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February 04 2009

(SPOILER) For the discussion of Buffy #22. It's oh so horribly cute.

And the MySpace tie-in for this issue can be found here.

This was a very good issue. It's the first Season 8 one shot that's felt like a bona fide MOTW story. It's the interaction of Kennedy and Satsu that really makes it work.

The "Swell", as the vampy cats are collectively called, pose an interesting sort of villain, but only really insofar as that they are another indicator that Twilight is not trying to reform or repair the Slayers' ways, he is trying to wipe them out. And he's doing it on several fronts. Harmony setting the world against the Slayers seemed like a coincidence, and perhaps it was, but her appearance on Larry King sure had the look and feel of someone who is getting her talking points from somewhere and repeating them. Since she's defending the vampy cats, and the vampy cats were Twilight's, if she's getting talking points now, they're probably from him.

Which makes Buffy's position on her all the more bizarre to me -- I disagree with the whole "let's counter the vampires' PR and act really nice so people will like us". To act conciliatory to the accusations that Slayers are intolerant, that Slayers "hate" vampires unfairly gives the accusations some inherent legitimacy. Harmony should be a kill, or a capture for interrogation (on the theory she's hooked up with Twilight now).

I have to say, this is the first issue where Season 8 actually pushed my suspension of disbelief. I never had a problem with the Slayers rapelling and parachuting out of helicopters, or Mecha-Dawn. But the idea that the Slayers -- all young women with presumably no military background -- are flying their own helicopters and piloting an attack submarine really pushes it. I always just assume they hired pilots for the helicopters and that Xander might have taken a class to fly that little one. But the idea that any or all Slayers can operate military vehicles is just... hard to accept. Especially since we saw in "Angel" 5.13 "Why We Fight" that, no, you can't just climb on a submarine and know how to make it go anywhere -- it's not even consistent in the Buffyverse.

Other problem with it for me is the Vampy Cat taking over Satsu. Not that she did, but that she came out all incongruously Stepfordy with the gender roles and sexual politics. Seemed totally out of place to me.

Character stuff --

Kennedy rocks. She's so much fun in Season 8 it's hard to go back and still hate her in Season 7. I think she understands Satsu much better than Willow does, and that's why she was able to get through to her better. Plus, they are both attitude girls all the way, but Kennedy is the pro. I still don't know why anyone thought they'd climb into bed, but I can see them becoming total Slayer BFFs.

Satsu definitely has the stuff to be a great Slayer, and her evaluation clearly went well. She seems to have let sleeping with the boss go a little to her head, though. And more bizarrely... does anyone notice that, with all those witnesses, neither Satsu nor her other Slayers actually *help* the man upside down in the truck? If there's a problem with Satsu as a leader or a Slayer it's that she seems to have some of that Season 3 Faith in her now that she's on her own. I am glad though to see her finally turn the corner and stop fussing over Buffy. I'm also glad that Kennedy was pretty blunt about the fact that Buffy would only ever give Satsu "her body". Satsu finally seems to get that when Buffy basically doesn't react to her as anything other than a subordinate.

For the wardrobe fans -- Xander sports a nice black button down, opting for the open top button and no jacket. The effect falls somewhere between Season 4 Wesley and Dread Pirate Roberts.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2009-02-04 17:47 ]
Sounds like a good issue.I don't know if I'll be able to get to the comic shop today or not to pick up my copy.It might have to wait until tomorrow.

But i'm glad to hear that Satsu got some nice character development.I was hoping she would when she made her next appearence following Wolves At The Gate.


I've never had much of opinion on Kennedy either way.I don't like or dislike her.I have the same opinion of the Willow/Kennedy ship too.I don't have much of an opinion either way about it.I suppose that is probably not the reaction a writer wants.They want you to like or dislike something.To have some type of emotional response and not just be indifferent to it.

But it sounds like Kennedy is getting more depth in season 8 than she got in season 7 based off this issue which is great.Might push me into actually having a opinion on the character and to the like side too.lol

I'm glad to hear that Twilight is somehow involved in all this.It makes sense he would be and these storylines would converge in someway.

Hope to have my copy if not today than by tomorrow.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2009-02-04 18:33 ]
Wonder if the Slayers are getting their equipment training from the same place they're getting their equipment? Unless Buffy stole an amount equal to the gross national product of a small country, I can't see them being able to buy a sub on top of all the other stuff (not to mention, they'd have to find someone to buy the stuff from), so I'm betting they're getting help from someone who's staying behind the scenes. I've said from the start I don't in any way believe that Twilight's faction represents the entire US military/government; if it did, the suit in "The Long Way Home" wouldn't have needed to worry about them getting hanged for dropping a missile on the Slayers.
I just assumed that since the potential slayers are drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds that the Scoobies tapped the skills of the people they brought in. Maybe someone was ROTC, another had taken flying lessons, another had weapons training, somebody's family was military etc. That's not even taking into account the various global situations that sometimes produce child conscripts.
Or Willow just did a spell infusing them with knowledge.
When you need to offer these last two suggestions, it, uh, suggests the writers are not thinking things out. This ain't the Matrix.
Yeah, there's no point in fanwanking it -- it's just weak. The submarine is the worst, though. Especially since they apparently stole it. It's Korean navy, stolen by vampires (what? huh? why?), and then stolen back by the Slayers. So... amidst all of the PR problems, they decided to go Somalian pirate with it.

So, no, they don't legitimately own the submarine. It's salvage, basically. They took it a prize from vampires, who had it for no reason that I can imagine.
Why did the vampires steal it? Sounds like a story opportunity to me.
A complete story in one issue, jam packed with action and wonderful character moments. This issue really is all about Satsu even though we sadly don't get an internal monologue from her. We learn about her troubled history with her parents after she "destroyed them with [her] gayness." The story comes full-circle with Kennedy helping Satsu in the beginning, then kicking the mind-controlling Vampy Cat (way better than Bad Eggs) out of Satsu only to have Satsu save the day. We see her being questioned and even controlled, but her instincts and ingenuity lead her team to victory. Kennedy serves as an assistant and morale booster who shows Satsu she needs to move on from Buffy, but it's Satsu who ultimately takes action. Strong, sure and independent. Satsu finally comes to terms with Buffy's heart being unreachable to her and stops moping (notice that Satsu has a newpaper clipping of Buffy on the wall of her bedroom), throws away the lip gloss o' love and moves on. To shopping. With her new BFF Kennedy. A wonderful issue for her.

There's some very disturbing metaphors here regarding sexuality and how women are kept down. The most blatant one to me was, "Get in her mouth! Get in her mouth!" in order to force control. As for Satsu's Stepford-ness, that completely worked. Recall that Satsu isn't really speaking and has no idea what's happening - that's Vampy Cat #1 in the driver's seat there. And what Vampycat!Satsu is saying is all from the demonic, misogynistic Swell's perspective.

The theme of appearances not matching the heart of the situation, the truth of reality, is continued here. What is truth? The Vampy Cats are seen by the public as cute, cuddly toys massacred by those mean old slayers and Harmony cannot be taken out because that will make her appear like a "martyr." The Slayers are seen as evil when in reality they're fighting evil. Perception of reality continues to play an important role. What becomes the priority here - the mission or the message? If the Slayers fail to counter Twilight's message, how can they continue their mission?

Twilight is striking on two fronts, both in battle and in the hearts and minds of the people. While Buffy and Co. successfully stop the Swell from attacking thanks to Satsu's squad, she continues to fail to act regarding the public's growing fear and hatred of the Slayers. Twilight's outflanked Buffy and she needs to start answering the message war or she really will be at war with humanity. Demons on one side, humanity on the other - both frothing at the mouth to put an end to Slayers.

We finally see how Buffy is reacting to the PR nightmare Harmony's perpetuating as she paints the Slayers as evil, but her solution seems ultimately misguided. She wants to keep a "low profile...like subterranean" but that is impossible when battles happen in the light of day and Slayer commercials are presumably still airing. All this will do is make them seem even more secretive and dangerous to the public who's asking questions.

