much behind as well as Andrew's squeeing about the battle. I also loved Dawn in this issue, she really took charge when the slayers wanted to retreat. She is showing some fiestiness. It's awesome to see. I really hope they find a way to make her smaller.

I loved Buffy in this issue. Showing that she is a strong leader, but even a stronger friend. Her first thoughts when the battle was surrounding them was to protect Xander, and when the battle was turning in their favor, her first thoughts were to Xander. I loved Buffy when she jumped off the roof and chased after the awesome battle between Willow and Kumiko. Loved the "Not a diving board" and the "wake up". Her conversation with Willow about Butsu had the right mix of humor and depth. I believe Willow thought about being with Buffy, but I believe her when she doesn't want it.

I enjoyed the Buffy and Satsu conversation. I can't explain it, but I felt Satsu really grew up in this arc. She handled this situation with the ultimate maturity. She knew what she needed to, and I feel that she will be a wonderful leader for the Tokyo squad. I'm glad that she didn't get hurt, and I think them having one more night together was appropriate for their relationship. I enjoyed Satsu's "You have no idea." retort to Raidon's "I bet you taste sweet slayer."

Willow is a mystery to me. What happens to her in the future will be rather interesting. Like others said above, what is her deal with Saga Vasuki (if that is the snake lady's name)? While she isn't heading towards Dark Willow in my opinion, she is going down a dangerous path. The mystical walkabout is going to be important. Right now, what's going on with her is extremely vague. The ride Joss and company will put us on concerning Willow is going to be wild.

Dracula did seem human in this issue. I loved the fact that what makes Dracula evil isn't the demon, it's the human. He was a right bastard as a human. I enjoyed that he cut off Toru's limbs. His care for Xander is genuine and sweet. He was willing to sacrifice his specialness to defeat the enemy and probably for Xander to kill Toru. I loved his back and forth with Xander with the name he called Xander. I don't think he was being serious with the new names he wanted to call Xander, I think he wanted to make Xander smile, even if it was for a second. I think he grew in this arc as well, he was a shell of his former self, but now he is probably back to bad-ass Drac.

All the Japanese Goth Vampire Gang was bad-ass. Toru was an awesome villian, he was ruthless, callous and funny. Maybe Angelus trained him at some point. Kumiko, who I believe was staked and Raidon were wonderful sidekicks. I'm glad they met their demise, but these villains actually the gang in new and exciting ways.

Issue: 10/10
Arc: 9.5/10

[ edited by crazygolfa on 2008-06-05 06:48 ]
Andrew remains brilliantly nerdy, and Dawn Decapitates her first bad-guy, granted it was a robot, but that's pretty standard in the Buffyverse.

The four panel conversation, that occurs while Satsu fell from the building, kinda stretched believability more than Mecha-Dawn...I guess I'm weird like that.

Willow's hatred of Latin continues! Which only strengthens my case that she is after knowledge from the Snake-Lady, not necessarily power...but you know what they say about knowledge and power.

I think it's good that Satsu's not going to be a long-term love interest, she's far too well adjusted to go down the path most of Buffy's exes have trod.

I wouldn't get too concerned about Xander being stubbly right now (OMG he has face-hair! He is now Untrustworthy!) not shaving in times of grief is fairly common, which I learned at my step-grandfather's funeral [I forgot to shave, but luckily the ceremony was half Greek Orthodox and half Roman Catholic, so plenty of unshaven people kept me from looking ridiculous].
Checking in late as always, gotta love these wacky time zones. Anyway, I really enjoyed this issue. All my highlights have pretty much been mentioned, and im also on the uh-oh Willow wagon (although maybe im kinda trailing behind it, jogging, perhaps slowing to a brisk power walk....I have always desperatly wanted to believe in Willow and give her the benefit of the doubt, ever since things started to get all....nasty).

It'l be sad not to have Satsu around anymore, even aside from her hilariously inapropriate comments she was pretty awesome. Im glad her and Buffy kinda sorta had a talk that resembled some kindof well something. Oh. And Renee. Of course. I mean yay, Xander was all mature and grievy by the end of the issue - but yet again, someone had to die so one of the Scoobs could learn a lesson or experience personal growth or something. How quaint. I think this is one (reoccuring) element of the Buffyverse I will never enjoy or understand. Grumble.

But other than that, I loved it all. I love the way Drac can be asking to eat a dead slayer in one issue and then doing some major self sacrificy stuff in this issue. He truly is a character. Heh. And Dawn vs. MechaDawn. I felt like there was some kind of powerful statement or metaphoricaly enhanced point being made when Dawn ripped the head off of her somewhat acurate metallic counter part. Im just not sure what it is. Hmmmmm.

Also, Xander should totaly grow a beard. There just arent enough bearded men in the Buffyverse. Granted, its 98% populated by Slayers and demons, but still. Anyway, cheers to Drew for a wonderful wrap up to a delightful arc with wolves and bees and....well im sure other things happened. It was actualy quite boring really. Especialy that #12. Total snore-fest.... ; )

Looking forward to next month. Get it, looking FORWARD! Coz they're going to the future! Hah!
I'll just let myself out.
There is some real danger in messing with Willow and given what we know of Fray, I am not really looking forward to the way I think this is going to go.

Having said that, I have a nag. Y'know, Dawn is big. really big. And slayers are not known among the public. But a huge person? Well, doesn't that draw, like, attention, even where vamps might not (because they can easily be explained away)? You mean, there is nothing in the news that a 30-foot-tall human girl has been spotted in the streets? I mean, just wondering. I'd think that would draw the administration's attention or something. Overanalayzing much?

