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November 04 2009

(SPOILER) For the discussion of Buffy #30. It's the conclusion to Jane Espenson's Season 8 'Retreat' arc.

I've got it. I'll only say I'm disappointed the issue provides little closure for the arc. Can't wait for those lingering questions to begin to be answered. Who's Twilight? Who's betraying Buffy? Are they even slayers anymore?
I wish I could be more excited about Adam Hughes being involved with season 8 since he did the art for OMWF but the few times I met him, he wasn't very nice. It was clear to me after several "meetings" at a few shows, that he was way more interested in selling his services for people that wanted to purchase a $500 sketch in their sketchbook than meeting or talking with fans. (In one instance, he literally didnt look up from the piece he was working on and his manager--his wife I think--spoke for him even though he was sitting right in front of us.) I said, "I really enjoy your artwork" and he didn't look up. I'm officially not a fan.

I know he's like royalty for comic conventions and that its his prerogative to do whatever he wants but I would have expected something else at an actual comic show. I dont want it to sound like he's the next coming of John Byrne but it was still kind of a let down.

(btw Mods, feel free to edit me if you need to; my post is critical of a potentially purple person, and I understand this might not sit well with some of the ptb...I have 100% confidence in your modding skills!)
I have to admit this arc was pretty disappointing. I can't really articulate why at the moment, but I just didn't like it, and this issue kind of sealed the deal. Especially disappointed in the lack of Twilight reveal that I think we'd all been hoping for.
Brian Thompson was like that. Definitely not big enough to be so rude and shrugging off fans. Joss, and Tahmoh were awesome, however brief that meet was. Mark Sheppard is actually really awesome to talk to one on one. Loves his fans and loves to talk.

Sorry, off topic. But yeah Hughes is a little over rated and Brian Thompson can be a douche.
I'd rather we didn't start calling people rude names here and if we could get back to discussing the issue it would be lovely. I've haven't read the latest issue yet but the arc did seem to drag on a bit. Wasn't the Twilight reveal put back an issue?
Without any significative spoilers... Is there anything (scene, line) between Xander and Buffy regarding
his relationship with Dawn? Living in Spain, i wont get the issue till later this month...
Not really, Darkness. But a certain someone definitely starts showing her green-ness, and it's noticed.
I like Adam Hughes''s Chen-esque, and he's got a nice SMG likeness. Plus, he'll always have a special place in my heart for doing the final 38 covers of Catwoman Volume Two.
Regarding floating Buffy, maybe the godesses got confused when they realized who she was, and gave her Willow's powers?!?
I have my copy of Buffy Season 8 #30.

Okay this gives us some answers.

1)The goddess are out to kill everyone.Buffy realizes this and tries to rescue all the injured on both sides.Her side and Twilight's.Loved heroic Buffy.

2)The Slayers aren't getting their powers back including Buffy.

2)Riley is on Buffy's side.He's been spying on Twilight for her so Riley was a triple agent.Buffy launches into the battlefield to retrieve him.Yay to Riley being a good guy still.

3)This is played intentionally ambiguous but it seems Twilight knew Riley was working for Buffy and spying on him for her the whole time.OR he just found out when we did here.Again the scene is played intentionally ambiguous.Because if he did know Riley was a triple agent,then that says a lot and could give clues to Twilight identity.

4)Riley and Bay are seriously injured but are still alive.

5)More Buffy/Xander/Dawn triangle stuff.

Buffy runs into Xander's arms and hugs him when she sees he's okay after she rescued Riley.They hold hands Dawn gives them the evil annoyed eye at this display and this is when she asks annoyed if Riley is a prisoner.Buffy keeps her hand on Xander's chin as she explains Riley is on there side.

This is making Xander and Buffy look bad to me.Especially Buffy who knows Xander and Dawn are together.This is playing exactly as I thought it would.Me siding and feeling for Dawn over Buffy in this situation.

6)Lots of slayers are killed and Buffy's forces are captured by Twilight's soldiers.

7)The WTF? ending that has been so hyped.

Basically the issue ends with one of the goddesses grabbing Buffy,picks her up,looks at her in its hand,Buffy in fear,then it drops he with disinterest a 100 feet to the ground.

It looks like Buffy has been killed again.But then we jump ahead five hours later.Buffy wakes up in the snow,looks out and sees Twilight's forces rounding up the prisoners.The issue ends with Buffy closing her eyes,opening them,looking up and then floating up into the air as the three goddesses walk off into the snowy mountains.