"We need to stop being whatever we've been and focus. Be more than human. Or the less-than is gonna win." - Buffy

Whatever we've been? She's unable to define it - how about morally wrong, secretive and elitist? Be "more than human"? That's been the problem all along. That Buffy thinks Slayers are "more than human." What she needs is to simply *be* human and being human means connecting to the world, creating ties with humanity rather than keeping a "low profile". Her plan is "way that bad" as it continues her isolationist stance that is breeding mistrust among the public. Buffy's statement also addresses the inner battle every Slayer faces between their humanity and their slayerness. The Slayer has the potential to be "less-than". The other that is within each and every Slayer.

Favorite quotes:

"Duck, don't get hit." - Anonymous Slayer
"That thing had four arms! I ducked the first three!" - Ayumi

"It's not the sparks he should be afraid of, it's the fire." - Satsu

"Your eval's so getting a smiley face." - Kennedy
I was very afraid Satsu was dead, and I would have been annoyed by that, but instead she is the proud owner of a cool submarine (I want a submarine!)! How cool is that? Well, it is cool in my book. My theory is that the Koreans accidently pressed a vampire into national service, and while out on patrol he kept turning shipmates into vampires until the entire submarine's crew had been turned (but it is just a theory).
I hope we'll hear that Sarin accepted Dillon.
I loved the comic, the letters to the editor, and the direction the series is taking; I'm not at all surprised that the general public seems to think that vampires are cooler than slayers.

Oh, and I liked seeing the ads for T:SCC and Dollhouse in the middle of the book!
These one-offs with the different TV writers (Espenson, DeKnight) have been fun, and a little flawed at at times. Espenson's Harmony issue was a bit hard to track in the opening panels, but the sly bits of visual humor--loved Willow braiding Dawn's tail and Xander reining in the centaur-smitten horse--made up for it. This DeKnight issue was more satisfying all around. It had the humor and energy of the TV show -- a sort of middle-of-the-season episode, with some good arc development (Satsu's moving on, Twilight is advancing, the world continues to get the wrong impression about Slayers) and action set pieces. Best LOL joke in a long time: Xander's "big butts come with the Slayer territory these days."

KingofCretins is right about the submarine and helicopters. Add those to the mounting pile of plot absurdities that the writers are evidently hoping we'll simply accept with a wink. And, for the most part, I do.
No mention of how or why.

SATSU: Bunch of vamps took it from the Koreans. I took it back.

Assuming they mean South Korea, that means it would be a Chang Bo-go class attack submarine, 64m in length, 1810 ton displacement, a crew of 36, armed with torpedoes and cruise missiles. And not only can the Slayers run it, they possess it illegally, and used it to sink a commercial vessel on the high seas. Oooookay.

I didn't think the Stepford stuff worked -- I thought it was actually pretty much off theme. They set up this season as being about Slayers vs. humanity, supernatural vs. non-supernatural. A sudden dose of "let's oppress the women!" seemed spurious. I ignored the "get in her mouth" because it just added to a theme I already felt rang false for the season.
I don't know what to make of the OTT misogyny that Stepford Satsu was driven to say. If that's what Joss thinks women are fighting he's got the most superficial take ever on what feminism is about. I liked the move away from that in LWH, and don't know what to make of it popping up here.

This ups the odds considerably that Twilight is Caleb. At a minimum they're meaning for us to think he's the most likely candidate. Caleb was one of the worst villains, again because OTT misogyny is just so utterly boring. It's such a cartoon, in fact, that it's one of the main reasons I'd rather read Joss as subversive of feminsim than an actual proponent of it. So here's hoping that if they go in that direction it will be with some sort of twist to improve it. Like: Twilight peppers his stuff with OTT misogyny so that Buffy will think that's what she's really up against and therefore she won't hear where her real weakness is (her own moral ambiguity) and therefore won't be able to counter it. Best I can do.

Re the fanwanking. My point that it could be down to Willow was sarcastic. It's clear that slayers and witches can do whatever the plot requires them to be able to do and cannot do whatever the plot requires them to be unable to do. It's a total waste of time to worry about the logic of the mechanics of stuff like that. The shift we are to attend to is that the slayers are now relying on ordinary military equipment, and that changes the metaphor of what slayers really are. I think that's one of the big subthemes of the season.
I took the misogyny as being true for those demons. Vampy Cats are incredibly violent, misogynistic "@$$holes". It fits with a demonic pscyhe where their power is to literally control humanity and treat them as puppets. I imagine they hate Slayers the most and attack them in part for being female, but they probably hate humanity just as much. I don't see the misogyny extending to Twilight in the same rampant attitude present in this issue. It's not merely a filter of what misogyny looks like in real-life, but how it gets twisted and warped through a demon's view of humanity.

I think it's very easy to fanwank that magic made it possible for them to man the submarine. Willow made a out-of-order phone work way back in Season 5. There are probably witches in Satsu's squad who can make the submarine work as easily as playing a video game.

[ edited by Emmie on 2009-02-04 21:34 ]
It's easy, but it's pitiful. "Weak tea" doesn't even come close. Let's face it, this made sneaking onto a base and stealing a rocket launcher look like it was written by Tom Clancy. And, even if one decides to embrace the submarine and their use of it, could claiming a military vessel as their own and using it to destroy a freighter belonging to another country get any farther from Buffy's desire for them to be "subterranean"?

I don't think Twilight is going to be Caleb. Even in the rare instance it's a retread Big Bad, a retread from the previous season?

Maggie... "sub"themes? "SUB"themes? Heh.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2009-02-04 21:45 ]
Like I said, I read them as at least moving to make us think that it's Caleb. Who else is so OTT on the misogyny front? But I agree that'd be lame, so either it's not Caleb or it's Caleb with a double twist back flip.

Hey the sub is a metaphor!!

And to repeat, it's a total waste of time to worry about what can and can't be done. Their abilities wax and wane depending on the requirements of the plot.
I think Emmie has the right take on this -- the cartoonish misogyny was all the Swell and not about Twilight and his broader agenda.

Stepping away from the silliness of the choppers and submarines, there's a nice two character story here for Kennedy and Satsu, and I really am glad to see Satsu throw away her symbolic old lipgloss now that Kennedy has convinced her that Buffy isn't gonna happen.
I wasn't wild about this issue; I found it to be heavy-handed. I guess I have no emotional connection to either Kennedy or Satsu, and so I just wasn't all that interested.

And I am officially tired of the Satsu/Buffy one night stand storyline. I really hope no more pages of dialogue (including the obligatory lesbian sexual yucks, natch) are dedicated to it and that this storyline, like Satsu's cinnamon lip gloss (hey, is that there a metaphor???), gets binned.
could claiming a military vessel as their own and using it to destroy a freighter belonging to another country get any farther from Buffy's desire for them to be "subterranean"?

An order Buffy gives after they've already blown up the freighter. Apparently, Slayer Ops have only just now become Secret. But Buffy is wasting her time as the bag is already catless and that cat is running wild.

the cartoonish misogyny was all the Swell and not about Twilight and his broader agenda.

Cartoonish should be a big hint that it's mostly the Swell who are cartoonish. But it also bears consideration that Twilight has chosen Warren and now the Swell to serve him when both are incredibly misogynistic. Perhaps it's merely that Twilight sees them as easily manipulated to his cause because of their hatred for women and Slayers.
More than likely this'll be off the front page by tomorrow so I've added the link to the sidebar on the front page to facilitate good debate and stuff.
This issue is made of pure, distilled awesome.
I liked this issue, and had fun reading it. Some of my friends saw it and said, " Look how cute it is, and look what it turns into, it's still cute!" I think this is the issue the Slayers are trying to fight, and not doing so well, but hopefully it will get better.

i hope they reveal Twilight soon. Even in Seasons 4 and 7, the Big Bad was eventually revealed about halfway through the season. That would be, oh, Issue 20. Which consequently just happened!
Vampy cats are scary.
So bad. This is becoming Spiderman mixed with X-Men, with the media against the good guys, good guys who are just so stupid that nothing they can do can alter that fact. I do not like outing the slayers; this changes the entire nature of the story for the past 7 seasons. And I cannot do the "willing suspension of disbelief" necessary to overlook the fact that a bunch of teen age girls are piloting a submarine that requires 40 people and one hell of a lot of training to pilot. Are we simply supposed to forget that? Or do they believe no one will notice? Who the heck is in charge here?
I wonder what happened with Satsu's parents. Seems there's a story there.
After reading this, I kind of agree that the military hardware thing is pushing the envelope - but not because of the age issue. There are likely any number of Slayers who are in the acceptable age range for even the US military; there's no logical reason why they'd have any more trouble learning to operate the hardware than any actual military personnel do, and Slayerized physical enhancements should make it even easier for them. What I question is how they learned it. A friend of mine was driving his dad's tractor/trailer rig when he was ten years old, but he didn't learn it on his own, and a helicopter is a little more complicated than that regardless of whether it's civilian or military. It's possible that some of the new Slayers had ROTC training, some of them may have actually been in some branch of military service when Willow's spell activated them, but it would be nice to know.
The sub thing is hard for me to shake. And I'm not even talking about them actually being able to use it. I'm thinking of the decision making.

