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"Call her that again I'll remove your face…slowly."
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August 06 2008

(SPOILER) For the discussion of Buffy #17. The second part of Joss Whedon's 'Time of Your Life' arc hits the stands today. Will Buffy work out what exactly is going on?

I just want to say that I think that cover is really gorgeous.
Did we break it?
Huh. Well it was only there for the sake of discussing the issue. I do want to know is has the big bad of that era turned up yet. Is it Dru or Willow or have we been sucker punched?
Won't know until the end-of-the-month, Simon, when I get my comic. I wish I could tell you though. I suspect those who could post something useful are reading their comic right now...
Unless there's another glitch in TFAW system, my copy will only arrive next month.
I won't have my copy of this or Spike :ATF #2 until later today but I did read who the mystery woman is over at Slayalive.A poster over there has their copy.

The mystery woman is Willow it seems.Apparently,the whole issue makes you think it's Dru and the last page reveal is that it is in fact,Dark Willow.
I'm *so* looking forward to the return of Fray ^^
Well, not much of a surprise, really. The question is, though, how did she get there?
Drusilla? Drusill-nah. I never should have fallen for the "madwoman" misdirect, as the 8.19 cover really did make it kind of obvious. And as soon as it was clear she was speaking "human" and not "vampire", it was a sure thing.

Wow, what an issue. Fray is every bit the great character she was in her own book. Harth is every bit as complex a villain. And WILLOW has been waiting around for centuries to prove a point.

Firstly, I love how Buffy adjusts, or doesn't, to Melaka's world -- gains her trust, learns her language, and is even moved to sympathy by what Melaka's been through. But what I never thought about is how learning of Melaka's time would affect Buffy mentally. In "Chosen", we saw Buffy emerge from great pessimism and doubt with a moment of sudden certainty -- "we're gonna win". Now, in "Time of Your Life", her period of great optimism and victory as head of a world-wide army of Slayers that's changed the fate of the line of Chosen, of heroes, of the world, ends in another moment of sudden clarity -- "we're gonna lose", if you will. Fray laid it all down. Buffy's age was the end of the Slayer line until Melaka and Harth. The ties to the past were broken. Twilight came, and night fell.

And all this settles in right before she hears Willow's name come from Gunther's lips.

Willow, on the other hand... wow. She's felt off, distant, cold in the present-day story, and also a bit self-loathing. That continues as she makes clear that it's her fault that Buffy got sent to the future. That means more than even she can understand, since apparently FDW had something to do with orchestrating this. And yet, she acts like she's been waiting around 200+ years to prove a point to Buffy, not to kill her. She's here to judge her, not to kill her, to reverse a phrase. Whatever it is that happens to the Slayers and the world in the present is clearly something that Willow holds Buffy accountable for, and wants her to appreciate that... perhaps before killing her?

In the meantime, the BHC is not a BPR apparently, and I'm actually glad because to wipe out the whole Scotland team right in front of Xander would have been too much. He is really, really stepping up and I love it. Love him snapping Rowena out of it and barking orders. That's twice now we've seen Rowena... pretty much fold in a sticky situation. I wonder if she's mostly there as a reminder of how many girls probably weren't ready to be Slayers. It even makes me wonder if the Slayer line on its own had a sort of intelligence underneath it, that it never activated someone that clearly didn't have the steele to succeed.

A little puzzled by the nature of the attack on the BHC -- why have a small explosion that spawns freaky ghost-ish snake warrior things when, well, big explosion? Sharks with frickin' laser beams.

I'm definitely thinking there's Xander/Dawn subtext officially a-brewin'. "Ride me". 'Nuff said. And I totally called that scene. I'm still hoping for Buffy/Xander of course. I'm actually a little alarmed, with Willow being the "madwoman", what to make of Harth's memory of her -- "in my dream, you hurt me. Not just fighting -- you're connected to someone I love." Who would Harth be remembering on Buffy's behalf? Xander? Dawn? And why does it hurt her/him?
The reveal on the final page is that it's Willow, but it's obvious throughout. On the sixth page, we see the back of her head and that she has read hair. Then, there is a quick cut to present day Willow, who says "This is all my fault." Also, when "mystery villain/Dark Willow" speaks in voiceover, the caption has a red outline. Then, when Present Willow speaks in voiceover, it also has a red outline. I don't think the Page 22 reveal was meant to be outright shocking, because they kinda made it obvious. I think it's supposed to be sort of sad and poignant, which it totally was.

Great issue. Willow's explanation of the time thing was sketchy and worded rather badly, but other than that not-so-good expository piece, it was a fine issue.
Okay, I totally missed all the hints, so the end reveal actually produced a gasp from me. I find myself looking back to The Long Way Home and hearing Warren say "Go dark. You know you want to."

I am fascinated by the weird doublings we keep seeing--we had Faith as the opposition to Buffy and dealing with that in the No Future For You arc and now we have Willow as the dark adversary again, so we have another doubling with both present Willow (who has apparently done some darker things in the past than she has let on), future dark Willow and Buffy...also with present Willow saying "This is my fault.", I wonder exactly what her magical walkabout was for as well as exactly what her liason may have been for.

Willow has been meddling with something or something has been meddling with her.

(also, I don't know if the hair is a tip-off, but with the mix of red and black, I am wondering if we are seeing another future Willow, not necessarily our previous Dark Willow. Hmm.)

Were I feeling academic I could do more, but I need to go read again. I loved the slang, the lewd panty joke, the cover (wow!) and I was very fond of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier reference.

So, yay. I am giddy and excited.

(and off topic, my purchases at the comic shop of Buffy and Spike: ATF came to exactly $6.66. I saved my receipt.)
Ah crap, really. I really would be terribly unhappy and sad if in the end, Willow ruins everything. It would be such a bad end to such a great character; in fact, probably the greatest character in all of recorded tv, imho. Gotta wait and see, but....

And how is Willow present now and in the future at the same time- see, if I got sent to the future right now and bypassed the immediate future to get there, then all the things that I did in the immediate future never actually took place? If you catch my drift, which as I ask it makes no sense whatsoever?! :-)

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2008-08-06 18:58 ]
Thanks, KingofCretins & patxshand, for the review. I can't wait to get my copy! I'm a little confused by this:

I'm actually a little alarmed, with Willow being the "madwoman", what to make of Harth's memory of her -- "in my dream, you hurt me. Not just fighting -- you're connected to someone I love." Who would Harth be remembering on Buffy's behalf? Xander? Dawn? And why does it hurt her/him?
KingofCretins | August 06, 18:15 CET

KoC, which her are you referring to? Buffy or "madwoman" Willow? I just can't follow this part (which is needed for my favorite speculation starters). :)
korkster, I meant "her/him" as in "Buffy(whose memory Harth is dreaming of)/Harth(who is experiencing it)". He tells Willow that in his dream, she (Willow) hurt him/them (Buffy/Harth), and that it wasn't just fighting, but to do with a connection to someone that he/her (Buffy/Harth) loves.