PS. I get the sense that we are being played. Wuffy talk? I think every tweak we can be given is being given. :-)
I don't think stubblyness is a sign of untrustworthiness -- Xander seems as trustworthy as ever. But it does leap out as a sign that he's given up, though. Maybe it'll be a positive thing and he'll wear more normal clothes in to work... just want him to still *go* to work. Good news is he's got a good support system. That scene with him and Buffy on the roof was so painful and lovely.
Also, just wondering, with the Snake Lady echoing what Tara said in "Restless" and what Drac said in "Buffy vs. Dracula", is that a thing? Or just a clever recycling of memorable phrases, a method which seems to be a staple in todays society, otherwise known as the Jossverse. One day I will learn to be direct and use simple sentances, maybe not turn a 10 word question into an essay. Alas, for now......
I'm with Dana on this, I immediately thought of the mythological connections as Vasuki is a Sanskrit name for the King of Nagas (yes, part snake part human creatures). Vasuki also shows up in Japanese and Chinese mythology. Great flow to this issue and lots of pain and funny. Good show, Cloverfield's Drew Goddard ;)

Totally zeitgeist-y sidenote (in the sense of the word itself, not in the sense of, well, me), for anyone who is into computer graphics tech; there is a video floating around of the tech demo used to show off nVIDIA's new chips that features a naga.
When I saw Mecha Dawn, I laughed my ass off. Seriously. My ass is nowhere to be seen. My loud and lengthy laughter must have scared the poor creature away. They built a Mecha Dawn! Priceless! I'm not one to laugh much. I usually just giggle or a scoff, but not today. And it felt good. It really did. Brilliant. Funny thing is, my expression for when a franchise goes seriously into awesome mode is "they just brought in the mecha". And it's about time BtVS did just that. Long overdue, even, as I had previously considered the mecha to have been metaphorically brought in as early as the second season, with Spike and Dru followed by Angelus and then again with the rocket launcher. But This was the issue when the mecha was officially brought into the comic book, and this time it was literal. Awesome.

And the Buffy/Willow talk was a larf too. Not as big a larf as Mecha Dawn, but funny certainly.

I do hope this is not the end of the Buffy/Satsu arc. But if it is, it was the most dignified end to an affair Buffy has ever had, and I imagine she's grown as a person from it, so that's good. Growing Buffy is a good thing after so much Shrinking Buffy. On the other hand, it looks to me like Satsu is a much better potential partner for Buffy than Angel or Spike or even Riley ever was, so I wouldn't find it the least bit strange for Buffy to change her mind (other than the fact that such a healthy thought would be slightly out of character for Buffy who tends to lean toward more self-destructive behavior). But then again, the concept of attraction has always been very confusing to me, logically, so it might just be that I don't understand Buffy's point of view. Either way, Satsu is a very likable character and if she is indeed out of the story, I'm sad to see her go. Will she get a spinoff now? ('Cause I could write it. Seriously. I just finished a screenplay, so I've got some time on my hands. Scott should call me.)

Xander's story really paid off in this issue. Though the death of Renee was a bit of a repeat, I felt it worked, and I'm very interested to see where he's going in the future.

And that snake lady...well, it'll certainly be interesting to find out what that's all about. As well as the Twilight thing.

As a whole, I really liked Wolves at the Gate. Upon the title, I was expecting to see Oz make an appearance, but what would the Buffyverse be without surprises? This was just as good, and there's plenty of time for that dude to show up later. All in all 'twas a good tale. Goddard did good. Jeanty as well.
That said, I'm really looking forward to the return of Whedon and Moline. And Fray. And yes, Kennedy. Been waiting for her to get a fair chance at becoming a full character since she popped up in s7.

I think I'll have finish The Watchmen, so I can go ahead and reread Fray before the next issue drops.
As with issues past, this issue did not disappoint. I think this was a great arc as a whole, and Goddard did a bang-up job of bringing it to a close.

Poor Xander. :( I felt really bad for him this issue. He is certainly looking the worse for wear, in my opinion. First losing Anya and now Renee, how much more can he take? He just looked so lost and alone there at the end. I think Jeanty did a great job of conveying through art, what Xander was feeling. You could really see the sadness and hurt in his eyes, really get a sense of that hollow emptiness he no doubt feels innside.

One of my favorite parts this issue was the Buffy/Willow "scene." I loved how the two of them were bantering back and forth like old times. Their dialogue made me chuckle. Sexual tension perhaps? Hehe.:P

When I got to the page with the "Dawn bot," I couldn't help but laugh. It all seemed a little too corny to me, but I totally loved how the bot was making fun of Dawn. "I whine a lot." Haha, priceless! And of course, gotta love Andrew. :)

I am a little unclear as to what Willow was up to at the end there. Is she being a naughty mistress demon summoner again? I hope not. If so, that would certainly not bode well for the scoobies. I guess we will just have to patiently wait and see how that plays out in future issues...I hope we will get some answers soon.

Well, these are just some of my thoughts on the issue. Overall, great story, great arc, as always.


Oh, and the scene between Buffy and Satsu, one word - HOTT!!! I suppose it is a good thing that she is staying behind for a while, might guarantee that she sticks around a little longer. :)
Wow. What a great issue. It's not quite the best issue so far--I still prefer "Anywhere But Here" and "A Beautiful Sunset," but I may actually like it better than "The Chain"--though it certainly cements the fact that "Wolves at the Gate" has been the best of the three arcs we've gotten.