I suppose Buffy could be a giant but I think she's floating.

Anyway that's the WTF ending.To be continued in the Joss penned issue 31 out in January(next month is the season 8 Willow one-shot by Joss).

So did Buffy die again?Is she dead and now something else?Is she able to float/fly now?Is she a goddess a giant,What?

I'm not sure what about this issue was supposed to anger us though or have the pitchforks out?I mean I don't like the way Buffy is coming off in the whole triangle thing with Xander and Dawn. I don't think Xander should of been that touchy feely either with Buffy especially in front of Dawn.But nothing about the end of the issue has anything that I can see generating intense anger in fandom?Unless it's the fact we have no clue what this issue's end means and we won't get any answers until next year?A cliffhanger

Anyway,I enjoyed the issue and this arc.Also there is a good letter and response from Allie addressing the lack of backstory fans want on certain backstory elements for the characters.
Yeah Simon, I didn't want to come off as too rude about the AH! thing, just had to get it off my chest...probably one of those, "if you cant say anything nice..." moments.

And back on topic--
I've enjoyed this arc but I agree that its moved a little slower than previous arcs. I'm beginning to think that the TPB collections are the best way to read these stories. I find that month after month I need to run back to the previous issue (or issues) to check something.

I think the clever nuances of Jane's (or Joss' for that matter) scripts might not be conveyed as obviously as they may have been on film. In a tv show, they can use music, camera angles, actor voice inflections and a whole host of other creative tools to convey a subtle but important point. In comics you have the art and the words. So it really needs to hit it right on the nose or the reader could get the wrong idea.

I think if the entire book were drawn by Hughes or someone of that ilk, the stories would be that much more enjoyable. Not because Georges is bad or anything like that but it seems a very detailed art style would lend itself to the detailed nuances of our very talented story tellers.

(I'd LOVE to see a Jo Chen full issue but it would probably take her a year to paint 22 + a cover)
See, I don't like the Buffy/Xander/Dawn triangle because it doesn't ring true to me. Does she want Xander because she can't have Angel? Because Xander is an easier option?

It's not like Buffy and Xander had any hot, bubbling-under chemistry during the tv series. There was always a hint of flirtatious love during the first three seasons, but certainly not by the end.
OK, I'm glad not too many others have commented, because I don't want to read too much of what everyone else thought before I process it.

Bottom line: I liked it.

It all depends on where things go, yadda yadda. But there were some nifty resonances here, with Buffy and Oz' wife responsible for loosing a force upon the world they can't control.

The Warren/Amy dialogue was funny. Amy calling Warren on his plan not making sense is probably about the best way to deal with the whole First mistake. "My magic is your skin!" "Stop bringing that up!"

Buffy et al. standing forth and protecting themselves and Twilight's men is pretty stunning, especially in the very adversarial Buffy we've seen lately.

Buffy/Xander/Dawn: Cute moments. I don't have a hard time seeing the triangle, I guess, because I thought there was some attraction between Buffy and Xander when he was at his most mature, including in later seasons (e.g. "I Was Made to Love You"); the crucial reason Buffy couldn't love Xander in the series proper is, I think, that she didn't see her feelings reflected in his more idealized and sexualized view of her. Now that he's over her, she can see clearly all the things about him she digs. It's very Xander and Willow in that way: he could only start to see her romantically once she didn't stare at him with puppy-dog eyes, which is naturally when it was too late to do anything but break a bunch of hearts.

The last pages: I love dearly that the gang's loss to Twilight, and being escorted away by the military, is left to its own panel, after all the battle and carnage. No fanfare; they just lost.

Is that someone we know in the snow by Buffy, with the red hair? It isn't Willow--she's being marched off with Oz and Dawn (I think) in the panel above.

Riley: I'm glad he's not evil (unless it's a triple-cross), because after some thought I realized that nothing could really make me buy his siding with Twilight; wanting magic removed from the world, yes, working with a murderer out to kill Buffy, no. It occurred to me yesterday actually that he might be a mole for Buffy; why it didn't actulaly hit me before is anyone's guess. As with the Dawn material in "Living Doll," I'm not convinced that the nice moments here completely justify a meandering arc; for Riley, we have waited about a year since "Time of Your Life," but he's only actually had any role at all in one of the issues of "Retreat," and even that doesn't seem to be enough to justify the choice to surprise us. Because...what's the surprise here? He's bad! No, he's not!