With Willow, what we seem to be seeing isn't some other time travel -- it's Willow herself, simply a couple hundred years farther along. This is the woman "our" Willow has become.
Madwoman Willow may not, in fact, be entirely evil. Yes, she has "hurt" Buffy in the past and appears to be heavy into the dark magicks again. But what do we make of Harth's surprise that she sounds sad that Buffy is feeling the weight of the "world's loss"? Why would this make a fully evil Willow sad? And why isn't her hair completely black in the final panel? I'm not saying Future Willow is benign ... but she might not be Pure Evil in a full-out Big-Bad sort of way.
DarkWillow was insane, in certain real ways. This is Dark Willow with at least partly red hair. (Not surprising since Willow's natural hair color is deep wine, not true red.)

And, okay, not to cheese off any Fray fans*, but I'm thinking, Buffy has this tendency to be a wild card in any deck she appears in. And DarkWil and Harth were discussing how what they're doing is essential to make their day arrive.
*I never read them, but this isn't meant as a gotcha from a non-fan, I've suffered too many fo those to do that.

So, maybe, just maybe, Joss is doing a Silver-Surfer-stops-the-Overlord/Warlock-stops-the-Magus thing, and by the end of this the Frayverse will have been averted.

I mean, in "Chosen" Joss changed the one thing I thought he never would, so he's capable of that kind of re-set. And his diea of what the audience "needs" often involves a lot of pain and he knows that'll hurt a lot of us.
1starbucks, she's at least somewhat evil -- she is, afterall, congratulating and encouraging Harth on his success in spreading vampirism across "Noram" (North America, clearly), and that's a lot of bodies she's happy about.

DaddyCat, I could see the potential there, but it would almost suck to basically "un-make" Melaka, because she really is a rich and enjoyable character. I put off reading "Fray" for a long time, and after I did, I found it to be arguably the best story Joss has ever told in the Buffyverse.
KingofCretins, I've also put off reading Fray. I'm thinking I need to check it out.

Her congratulating Harth on spreading the "beloved infection" could just be an act -- if she's playing Harth for some reason. I reserve judgment on whether -- or to what extent -- she's evil. More to come!
Darker Willow.
KoC, it would suck even more to "unmake" Willow.

(See, we averted the end of the world once with WIllow already- so, now, she's going to finally succeed, so to say? That would be just dreadful.)
I'm one of the few who didn't see it coming. At first I thought she was a vampire, but then I realized she was just veiny. Either way, I was pretty shocked. And I missed every single clue that was apparently drawn in with the sledgehammer-sized pencil.

I do love Fray, though, and I'm enjoying Buffy's visit to that world and the possible repercussions to both the past and the future. I don't want Fray to be "unmade" either. Or Willow. But this is a fascinating story.
And here I am, remembering these words from Cassie/The First to Willow: "She says... you're not going to be okay. You're going to kill everybody."
My jaw... Dropped. Literally.
Oh man,I have my copy now and loved it.Loved the Buffy/Fray interaction and the Dark Willow reveal.Also thought it was great seeing Xander really take charge in the present.

One of my great disapointments in season 6 was that there wasn't enough Dark Willow as well as the way it was executed.I'm glad that this seems to give us a second shot at more Dark Willow.
I was so convinced it was going to be Drusilla that I tried to get her voice in my head when I was reading the "madwoman's" lines, but it just didn't set right.

That last page just broke my heart. Did anybody else think that Willow looked just so defeated and sad in that last panel?

September can't come fast enough.
I too am of the jaw-dropping, clue-missing club. I'm... flabbergasted. I can't wait to see where this goes.
KingofCretins: Well, just a suggestion. While I've often said great minds flow in the same sewers, I admit I'm seldom able to predict Joss. (Except with Renee snerk.)

Dana5140; You're very adroitly finding these textual hints and foreshadows (soem generations of Talmudic scholars in your genes?) and my reaction is, once you bring them to our attention, rather similar to yours.

Crikey, this thread is at the flippin' bottom of the bloody page already?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!
Wow, this is getting really exciting! I was 100% sure it was Drusilla, so I loved the Willow surprise. And Xander got to ride Dawn, how cool is that?!!!? LOL
I think I'll have to read all the BtVS S8 comics over from the beginning and look for clues, because did Amy know this was coming? Did Warren? This issue is certainly a turning point, not only to dark Willow but also to a much more dark and dire story line.
My interpretation of "Red-haired Future Dark Willow":

Joss loves characters who are a mix of good and evil. Slayers can be evil. Vampires can be good. On TV we've seen to two pure Willows: good and evil. As she lives over two centuries she may migrate to the middle, becoming morally neutral and using her powers as the situation dictates rather than always on one particular "side". (You could even argue that her sexual orientation migration on TV was a precursor/metaphor -- i.e., this is no fixed "right" and "wrong", there is just what you believe.)
I'll also suggest an honorable scenario for Willow.

S7 showed Buffy several times mentioning that "the mission" was all important, even if accomplishing it required sacrifice of things you hold dear. Best case in point: killing Angel to save the world. I don't believe that Willow is maliciously betraying Buffy. I believe that Willow has some higher goal in mind (yet to be revealed) and she came to the conclusion that the only way to accomplish that higher goal was via a betrayal of Buffy. Hence, Willow is not EVIL, she's tragic in that she had to sacrifice a thing she loved dearly in order to get something she wanted. (Sort of like Billy [accidentally] sacrificing Penny to get into the ELOL.)
Being deprived of my comic for the moment, I had some questions/ponderings:

1) Willow is showing Buffy the world that they created (i.e., they "lost, so to speak"). Willow may be evil/angry/crazy/bitter, but what purpose would there be to show Buffy the future? Is there a chance to change it? Or is it to enforce that the future occur as it is now? Willow blames Buffy... does she also blame herself? It was her spell & magic afterall...

2) Dana5140, nice catch on that Cassie line! I had always wondered about that. The "Conversations with Dead People" line was always left open to interpretation. Willow had claimed the ghosts were lieing, to get them to do stuff. But, did Dawn's ghost tell the truth? What about Buffy's? We always assumed it was The First that was involved with those "dead people", but they didn't act like the First. They took physical afflictions on Dawn. One was a vampire that was dusted (the First is non-corporeal). Cassie was just creepy, but was she telling the truth? Should Willow had just killed herself, therefore preventing the Scythe spell? Just musing.