So, vampires steal a submarine from the Republic of Korea. Now, I can't think of any reason whatsoever vampires would want to do this -- it seems a lot of trouble to start an international cruise line for vampires. So, Slayers raid them and take the ship. Great, good for them.

And then Satsu apparently decides they can just... keep it? And that that's okay? That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Even if Slayers were still secret, or even if they were publicly known and celebrated, under what rational thought does she figure that they don't have to, y'know, give it back? Pretty sure that would be a gesture of good will. And then they use it to commit acts of piracy (as far as the world will know, the Slayers killed that ship's crew and destroyed its cargo because they disapproved of a toy.

What's annoying me is that, the bank robbing thing, it's grounded in a certain reality of being a bad behavior that we'll see them explore what it means. But I really don't expect them to revisit the fact that Satsu's squad is at the root of a couple *international incidents* now. If only because Buffy's response, after saying that they need to be off the radar and not offending anyone, is that they should *keep it*.
I was going to do a long (nad aprtisan, with lots of emdia references) spiel about this whole McCarthyesque thing of persecuting Slayers but Dana5140 said it more briefly and made the point better than I could. One reason he can finish writing a book and I can't, I guess.

But yes, Buffy needs to hire soem decent "apologists." Heck, Giles and Faith might be good for that, if Buffy and Willow can ever get over their "Oh she dared to strike the Queen B" perma-snit... in other words, no. I wish TPTB would let Cordelia drop the cover and return to her real identity. Too bad Lorne works for a different company, he'd be great at publicity.

Regardless of whether her death was faked or not, Cordelia is still, as Val Bisoglio would say, "deefunckett" on Buffyearth. So is everybody else I can think of who could deal with a PR crisis; Tara,, Anya, Wesley, Joyce, Lydia.

I can't hold it in completely. I was in graduate school when the whole business of anti-mutant prejudice and Congressional investigations took off in X-Men, which means Joss would have been in junior high. Ideas you pick up then stick with you, at least if you've a certain kind of mind; I know they do with me. But I couldn't buy it then; it just was "too Fifites" for a post-Watergate America. And I can't buy that the Bush 2 admionstration was "an age of silence," no matter how amny book titles and comic strips tried to convince me it was.and keep in mind this story is set in at the aletste arly 2005. The public wasn't falling into lock-step then, and this isn't really even good satire. The targets are too multiple and various.

Joss needs to get a pro-Slayer group visible. Wouldn't Percy open his mouth? Or anybody else from the class? Too bad Angel's outing as a public hero also works for another company, unless Viacom or Sony or News Crop. comes along and buys them both.
Maybe the point was just how utterly insane what the Slayers are doing is in the first place. Maybe we're supposed to see Buffy and co. as the bad guys after all, or at least not all good. The Scoobies are so cut off from reality now that perhaps they really are losing a grip on what lines they shouldn't cross. Buffy and Willow have certainly been compromised in that regard already, Giles has been there for a while, and Xander's got his own issues that he's working on.
Why the big deal about keeping the sub? And first of all, it wasn't the Slayer organization that decided to keep the sub, it was Satsu. Probably a big chunk of why her report on the Korean mission was so iffy in the first place. Buffy only okayed keeping it after it had proved mucho valuable in destroying the Swell. And if we have a problem with her keeping the sub, now that it's proved invaluable to her, why not yell at her for keeping the rocket launcher in the first place? After it helped dismember the Judge.
Like the rocket launcher, a submarine's a little hard to "return".

EDIT: I'm not saying that stealing is right, but let's be consistent here. Buffy's stolen before, broken more than a few laws about carrying weapons, and we choose to jump her now because of a submarine that's presumably lost. Unless, what you're saying is that the monetary value of the Thomas Crown Affair is what matters, not the moral principle.

[ edited by wenxina on 2009-02-05 03:31 ]
The big deal, for starters, is that it's not theirs. It's Korean property -- about $400 million worth. To quote "The Hunt For Red October"... they're gonna want it back. Realistically, they'd now have the navies of Korea, the US, Japan, and Australia all looking for them. And where the hell do they propose to keep it docked? They have absolutely no right to keep the thing. Sail it into some Korean harbor, pop the hatch, and let Willow or someone teleport them out. It's distractingly absurd.
See above, King.
The moral principle matters, but it's the realism -- them having that sub illegally would be a huge international incident. See the Somali pirates in the news? It would be bigger than that, if a private group had claimed a hijacked military sub as their own and used it to sink a commercial vessel.

The only way I can wank this is that Satsu didn't "take it back" for herself, but instead she "took it back" for the Koreans, and that they are letting the Slayers use it -- it's actually more or less entirely crewed by Korean Navy, and we just saw Slayers manning stations on it. Of course, that doesn't at all track with the idea that Buffy has decided it's theirs to keep, but at least it would make it sound *remotely* believable and it would also give the Slayers an actual public ally.
I think they aren't returning the sub because they are so cut off from things that they don't even see it as an issue. It's one thing to rob banks and justify it to yourself (however good or not good that justification might be); it's another step down if you are stealing subs and not even noticing that you are stealing.

And I think this answers the concern about whether this is just a lame story about the world persecuting the good guys. Cause the good guys are really not all that good, and the charges against them aren't totally wrong. I don't know x-men so I don't know how that played and whether there was that kind of nuance. But there is nuance here. It's actually possible that the real big bad of this season is not Twilight, but rather Buffy. I don't think they will really go there. But what makes this interesting is that they could. It's at least possible to ask the question.
King, they already made the news. At this point, returning the sub would be a moot point. But without the sub, the world would be worse of, at least that's what the writers are saying. Of course the world has no idea about the Vampy Cats.
I'm not arguing against your logic there... it's sound. I get that they should have returned the sub when they got it; it would have been the "right" thing to do.

I'm arguing against the logic of jumping down Buffy's throat about a sub, when she very publicly wielded a giant rocket launcher in a mall.
Both times, apparently for the greater good, but who knew that, other than the white hats? Would have made a bigger splash than the Columbine shootings if you ask me. It's the Buffyverse... logic gets suspended quite a bit. It's happened before.
She wield a one-use rocket launcher, yeah ("Him" is a plot error -- that weapon is one shot only). You *really* see equivalence between a single use rocket launcher that costs a few thousand dollars and amounted to a really public act of vandalism to piracy on the high seas?

It's very nice that they were able to use it against the Swell, but frankly, it has no moral or logical justification at all to keep it at this point. They are no more entitled to keep it just because it's useful to them now than they were before. And, really, how useful is it? Are demons being shipped by sea a common enough occurence to justify playing cat and mouse with four or five different navies just to hang on to the submarine? It's really cool that they had a submarine to blow it up with, but it is *so* poorly planned out that it's hard to just enjoy it.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2009-02-05 04:05 ]
I kinda sorta want a vampy cat. Does that make me evil?

I think the sub is awesome. Yeah, everything everyone is saying is true. But...it's awesome.

Oh, and I liked seeing the ads for T:SCC and Dollhouse in the middle of the book!