I know that last month I was totally pissed at Renee's death, but what can I say? What was allowed to happen in its aftermath kind of made me feel as if it was the right story decision, even if it wasn't an original one (especially in the Jossverse).

Also, Mecha-Dawn could've totally been a jump-the-shark moment, but somehow it worked. And I'm sure the Japanese vamps would've counted on Dawn coming, since they seemed to know every detail surrounding Buffy and her many Slayerettes. I too think they're connected to Twilight. They'd kind of have to be, in order to be relevant to this season.
I loved this issue! One of the best so far! MECHA-DAWN RULED!!! :)
For more than two years now, I've been using the term "bringing in the mecha" as the exact opposite of "jumping the shark", so it's really no wonder it somehow worked. It's the epitome of awesomeness. ^^
Loved this issue for so many reasons! The dialogue between characters is a huge reason why I keep coming back to the comics every month. I love the banter!

Willow...worries me. Am I right in recognizing NYC in the background when the Snake Lady says her "what's to come" stuff? If so, how deep into this is Willow? Is she going to be the reason Buffy does her time travel thing? And is it a witchy accident, or on purpose?

I'm really getting in to the swing of Season 8 and Joss & Co. have yet to disappoint!
I still think we are being played with, but I mean this in a good way. Is Willow going dark, again? Did we all think Satsu might get killed, and then she didn't? Did we think Xander remained Drac's buttmonkey, but he wasn't? See, this puts subtext in there for the fan, while keeping the story clean for the newbie. Was there Wuffy tention or not? Will there be Xuffy tension or not? Did we think Butsu was a one off only it turned out to be a two-off, with much less fanfare? Lot of messing with our heads here.
Exactly Dana5140, you are exactly right! This is Joss' play pen and we are really lucky to be here for the fun (and this issue was huge fun, in spite of the tears).
Am I right in recognizing NYC in the background when the Snake Lady says her "what's to come" stuff?

Yeah, MadeToLoveJoss, it certainly looks as if there's a big snake wrapped around the Chrysler Building in the mind-image panel.
JossFan21 said:

Poor Xander. :( I felt really bad for him this issue. He is certainly looking the worse for wear, in my opinion. First losing Anya and now Renee, how much more can he take? He just looked so lost and alone there at the end. I think Jeanty did a great job of conveying through art, what Xander was feeling. You could really see the sadness and hurt in his eyes, really get a sense of that hollow emptiness he no doubt feels innside.

You just triggered something in my brain with "hollow emptiness". I think the comparisons to Wesley are apt, but there is another Jossverse character I can see a better comparison. The look of hollow emptiness totally reminds me of Mal during the end of the Battle of Serenity Valley. The comparison's can be made there even though we can say Mal lost more, but if that's the case, Xander could be in for a kick ass arc for the rest of the season/
At first I saw the Renee thing as just another Xander luck thing, but I've since reconsidered. It's for us. We never saw him grieve or let go after Anya. This is our chance to see him accept or reject the way of things. I like it. It seems this time he's a little stronger.
I don't know that I agree here, twg. Main reaosn is, he hardly knew Renee and was at the cusp of entering into a relation. So while this hurts, because what could be now can never be, I am not sure it could replace losing a heart's love like Anya, or be a surrogate for that. And in truth, this hardly allows him to properly grieve, since we do not know much beyond what those final panels show. I'm not saying he isn't hurting, just that I don't think this works as a replacement.

But you know, in the broad sense, think:

Willow has a true love, Tara- Tara gets killed.
Xander has a true love, Anya- Anya gets killed.
Giles might have had a true love, Jenny- Jenny gets killed.
Buffy has a true love, Angel- she has to kill him. When he returns, they can never again be together. She has love for Spike- Spike gets killed. (BTW, does Buffy know Spike is/was back?)
All the main Scoobs have lost an important love. Be nice if that didn't happen for a change.
That's an interesting interpretation. Personally, I'm still a bit grumpy about it.

OTOH, MechaDawn.
Great Muppety Odin :I guess the term "mecha" preceds Robotech.

Dana5140; I think Buffilow sounds better, and cornier. Wuffy sounds like just a deep breath
I'm going to go back and reread all 15 issues this weekend to see if that helps my appreciation of the series, and maybe that will answer my questions.

1. Why *did* Dracula help them? Did I miss something to do with his motivation in all this? Is it supposed to be that Dracula has been carrying around some unrequited all consuming love for Xander all this time that makes him become the Slayer Corps's loyal supporter even though it seems to be totally against his self interest? Do all vampires whose names we learn automatically get redeemed if you give them time...even if they aren't particularly doing anything with that time? What did I miss?

2. Why the hell would the powerful magical mystery vampires create a mechadawn as a weapon against Dawn? Dawn is just a big human. There are tons of weapons that would work better.

3. Other than to allow time for "banter" and the irony of discussing Willow's need to protect Satsu while torturing her by allowing her to think that she is going to die horribly in a matter of seconds, why would Willow and Buffy stand there chatting and allow Satsu to fall in terror?

I can't think of the rest right now.

Also love her and Buffy’s awkward scene. I found it… surprisingly hostile, actually. It seemed too harsh in tone to be playing for sexual tension.

I also found there to be hostile though I figured it was purposely ambiguous that way. Willow may have just been protestething too much, but there is certainly a chance that that was just because she was not used to having that kind of discussion with Buffy.

"As for Buffy…[Satsu] look, I’m struggling to really find out what the point of this subplot was."