3) Thanks for clearing that up, KingofCretins.

korkster, I meant "her/him" as in "Buffy(whose memory Harth is dreaming of)/Harth(who is experiencing it)". He tells Willow that in his dream, she (Willow) hurt him/them (Buffy/Harth), and that it wasn't just fighting, but to do with a connection to someone that he/her (Buffy/Harth) loves.

With Willow, what we seem to be seeing isn't some other time travel -- it's Willow herself, simply a couple hundred years farther along. This is the woman "our" Willow has become.
KingofCretins | August 06, 20:01 CET

I wonder if Snake Lady has to do something with the "hurting of someone either Buffy or Harth loves". Willow seems so set on it being Buffy that may/may not hurt Kennedy so that's why she kept a distance, but that is a good question. I don't think I've seen anyone Harth or Buffy are connected to that would cause such grief.

And, is she causing that pain now? I agree with you, that the Future Willow is "Willow that has grown old ans crazy", not Time-Travel Willow. From the description of the last panel, if she's so sad about Buffy's new clarity, is it with the intentions that she knows what's going to happen next in Buffy's present? I don't know. Just rambling.

4) I highly recommend Fray to anyone who hasn't read it yet. Not only is it a lot of fun and a joy to read, but as KoC says, it is a very well-thought-out, deep story.

5) Joss DID say recently that it's going to get "much much worse" from here on out in the Buffyverse. Can't wait! :)
I did not understand the part about why Willow isn't a lurk. Something about Lurks don't age - I don't get it.
No matter how I cut it, and my biases obvious, but I cannot see Willow going dark again unless Tara is involved in some manner. And that would betray Tara. Not happy here.
I can see Willow going dark if Xander gets killed, and she uses dark magics to bring him back but fails. That causes her to become disillusioned with Buffy's fight, which causes her to become depressed and not care about sides anymore. IMO.
I didn't realize that it was supposed to be Willow until I read the letter column. I thought Karl Moline just had difficulty capturing Juliet Landau's likeness and ending up having Drusilla look a lot like Willow. So the mislead worked for me, but the reveal didn't. Other than that, it was a great issue.
I don't necessarily think it would take the death of a loved one to push Willow over the edge again. Tara's death may have been the original impetus for Willow going Dark, but I think now that she's crossed that line there will be constant temptation to access that level of power again, and she will always struggle with that. Once you've become a goddess, is it even possible to be content living as a "normal" woman?
Well...not terribly shocked. I never thought it was Dru. I hoped it wasn't Willow, but I knew it was before they showed her face. But it's not crazy Dark Willow like before. That Willow was repressing all her emotions and thus her humanity. This Willow seems more sad than pissed. I'm thinking something really horrible happened and Willow was the only one to survive.

She may not have meant to turn immortal and her current darkishness is more the result of having lived a couple of centuries of depression. Or maybe her intention was to live to the point in the future that caused the horrible thing in the present in order to change it. And showing Buffy the future seems to be part of maybe the only thing that could change Buffy's mind about something she's about to do. Maybe there's something Buffy needs to lose to win.

I'm just babbling...mainly I'm thinking Willow didn't go dark because something bad triggered it. But rather she tapped into too much power...perhaps even at Buffy's request. And ultimately they failed leaving an immortal Willow alone and the only thing she has is time. Future Willow doesn't seem to be happy about the current future state of things. I mean, she's sad that Buffy now knows...not reveling in it.
I'm with SteveP on this one; I believe future Willow is just a mature/Elder Willow who is kinda beyond the concept of purely good or purely evil. She may have control of many different aspects of magic that touch on both the "good" and "evil" places modern day Willow has gone, and likely way beyond those points. After all, modern day Willow said future Willow was far more powerful, and I doubt that she's been sitting on her hands doing nothing for the past 200 years.

I also agree that the Fray comic is arguably the best Buffyverse comic that Joss has ever written, and in my opinion the best comic he's ever done, period (including Runaways, X-Men, Season 8, and Serenity).
I would be very angry if this storyline caused the Fray future to no longer exist, and it would have to be an extremely good tale to get me to continue on with Season 8 if this occurred.
So here's a thought.

"Years from now, someone enlists our big ugly demon friend to take down the slayer" Says present day Willow to the slayers in NYC. The Slayer. One. Singular.

Willow is talking to at least seven slayers but she puts it in singular form and doesn't skip a beat. She doesn't trip over the fact that according to this demon's knowledge, there's only one. Maybe it was a writer's slip, or maybe it's pointing again that present day Willow is much deeper in this than we've been led to believe.
Once you've become a goddess, is it even possible to be content living as a "normal" woman?

Good question.
And an even better one- one I have grappled with for years- is, was Willow a goddess when Kennedy called her one?
Who's to say? And how do we even know that the power used to activate the Scythe was "good"?

Even if Willow was a goddess, not all goddesses are "good".
GrrrlRomeo really hit it on the head for me, I agree completely. To me, it seems like something horrible happened, and Willow was the only one to survive (thus possibly causing her to go nutso). She just seems so sad... but I guess the main thing here is that I find it sooo difficult to believe (read as: I don't want to believe it until I'm forced to!) that Willow, even given her past, would do something outright evil and betray Buffy with the intent of hurting her. There are, of course, some huge chunks we're missing here and, as usual, I reserve my judgement until all the spaces are filled in. Can't wait for #18!

(Oh, and: Xander riding Dawn = awesomeness. I love centaur Dawn!)
Well, I was caught by the surprise, but I usually try not to telegraph into the story too much, because I love Joss' gut punches. That said, I'm wondering if this reveal will be what we think it to be. Is Dark Willow really evil, or is she playing a part in all this for some other purpose?

It seems she is not aligned with Twilight who is trying to bring an end to magic (which brings up the question about Willow's existence in the future - but that can wait for now), and I'm sure that Buffy plays a very important role in making that happen. So maybe Buffy's role in all this is a bad thing, and Willow is trying to stop it. Or accelerate it and create the bad thing. Or...I don't know, really, but I am sooo excited to find out.

Oh, and I am really happy to hear Dark Willow speaking so eloquently and mysteriously, rather than cracking mean jokes. That was the only part of that arc on the show that I didn't think ran true (well, maybe the drug addiction metaphor, but I was able to overlook that pretty easily).

Can someone point out where exactly the League reference is? I tried to find it, but failed. I'm not as perceptive as some...
Whoa, I didn't see future Willow coming at all!

Question, when Fray says "The last great watcher sacrificed himself at the battle of Starbucks", is she referring to Giles or Xander?

Funniest line, "Buffy Summers is dead." "Occasionally"!