And I finally got the Dollhouse/SCC promo bag. Yay!
No, I'm equating both acts as acts of terrorism. I'm not arguing the monetary aspect here, I'm arguing the PR route here. Girl wields a rocket launcher in public, potentially harming many people in a public space. Terrorism (at least post 9/11). Girls use sub that was presumably assumed to be missing until then to nuke a cargo ship. Terrorism. Unless we're focusing only on the monetary value here, which apparently you are, since you've jabbed a pricetag more than once, I'm saying that there is precedence for such neglect of public decorum in the Buffyverse.

EDIT: hacksaway: I kinda wanted one when I first saw the variant cover. But I am evil... I'm okay with stealing subs (as long as we can be okay about stealing and using rocket launchers in public spaces). :)

[ edited by wenxina on 2009-02-05 04:10 ]
The abstract moral equivalency really isn't why this is a storytelling problem. We already had abstract moral problems for Buffy established with the bank robbing. What this does is break the story from a practical standpoint. Stealing a submarine and blowing up other ships with it isn't a PR thing. It's an "attack subs from countries all around the Pacific hunting you down and sinking your ass" thing. They need to at least hit the "you're not wanted for murder anymore" button on this.

Another point -- they took the rocket launcher for a specific reason for which nothing else could suffice. There is no indication that they took the sub specifically to sink a shipment of the Swell. They took it just in case they eventually needed it. They did a want, take, have.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2009-02-05 04:19 ]
Touche on the "want, take, have".

But you're arguing that nations will want to blow her up because she sank a ship, not because she stole the sub. As I've mentioned several times now, the possession of the sub is most likely a non issue. Vampires took it, probably massacred people. Sub would most likely be assumed to be gone for good, and probably put to bad use.
So, until she (and by that, I mean the Slayer Army) sank the ship, no one knew that the Slayers had the sub. And hey, Buffy had no idea that Satsu had the sub; shoddy paperwork remember? But the sub then served a specific purpose, it sank the carrier full of evil dollies. Nothing else would have been able to do it (well, maybe an iceberg, but that would require doomed romance to jazz up the story), and by your argument with the rocket launcher, that's okay then. After that point, when the world was aware of what they did (i.e. sink the ship), returning it would have been pointless. Better to have it around, just in case people will (as you argue) want to sink their asses.

EDIT: Just in case this wasn't clear, I'm just playing devil's advocate. Just really in the mood for Buffyverse discussion. Thanks for playing. :)

[ edited by wenxina on 2009-02-05 04:49 ]

[ edited by wenxina on 2009-02-05 04:54 ]

[ edited by wenxina on 2009-02-05 05:21 ]

[ edited by wenxina on 2009-02-05 05:21 ]
The ship being destroyed seemed to be part of Twilight's plan. So it's very possible that he not only knew they had the sub but arranged for them to get it. Vampires happened to have stolen a ship that Satsu immediately took from them? They took the bait and they got played.

The series had times when they glossed over the rules. Now it's just on a much larger scale. I don't think it's being brushed aside so much as it's part of the season's theme. Is Buffy right? Does she get to decide what's evil? Are Slayers above the law? As for how they know how to operate the sub...maybe there's a Grand Theft Submarine video game?
This is Buffy and we are arguing the propriety of owning a nuclear submarine? Does anyone see a problem here?

Yeah, I get it. Moral ambiguity. Boy, we never saw that before on Buffy.
I also had to wonder whether Harmony is being influenced by Twilight. I doubt he'd have actually recruited her... but it'd certainly be easy enough for him to get her to serve his purposes without her even knowing.
I got to get my copy last night and so I've read it.I enjoyed it.I love the character development Satsu got.And I liked Kenendy in this issue.First time I wasn't indifferent to her.The vampy cats were really freaky to me.Just uber creepy.
A silly, silly issue, with far too much OOT dialog in it for my taste. If I read the word 'ovary' one more time...

And don't get me started on the Sub.
Hmmmm.

For a while now, I've been reading with interest the comments by fans expressing their growing discontent with the comic's use/overuse/abuse of the deus-ex-machina -- so many devices of convenience that spring up from nowhere to work a quick resolution to a plot complication, not so different from the way the Roadrunner would paint a train tunnel onto a boulder for a quick escape from the coyote. In issue 22, we had subs and helicopters. Before that, we had Mecha-Dawn and Willow flying around, reversing lobotomies, teleporting, etc., etc. And really, going back to Season 7 of the TV show, it does seem that the phlebotinum is becoming increasingly distracting.

What I wonder is this: Is it us or is it them? Meaning, are we as viewers/readers just simply losing patience with this kind of storytelling or are we losing patience because the storytellers have somehow lost the knack for handling the phlebotinum? I don't know the answer.
I'm with Dana5140, This story had Vampy Cats...

VAMPY.

CATS.

And we're worried about the subs and helicopters? I could probably name things off the top of my head for an hour straight that don't make sense in the buffyverse. We accept them because it's a different world. The sub thing works for me, pure and simple. I'm a lot better off with that than a group of potentials NOT getting slagged by an army of uber vamps at any rate.

I loved this issue, everything in it worked for me, and it was hilarious.

Vampy. Cats. I'm just sayin. |-)~
I couldn't leave well enough alone.

My dad gets upset over things in movies that misrepresent the military too. My mom gets upset by things that misrepresent animals and/or biology (she's a vet). I'm bothered by things that are misrepresented about the film/television industry. In Harmony Bites, no one else here probably noticed the thing or knows what it is, but why the heck was a reality tv crew carrying around a 4x4 mirror board?!?! It defies logic! Not to mention why are they are running around with a Steadicam? It's ridiculous! (actually, a modified Glidecam, taken from a photo in an ad).

Oh darn, I guess things are different in the Buffyverse.

KingOfCretins, I normally love your reviews and critiques, but this screams of something that is just too close to you for you to see outside it. Just because you can't think of any reason a group of vampires would steal a submarine doesn't really bother me. I can think of several. At least one good theory has been mentioned already, but c'mon, you brought up Angel S5, in which a sub was stolen by vampires! Not to mention, why NOT steal a sub, look what it can do! And some reasons why Satsu would keep it have already been given. But also, what if it's North Korea's sub (I don't remember if North or South was specified), I would keep it too! |-)~

How did they figure out how to operate it? I dunno, don't rightly care, though I can think of some rationales if pressed. They did, it happened. A group of potentials held off an army of uber vamps. This world is nuts! Heck, maybe this Korean sub is actually as easy to operate as a video game.

And while I'm not recalling the second appearance of the rocket launcher in Buffy, if it was used again, I guess it's a multi-shot rocket launcher in the Buffyverse.

It's called "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer." Lest we forget why.

Okay, rant over. Feel free to come back at me with all your logical arguments that prove me wrong. |-)~

To be clear, I enjoy the conversation and this is not meant as an attack. I've been having trouble lately with misunderstandings over text-based communication, so I suddenly feel the need to disclaimer.

[ edited by bobw1o on 2009-02-05 17:13 ]
I loved this issue, by far my favorite so far in S8.
Mr. DeKnight's pacing is fabulous, i liked the monster of the month,
and i was not pressed to suspend my disbelief.
bobw10, here you say "How did they figure out how to operate it? I dunno, don't rightly care." And to you , that's that, no problem. To me, it is a gaping hole that I cannot see a way around. It is there, sitting like an elephant in the room and no way can it work for me. It is simply not to the world I have built in my head about this program and this story. What we are seeing, imo, is a transition away from the realities compelled by televisual sotrytelling to the necesseties of telling a comic tale. It is a different audience now, largely younger than I am and largely unconcerned about the logic of the tale. But I really don't like the comic much any more; I comment here because I still love Buffy and hearing peoples' thoughts can help make sense of some stuff, but I cannot get past the changes I see- changes that just don't make sense given what has come before. And changes that to me represent tired story telling- the influence of media, for example, as if the entire world are sheep and no one can even consider that slayers might be good- so, based on our political system, maybe? Perhaps, but if so, we have a new administration and it is time to get past that- just like this week's Abu Ghrab references on Heroes, I though, who do they think they are fooling? Could you make things more obvious? Without logic, I cannot commit; without commitment, I cannot care. That's where I am right now, and I cannot think of how this story can change to bring me back. Willow is off to the side, Dawn is a running joke, I don't much care about Satsu even in her one-off here, and Buffy is all S7 all over again, running her own military operations rather than just fighting vamps at the street level. If the ultimate goal of this comic is to return the tale to a single slayer, I'm ready for that, because the story of the full slayer line just is not transfixing me.
I wasn't that bothered by the sub. Nothing will ever surpass the ludicrousness of Glory's snake demon in season 5. Also I've never seen a marriage proposal in a comic book before, that was really sweet.
Where was the proposal?
I'd take Glory's snake demon over that flaming sub any day. *g*
Where was the proposal?