But you know...I don't actually want to be upset about this. Because I liked the issue. I have no idea where this is going and whether I'll like that, or whether the arc will come together. But that shot of Buffy, supsended over the world like Twilight (Twilight, Willow, Buffy: flying is a big theme this year) fills me with anticipation.

Also: it's spoilery, and so in some ways I wish I hadn't read Scott Allie's answer to the last person's question. But if you don't mind a few hints dropped here and there, it's interesting to hear his view on the (on-target, I'd say) criticism that the season has had too many surprises that aren't effective enough as payoffs, given the setup. This comic has been frustrating for me sometimes, because it takes so long to get a handle on what's going on in our characters' heads as well as what's going on in the world, and I think some of that is actually a fault of the writing and not just the scedule. But I really do like these issues and I'm glad to have my monthly Buffy booster shot while I wait for the time where I can see the whole story.

One more thing: notice how Scott delicately declined to respond fully to the letter writer who talked about wanting badly to find out what happens in the alley after "Not Fade Away," and wanting to see Groo again, and implying that he would be grateful if someone (e.g. Dark Horse) picked up Angel for comics?
I believe it was Buffy flying at the end and it's absolutely brilliant. Because Buffy's eventual ability to fly has been foreshadowed by Whedon this entire season. First, when she flies with Willow in Anywhere But Here and is too afraid to open her eyes. Next with Twilight in A Beautiful Sunset where she grits her teeth, bearing it because she must. Then we have her jumping off of flying cars in Time of Your Life. It's moments like these where I'm struck with why I love Whedon so much. Because it was all right there, laid out in front of us - the story had been building up to this point for a long time, but it still came as a complete shock to me.

And yes, I do believe this is part of how Buffy will be able to face Twilight. And it's such an awesome metaphor that only in giving away power, can one truly know power. It's like that saying, if you love someone, set them free. If they return to you, then your love is true. You cannot be caged by your love or your power - through being open, you can be connected to true power.

There were definitely some iffy moments in this issue, but the ending is so gobsmackingly brilliant in how it was laid out that I don't care. It's moments like this where Whedon just reminds me "This - this is why I love Buffy."

There's a thread of transitive power underneath this entire season and I'm only now just understanding how to tease it out. That perhaps the message after you've been given power isn't that you clutch at it so tightly (that you steal for it, you kill for it, you destroy worlds for it), but that you set it free so it may choose to return to you. If it's truly yours, it will return to you.

And isn't that very Tibetan-style - only in letting go of everything can you truly know yourself and fully actualize.

Hughes cover makes so much sense to me now. When Buffy was Chosen, Excalibur was forced into her hand. It was a burden to carry the sword or in Buffy's case, the shining stake. But in Retreat, after an entire season of robbing, cheating, stealing and killing to keep her power, in finally learning to let it go she takes an even firmer hold on what's truly hers.

This is just really beautiful to me. There are some technical moments in the issue that I find were poorly executed, but as is always the case with Buffy - the meaning has just blown me away. Wow.

Excalibur, indeed.

[ edited by Emmie on 2009-11-05 01:14 ]
Emmie, I couldn't DISagree with you more. Buffy flying came completely out of left field as far as I'm concerned. I wish Joss and only Joss was writing these. If that meant less than six would come out a year, it would be worth it. He seems to be the only one guiding this via comic book.

Edited. Woops.

[ edited by CowboyCliche on 2009-11-05 06:39 ]
So Buffy can fly now and Riley's *not* evil? YES!

Basically the issue ends with one of the goddesses grabbing Buffy,picks her up,looks at her in its hand,Buffy in fear,then it drops he with disinterest a 100 feet to the ground.

That wasn't disinterest. She was dropped in a trail of green. It's not the first time Season 8 has used green to indicate magic. Said goddess looked at Buffy, and gave her more power than she's ever had before. The question is why.
Hi everybody! I hate to say it but I've become pretty disappointed with this comic. This latest story in particular was way hard to follow. Too much going on, things happening too abruptly, pacing seemed off, people's motivations seemed unclear. More seriously, I feel like I'm losing touch with the characters. I no longer feel like these are the people I know and love in the way that I did on the show. Its like a bunch of cartoon strangers running around doing things, and their actions and choices seem to reveal nothing of consequence (or if they do, it's totally unexplored). Part of it is that people are doing things that seem totally out of character (Buffy and Xander??? Not buying that any more than I did Buffy's experimentation with homosexuality.) But more than that, there are just too many characters and too much happening. It's like the pace, quantity, and magnitude of events have now crowded out what's most important to this franchise -- the depth of the characters and their relationships.