Or maybe the one about the pasties.
Oh man, that was a good issue. I love all of the possibilities where this can go, although I think I'll throw my hat into the ring of DaddyCatALSO's idea about Buffy's actions in the future unmaking the Frayverse, and therefore Future-Not-Quite-Dark Willow too.
This isn't the same "Dark Willow." She's not just re-treading an old path. Willow's gone dark for another reason, and I sense it's mainly borne of despair, not just loss. This is the future that she and Buffy wrought. It's bleak.

Perhaps Willow has one last, desperate hope, to "create the past" in the future, only this time differently.

Me? I'm still pining for the return of a certain blonde witch, but with wings and a mean, angelic sword. Yeah, I'm hopeless. :)
Well, me too, QMC. :-)
I don't think (at least I truly hope) that Joss will un-do Fray's future, but I got the idea while reading that Fray might not be so unhappy by the end of the series. Perhaps future Willow can turn Harth into a real boy Shanshu-ish style. Maybe she'll figure a way to finally put an end to all the vampires and bad demons in the future, thus giving Buffy a little hope and allowing the Slayer line to end after Fray, but this time because there's peace.

I also wonder if we'll see anything from the big bad demons that were behind Urkonn from Fray's series. I guess it's unlikely at this point. It'd be interesting to see future Willow's power versus mega bad guys from the past like The First or Glory, though.
"Me? I'm still pining for the return of a certain blonde witch, but with wings and a mean, angelic sword. Yeah, I'm hopeless."

I'm right there with you.
I must be one of only a dozen or so Buffy fans that never gave even a moment's serious thought to Kennedy (who, as a magical illiterate, is no judge of such things anyway) calling Willow a "goddess" in "Chosen" as being literal in any way. She was a bit turned on by the power boost and it was a convenient way to tell her sexy witch girlfriend how hot she was right then with the whole power-giving thing. Nothing more, at least nothing I ever saw a textual reason to suspect, not in "Chosen", and not in Season 8 thus far. If she was a 'goddess', I don't think she'd keep getting her ass kicked, for one thing (Kumiko basically beat her down twice, and Amy outsmarted her in the BHC basement).

I've been thinking a lot about how melancholy FDW seems... it's like it hurts her to be hurting Buffy for some reason, even while she indifferently stands aroudn while young girls are being kidnapped and fed on or turned into vampires. Maybe her agenda is just to see magic proliferated again? By whatever means? Could be she even helped Harth try to open the gateway in "Fray".
Whoaaaaa. Didn't see that coming at all. I was rolling my eyes through the whole thing, saying "Come on, like we don't know it's Drusilla." Then the last page floored me.

Also, I'm very curious about who the "last great watcher" is, and what happens at that Starbucks.

I've been a bit iffy about this "season" so far, but now that we're getting into the main storyline, I'm loving it.
Strange, I didn't get an evil vibe from Dark Willow at all.

My first impression was that she'd brought Buffy to the future to show her what she needs to avert. Nothing about the last few panels seemed angry, or anything but sad really. Including the look on her face in the last panel. Pure sad.

Overall impression of the issue was that it grabbed me less than any issue so far. The story felt scattered and I wasn't able to really get into it (there was one scene near the end I liked: "What's a lurk?"). The art also didn't feel right. The Xander-rides-Dawn scene should have been hilarious, but the look on his face (and the unnecessary "Augh!") took me out of it. There were some other art oddities (when the lizard man smashes the computer screen, something about the perspective just seemed really off-- stuff like that).
Alan Moore Reference:
The posters on the wall behind Fray saying "YOU READ THIS" are exact replicas of a page from Moore's "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier." The page is written in "newspeak" out of Orson Wells' "1984" and is essentially a warning not to read further in "The Black Dossier."

Also Oh My Frikkin' Gosh it's Dark Willow!
(hadda type that out in bold...'cause it's kinda shocking)

My favorite Dawn exclamation today: "My mane is my hair!"

Whatever happens in Fray's time is apparantly going to cause the whole "end of magic" thing...although I suspect that it's more of a "magic hiding itself in new ways" type of deal.
The Dark Willow thing.. I saw it coming. Especially seeing the cover for issue #19. But still I'm so excited to see where this is going. There could've been a bit of twilight in this ark.. But I'm thinking Twilight might be someone from the future.

And Xander/Dawn pairing.. Am I the only one who thinks it might not be such a bad idea. In the last issue, I already got the feeling that there might be something between them.(Okay I'm rewatching season 5.. So it's kind of creepy.)Xander desreves some Summers love.
And how do we even know that the power used to activate the Scythe was "good"?

Because her hair turned white instead of black during the spell. That indicated to me that she tapped into a lot of white magic.

I must be one of only a dozen or so Buffy fans that never gave even a moment's serious thought to Kennedy (who, as a magical illiterate, is no judge of such things anyway) calling Willow a "goddess" in "Chosen" as being literal in any way.

I didn't think it was literal either. I think present day Willow just has access to a lot of power. Something in the near future is going to happen that causes her to be immortal.

I've been thinking a lot about how melancholy FDW seems... it's like it hurts her to be hurting Buffy for some reason, even while she indifferently stands aroudn while young girls are being kidnapped and fed on or turned into vampires.

I wondered if she simply grew apathetic after centuries of no slayer, or if she's really intent on changing the future then what's happening in the current future doesn't really matter...since she's thinking it's not going to happen.

There's too many holes that need filling out.
Okay. Dark Willow. Now, the entire time I had been reading all of her dialogue in Drusilla's voice, but I was like, "Wow, this really does not sound like her." Then, literally the page before the reveal, I remembered the #19 cover and it all came to me. I don't always have my thinking cap on, apparently.

But yeah, I don't really know if we can say this is "Dark Willow," because she doesn't seem evil. Just horribly sad and despaired, as others have already said.

And I've been speculating on this here site for a while now that Joss might cause the Frayverse to be wiped away to prevent its bleak future from happening. That would be a gutsy storytelling move, one rife with emotion, but it would also kind of destroy the best comics work Joss has ever done. So we shall see.

(Come join me on .Org for more discussion. I'll post a thread there in a little while.)
But, I think the question remains. Kennedy calls Willow a goddess at the time when Willow casts a spell that activates all potential slayers, thereby turning her white, in opposition to the blackness of Dark Willow. Willow is literally the most powerful woman in the world at the point, and the whiteness is, I believe, shown to demonstrate the goodness inside Willow and to suggest that she has been cleaned or redeemed of the evil acts she committed while insane with grief.

But, was she a goddess then? If so, what are the implications? And in being a goddess, would she even know. S8 Willow sure has a lot of power that no one is paying much attention to- flying, super power (gets knocked through a window after a long fall and gets right up), escapes from a lobotomy thorugh means we still do not know. And can you be redeemed if you flay someone alive, kill another human, and simply cast a spell? Does that balance the cosmic scales? What with Future Willow alive for hundreds of years, what does that means? These issues were all hanging at the end of the series, you know?
Okay, SO! All of the comments so far are twisting my brain to the point where I no longer have a theory. What I will say is: ace issue. Willow is very poignant and I like the Buffy/Fray chemistry. I liked Willow's line about slayers not doing too well together in response to Harth worrying about having two slayers to deal with, which again points towards what may be a big issue with our slayer army.