Letters column.
bobw1o, I think anyone who enjoys the Buffyverse understands that it's a very different world. As you suggest, the silliness and lack of strict correspondence to our actual world have been there from the precredit sequence of Welcome to the Hellmouth. My sense is that, for some reason, some of the fans -- not all, certainly, and I count myself among those who, as you say, "don't rightly care" -- are taken "out of the story" by things like stolen subs and rocket launchers. (Maybe they have a problem with stealing? Don't think so.) I'm interested in why that is the case. There are a gazillion improbable, over-the-top coincidences, devices, and characters in this 'verse ... why indeed is the unexceptional use of fantasy and contrivance suddenly causing so many of us to take exception? I'm not bothered in the least that people do take exception. Merely intrigued by it.
Because it is a smack in the head. It is unavoidable and sitting right there in front of you. Like seeing a 2009 car in a movie set in 1975; yeah, you could come up with some explanation as to how it got there, but none that makes sense in the universe that film is trying to create. A bunch of 18yo girls stealing a nuclear submarine and piloting it simply beggars the reality of the world they spent 7 years creating, sorry.
Well, in fairness, the kind of submarine it would be if it actually belonged to the Republic of Korea, or North Korea, would be diesel powered. So it all makes sense now :)
There's ludicrous and ludicrous. Magic explains magical things; soem things aren't magical. Vampire Cats are magical, and part of Japanese folklore and so was GLory's snake-bloodhound magical, and that was in Sunnydale, Queen City of the Valley of Denial.
So vampires' stealing a sub cna be a good plot device. Having the Slayers operate it can be wanked as above. Even using it to stop a dangerous shipment can be justified. But keeping it long-term; the where and the how to get it there just don't go away.

(As to the rocket launcher; maybe it's a reloadable single-shot version -those exist, as do the disposable kind- and Xander and Cordelia picked up some extra rounds. aLtho if so why wasn't it used for 5 years?)

There are no all-purpose explanations in a multui-purpose world.

Maybe just maybe, (and since I missed it, it proves again that as a film critic I make a great historian) this is meant to be the next phase in the growth of the Scoobs, having to , like Remy in The Big Easy, "Face it, you're not really one of the good guys anymore."

As to stealing, there is a place for the financial consideration as to degree of wrong, but it's only a place.

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2009-02-05 22:22 ]
All I can say is: I laughed out loud when I got to the page with the submarine. It was the same feeling of delighted glee I felt way back when I first watched 'Innocence' and heard Buffy saying "That was then..." *picks up rocket launcher* "This is now."

As for the mechanics - *shrug* I assumed it was a North Korean sub, since nobody is going to care if they lose one (and the NKs wouldn't tell anyone if they did). Googling shows me the North Koreans have little 15-man submarines with diesel engines and two torpedo tubes, which sounds spot on for what we saw.

The Slayers learning how to use it was more of a stretch, but I can suspend my disbelief. Maybe a past Slayer was in the Israeli navy, learned how to operate a sub there, and the current Slayers inherited her memories in their dreams?

As for where they keep it - well, the Tokyo squad seems a lot more open in its operations than the other Slayer squads; we're talking open battles with giant mecha in the heart of downtown Tokyo. I wouldn't be surprised if elements of the Japanese government are cooperating with Aiko's (now Satsu's) squad under the table.
I liked it enough, but I don't really see these as canon anymore. I've felt like this for awhile now with the start of issue 12. It's just gotten too big and wacky and somewhat unrelatable with Batsu, giant robot Dawn running around Tokyo, Centaur Dawn, Buffy in the future in a world of flying cars, a world where people love vampires and hate slayers, Harmony on a MTV reality show, etc.

I still enjoy these comics on a different level though, and I think I'm liking them more now that I don't consider them the true continuation from the series. If I did consider them canon, I'd just go crazy over the details and everything that's happening and wouldn't of happened on the show. Anyway issue 22 was solid and much better than the last issue.
Dana, totally thought you were with me on that...

I just couldn't leave well enough alone.

I'd like to point out that your argument against me ignored every point I already made against it. It's not to say you can't still disagree, but you simply didn't disagree with my points so much as pretend they didn't exist. So I'll not repeat myself, just see my above post.

Dana, it kinda just seems that you simply aren't enjoying the story anymore and the sub is just a part of that, maybe the straw that broke the camel's back. If it's not for you, that sucks, and some of your reasons why are perfectly legitimate and make me sad. Not just for you but for anyone else that is similarly affected, and I bet there are plenty. Though you don't see it happening, I truly hope that the story can turn around for you.

I'm curious who here was bothered by The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons? Think what you will of the film, but who was bothered by the fact they never explained how a man could age backwards? Didn't bother me at all, wasn't the point of the film. The point was what happens because of it. But I know a guy who only cares about that. He knows it's not explained so he refuses to see the movie.

My point being, not everything needs an explanation, and in my opinion the HOW or WHY of the sub isn't terribly important. I've seen more than enough to convince me it's plausible, so the explanation becomes superfluous. Now it's what happens because of it. It's a plot device, sure. I for one am interested in seeing how they use it.

I also think it's just fantastic that people care this much to be this pissed about things like this. It's another reminder that Joss has created something special, wether or not it always works. Makes me feel kinda fuzzy inside.

Or is that a vampy cat? |-)~

[ edited by bobw1o on 2009-02-06 05:26 ]
That letter column proposal was oh so sweet. It's funny, because I had just been discussing with my friend how proposing in a comic would be the coolest thing ever. My idea, though, was to somehow insert pages where I am drawn into a comic she regularly reads and speak to her through the panels. There'd be an awesome "wtf" moment and then the realization. I guess the only way this could work is if I got some industry people involved, probably at a super-indie publisher or something.

Regardless, nothing can beat a proposal in a Buffy book! Congrats to the happy couple. May your relationship be more stable than any in the Buffyverse!
Oh, also, regarding the submarine, has anyone considered Xander's evergreen military mojo? Granted, he was an army guy and would have no reason to understand subs. But he'd have no reason to understand rocket launchers either, and he somehow trained Buffy on that (or maybe it's just point and shoot). Maybe he didn't know how to operate a sub himself, but knew how to access military files that would fill him in, and subsequently trained the slayers? Anyway, just a thought.
1. Suspension of Disbelief:

I can't say that I really care where the sub came from. Rules for the Buffyverse changed even within the television series itself. The very fact that the writers made a silly name for such things (phlebotnem, or however it is spelled) shows that that isn't what is most important to them in the storytelling. It's also not what's important for me. What's important to me are the characters, and their interactions and growth. Coming from that perspective, I really enjoyed this issue. I finally actually like Kennedy--something I never thought possible. I love Satsu, and still want more of her. I'm glad that she's ready to move on from being "that chick Buffy had a one-night stand with".

2. Stealing

I wonder why the fans don't take issue with this in Firefly. Is it because they are stealing in order to survive under a system of government that is oppressive and morally bankrupt? One could say the same thing about Buffy. Here is a person who saved the world, and now she and the other slayers are being hunted down like terrorists. Also, remember the timeline. Take that as political if you want but I think it's a big factor in season 8, as well as a lot of Joss' writing in the past few years. When society is run by people who show one face to the world and another in their private shady dealings, the "villians" become the heroes. Look at Dr. Horrible, going against Captain Hammer, "Corporate Tool."