Sorry for the gripes. Don't get me wrong. I still much prefer to have a Buffy comic than no Buffy at all. But I think that in their zeal to do things in the comic that they couldn't do on TV -- e.g., having big epic battles, with tons of characters, exotic locales, and special effects -- they've lost sight of what made the show great. I think they should get back to basics -- slow it down and concentrate on a few major characters, Make us feel like we really know those characters, and make us love them, both for their good choices and for their bad ones. That, in my view, was Buffy's biggest achievement.
Honestly, for me, that kind of "out of touchness" people keep saying is disappointing for them actually works for me on a thematic level in Season 8.
As much as I loved all the ďone shotsĒ of the Predators and Prey arc the follow up Espenson was kinda let downish. I mean, great dialog and rebutís but as a whole it didnít seem cohesive. It touched on a lot of things but really didnít get to answering or even propelling those issues. I loved seeing Oz again, as he was a fav, and itís cool that he mastered what he sought out to do. Him taming the lycanthropy and the Slayers losing their powers as a tie in subject was interesting to say the least. But now Iím waiting for the other shoe to drop, have been since Time of Your Life. Also noted Buffy isnít being as cold hearted as she was by the end of Season 7 and that endears her more to me. As for the Bufxandawn trio, seems forced. This arc is simply running the hot and cold.
"This latest story in particular was way hard to follow. Too much going on, things happening too abruptly, pacing seemed off, people's motivations seemed unclear. More seriously, I feel like I'm losing touch with the characters. I no longer feel like these are the people I know and love in the way that I did on the show."

Squishy said what I feel. Who are these characters? What's going on?

When we ask relevant questions to the editor, we get responses like we're asking dumb, obvious questions. Joss needs to reign this season in, maybe even take a few months off, and get his baby in line.
I agree with Emmie that Buffy's flying ability was brilliantly foreshadowed the whole arc. Wow. In fact, go all the way back to the very first issue and look at the second page ("Everybody calls me 'ma'am'"). There she is, in the air. This is it. This is why I follow the man. This is pure JW and makes up for a lot of other stuff.

Unfortunately, we do have a lot of stuff that has to be made up for. As CowboyCliche (and others) point out, there is a definite feeling of "what's going on". I can't help but feeling that we used lots of pages and ink in Tibet to little effect. The, what is the technical term, spannungsbogen is getting overdrawn. About now would be a good time to switch from more questions to more answers, please. Riley is a good start.

Me being me, I'm getting more and more annoyed with what seems to be an increasing number of serious plot holes and sloppy, can't-these-guys-google research mistakes. Don't attack with tanks, just bomb the place to the bedrock (or let me know why that isn't an option). Don't give me steam trains in Germany.

And -- push over that soap box, please -- if you are going to set the story in Tibet, at least do enough research to find out what a robe a Tibetan Buddhist monk wears ( In fact, you don't even have to research this, all you have to do is pay attention when the Dalai Lama is shown on television. Tibetan monks are famous for having the most colorful robes in Buddhism ("colorful" in this case means "two-tone"). What we are shown (see issue #27 for the best example) are Chinese robes (

This is one of those sloppy mistakes with a serious political undertone that do not only make the artists and series look bad, but comics in general -- see, it's a trivial medium where they make the moral leaders of the Tibetan resistance look like Chinese. Way to go, guys.

You can have the soap box back now. Anyway. I still like the series, but I agree that the time has come for everybody to get their act together. Flying Buffy is brilliant -- more of that stuff, please.
I was troubled by the robes as well, and could not understand how they could make such a gaffe.
Not in response to everything else, but the reason for not bombing the place to the bedrock, among other things: Twilight doesn't want Buffy dead. He said so explicitly ("It ends with her turning the sword on herself"; "That's been done, to little effect") a few issues ago; the one time he tried bombing Buffy's location ("Time of Your Life"), he knew that she was in New York; etc. I think it's essential that Twilight not kill Buffy.

Why the characters don't wonder about the not-bombing thing...well, dunno.
I can think of a reason the robes are "wrong",
aren't the trades printed in China?
China doesn't seem well disposed to things
that seem "pro-Tibet".