I was on Jo Chen's myspace to see how much Buffy artwork she had up so far and noticed that the #19 issue is titled 'Willow?' in the same way that her #5 issue was titled 'Buffy?'. What does this mean?!?!?!?

*is freaking out*

I'm starting from issue 1 and reading right the way through again tonight.
I had thought it would be Willow, purely because the Drusilla hints seemed to me to be a bit heavy handed.

She doesn't seem to be as evil in the future as she was in season six. There is the red cast to her hair, and she seems to be slightly mournful about the pain Buffy experiences, also no leather. However the fact that she stands by as a child is dragged off by a vampire/lurk is clear indication that she is far from being good.

I also wonder how she hurts Buffy and a loved one in the past. Could this be the closest betrayal of them all?
The imbalance between the hiding in the shadows and the overt "hey it's Drusilla!" hints instantly made me certain it was Willow.
Failed surprise twist aside, great issue. Loved it.
Another dead giveaway was that she drank water instead of blood.

I liked that Buffy had the tables turned on her with not understanding someone else's slang.

I agree that Fray was probably Joss' best comic work (though to be honest, I've only read the Verse related stuff), maybe because it was kind of self-contained. Which may be made less so with this arc. But I love all the callbacks.

Xander/Dawn? Hmm... I'd prefer it over Buffy/Xander anyway.
So it seems to me like Harth, with the memories of the slayers, is remembering the battle between Buffy and Dark Willow at the Magic Shop, which is probably what he's referencing by saying physically hurt. But not sure the connection to someone he loves. And is the whole starbucks thing a hint as to Giles' ultimate fate?

But I'm most interested in the whole "Slayer of Slayers" thing. Obviously referencing Buffy's arrival, but does this mean that Buffy will be turning against her own people? And if so, does that mean removing their power, or literally slaying them?

Freaky. Maybe I'm reading too much into it prematurely.
Confuzzled. Had to adjust to the artwork, don't really like it, sorry. Too off for me. Liked the Dawn/Xander moment, but soo inappropriate, tee hee. Remember the Dawn crush on Xander? *snickers*

Complex story, different from the first part, and way off from anything else.
Page 11, 3th panel at the left, looks like the alien from Alien *grin*

Love Fray's hair :D

Harth is Twilight?
Interesting concept, ichmaelyttt, I actually hadn't considered "Slayer of Slayers" in the literal sense, I just assumed it meant that she was the ultimate slayer. But if they did end up fighting, it'd certainly give the training session in Issue 1 a new spin.

Sidebar: Who misses Giles? *raises hand*
I loved Buffy's comment about ruining the English language in response to Melaka's slang, and the interactions between the two. I appreciate Jeanty's work, but I haven't minded Moline's fill in at all - his work was really wonderful in the Fray mini, and I really love seeing it here, too because it totally ties the two series together. (I want to color my hair to look just like Melaka's!)

Nice to see Xander confident and in charge, and I'm getting a kick out of Centaur!Dawn. Although I'm not too keen on them dating, I love seeing those two characters together. That last scene in "Potential" still ranks as one of my all time favorite scenes in BtVS.

Looking forward to more!
Yeah. I initially read "Slayer of Slayers" as being the epitome of Slayers, the King of Kings, etc. But then I started thinking maybe it's meant a little more literally. Just speculation, of course, I could be totally off. But it wouldn't be the first time that Joss has used double entendre.

Additionally, with what we've seen so far, it kind of looks like Twilight and the Gov't aren't far off in their beliefs that the Slayers will pose a real problem. We've got Buffy's group robbing banks, another rogue group stealing heavy artillery, etc. Even Buffy's got to be thinking, "What have we done?"

- Ich.
Oo, I do like the idea that Slayer of Slayers might end up being literal.

Personally, I saw the Willow thing coming from a mile away. I guess I could see how they were trying to misdirect it towards Dru, but I honestly never thought that for a moment. I guess her outfits and "madwoman" should've suggested Dru, but pretty much the moment they started hinting at the character, I thought "Oh, I guess Will's still alive." I think I'd seen a future cover that had Dark Willow on it, so that probably gave it up.

Hopefully Dru does show up sooner or later though. Although maybe not. We don't need this to turn into a Greatest Hits coalition of former foes.

I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how they bridge Buffy and Fray. Hopefully there will be some actual surprises in future issues. Also, I need to reread Fray.
Well, you know, the only real slayer of slayers I know is Spike. Food for thought.

However, I think his involvement unlikely. Instead, what I can speculate is that Buffy (or someone) learns something about the presence of all the slayers now in the universe, something that could, for example, threaten said universe. And the only way to rectify that threat is to remove it- which means "slaying" all the slayers and perhaps- and here is where Willow comes in- removing the effect of her initial "white" spell. That might really sadden her, and cause her to "kill" Buffy because it also has the effect of removing Buffy's power at the same time- thus, ending the slayer line and leading to Fray hundreds of years later.

I think this is it, I really do! :-)
That could be interesting. But...what would Season 9 be about if she's not a slayer anymore?
I think Dana's last post is really on to something.
I'm prescient, I am! I think this is it! I just need to work in the Battle of Starbuck's. :-)

And S9- adapting to being powerless, but still needing to combat evil.

And somehow Willow is still out there in the future, and that has to be explained.
Hmm... Buffy not a slayer, Angel comes back not a vampire... We could end up getting a pretty witty romantic comedy out of this yet! But, without this being the case...

So, Willow's not the only betrayer. We know this much. But we also know from "Fray" that when Buffy has the big climactic fight (Battle of Starbucks, anyone?) it'll be with "mystical allies" by her side. I'm just so excited to be reading this while it's coming out.
Also, not for nothing, but while re-watching "Becoming, Part II", a quote from Whistler stuck out to me: "In the end you're always by yourself. You're all you've got. That's the point."
This was a great issue. I, unlike many it seems, had no idea that it was going to be willow. When Harth said that she was someone who hurt someone close to Buffy, it clinched it for me. I was so sure it was Drusilla, I stopped considering anyone else. Then, in classic Buffyverse fashion, I was thrown back by the revelation. I guessed when I saw the hair color was red on the bottom of the second to last page, but when I turned the page, I was shocked.

As for the battle of starbucks, I think it would be hilarious if it was a huge red herring. It turns out, they go to Starbusks, Xander or Giles jumps in front of a coffee spill to save Buffy or Willow or someone, and gets coffee burns. The event is exageratted througout the centuries until it has become some huge battle in which the last watcher sacrifices themselves for the greater good or something.