That has also been a problem I have been having. However, IMO, with Willow's comment about needing to take care of her "sister," she is drawing an "us and them" line with herself and Satsu on one side and Buffy on the other. The implication is that Satsu is her "sister" and Buffy is not. This subplot could actually have to do with the divisiveness among women in the feminist and gay rights movements that is based on sexual preference.

One of the reasons I did not like Buffy being attracted to women was because it takes away that utopian world that Willow, Tara, Buffy and Dawn lived in for a while, where sexual preference was a footnote and straight women and lesbians trusted each other and worked together without a lot of angst. I knew it was as big a myth because I am a cynic and have seen the problem demonstrated too often, but I liked it because like many cynics, at heart I'm an idealist. I want it to be true, because it should be true, even though I know it isn't true.

I hope this, or something as worthy this, is what Joss is heading for, because this is looking like the set-up for the worst kind of fanfic. Xander and Buffy are both free, and Willow is protesting a bit too much. I'm afraid that Xander and Buffy will be getting together now, but he field is clear for that manage et trois someone out in the world must have been dreaming about. Hey, once Xander, Spike and Angel admit that all that anger they have towards each other is really sexual tension, there can be a cross over and the five of them can have an orgy. (sigh)

Now isn't the idea that it could be about the divisiveness among politically active women sounding better and better? (God, I hope so. Those of you for whom it isn't, do not need to tell me how to find your fanfic. I'm just fine not knowing. ;-) )
crazygolfa said:

You just triggered something in my brain with "hollow emptiness". I think the comparisons to Wesley are apt, but there is another Jossverse character I can see a better comparison. The look of hollow emptiness totally reminds me of Mal during the end of the Battle of Serenity Valley. The comparison's can be made there even though we can say Mal lost more, but if that's the case, Xander could be in for a kick ass arc for the rest of the season/

Good point, crazygolfa. I agree. I think you hit the nail on the head.
C'mon up to the IGN review thread higher up on the page - the discussion of this issue continues...I'd be interested in your thoughts on my comments there.
Does anyone else think that Kumiko, who I think is a witch but not a vampire, has a wicked resemblance to The Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino?

Google image her!
Uh, Kumiko was staked. She turned to dust in midair. She's a vamp.
A witch vamp! Yeah, that's the ticket..
I'll come right on over and check it out, barboo.
Kumiko wasn't staked. Buffy was clearly holding a metal knife when she jumped, so unless she switched out weapons mid-jump, she just stabbed her in the back. And it doesn't show her dusting, just careening off with a knife in her back. But even if she was staked, it wouldn't have killed her if she had Drac's powers.

I just assumed she was a vamp, but I don't think it ever shows her with vampy face. It shows her attack Willow from out of a smoke cloud in the first issue of the arc, but I suppose a witch could replicate that effect, as well.

[ edited by dingoes8 on 2008-06-05 23:30 ]
You can see the dust in the panel as she's falling.
newcj: I do have to not exactly agree but certainly give muffled echo to the "every vampire with a name" theme. I mean, I actually think it's a good thing once in a while because I just don't like lone unrepeatable cases. Rarity is interesting, one of a kind is the Hulk, I think. But if it becomes an assembly-line thing, it loses whatever it gained in the first place.
And the most plausible reason I can cook up for facing Dawn with Mecha-Dawn is that they were bound into following soem kind of symmetry pattern. Why they'd be so bound, who knows, besides Joss's Shadow.

Dana5140; I don't think Renee is a surrogate for Anya, nor could she be, I agree. But eprhaps as a catalyst. As for example, Michelle Lee's character on Knots Landing after her first husband dies. she's hard and angry at worst, cool and cold at best. but suddenly, holding a neighbor's newborn, then she finally starts bawling.

And since stakes are involved in this story, shouldn't you have said "Yeah, that's the picket"? (Sorry that's the punchline to a very bad joke about Lovitz and an apple tree I cooked up in the 80s and never had the nerve to tell anyone.)
I think the point of the Buffy/Satsu plot was character development for Buffy, Satsu and Willow. We know just how Satsu feels about Buffy, and to some extent the character will possibly drop out of the series now. We see that Willow is jealous to a certain extent (naturally) and the arc also makes the point that sexuality is more fluid than a lot of people think it to be. Also, it makes the point that Buffy sleeping with Satsu isn't a big deal, and shows just how open minded and mature Buffy has become.

I think it is definitely a valid and interesting plot, and I wasn't especially shocked about it, it makes sense for Buffy in the place she is in, where the only guys are Xander and Giles really. Also, I don't think Buffy/Xander would ever have. THAT would shock me.
Also, it makes the point that Buffy sleeping with Satsu isn't a big deal, and shows just how open minded and mature Buffy has become. makes sense for Buffy in the place she is in, where the only guys are Xander and Giles really.

See statements like this are what I object to but have kept my mouth shut about until recently. This implies that open minded and mature people have sex with all genders, and people who don't are close-minded and immature. Along with that, apparently sexual preference just has to do with who you have access to. Girls gone wild anyone?

Handling the relationship with Satsu better than the relationships she has had in the past could show just how open minded and mature Buffy has become. Avoiding having sex with a subordinate could show how mature Buffy has become.

I understood long ago that there were a lot of people for whom sexual preference was confusing and fluid. It was not just watching my gay and bi-sexual friends figuring it all out, it was also hearing people declare that gays had made a choice, and were going to be damned to hell for it. Now I knew I didn't make a choice about being straight nor could I imagine a circumstance under which I could choose to be a lesbian. Various gay friends said the same thing about themselves...only, you know...opposite. The only thing I could figure was that the people making that pronouncement *could* imagine choosing to be something other than what they seemed to be. Since there seem to be quite a few people that believe that, I assume there are many potential bi-sexuals out there. (That must be why Joss called them Potentials.)