Also, I am tired of Jeanty. I just don't like
his style.
Just wanted to add that I like the double-meaning in the title of this arc. "Retreat" as running away, defeat; "Retreat" as a sanctuary, vacation, regeneration.
I was thrilled to see Buffy's compassion in this issue. Nice to see her rescue the soldiers. Didn't expect to see SuperBuffy at the end :).
Really fascinating end to this arc. Buffy's been struggling with right and wrong and connectedness all season--and only now, when her powers are gone (she thinks) forever, when she knows she's lost, we see her finally revert to the core of who she is: someone who keeps fighting even when she's got nothing left, someone who would spend her last breath protecting someone helpless, even if that person is her enemy.

And that, my friends, is why she's a hero. The superpowers are just a bonus.
Wow, what a surprising finish to a somewhat uneven arc.

I'll admit that I was growing distant from this title after Predators and Prey, an arc that just felt like it threw its readers into an entirely new world with little preparation. "Hey, check out that Vampire in his Guess Jeans and Lady GaGa t-shirt! He's, like, the coolest! What? He murders people and survives off blood? Meh. And in addition to my "meh", slayers = bad."

Automatic worldwide acceptance of Vampires aside (no, I don't think Harmony on a reality show could produce this on its own...something else must be going on), I liked the idea of the Slayer Army being on the run. It eventually allowed for one of the strongest moments of the current arc - Buffy, powerless and in the face of defeat, is able remind us how noble and heroic she truly is.

Oh, and Riley and Oz's reaction to this? Most excellent.

And that ending. Dios mio, that ending.I admit, I was a bit frustrated by the lack of closure (for the arc, anyway); however, Emmie's analysis of the final page won me over.

So, what's next? I'm thinking that the Goddess did in fact return the power - only it was all given directly to Buffy. Not only does this include the Slayer army's power, but I also assume it includes Willow and the wiccans as well. Maybe even Oz? Is Buffy going to be super werewolf/magic/slayer girl? Who knows.

What I'm guessing is that at some point Buffy will have the option to return the powers to the Slayer army. The question is: will they accept it? Would they even want it back considering the pain and loss they've suffered throughout their stint as slayers? I think some will (Kennedy and Faith, obviously), but I'm not so sure about the rest.

This might be an interesting situation. Considering how Buffy gave the power to the girls in the first place (even after equating it to rape after visiting the Shadow Men in S7) I would like to see the army's reaction when they are actually given the choice as to whether or not they'd like to be a slayer.

Anyway, thanks to anyone who made it through my first post.

Xenu loves you,
Welcome to The Black ihuntrobots!

You're officially one of the cool kids.

(FYI--they are against signing posts around here so dont be offended if a mod edits your posts and provides a gentle reminder)
Hmm...No KingofCretins review? Was there a name change orrrrr? It's ruining my ritual. Go out, get the comics, read Buffy, get to Whedonesque, read his/her monthly review, scratch my chin and try to look pensive. Then I make a sandwich and then...well it's a long process.

Anyway yeah I don't feel like it's been the worst arc...but I feel like the mark was missed a little. It didn't feel like the appropriate place to "END" the arc. Meh.
It's a real cliffhanger (but without an actual cliff).

The final panel did make me think of the first glimpse of Twilight in the very first issue (when we only saw his boots hovering in the air). Although it is nice to see strands coming together, we do seem to have jumped some quite big points to get there (not just the public's apparent acceptance of vampires, but the willingness of so many slayers to join Buffy in the first place, stick with her after several defeats and then consent to giving up their powers).
Jane's writing as been very uneven for me but I loved the flying at the end. Emmie's analysis is spot on and it's wonderful to see how this story was planned out.

I also love that Buffy actually LOST. There was no miraculous save this time and it actually happened. Her people are captured and she was left for dead. I can't wait to read Whedon's next two issues and show it all comes together.
Oh good, now Buffy can fly...

This issue didn't disappoint me, not exactly, but that may just be because the book has been lagging for much of the year in my opinion....

There was good and not so good, but my biggest complaint is the squandering of an awesome idea. We're meant to admire the slayers as heroes. Well, for much the same reason as Superman will never seem as heroic to me as Batman, it's pretty easy to be a hero when you've got superpowers! This arc had the potential to show the heart and soul of the slayer and the various slayerettes, but for the most part it showed them bumbling and weak, whining when they have to face life like "normal" people.