Probably not.

I'm going to go read the issue again.
My first impression was that she'd brought Buffy to the future to show her what she needs to avert.

Which might explain why she's allowing herself to be more or less involved in some dark events: She's working to wipe them away, and so to her they don't really count.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-08-08 04:14 ]
Firnatine said:
"Years from now, someone enlists our big ugly demon friend to take down the slayer" Says present day Willow to the slayers in NYC. The Slayer. One. Singular.

Willow is talking to at least seven slayers but she puts it in singular form and doesn't skip a beat. She doesn't trip over the fact that according to this demon's knowledge, there's only one. Maybe it was a writer's slip, or maybe it's pointing again that present day Willow is much deeper in this than we've been led to believe.Firnatine | August 07, 01:56 CET

Good point, Firnatine. I'm surprised this hasn't been discussed further. I'd like to bet against it being a mistake on Mr. Whedon's part, but he has made one before concerning the whole Warren/The First sitch earlier in this season.
If I'm a NY Slayer listening to Willow's info from the future demon, I'd raise my hand and say, "Um, did you just say THE Slayer? Aren't there supposed to be several of us running around?" Ala Buffy's reaction to there being only "half" in future time when she talked to Fray. And I don't think PresentDayWillow has any idea about her future self. Mainly because, didn't happen yet. Lol. And if she's sad in the future, then its a place she wouldn't want to find herself ending up. So she probably wouldn't want to help her dark down-the-road-self. Besides, conspiring with her future self is way too sciencefictionally-headachy for me to come to grasp. It's too convoluted a plot in what has been, at least for me, a pretty straightforward story thus far. And if it is a rare Whedon mistake, it's really just a small glitch for me in what was a thoroughly satisfying issue otherwise.

I truly thought Drusilla was going to make a comeback, but I'm glad she didn't. Not only did the dialogue not match with Dru's usual rantings, but I never pictured Drusilla being that pivotal a figure in anything. Least of all where she would be leading some kind of demon revolution. She's pretty much just a loony, albeit a colorful one.

I like Moline's art...but Jeanty has really grown on me during the run of this title. Kinda like Urru over on After The Fall. Maybe its cuz they did it first and set the tone for each book, but I miss both of em.

What else? .... Oh, here's a thought: If at some point all magics are to be banished as the Fray storyline had told us, then how did Willow stay young all the years leading up to Melaka's time? Botox? :)

Lovin Season 8!

[ edited by jay swif on 2008-08-08 06:21 ]
The idea that future dark Willow is a madwoman intrigues me, considering Joss said at the very end of the FEARnet interview that the thing that he most feared was madness.
I personally loved Buffy's line about the English language: "I should have treated it better..." LOL!

What's up with Xander being so unconcerned about Slayers dying? Another in a string of such comments? Or bitterness at Renee's death?
Alright so we have a very bleak future here, but I'm wondering is this "the" future, or just one reality. Is it inevitable that the slayer line will crumble and whatever happened to result in this dark Willow will occur, or can Buffy take the lessons she learns from the future to change the outcome?

Also I really have to learn that I can't flip through the pages of a comic before I read it because some big surprise is always ruined for me.
Well, honestly, my initial reaction was that this issue was the most disappointing since my prior least-favorite issue, #7. But, I wasn't in the best frame of mind to start it, as the letter column spoiler-ed it for me - partially my fault, for reading too much at the end of the column (though Allie doesn't usually spend so many paragraphs talking about the next issue). Even if I had stopped reading when I should have, though, I still would've gotten the hint that there was a possible Drusilla appearance and that it was probably a mislead. I can guess that I would've thought of Dru, then decided that it was an all-new character, as her dialogue was too sensical, so to speak, and then been shocked by the Willow reveal (I avoid future cover spoilers), but I'll never know for sure. I'll be very careful in reading Allie's responses in the future.

And then I only learned more than halfway through the issue that Buffy did not join Fray on a hunt and at her home in a red jumpsuit and had to go look for the clue I'd missed to the other ponytailed blonde hanging with Fray's identity. (I'm guessing the "sis" was literal, then?) [No, I haven't read Fray. I'd've loved to, if I ever saw a copy of it available, anywhere. I guess I'll have to Amazon or eBay a used copy, but I have to say, again, that I feel that Dark Horse really dropped the ball in not re-issuing the Fray tpb in time for this arc. I, for one, would've been happy to give them the money for it if they had.]

OTOH - most of the Scotland Slayers aren't dead! And more Xander and Dawn action - and hints of possible actions? No, Basff, you're not the only one who's pro-Dawn/Xander :) I did coin "Dander" in the issue 16 discussion thread, after all ;) (Honestly, newcj's suggestion of "Dawnder" might work better;) )

And, "Buffy Summers is dead." "Occasionally." would make up for a multitude of sins :) (Yow, I'm getting smiley.) Plus, Buffy mourning her treatment of the English language. Reading this thread has raised my enthusiasm for the issue, too, and I think I'll enjoy it more on my next reading (though I don't know if I'll ever love it as much as I have most of the other issues of Season Eight). I think that there are some good theories here on why Future Darkish Willow may exist and what she may be trying to accomplish.

Replying and/or reacting to a few assorted bits from the thread:

korkster - I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who noticed how different "The First" was in the encounter with Dawn! I've always wondered if something else was going on there, and whether that actually was Joyce. Her warning about Buffy being "against" Dawn in the end did come true, after a fashion, in Buffy's attempt to have her cholorformed and driven away.

missmuffet - I believe Melaka was saying that immortality indicated that the madwoman could possibly be a lurk, before they got more details.

My reading of the "last great watcher" is that his name was (or is believed to have been) "Gates", and that the monkey-thing is named after him. (Unless - the "sacrifice" was the watcher being trasmorgrified into a spider/monkey?)

Furure Willow may not have been drinking blood, but the apparent mist rising from her drink doesn't seem to indicate plain water, either.

And, when I first started coming here, I really had to stop and think for a few seconds when I would come across a reference to "a certain blonde witch". Tara hadn't been blonde since early season five, at the latest! I'd say "a certain brunette witch" is more accurate ;) (Though, I saw season five first, myself, and in fact found the blonde in season four to be rather surprising. I can see how those who first met and grew to love Tara as a blonde - and I recall that Dana, at least, loves season four the most of all seasons, anyway - could still think of her that way. I guess an even bigger question would be: do you consider Anya to be a blonde or a brunette? ;) )

Anyway... even if this wasn't my favorite issue, I'm still eagerly anticipating the next. (Too bad the letter page is wrong about issue #18 being "on sale August 6, 2008 ;).)