Could people please not judge everyone else's sexuality by their own? It is pretty condescending to assume you are enlightened and everyone else is sitting in the dark.
Wow, finally made it to my comics store to get my issue, finally read it (and all of y'alls comments).

I am really curious to see how Xander behaves after losing Renee. Grief is a long and difficult process--both to understand and to undergo. Last time Xander lost the woman he loved, he went to hang out with Dracula--it would really surprise me if that happens this time, what with their goodbye and Xander's de-manservant-ness.
In the world in which Buffy and the Scoobies live in, it seems like there is never time to properly grieve. You experience the initial shock, then there's the flood of sadness and longing and what-ifs, but the next challenge or villain lurks just moments away. Sure, keeping busy is a way to get through a grieving period, but I think this is an extreme. I wonder how the poor guy's going to get through it...and I wish I could give him a hug.

I thought that the Batsu (I don't like "Butsu;" it just doesn't sound good to me) relationship was handled with a good amount of finesse--it didn't seem contrived or a cop-out. After all, both are strong women, and there obviously is a true connection there, even if it is slightly more on one side.

As for sexuality, I can't be too much of a judge either way. I consider myself straight, but on the other hand would kick neither Buffy nor Willow out of bed. It's something I would consider, if the situation presented itself. It hasn't yet, though, so all of my musings are purely academic.
Honestly, though, I have based a lot of my thinking in terms of sex on things that have happened in the Buffyverse. I saw Surprise and Innocence after they aired, at the age of 16. I had not lost my virginity by then, and those episodes made me take it a bit more seriously. I'm in college now, and I didn't sleep with my first college boyfriend, considering myself warned by Buffy's experience with Parker. I hope to not experience a relationship like Buffy's with Spike; I wouldn't mind one like Willow and Oz's (or Tara's), OTOH. It's just learning and making mistakes vicariously through my heroes.

I think that the Batsu relationship can be interpreted in a number of ways, but to me, it just reinforces my idea that a person doesn't have to be homosexual to engage in sexual congress (I actually just wrote that, didn't I?) with a person of the same sex. There is almost always a choice in sex--excepting rape and lack of mental clarity. But it's that person at that time. Nothing more, nothing less. Yes, homosexuals make the choice, as do heterosexuals. It's not the question of attraction on a gender-wide scale, but for each sexual partner.
Is a person necessarily more open-minded because s/he experiments with having sex with a person of the same/different gender? No. A girl could sleep with another girl and say to herself, "wow, there really was nothing great about that. All homosexual people must be out of their minds if they like this!" (This is absolutely not me, but a hypothetical.) Sure, it's exploring sexuality, but to what end only that person can determine. Kinda existential, huh?

Great ish. I enjoyed it highly, even if Joss once again proved that he does not like people.
I don't like "Butsu;" it just doesn't sound good to me.

Amen, BandofBuggered. I think it should be "Saffy," personally ;-)

Well, I loved this issue. I really did.

But...I am a little confused over the whole "Saffy/Butsu/Whathaveyou" issue. Clearly Buffy enjoys having sex with her, and has even made quips about how she finds her sexy on more than one occasion. I know Joss said that Buffy isn't a lesbian, and I think that that is true. But I also think that it is silly to ignore the fact that she clearly has discovered a kind of bisexuality within herself, and that "gender" may not be "the big issue" when it comes to why she and Satsu wouldn't work out. If someone were to ask me "Is Buffy a lesbian?" I would say no. However, if someone asked me "Is Buffy bisexual?" I would say yes. It seems that people want clear cut definition when it comes to sexual preference - as in being either gay or straight. This annoyed me a bit in the case of Willow. Clearly she was attracted to Oz, and yet she was termed "Lesbian" instead of "Bi" once she discovered that she was also attracted to girls. I feel there is a stigma against being bisexual. It seems to make people on both sides uncomfortable, somehow, which is silly. Being bisexual doesn't mean that one has to have both at the same means that that person is attracted to both sexes, and when it comes down to it, fall in love with the person for who they are.

That said, I realize that this is not the case for many people, who are only attracted to the opposite or same sex. And no, in my opinion it is not a choice, nor does it mean that those people aren't open-minded. It simply isn't something that they are attracted to.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. I honestly think that Buffy and Satsu wouldn't work out. But I also don't think that gender has anything to do with why they wouldn't work out - as Buffy is clearly attracted to her, and enjoys sex with her. I guess what I'm saying is, the whole "She's either a lesbian or she isn't!" mentality (which is not something that is displayed in this's been displayed elsewhere though) sort of grates on me.
There is almost always a choice in sex--excepting rape and lack of mental clarity. But it's that person at that time. Nothing more, nothing less. Yes, homosexuals make the choice, as do heterosexuals. It's not the question of attraction on a gender-wide scale, but for each sexual partner.

Of course there is individual choice of whether to have sex with someone and who to have sex with, but I have never found that there was a choice as to who I am attracted to and certainly not what gender I am attracted to. Sexual preference is a general term referring to general attraction to one or more genders. Of course whether one is straight or gay, one is not attracted to *everyone* in the target gender, only individuals (unless one has major sex addiction issues.) However, for many people the individual people that they will be sexually attracted to during their lives will be all the same gender. My point is that this does not mean those people are closed-minded, unenlightened, up-tight or whatever, just like it does not mean that bi-sexuals are any of the things that bi-sexuals get hassled for.