And while it could be argued that in the end they stood up against their foes without their powers in an act of defiant bravery, the fact remains that they were defeated and now Superbuffy will have to save the day with all new levels of power.

I may be over analyzing, but it seems a strange message for a BtVS story, that women are just as powerful as men, especially when they're magically enhanced! I don't know how I would have written this arc, but I would definately preferred to see the slayers capable of defending themselves as mundane people than show them to be powerless without their, well, powers....
I guess I totally misread the ending-- I thought that was an invisible Willow rescuing her.
alexreager, thanks for the welcome and the info on not signing posts.

dispatch, I had to double check the pages after reading your post, as it seemed like a reasonable possibility. What I noticed was that the last few pages are a bit strange because it looks like Leah is next to Buffy when she wakes up covered in snow. There is little detail on Leah's face, so the red hair naturally makes us think its Willow; however, you can see that Willow is captured alongside Xander.

I wonder if this is a mistake or if Leah somehow avoided capture.
I thought this wrapped up the arc well. Interesting way to get the math back to one Slayer.

My only complaints are that the villainous banter/quarreling got really old really fast and Riley is suddenly back on the scene but has gone back to boring. I thought he'd finally gotten a decent storyline when he first reappeared. Argh.
I've said it a few times now, but I think these books will make a lot more sense read back-to-back once the series is done (next year!). I think some of the weaker parts, or parts that don't seem to make sense (hey Fray arc!) will seem genius.
Isn't it still Buffy, and some 1300 girls who weren't involved in the army?
Hmm that's a good point. Hooray, Simone is still slightly threatening.
I wonder: does anyone think that the faceoff between Buffy and the giant blue goddess at the end of the issue is the payoff to the nightmare that Buffy had in issue 2 ("The Queen is Dead, Long Live the Queen")?
I completely forgot about Simone et al. too! That makes me very happy--even if the other slayers in Buffy's camp don't get their powers back, "Chosen" hasn't been undone yet....

Throughout this arc I've been wondering whether some of the North American slayers/watchers--say, Rona or Robin Wood--were around anywhere. I do really like the comics, and they are ambitious, but DAMN there's a lot of characters to keep track of and I'm not convinced they do so all that effectively. (Similarly, I'm disappointed with the character relationships reforming without much explanation--Buffy's scenes with Giles and Faith in the past few issues were nice, in that she could make up with them, but I would prefer if some of her anger in NFFY towards Giles in particular would be addressed. Oh well.)

Topolino: Yes, I think that might be case, although I think the dream you're referring to was in No Future For You...#6 I think? The dream in #2 where Buffy is falling ("I know that voice!") does have some similarities though too...
So, I loved this arc. Loved it very much. I didn't notice the flying meme before, but yeah, looking back at everything, it makes so much sense. And I like what's been said about letting the powers go, stop making them the thing your fighting for and suddenly they stop being a burden but a boon. And also how Buffy would totally suddenly be interested in non-drooling over her Xander, cause you can't respect someone who can see no wrong in you. Happens all the time in life though that once they move on, suddenly they're quite desirable.

So yay Buffy comics. Also folks, can you let up a bit? We're in a new medium and the rules are just different. Movies claiming to be set in Austin, TX are shot in Michigan, claiming to be New York are shot in Toronto. Directors do their best to mix in stock footage and to make sure that it always looks like where they say they are but that's the movies, and we've come to accept it. Same thing with TV, I mean, I didn't feel the need to shout, every time they showed Torrance High, hey wait that's not Sunnydale High!

On that same token, how many people know the difference between Tibetan monks and Chinese monks? Was that really the point of the issue, the monks? There's an awesome old movie called Boy Meets Girl, where a dude in a British Royal Guard costume is complaining about the types of buttons used, and the producer just looks at him like, are you insane? Do you really think people are gonna look at the buttons and go, oh those are totally wrong.

Anyhow, that's what I've got to say, loved the arc, totally annoyed with the fandom.
Put me in the "liked the arc (and the ending)" column. Some reasons:

-Makes sense to see Riley as "good guy" again -- Mostly because, having seen this character at his self-destructive worst in the series and how he bounced back, I just couldn't buy him betraying Buffy, no matter what disagreements he had with her.