[ edited by LKW on 2008-08-10 05:51 ]
"Sis" is literal, LKW. That would be Erin, Melaka's older sibling, who's a police sergeant. Reading Fray when you get a chance is especially helpful with the Melaka/Harth relationship.

I really enjoyed the ish, but one thing that threw me a little was that Fray's argot has been amped-up - I don't think it was quite as distinct from current American in the series as it's been here; presumably that's intentional to accentuate Buffy's feeling of dislocation?
Yeah, I think that was my least favorite aspect of the issue. I'm cool with the idea of people in the future speaking differently, but... it was kind of already established that they don't speak that differently. I'm not nuts for the inconsistency.

That said, OH MY GOD I need issue 18 NOW.
It's interesting that they wouldn't have been able to get away with that style of attempted fake-out in a TV show or movie. 'Cause you'd immediately hear that it's not Drusilla and probably realize right away that it's Willow (unless 200 years changed her voice a lot). It's a device I've seen used a lot in comics, to reveal a villain or someone you thought was dead or whatever, but when you really think about it, it shouldn't work--because the voice would be recognizable. I'm thinking cinematically though.

I was up in the air the whole time about who it might turn out to be, Dru or Willow. I didn't let the clothing fool me because Willow has worn that sort of thing before (just usually not black). The dialogue couldn't quite fit with the way we're used to Drusilla talking, but then again who knows what she'll be like in another 200 years (assuming she survives that long...I kinda hope she does, just for's still a little messed up that we haven't seen actual, present-day, non-First-Evil Dru since Buffy Season 5). Harth's dream description could be applied to Dru too, and what Dru has done in the past.

I'm glad it's Willow though. With Dru, what else can you write into it aside from a revenge storyline/power trip ? With Willow...this opens up so many possibilities and questions. Man, she outlives the entire original main cast.

I love Gunther.
I'll have to-re-read it myself; I also thought that was Buffy in the openbing action sequence and then we went to a flashback to Buffy's first arrival all.

LKW: Tara 's hair as I recall went back and forth from Amber 's natural light-ish brunette shade to the full ash-blonde tint and points in between. (In my futurefics I soemtimes note that Tara and Willow 's daughters Summer and Autumn have naturally the shades their mothers pay money for, and I'll probably say t he same with Buffy 's daughter Joycie eventually.)

Anya seems to favor a variety of blonder shades over a variety of "brunetter" ones most of the time. I usually call her a dark blonde and Buffy a golden blonde, Tara ash bonde and Harmony white blonde.
I love Gunther too, and I love that they did the "mer-sleaze" bit, which echoed Gunther telling Fray he wished she would come visit him in a skirt . . . :-)
Dark willow? really? that's who joss brought back? c'mon, this 8th season feels like a completely rehash of the tv series. All resolved issues have come back, warren is alive, dark willow, buffy feeling alone and left out, a cool love interest is dead...yawn
I'm with ya on Warren being alive. Lame. We already had to suffer through more of him due to The First Evil using his image in Season 7 (though there was one effective use of him--"The Killer In Me", where Amy is making Willow appear as him). It's not really necessary, but I wouldn't hate a quick flashback bit showing Amy hiding in the bushes or mystically viewing what Willow did from another location during "Villains" and magically saving him just barely).

I'm fine with Buffy feeling somewhat separate, but it seems more due to her enormous responsibilities now than actually feeling alone (she's got her friends and there are more than two slayers in the world now). It's a different kind of emotional turmoil than what we had on the TV series, I think that part of her arc will play out differently too.

"Dark Willow", eh...People love their labels (and that comparison to Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix of X-Men), but to me Future-Willow is simply the next step in the natural progression of her character arc. We're not rehashing freshly-enraged-kill-everything/grief-Willow, by the looks of it. Guess we'll see.

Renee dying sucked, I could've done with more of her before he killed her off, but I dunno if I'd ever rail against her being offed no matter how much we got of her.

SNT said:
...I love that they did the "mer-sleaze" bit, which echoed Gunther telling Fray he wished she would come visit him in a skirt...

Yeah, I remembered that after reading the issue. He mentioned in Fray at least a few times that he wanted her to wear a skirt, didn't he ?

Disclaimer: Adam Busch is awesome and Warren was an effectively "real" villain, he was great for hating (especially after what he did to Katrina and beyond). But Season 6 is where he should have stayed (with the exception of that one use I like in Season 7. The others were due to Andrew being around and Andrew shouldn't have been in Season 7, IMO).
Sidebar: Who misses Giles? *raises hand*

His absence is somewhat negating his past if the Scoobies never really needed him. Despite their having matured and having greater (mystical and practical) resources, Giles's contribution needs to be validated.

I hope his MIA status is explained and that it proves somehow valuable.
Thank you for the information/confirmation, Sodding Nancy Tribe! :)

DaddyCatALSO - I hadn't really noticed Tara's fluctuations (certainly not as much as Anya's) - haven't had a good, sequential re-watch in a while, though. There was an early season five episode I was watching recently - Shadow, or else Into the Woods - in which Tara's hair was noticably, solidly brown, and I thought "How can anybody call her blonde?" :) Clearly, it's not a one-answer question, though.

And, oddly apropos to this conversation, when I did re-read #17, I noticed that Michelle Madsen did try to help us distinguish between Buffy and Erin - they have different shades of hair! (Quite an innovation for comics, where it's usually been "one yellow fits all".) Erin's is definitely a darker shade on closer look. A nice, sublte bit of work. (Plus, Moline may actually have tried to help, too, in giving the two women different noses, as well; Erin's nose, especialy in the last panel of page 3, looks different from how Buffy's is drawn.)
I also loved Warren on season 6 and on the killer in me, (altough now that i think of it how come the first could take his image when he wasn't dead). Maybe you're right about Future Willow being something other than Dark Willow, that would be ok by me. However, she is associating with Harth, so they'll have to really sell me the story.

With Reneé, i think my problem isn't with the character death so much as it is with this whole doomed love thing, i get it, they don't like happy couples, that's a thing i love about the show(altough i think what happenned with fred was a little excessive, even though i love what comes next on that story).

About Buffy and her problems, for me what you describe is a variaton on the same subject, anyway, i hope they can come up with some new ideas for the characters, specially Buffy and Willow, Xander is ok, and for the love of god bring back Giles!!!!!! It's not like the actor quit in the comic!!
altough now that i think of it...

I believe Joss' after-the-fact answer to that is something along the lines of him being dead for a fraction of a second, long enough to qualify.
Yup, same way the First could take on Buffy's shape (anybody think maybe Amy's keeping some things from Warren?)
LKW, I checked for you to see if Fray was in. They had a gold-variant #1 ($54.00!!!), a #3, & I think a #7... but not the collection of 8 that I had received from them. If you see it, I highly recommend it. It's a really good read.
Ack! I killed it! Again!
Not quite, korkster...