ShanshuBugaboo, well said.
See statements like this are what I object to but have kept my mouth shut about until recently. This implies that open minded and mature people have sex with all genders, and people who don't are close-minded and immature. Along with that, apparently sexual preference just has to do with who you have access to. Girls gone wild anyone?

I don't think that is what I am implying, I just mean that if Buffy were not an open minded person, she would never have considered sleeping with Satsu. Look at how Buffy reacted in season 5 when Willow came out to her; she was clearly freaked, and in the months that followed would probably never have considered sleeping with a woman. The point I am trying to make is that Buffy has grown as a person significantly since then.

Sexual preference surely does have at least a little to do with what you have access to, this has been seen in a lot of studies showing that members of single gender groups have increased homosexual activity. It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of those girls are sleeping with one another.

I am not saying that gay people make the choice to be gay (I sure as hell didn't), but sometimes sexuality can be more fluid for some people than for others, which is something that I actually didn't believe for a long time, I kind of though people who said they were bisexual were either saying it because they didn't want to come out as gay or because it was 'cooler' than being straight. I never made a choice to be gay, but I would like to think that if the situation came up where I did find myself attracted to a woman, I wouldn't hide those feelings or attempt to run away from them (although I may be giving myself more credit than is due...).

I apologise if came off as condescending, that really wasn't my intention. :)
I'm not sure what the issue is here. I know a good few girls who enjoy sex with both guys and girls but still consider themselves to be largely heterosexual. Obviously the "label" applied to them by society would be bisexual but in the cases I'm speaking of they personally see themselves as "straight but experimental" for want of a better term.

I think it boils down to the 21st century world having to accept that sexual labels are going to become harder and harder to attach to people as time goes on. There are people, like myself, that make it easy on others to understand our preferences. I'm your basic, likes-girls-not-guys-straight-as-your-gonna-find, heterosexual kinda fella. Therefore society gets to breathe easily if they want to label my sexual choices. Unfortunately, not everyone chooses to be so easy to box these days. Some people are gay but occasionally like to experiment with the opposite sex. Some are straight but have no objections to having a member of the same sex jump into bed with them. Others consider themselves entirely bisexual and have no preference. Some people don't even like sex (although they are the ones even I don't get ;)).

What matters isn't the label you give to other people. It's that they are happy with the label they give to themselves.

[ edited by Highlander on 2008-06-06 11:16 ]
I don't think finding a label is necessary, but it can be useful on an individual level. I have a friend who doesn't think that terms like bisexual, straight or gay apply to her at all, and she spent a lot of time trying to identify with one particular term. While a label for her isn't necessary (I mean she doesn't need a label), knowing that she can identify with a specific group is something that she finds useful. Knowing that other people are going through something similar he helpful.

Personally I wouldn't label Buffy as bisexual, but if that's a label she wants to give for herself...
Fantastic issue. I felt totally in the groove reading it, flying through the book, almost as if I was watching it, if that makes sense. The Renee/Xander/Buffy & Xander/Dracula bits in this issue were the truest and most moving of the series for me and the art keeps getting better and better.

And God help me, but I loved the hyper-literal metaphor (is it even a metaphor anymore, when it's this literal?) of giant (or "grown-up") Dawn joining the fight, and putting down the whiny, caricature version of herself, and hard. (Self-bot-decapitation is certainly one way to bonk us over the head with the news that now that she's "grown," we're going to have to look past what she was and see her for what she is. Dig.)

Dawn-haters and big sisters of the 'verse take note: there's a new Dawn in town. And it's about time. Get down with your (big) bad self, girl.
This was an action packed issue, I mean it felt like TV, which is pretty incredible. You could actually feel the action. I guess that's a tribute to both Jeanty and Goddard. I thought this whole arc was fun and just really Buffy.

I really felt for Zander losing Renee and I also actually felt for Renee, which was unexpected. Also I don't think we've ever seen Zander sad before, not like this. So that was very new even if Renee dying was a given.

I was pretty surprised at Buffy in the ending but not too surprised at the same time. Buffy can be so irresponsible, I guess that's a side effect of too much responsibility and people don't change. Anyway I'm not one of the whingers, I accept whatever the writers dish out, that's the only way for it to be fun! So yeah, keep it up Season 8!

Haha Dawnzilla was just so beyond lame that I was ok with it! And Thank you Drew for not making this Japan theme a lame homage to Japan. I was pretty worried that it was going to be bad, I was so wrong and of course I was! The Japan theme was really tastefully done. Also Dawnzilla hahaha you got away with that!

My only complaint is Dracula. He just didn't seem like the Draccy we knew and I really didn't care either. Oh well, still gets 5 stars outta 5 from me!
So interesting stuff for those who like me are spoiled with the opening of Buffy #16 -

Also is that a panther in the battle on the roof post Willow's spell. Continuity people!!
And God help me, but I loved the hyper-literal metaphor (is it even a metaphor anymore, when it's this literal?) of giant (or "grown-up") Dawn joining the fight, and putting down the whiny, caricature version of herself, and hard. (Self-bot-decapitation is certainly one way to bonk us over the head with the news that now that she's "grown," we're going to have to look past what she was and see her for what she is. Dig.)

Yes, exactly. It was both hilarious and very moving at the same time. As was much of this arc, which was both awesome and great.
Newcj asks:

1. Why *did* Dracula help them? Did I miss something to do with his motivation in all this?

Based on his ennui from issue 13, I'd say it was a combination of boredom and honor: "Nobody steals from Dracula!"