-Like the flying. I wonder if Joss & co. are intentionally riffing on the whole Superman thing -- y'know, how he became, over the years, a character so ridiculously powerful that it got hard to imagine real conflicts for him. It would be just like Joss to intentionally repeat the "mistake" of making his character too powerful because he was interested in the challenge (i.e. purposely make a classic "D.C." mistake precisely in order to see what sort of classic "Marvel" story he could spin out of it.) Kinda, also, how he consciously pulled the "add a little sister character in a late season of a show" cliche with Dawn in Season 5 and (successfully, I think) made it seem actually organic and real to the ongoing character arcs on the series. At the start of Season 8, Buffy was stealing diamonds and such and trying to justify using her power this way, which seems to foreshadow the radical magnification of the trope that seems to be going on here.

-going out on a limb here, but sure seems like it has to be significant that she now has a power we've mostly seen with Twilight so far, and, especially given the whole Fray/Future Dark Willow element, I kinda tend to suspect that the causation goes from Buffy to Twilight, and not the reverse: Twilight could be "from the future," (Twilight = Buffy in masculine drag? Twilight = Xander/Giles/Whomever who received/took their powers FROM Super-Buffy at some point in the future and got a little witchy help from Future Dark Willow to go back in time?) in which case Twilight is playing a deep game to bring about what s/he sees (correctly or not) as a necessary series of actions, given what s/he knows about the fate of Buffy or others.
rocknjosie- the point with the monk robes has nothing to do with whether or not its plot-centric, it displays a pretty offensive lack of respect for the situation going on in Tibet right now. Giving Tibetan monks robes that are associated with Chinese is really insensitive and just not right, given that the Chinese have been oppressing the Tibetan people for a while now.

I liked the arc for the most part, I'm worried about flying Buffy.... obviously could be awesome but it could quickly move into cheesy too I think.
I'm more excited for the Willow one shot than anything!
The Willow one-shot sounds promising because it sounds like exactly the kind of specific focus on one character the comic has sometimes lacked (minus the Faith/Giles arc and other bits).

Re: flying Buffy
Was trying to figure it out and I didn't assume that Buffy got all the powers of the depowered slayers & witches (probably not the werewolves, although that could be interesting--I could see them surprising with a sudden transformation scene in the heat of battle with Twilight or someone else), even though that makes the most sense now that folks have mentioned it. I figured it was either the goddesses doing something odd to Buffy, or maybe related to the First Slayer spell back in the Season 4 finale. But probably not, since that spell was done with the combined efforts of the Core Four and it was more or less implied that the First Slayer's essence wouldn't be helping Buffy much after she basically told it/her to screw off in "Restless" (the "Death is your gift" spirit walk in Season 5, complete with cougar and campfire, notwithstanding).

What was with Dawn's comments about her pores ? Why bring that up at that moment, after making a speech to the troops ? Was it a jokey Jane Espenson/Whedonesque moment where Dawn's suddenly worried about her skin quality, or was it referring to the condition of skin during/after sweaty sex...? I didn't get it.

I'm glad the goddesses turned on everyone (or rather, didn't realize or care to figure out who were the ones who worshipped them/prayed to them/set them free, and who were the intended targets). It was too easy a fix to the Twilight situation.

Wonder if they'll tie up the goddess rampage thing, or if it'll be a plot thread left dangling. Definitely won't do the slayers any favors if it gets out that they were the ones who summoned three giants that're terrorizing Tibet and possibly beyond.
Gotta say, I'm with the "too many characters" crowd. We've got Buffy, Willow, Xander, Giles, Dawn, Oz, Riley, Faith, Andrew... that's pretty much everyone who was a series regular who isn't dead, as well as most of the major recurring characters. I want to hear more out of... well, just about everyone but Andrew. We get to hear Willow's bitterness, but not much from Faith, who should be just as perturbed by things, but from a different perspective.
What was with Dawn's comments about her pores ? Why bring that up at that moment, after making a speech to the troops ? Was it a jokey Jane Espenson/Whedonesque moment where Dawn's suddenly worried about her skin quality, or was it referring to the condition of skin during/after sweaty sex...? I didn't get it.

It was because she had recently been a giant...
And just saw giant goddesses.
WilliamTheB: Allie just commented on the status of the other Slayer cells in his most recent Q&A over at SlayAlive. This is what he said regarding the question of whether the entire Slayer organization had moved to Tibet: "Those weren't ALL the Slayers in Tibet, you're right, there are still cells in other countries."

Re: residual anger on Buffy's part, I thought it was implicit in her speech to Andrew at the end of #23 that she had forgiven Giles. She says something to the effect of how Andrew is now part of the family, and that he should get used to screwing up for the right reasons, because that's what they do, which I took to be a subtle acknowledgement of her understanding why Giles did what he did, and that she had forgiven him.
Wenxina: Thanks!