To me, Willow has been going dark for a long, long time (the first hints are all the way back in Season 3), and Future Willow is again a progression. With her comments about time, I wonder if she views vampirism as an antidote to time's effects, and that's why it's the "blessed infection."

Regarding the last watcher -- I am suddenly curious as to Andrew's last name.
I lent my episodes out to a friend and can't check but wasn't Tucker's last name mentioned in The Prom?
Andrew's last name is 'Wells'.

No idea how I know that but they must have mentioned it once.
korkster - thank you for making the effort! That's very nice and generous of you :) Now that it's the weekend, I may have time to check out a few places for it.

Oh, and for the record, 1)I did enjoy this issue more the second time through; and 2)Scott Allie didn't have "multiple paragraphs" for the next issue preview, making me just incompetent :/ Oh well.

Um... wasn't Forrest's last name Gates? It'd be quite a surprise, in several ways, if he was the last watcher....
Maybe "Gates" has something to do with portals. And I was pretty sure that Andrew's last name was something beginning with a W, but all I was coming up with was "Wiles" or "Weil," and I knew that couldn't be right.
I just got #16 and #17 this weekend. A little confused about Buffy's behavior (what is going on with her?), but otherwise they're a good read. I look forward to seeing where else this arc goes, and what happens with the future Willow.

Battle of Starbucks? Man I hope that isn't Buffy's real last battle. Funny, but so very bad.
Just got issue #17 this weekend as well. Count me as thinking it was Willow all along, but also as a little lost about the whole magics and what Willow is up to in the present... must go back and re-read again.

And I agree that the futurespeak has been way amped up since Fray.

But since Fray is my favorite Whedon comic character and Fray is my favorite Whedon comic, I'm otherwise pretty damn happy with what's happening.
Kirochka, I disagree that the future-speak was amped up. I just read Fray yesterday morning instead of going into work. And they used that future-speak, especially with Loo. They called it 'Hayden, did that "toy" thing, used "spin", & "spled"... they're all there. When Melaka thinks she's much more coherent than when she talks. And since this is Buffy's comic, and not Fray's... I don't think we'll see Mel think much, since it's Buffy's POV.

But yeah, go & check. Those slang are there. I promise. :)
Yeesh... hate hate hate it when I have a response all ready to post and my browser freezes...

Trying again... korkster, I definitely agree that the futurespeak is all there in the original Fray (except I for some reason had no idea what "spled" was until Buffy defined it) - it's one of the things I loved about it right off the bat - but I was agreeing with someone upthread who thought it was, I don't know, more condensed and thick here - especially in the conversation between Mel and Erin. I'm not complaining - it's just what went through my mind as I was reading #17.

Now to see if I can hit "post" before browser-freeze strikes again...
Freeze! *shakes Freeze Ray* It's your semi-lucky day, Kirochka.

I get what you're saying, but I just don't think there was a lot of talking going on really in the Fray comics. Not like now, with coordinating lurk dusting and trying to kill a person who's already dead and all. Occasionally.
:-) EXCELLENT Freeze Ray reference!
Well, we can't go without a bit of Horrible, can we? ;-)

I kind of want to know what the world is like between Buffy & Fray. How does, Loo end up... Loo?
Not that anyone is reading this anymore, but I thought I'd share my experience with my readings of Buffy Season 8 #1-17 straight through.

Remember all of those things we thought (well, I, I guess) were coming from left field? Satsu being in love with Buffy? The slow-burn of Dawn & Xander? The hesitation/distance between Buffy & Willow? The Renee/Xander relationship? Well, when I sat down and read them all, like one big SAGA, it was awesome.

Everything was there, all the nice subtleties (suttleties? whatever.) with the meshing of relationships. And a theme I hadn't picked up on earlier- Buffy's relationships with her peer slayers. Sure, they're here because of her & Willow, and Buffy feels responsibility for them (& commands them), but they are her peers.

Arc 1- intro of Slayerland & Buffy in the mix; how they all feel connected, but she doesn't. Intro of Renee, Satsu, Leah, & Rowena.

Issue 5- special piece focusing on a slayer that chooses to aide Buffy by becoming a decoy & going underground. She has this unique relationship with Buffy that's never engaged. She stays herself in her own right, and does things that aid the under-things, but she does it because of a connection she feels with other Slayer women.

Arc 2- Faith arc. We see how she's become her own woman & how she has built this relationship with this new up-&-comer because of their strayings of strong evil men. She finds connection with these women (more than Buffy does) & makes it one of her goals (along with Giles) to help them. When Buffy shows up, there is no connection, no understanding, between Buffy & Faith (nor the up-&-comer). Buffy doesn't understand & can't relate to what's occuring (rightly so). Faith even loses the connection with her inner calm when Buffy shows up.

Arc 3- development of relationship with Satsu & Buffy. Buffy explores being connected to another slayer romantically, but in the end, it doesn't last. "She's not like us", Willow remarks on Buffy's position with the rest of the slayers (& her friends).

Arc 4- Buffy travels to Fray's world. Again, another slayer to face, interact with, and connect with and not connect with. At least, as of yet (we're only 2 in). But Buffy cannot connect with the future slang or the reason why there's only 1/2 slayer.

This theme is embarrassingly one I had missed initially (which seems weird, since these are comics about Buffy & her slayerness). When we talk about the issue-of-the-month on the black, though, we look ahead instead of back, so these little things get forgotten for me.

Anyway, I really like this touch. Season 7 was about leading girls into battle that weren't ready. Season 8 (among the many themes) has a theme about fighting and growing along-side strong women, her actual peers.

Can she be one among the masses? Is she responsible for the present-day sorority of young women & the future isolation of Fray? Is Buffy even a Slayer? I mean, who else can claim death twice & still stake a vamp? What's it about Buffy that Kendra & Faith could equate to? Yet, Kendra, Faith, & the other slayers seem to have more in common than Buffy. Why is that? I probably dove off the diving board with this last paragraph, but my mind is still chewing of this new taste. Enjoy my ramblings, and here here for 9/4/08!
Very interesting summary. Yeah, I've never gotten the surprise over Satsu or Renee. There have been subtle ongoing things for awhile now. A lot of potential was laid down from early on and now it's gaining traction.

The distance between Willow and Buffy still seems weird though-- not that it's there, but I sort of feel it and then feel it go away. But maybe that's intentional-- maybe they're unsure of it, too.

Making Buffy feel alienated is pretty much a golden ticket to awesome. Than again it's amazing to me how it can be done in so many different ways, and in different situations. It stays interesting because it's always part of her progress as a character.

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