From a plot POV, you needed his knowledge and his sword to do the plot twist/reversal of depowering the vamps. AND he was the source of the Japanese vamps' powers.

2. Why the hell would the powerful magical mystery vampires create a mechadawn as a weapon against Dawn? Dawn is just a big human. There are tons of weapons that would work better.

Eddie Valiant: You mean you could've taken your hand out of that cuff at any time?

Roger Rabbit: No, not at any time, only when it was funny.

Also, fan service. And they're Japanese. If movies have taught me anything, the fictional Japanese response to any danger is a giant mecha.

3. Other than to allow time for "banter" and the irony of discussing Willow's need to protect Satsu while torturing her by allowing her to think that she is going to die horribly in a matter of seconds, why would Willow and Buffy stand there chatting and allow Satsu to fall in terror?

See #2.

And apropos of other comments, since Dracula got his sword back, there's no reason he couldn't undo the curse and get his powers back.
Okay, is it just me or is anyone else slightly worried that we have now resorted to Roger Rabbit comparisons to justify the writing and plot choices in the Buffy comics. ;)
No, because the show was like that to some extent, too. The worry is that the comics will give them an excuse to take it to silly extremes, I imagine.
*raises hand* I have a sudden need to revisit the old haunts of one R.Rabbit.
I do think many Americans don't know that wolves are mostly gone in western Europe. I think we see just enough literary references, modern fiction such as this, and movies set in past time periods to reinforce the misconception.

But yeah, many of the issues people are raising about plausibility in the comic events doesn't quite click for me. The tv show did some pretty implausible stuff at times. But they usually grounded it in the story and made it just believable enough to work.
If I'm honest, zeitgeist, I was mostly kidding. I'm actually a big apologist for the story elements that seem a little, well, extreme in the comic series. Giant Dawn and Angel's dragon may well have never happened on a television budget but they are no more ludicrous then much of what did happened to the guys on either show. Invisible Buffy, vampire puppets, singing and dancing towns, the whole of the Pylea story. All these things were cartoon like in how the story was executed and to be truthful that was really the only way that they possible could have been done. With that in mind it's going to take something really ridiculous for me to say "nope, that's just too weird for the Buffyverse" and walk away.

Now, if Xander gets bitten by a radioactive pig and starts fighting crime as Hog-Man? Then, I'm gone. ;)
What is he's a Porcupine and gets to shoot spines at people?
I think Marvel already beat you to that one, Sunfire. ;)
Since we're talking about Roger Rabbit now ;) , can someone explain Leah's line "They're rabbiting." What the heck is that? If it's Scottish slang for running away, I've never come across it.

I didn't come into this issue with particularly high expectations, having not enjoyed this arc as much as the previous stand-alone issues and the Faith arc, but I really loved this one. While I share the concerns the Renee's demise was ridiculously predictable from the moment she and Xander kissed, her death scene was exceptionally well done. Witnessing a death from a first-person perspective was truly chilling. I didn't even notice the "I'm so scared" on my initially reading and it set my hairs on end when I saw it later.

Slight nit-pick : how does Buffy catch up with Willow and Kumiko when they're falling? My (fairly limited) knowledge of physics would suggest this wasn't possible.

Major nit-pick : Mecha Dawn - wtf was that all about?!? Ok, it was an excuse for some funny lines, but it was so unbelievably stupid that it took me right out of the story.

Other than that though there was so much to like about the rest of the issue. Dracula kicking arse, the connection between Willow and Kumiko (hope we see her again), Willow and Buffy's chat while Satsu is falling, the blank look on Xander's face and then him falling to his knees, Buffy's ruthlessness towards the fleeing vampires and appropriate endings to the Dracula / Xander and Buffy / Satsu relationships.

I did get a bit distracted by the ad for the next issue being stuck in halfway though the comic, as I've been trying to avoid all spoilers for the next arc. I really hope they don't do that again - seeing it (or choosing not to) at the end of the letters page is fine. Beautiful drawing as always from Jo Chen though. Bring on the Fray arc!!!

[ edited by cypher on 2008-06-06 17:14 ]
I thought "rabbiting" was pretty commonly known (at least in Whedon-y circles- it was used in Firefly and/or Serenity) to mean moving away with a quickness. Although, this, from Wiktionary, is of interest:

From Cockney rhyming slang rabbit and pork, to talk.


to rabbit (third-person singular simple present rabbits, present participle rabbitting, simple past and past participle rabbitted)

1. (UK, intransitive) to talk incessantly and in a childish manner; to babble annoyingly.

Stop your infernal rabbiting! Use proper words or nobody will listen to you!

Wow, on the role , a mighty satisfying discussion here. To which I can add little of substance.

Therefore :-)

aus-mitch; If this were my own AU, that panther might eb Oz's future wife. Assuming she's blacka s a human.

Highlander: A long-term relationship where the sex was lousy and the emotional atmosphere was abusive can knock the liking of sex way down for a person.
Thanks zeitgeist, I probably just skimmed over it in Firefly/Serenity - with the comic you notice every word. Don't quite get why it means that in Firefly/Serenity, but never mind. I was aware of that Wiktionary definition of the word, I just didn't see that it made sense in the context - though it did make more sense than hunting rabbits in the middle of a huge fight in Tokyo ;) .

[ edited by cypher on 2008-06-06 18:08 ]
Hehe, the Wiktionary meaning of course, does not apply to Buffy/Firefly speak. Although I could see Badger using that version of it :)
I always assumed it means the person you're chasing is getting away, running like a rabbit. Just a general hunting reference. It always brings to my mind an image of a rabbit's hind legs from behind. That glimpse of movement you get before it is so gone.
Well if Emma Frost can leave a battle to pee...of course a slayer can leave a battle to hunt rabbits!