I also never saw Buffy as the shining beacon of all that is morally good, so I guess that's another reason it doesn't bother me.
drnotsobad ; Rocket launchers like that, shoulder-sized, are basically an Army weapon, so Xander's "experience" would apply.

ShanshuBugaboo; I've mentioned the poltical aspect, albeit not so specifically in terms of timeframe. I just assume that's the way the Artistic Classes view The System

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2009-02-06 17:25 ]
Yeah, they even have those at the National Guard Armory here.
I have actually seen a marriage proposal in a comic before, in some issue of USM.
Bob, not sure if you are referrring to my first or second post after yours above, so am not sure how to respond to you. But, in one respect you are right; this comic has essentially lost me. I am as sad as you are; and this issue with the submarine is really part of a larger problem I have with the comic, which is that to me it is simply no longer true to what came before it. That's what I invested in; not Joss Whedon and what he does, but what he created. I don't know how to invest back into the tale anymore; the story line covers things that I actively dislike (like how people are apparently sheep to the media), and I don't feel this is written with people like me in mind. I'd like to tune out the things that slap me in the head, but I can't; that's not how my mind works, and the people who know me in my real life know that I'm pretty much incapable of looking at things without finding the hidden chinks, issues and such. It makes me a frustrating person to work with, but a good person to examine issues and look at options. Such it is. So while with a tale like Benjamin Button, I can overlook the absurdity of backward time travel for a single person, because I know it is a parable, here I cannot overlook the little glitches, retcons, and ephemara that crop up and stops me from my investment. They're just there. It is not like I don't want to like this; I have invested years into "study" of Buffy and so I'd like to stay involved and invested, but it is not happening.

Meantime, just one more reality check. Did the slayer leadership and Xander (who was a soldier, if I recall, so his military abilities, if any, would really be a more on-the-ground kind of grunt's knowledge rather than someone who is in control of, say, the European Theater) somehow anticipate they would steal a submarine sometime in the future, and just happen to have trained a bunch of them in that case? Does that really make much sense?
My reaction to the submarine was pretty much what Stormwreath describes above. It's the comic book version of the rocket launcher. It was over the top, sure, but it worked with the tone of the issue for me.

Overall I'm pretty satisfied: I was hoping for a happy two-buddy romp the second I read the previews and that's exactly what I got. And obviously Satsu is being groomed for a main role, otherwise why "waste" an entire issue on her? So there's that, too, to please me.
I don't know how to invest back into the tale anymore; the story line covers things that I actively dislike (like how people are apparently sheep to the media), and I don't feel this is written with people like me in mind.

Why keep reading then? Enjoying a story for years and feeling invested in its characters is more of a reason to walk away when you don't feel that connection anymore than it is a reason to keep reading when you're just seeing each issue as a parade of errors.
Well, because you can always learn something new, despite it all. And I am all about the learning.
Wow, I can't believe nobody has made note of the "Grrr! Argh!" tagline that the Vampy Cat had.
Dana, just out of curiosity, why do you take issue with the "people are sheep to the media" theme? It's been done before, many times, but it's something that I hold to be if not largely true than at least true for many people. I mean, seriously, it's always been bad, and it's been really bad for some time. Spin spun out of control a long time ago.

I thought this was a really fun issue. The implausibility of the submarine didn't strike me while reading, but now that I've seen everyone's comments here, I am slightly irked by it. Which I guess says something both about myself and the issue: As a long-time comics fan my suspension of disbelief can be stretched a lot before it snaps, and "Swell" was just so damn enjoyable that I didn't notice anything.

It certainly can be fanwanked, though, as it has been already. I personally don't think it's farfetched to suggest that there are Slayers with military background and experience, plus who said that they were all 18 years old (as has been suggested here)? They're all young, but they're all different ages too.

And damn it, the Vampy Cats were so cute. But evil. But cute. I'm going to hell.
It's a personal thing, and probably too hard to adequately describe. I just really dislike this. I know the media can manipulate the public opinion, but at the same time there are those who simply refuse to accept the spin and who think for themselves. So the idea of there being this spin that somehow makes the slayers the bad guys and the vamps the good ones that is universally accepted just is not the way it is or could ever be (in the Buffyverse, mind you, not our 'verse). That is obviously how the story is being written- slayers get negative media at the same time they rob banks and steal submarines, but, you know, does nobody stop and look at the issue? In the real Buffy world? Like J. Jonah Jamison always, for years, thinking Spiderman is bad? Anyway, even if my response here makes no sense whatsoever, and given this long week it might not, I just don't care for this storyline. I wish we would focus on characters and their growth and not surround it with all this extraneous stuff and ephemera. How did Willow escape a lobotomy? Why is Dawn the way she is? Willow and Saga Vasuki? Kennedy died for a few weeks? It's 22 issues now, 2 years and no answers, and I gave up on Lost after just 1 year.
Dana - Why exactly would the general public in the Buffyverse be any different from the general public in the Real World? Have you noticed the current trend in vampire fiction? Vampires aren't depicted as demons, re-animated corpses, bloodthirsty ghosts, or even the same original personality cursed to live forever preying on fellow humans (a la Barnabas Collins). They're often as not depicted as some transcendent species, evolved well beyond humanity almost to the point of being demigods. And this same attitude was shown to be occurring in the Buffyverse all the way back to Season Two. Do we really believe it hasn't spread in the several years since then, in the Buffyverse just like it has this one?

Another point, you seem to be looking at this as if the entire world in the Buffyverse has this attitude. Is there anything at all that you can point to in the Real World that the Entire World agrees on? I mean, most people agree that killing other people is bad, but then, look at the people who find it perfectly acceptable to kill because they don't like someone else's religion, or sexual preference, or clothing, or mere existence. I'm fairly certain there would be holdouts in our 'verse and Buffy's who would refuse to see vampires as harmless little teddy bears with fangs; for some, the existence of vampires would offend their religious views, for some it would offend their social views, and some would simply know better. But the same could be said for almost any subject you want to name, where "the general public" may hold views that are not universally held.
Okay, fine, let me put it this way. I have no reason at all; I just don't like it any more. I posted, so I should expect to be queried, but truly, and no disrespect intended to anyone, I don't want to have to defend myself on this. It is not working for me, on several levels, for whatever reason; my inability to explain why changes nothing in that regard. There is no resonance.
I'm struggling with the portrayal of vampires being seen as the good guys as well. It seems like we're supposed to link how we, in the real world, react to fictional vampires and how people in a fictional world react to real vampires. Personally I think about how we'd really react to vampires and it's nothing like what we've seen so far.

What's frustrating is that it's not hard to imagine the public reacting badly to a slayer army and branding them as terrorists. I wish this had been the main thrust of the plotline rather than everyone loving vamps because of Harmony. I hope we do see that there are different opinions as you say, Rowan Hawthorn, because it's obvious that would be the case, but so far all we're getting is "everyone thinks we're the bad guys" and nothing suggesting otherwise.

On the issue itself, there's plenty to like, particularly Kennedy and Satsu (and a map of Scotland, nice! :) and I did enjoy it, but I'm a bit disappointed with where the Vampy Cat thing went. We've seen the whole creatures that control people (from their stomachs, really?) and dry you out (the point of this was...?) idea before. I'd much rather they'd stayed as cute but vicious killers. Add in the misogyny and the swell and it's all just a bit too much.

They don't make much sense as undercover operatives - Satsu acts completely out of character. I hope this is part of Twilight being behind all the events in this issue. So, he'd have set up the factory creating the Vampy Cats (presumably with magic) and given them flaws so the one used as to infiltrate Satsu's squad would be discovered. As hacksaway suggested he could be behind the vampires stealing the sub and the slayers taking it from them. That all sets up the slayers being able to find the cargo ship and blow it up, creating a PR disaster. Fits in with attacking Buffy's sense of morality rather than trying to kill her and makes Twilight an interesting and cunning villain as he's played absolutely everybody. The alternative - really using the Vampy Cats to attack Buffy - well, I'm not fond of it.
I posted, so I should expect to be queried, but truly, and no disrespect intended to anyone, I don't want to have to defend myself on this.