I really liked mecha-Dawn for all of the reasons barest_smidgen said far more eloquently than I could. I think one of my favorite lines was "I like jeans. And irony." It was awesome.

I hope nobody took my comments about sexuality the wrong way; I was just wanting to make a point about attraction being on a person to person basis, regardless of sexual orientation labels. If a person who's gay happens to be attracted to someone of the opposite sex, it's not as though they're acting against their nature or lying to themselves or even changing their orientation.

As far as new, strange story elements, I don't know if Xander would deign to be a pig, after having been a hyena at one point. Although I do think that Hog Man might be kind of cool, in a lame way. (Not really.) Maybe he could be a gila monster.

Obviously to read/watch a story about someone who hunts vampires, one has to suspend disbelief. I don't think they've pushed it too far yet; I don't know if they can due to la boca del infierno. It's a mystical whozits, after all.
DaddyCatALSO - "Highlander: A long-term relationship where the sex was lousy and the emotional atmosphere was abusive can knock the liking of sex way down for a person."

Agreed, naturally. Although my comment above about not understanding people who don't like sex with either gender was more jokey-in-the-context-of-the-discussion and less my actual opinion on the greater issue. ;)

Also, can I just say how ashamed I am that I didn't notice the "Saffy" pun in ShanshuBugaboo's suggestion for the Buffy/Satsu 'ship name further up thread. It's probably been discussed before and I'm coming into the joke as everyone else has ceased to find it remotely amusing but I can't imagine a more suitable 'ship name has ever existed. ;)
I've yet to experience a moment of "that would never happen on the show" with these comics.... until this episode with MechaDawn, although I literally did laugh out loud more than once.

Also, did anyone else's comic come with a huge spoilerific ad for the next miniseries? I already knew about Buffy's encounter with but not everyone monitors this website like a hawk, and probably got pretty severely spoiled.

MechaDawn aside, another great ep, keep them coming!
I loved this issue and agree with everything barest_smidgen said, especially about Dawn.

I still miss a lot of things because I tend to read comics as I read books, that is fast and gathering the essence, rather than reading word by word, which means I often have to go back just to figure out who was talking - or thinking. That's why I usually have the comic with me when I read the comments here, so I can go back and catch something I missed.

This time, going over the comic a little more closely, one thing does stand out for me (besides the great wrapup of Drew's arc) and that is the way Xander's clothes change from panel to panel in the last scene. Maybe some of it is the just the way comics are drawn/coloured, but in the first close-up he has a plaid shirt/jacket on it, with a six-sided eye patch and facial hair, in the next panel, his jacket is no longer plaid, the shirt underneath is plain white, he's clean-shaven and the eyepatch is the more traditional semi-spherical shape. Then it's back to the first look, but in the last frame where he is scattering (dumping?) Renee's ashes, we see that the white shirt now has some sort of logo or lettering on it. Is this common in comic art? See, maybe it's better if I don't read too closely! ;) That way I also don't notice when character's faces disappear!
(slaps forehead in chagrined realization) "Saffy!"

As to revenge being "dusty bones," yes, from certain viewpoints. On other hands, sometimes it's just necessary. The bad guy had to be killed anyway. Even if Xander gained nothing from being the one to do it, even if he proved nothing, even if he resolved nothing in himself by doing it, I still can see that it was soemthing he had to do. A motive that goes beyond reasons, and reason, and gain, and gains, occupying a territory of its own.

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2008-06-07 21:29 ]
Cypher asks:

[c]an someone explain Leah's line "They're rabbiting." What the heck is that?

I think it is pretty common on American TV. I've seen it used a lot on cop/procedurals where a group of suspects run off in a bunch of different directions.

Slight nit-pick : how does Buffy catch up with Willow and Kumiko when they're falling? My (fairly limited) knowledge of physics would suggest this wasn't possible.

They weren't falling. They were fighting while flying in mid-air. In Season 8 flying is apparently an ability all powerful witches have (Amy, Willow, Kumiko).

Major nit-pick : Mecha Dawn - wtf was that all about?!? Ok, it was an excuse for some funny lines, but it was so unbelievably stupid that it took me right out of the story.

But I explained that with my Roger Rabbit quote! When the bad guys were talking about the robotics division the previous issue I really really hoped they'd go the Mecha Dawn route. Though I thought they'd have a pilot in the head.

Or how about this? It finally gave Dawn and Andrew their "hero moment" that they haven't had so far in S8.

But as other posters have pointed out, Buffy's second layer has always been about using the monster stories to examine real life emotional issues. So it is really a metaphor about growing up. Or something.

I liked my quote explanation better ;-)
Yes, why was Dracula helping them if he's "pure evil" as several here have suggested? And if it's out of honour, is it possible for a being of unadulterated evil to have a code of honour? Honour amongst thieves?

Funny that a being of pure evil didn't destroy and devour all the good little humans when he had a chance, and even offered solace to one of said humans who he clearly cares deeply for.
BTSL - RE:Drac evil - Honour - Emotional connection
See: Spike aka William the Bloody

So now that the arc is finished I just don't see a reason for the whole "Saffy" affair. The MechaDawn was silly but seemed to add a good series of jokes and perhaps a metaphor, but their relationship just ends up seeming nothing more than a publicity stunt.
I liked all the grabby action more in this one than recently, but have to agree about the not making sense, especially with Dracula.

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