Then, no disrespect intended in return, but what's the point of wasting people's time? I'm not asking you to defend yourself, just trying to discuss points you raised.
I loved this issue. I wish they would have shed some more light on Twilight... but still it was awesome. Eat their f**king ovaries! was the best line ever. I was at Starbucks reading it and it made me spit out my coffee and lol. Seriously, people thought i was a major freak ^_^
Woah! Just read the comic yesterday and I didn't have a problem with the sub or anything like that. I think there's a difference between the people who have a problem with this and the people who don't. If you don't you're probably reading the comic and treating it like a comic book, separating it from the television series that first got you into Buffy. If you do have a problem with it, I think you're setting your hopes too high for what the medium can offer and what the writers want to do. At the beginning of S8 it seemed like it would be more like the tv series than it is, with the introduction of a lot of one-shot writers who normally write for tv, the comic book medium seems to have gone to their head a little. I personally don't mind this and expect it to get a bit more serious when the Joss arcs start coming back into it.


Was a bit confused about the point of the Vampy Cat contolling Satsu: was it just to buy time? were the Vampy Cats hoping to actually get out into the world and inhabit normal people? Were they planning to seek out all the slayers in the world and neutralise them by turning them into harmless, obedient wives? Did they just want to get to Buffy? Was it purely information finding for Twilight?
Rowam Hawthorn :I think what dana5140 is looking for, and NotaViking to soem extent, and I as well, is for Joss, if he's going to go for this "public opinion as a character in the story" thing ala 60s Spider-Man or 70s-80s X-Men, is he needs to start showing the people who don't go along with it. It's only been 2 issues so it's not unjustifiable,b tu still it needs to happen if this storyline is going to continue.
Well, yeah, but as you point out, the public vampire craze has just appeared. I don't get the desire to have every possible nuance of a story laid out in every single issue. It wouldn't have been done like that on the show, so why is the comic held to a different standard? I hear things like that, and I'm reminded of the people who were already complaining by the time Issue #2 was released that we still hadn't been told how the Slayers could afford all their new technology, and why they were in Scotland, and what happened with yada-yada-yada, and weren't we ever going to get any answers...

Ongoing storylines are called "ongoing" for a reason - if every plotline that's raised in an issue is resolved in the same issue, then all you have is a bunch of stand-alone stories.
I liked this issue. :) It was just a little bit of fun. And haha, those little things were insane and it was kinda gross when Satsu hacked up that furball.

But seriously cool that they have a sub. XD

Was Harmony supposed to be talking to Larry King? lol.
"Ongoing storylines are called "ongoing" for a reason - if every plotline that's raised in an issue is resolved in the same issue, then all you have is a bunch of stand-alone stories."

Exactly, Rowan Hawthorn, exactly. It's such sweet relief to read your words. EXACTLY. If every episode of Buffy had been approached this way - were they? - I think I would have drowned in the palpitating hysteria. I'm being a bit (but not entirely) facetious, of course. A critical approach to each issue as it emerges is a fine thing and I love reading various perspectives and criticisms (NotA and DaddyCat, for e.g.) But I'd also say that this story, this season 8, is built around nested mysteries that are meant to be puzzling and provoking of multiple strands of speculation as we go along. It's a crypto-drama told in serial form, not a procedural bunch of one-shots as Rowan so nicely points out. To some degree, I think, we're meant to have faith that the mysterious strands will ultimately work out, not believe darkly that with every new turn the story has all gone to hell and become nonsensical.

It's the nature of the comics medium that these mysteries will be drawn out over a loooooong period. It seems pointless to criticize that fact beyond stating, once, that you hate that about the medium. After that why bother to continue to fixate on that problem? Perhaps leave off reading the comics altogether - why torture oneself? - or wait until they've all been published and then read them in one fell swoop.
phl;ebotinin; I see your point but even if I could afford the omnibusses (omnibussen?) I don't have the patience to wait that long :-).
DaddyCat - Hee. I like "omnibussen." I don't have the patience to wait for the omnibussen, either. Also, forgive my rantyness. It's not directed at anything you in particular are saying.
I'll make that anonymo - er, unanimous. I can't wait for the omnibussi, either, but I do buy them as they come out. I've found that reading an entire arc straight through makes a lot of difference (mainly, it doesn't result in me reaching the last page and going, "Oh, god, no, not another month! Waaaah!!")
Just weighing in...despite all the action this issue seemed a bit flat to me. Too many disconnected things that couldn't be held together with cinnamon lip gloss alone.

Loved: Harmony on Larry King
Liked: Kennedy doing the inspection of Satsu's operation; the slime monster who was the decoy to get the Slayers to "take the bait."
Missed 2 things:
1. Any feeling of suspense. Normally the formula doesn't bug me but this time, Girl Meets Monster, Girl Kills Monster, Bigger Monster is Still Out There left me wondering who the slayers are even fighting for anymore. They don't seem to be doing anything to slow down Harmony. Call me impatient but what I feel like is where did the heros who work behind the scenes to protect ordinary people go?
2. Buffy. Generally, the focus on the slayer army works for me, but for some reason this issue left me wanting to see Buffy a little more directly in the action...maybe that's the same as the above really.

The Vampy Cats didn't live up to their potential. Needing to "get inside" the Slayer/hosts and "Eat their #%&@ing ovaries!" just seemed like a grab for something weird because weird is what so often makes these stories great, creative, suspenseful, entertaining. This was just weirdness for its own sake. I wonder if having your ovaries eaten from the inside out would even be fatal...maybe infection would set in. Or, maybe I'm just a female chauvinist and would have responded better to a troop of stuffed rabid dogs hunting down the boys in the initiative hollering, "Eat their #%&@ Cowper's glands!" ;->

[ edited by sphinx on 2009-02-10 07:30 ]
I tend to get the issues a week or more late and so don't usually have anything to contribute to these threads that hasn't already been said. However, having digested all the prior comments, I'm struck by the micro-focus on plot particulars that seem to me to be incidental to the greater machinations of the S8 saga as a whole. A few scattered thoughts....

I did wonder a bit at the sub's sudden appearance in the storyline, for the briefest of brain-flash seconds, but it's certainly, to me, far less strange than Dawn-as-giant or -centaur, or any other of the myriad bizarre and other-worldly manifestations we've been introduced to so far. I mean, wasn't there a gnome (or was that a troll...) a ways back, and a fairy or two, too? Having swallowed those without batting a lash, I find a submarine goes down with surprising ease. At least it's based on science, a mechanism grounded in the mundane world and constructed by mere human ingenuity for the unambiguous goal of lethal destruction; yet shouldn't the ever-escalating presence of mystic (and often violent) forces across the planet be what stretches the bounds of our credulity?

(Not to diminish the aforementioned arguments of logic for/against said sub and all concerning issues -- practical, moral, ethical or otherwise -- but there's a part of me that immediately interpreted it as more of a symbol than anything. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but in this case, a sub may be more than a sub. You've got a death-dealing projectile weapon resembling a certain anatomical fixture, customarily operated (I suppose -- though not knowing Korean military practices, I have no way to support this supposition) by men, now being "manned" by a crew of women -- which weapon happens to reside in the aquatic element that's symbolic of the eternal feminine. Think I'm reaching a bit here? Well, I guess that depends on how smart/insane you think the writers are, and how deeply you think they think about this stuff? I think very/very and very, respectively. The sexual/gender/identity issues this little scenario toys with sort of bends my brain, at the same time I'm also aware how easy it would be to dismiss it as being too obvious or facile -- interesting how it works (or doesn't) on both levels....)

I mention all that (more digression than real explanation, I admit) to say that looking just at the surface of things -- the view from on land, as it were -- gives us only part of the story. There's definitely more happening below the surface of this tale than is comprehensible in its currently unfinished, abbreviated serial form. If we take the long view of Buffy's journey since her beginning, we've seen her growth from innocence through painful experience to a level of maturity that waxes and wanes, as all living paths do, according to the degree of her success in confronting and unmasking her own truths. Buffy herself is a human-magic hybrid, as are all the Slayers, and that dichotomy with its influx of collective power has created an incredible imbalance in the 'verse. Of course vampires are emerging into prominence, stepping forward with unprecedented visibility -- literally as well as figuratively, the presence of so much light in their world deepens the existence of the shadows in which they thrive. The result, as Joss has been foreshadowing for years -- and has been explicitly expressed in the original Fray and its subsequent inclusion in S8 -- is that in order for the world to regain its balance and the human race survive, magic must be eliminated once and for all. (What "magic" symbolizes in the Jossverse is another fascinating tangent I think about a great deal but won't, blessedly, go into here.)

On a parallel track, S6 of Angel is rolling pell-mell along this same course, and it seems inevitable that the two storylines are destined to collide at some point in the undetermined future. Every issue of Buffy so far has displayed an increasing breakdown in the barriers between science and magic, between logic and the undefinable, unquantifiable and inexplicable. Maybe I can be forgiven for not being overly concerned about the sub's specifics when I'm looking toward the horizon for the narrative equivalent of a nuclear bomb?

The Buffyverse, after all, exists as a (somewhat solipsistic?) extension of Buffy herself, and is a mirror of her own psychic development. Her world is fracturing -- because she's fracturing -- because there's a fundamental split in her very being that is about to come undone, altering everything she's come to believe about herself and her place in that world in the process. When magic disappears and the Slayer line is done (for what we know will be hundreds of years), what's left of Buffy and everthing she knows and holds dear? Of everything in that entire paradigm? That, ladies and gentlemen, is the overarching hook that keeps me coming back, even when certain story elements don't necessarily hew by the usual rules.

Whew. Me usually not so wordy; I hope at least some of it resembled sense. And as someone pointed out above, isn't it a lovely proof of the enduring power of the work that we all care so much?
One thing that's becoming more and more clear to me is that this season is (not unlike season 4) similar to the Firefly-setup. In S4/8 and in Firefly we have our heroes in the middle between humanity (and its institutions: military, alliance) and demons (and their institutions: vampires, reavers). In S4 they tip-toed through the big battle between these two forces. In Serenity the tip-toeing was one of the most cool space-battles ever.

The difference is Adam. He was the proxy-demon, created by humans, that could serve as a counterpart for Buffy, because she had to learn a lesson through him: While there is and always will be this fight, there will always be layer were you can influence the fight itself. Adam wanted the fight for body parts. Buffy basically stopped it, a lesson she will revisit very often in the following season. In Serenity there is no proxy at all opposite our heroes. Humanity created not a blahdy-blah-hybrid, but the demons itself, which is a brutal but very honest truth. Our heroes don't stop the fight, they see the fight as a symptom for a systemic disease that can be exposed if the right message gets out. (There's something to be said about Dr. Horrible there as well, I know...)

The question is where S8 fits in. The funny thing is, the notion of fighting disappears once humanity (much like Buffy in later seasons) starts to embrace their dark side, starts liking vampires, because of a TV message. Is Twilight the Adam-like counterpart? Finding chaos interesting? Or has this notion already crumbled because the lines are not anywhere to be drawn? And how about TV being also the medium through which slayers find each other? And what about Mal being much like Joye in "Normal Again", trying to convince humanity/Buffy that the fight is just fictional and a symptom of a disease?

Can't wait to find out.
As I've said, they don't have anybody left capable of counteracting Harmony's PR Blitz. Joss needs to send Buffy tot he amgic shoe store.


wiesengrund;Good points,a nd worth waiting for.

Wiseblood: I see where you're coming froma nd I apologize but I can't follow along.
1-MAgic was introduced from Day 1 as an operating factor in the Buffyverse, and many things follow from that; other things don't.
You said a submarine is an ordinary object and you're right. So the stretch we made to accept magic is just no help in explaining it. It's just not plausible a secret society mainly consisting of teenage and twentyish women can keep a miltary sub as part of their equipment. Natural realities-international law, rules of miltary engagament, the laws of physics and economics,e tc.- apply. If those can't justify it, it won't work.

2-Likewise as to bringing in fray. As it read to me, and to soem others ehre, the upshot of Buffy meets Melaka was that the Frayverse is now split off from the main Buffyverse. So arguing ont eh futre course of S-8, S-9, S-etcetera based on the old Fray series is a dead end, I really think.

Beyond that, tho, you have good points,e specially on symbolism, and end of magic or not, Buffy has a lot she still hasn't faced yet.

phlebotinin; I also use the word "spousen."

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2009-02-10 19:02 ]
i liked Kennedy's Watchmen shirt. very cool!
I'm still trying to figure out what was stenciled on the back of her shorts (I got a big laugh out of Iyari Limon's costume in "Death By Engagement", part of which consisted of a pair of tiny blue panties with the words "Not Listening" on the back...)
Great issue! Finally got around to getting it. If the only thing that people have to complain about is the realisticness of driving subs, I think that says that all in all it was pretty tight. I liked it and didn't even miss the lack of Buffyness herself.
Technical stuff, especially when it's something you know a bit about (like folks in this thread seem to know a bit about the military), can sometimes get distracting while enjoying your fiction and seeing something that rings false. But the sub thing didn't phase me. Other than being another big crazy idea the same way Mecha-Dawn was, but that sorta thing was normal for the Buffyverse long before the Season 8 comics came around. I understand where people are coming from, but I usually go easier on my fantasy and sometimes sci-fi when it comes to the technicalities. My pet peeve is when timelines and time doesn't seem to flow properly in fiction. I'm thrilled that they got it right on Lost recently with something that happened in the past that was mentioned in Season 1--the 1988 date. Shows sometimes screw up in this regard. It's maddening, but I get over it in order to enjoy the rest of the show. Unfortunately, the writers are sometimes too busy attempting to give us quality character development and interesting plots, they don't have time to research every bit of technical info or have the space to explain away everything that can otherwise be fanwanked if necessary. Especially not within the constraints of a weekly TV show or a 15-minute comic book, not unless they bother to explain things away in future installments after they either notice the mistake or, in rare cases, respond to fan concerns.

I dunno, it's Buffy the frickin Vampire Slayer, I don't take much of the logic stuff too seriously (how characters should behave based on what we've previously seen and how events would logically effect them, yes, 'cause character assassination is evil, but the characters are more important than tech and operational details IMO, unless you're making a World War 2 movie). I dunno what Dana5140 is talking about, the story hasn't become less grounded just because it's a comic instead of a TV show. The show went to some pretty "out there/major suspension of disbelief required" places too. We're simply without budget constraints now. Characters can fly and demons and other stuff can be drawn more convincingly than they sometimes were built-as-puppet/dudes-in-rubber-suits or CGI'd into the live action film shots. The Scoobs get to visit other countries (other than actual UK-shot England, faked-Ireland, faked-wherever-Anya-was-from, faked-wherever-Season-5-monks-were-from) on a grand scale, something they realistically would've probably done if the TV storytelling didn't require them to stick to Sunnydale. But you bought into the claustrophobia (or maybe it was a comforting blanket, for some, but I hate when TV characters stay in one spot for too long, much as I love the library set). Because it's TV and it's fantasy-fiction.

I wish we could spend more time with the main characters too, but I guess this is the first time the writers have really had an opportunity to color more of the world and leave out the main characters for large chunks (couldn't get away with that on The WB or UPN), so they're seizing it. Have no doubt that the story will come back to Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Dawn eventually. Maybe a new character or two will result in permanent main characters added, it would be nice if they had a worthy new one who stuck (didn't die like Renae, at least not until the end).

Far as the Slayers vs. Vampires PR story goes, it just got introduced one issue ago (aside from the US government apparently believing Slayers to be like terrorists in the first Season 8 arc), give it a few issues. I wasn't real big on the Harmony issue either (I liked the new slayer and thought her death and the reaction to it was well-played, which was probably the main point of the issue and the rest of it was just frivolous window dressing, so maybe it worked, but it's unfortunate I couldn't enjoy the rest of it). I thought this issue was well-written, if still kinda fluffy (bring the serious soon, please).
While y'all are debating the sub ... I must be the only one who thought it was a bad idea to include the marriage proposal in the letter column. There are a number of guys who do very-public proposals, such as on a billboard or at half-time. The problem is, if the woman has any doubts or qualms, she's left in a very tricky position.

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