Re: #23 and Buffy/Giles: I do agree that that's what's going on, and it makes sense, especially since Andrew references the Buffy/Giles thing in the issue, and her dialogue maps well onto what happened with Giles. I guess I'm a bit unsatisfied narratively still. This is Buffy/Giles in general though, as she pointed out in "End of Days": "The good guys aren't traditionally known for their communication skills."
I wanted to like this, but I don't think they set anything up and the pacing was weird and this is possibly the worst Jeanty art I've ever seen.

I have no problem with Buffy flying, but my problem comes from this issue having stuff happen without consequence. I have no problems with Riley being a spy for Buffy, but it felt like he came out of nowhere here. A lot of this felt like it was coming out of nowhere. It felt rushed and then... Yeah. I was really disappointed by this. This issue could've/should've been two. The second issue of the arc didn't need to be a whole issue. And there's a lot here that just seemed to come out of nowhere...

And why can't we have many vampire slayers? I would like to have many. I like many.

And the art, man... Sigh. I'm very disappointed in this arc. They need to not rush Jeanty anymore. It makes his art look terrible.
I've never been a fan of the big war scenarios, whether it's season 7, or season 8, or even the "battle" at the end of season 3 never felt right to me. I liked the concept but every time I watch it it doesn't seem to quite work. (The final battle in Chosen was pretty cool, though).

The war scenarios that I do like are always the intimate ones that follow just a few characters: Mal, Tracey and Zoe in The Message, or Mal and Zoe in the pilot, for example.

I do agree that the pacing in this one felt off. I'm having a hard time putting my finger on why.

That is Willow at the end getting herded off with the rest, you're right, everyone who noticed, but the only way I was able to tell was to go back through the issue and check the color of her skirt (blue). The redhead lying next to Buffy in the snow is wearing a pink skirt or pants and a purple top. I'm not sure who that's supposed to be, I think it's just a random dead ex-Slayer.

Maybe the upside to this is with everyone captured, maybe the story will narrow and focus on just a few characters for a bit. I hope Faith wasn't captured; I like the idea of her going rogue and helping to rescue everyone. It's hard to tell if that's her in the line, though. The last time we saw her she was wearing a blue top, and there's no one in the line wearing a blue top (but then again, most other "named" characters don't appear in the line either).
Scott Allie said:
"Now we're sort of stuck in Tibet ... I think Brad finds himself thinking, Really? We're still in Tibet?"

Heh, maybe Allie's just playing, but I have a funny image (okay, soundbyte, since I don't know what Brad Meltzer looks like) of Brad on the phone with Allie about his upcoming scripts (I know they've already been partially written though, yes), kind of head-scratching or maybe even annoyed at still being in Tibet after six issues there. (7 or 8 if Joss' #31 and parts of the Willow one-shot also take place there). Nothin' wrong with Tibet though, no reason the remainder of the season shouldn't happen there.

AndrewCrossett said in the SlayAlive Q&A:
"In the scene where injured Riley is lying on the floor, he doesn't seem to have the Twilight symbol on his chest anymore. Just a quirk of the art, or significant?"

Scott Allie replied:
"I reserve the right to make that make sense later."

Big fuckin' oops. D'oh, another one. Cool if these sorts of things get fixed in the trades or eventual hardcovers.

I'm still confused about the Warren thing. I'd need to go back and re-read certain Warren/Andrew-related parts to follow the narrative about that again. They goofed, I sorta accepted it (especially if Warren being dead-for-a-few-seconds qualified him as an image The First Evil could use), then they brought it up again due to fan complaints and...maybe they should just drop it. The conversation between Amy and Warren regarding that might've just been Jane poking fun at the whole thing, but...I dunno...whatever at this point, y'know ?

Read the question pertaining to this answer and I think, although it doesn't give away Twilight's identity, it hugely narrows down his origin.

Scott Allie:
"No comment other than Twilight is not precisely psychic."

I know this was suggested many times before, but yeah...Twilight's either from the future, has seen glimpses of it, or experiences different times of his life at the same time, but really ? Seems pretty clear that he's one of the major male characters, only a future version of them (he could even still be Riley, given that he knew Riley would betray his crappy villain group). Giles, Xander, Andrew...Hmm, who else would make a shocking candidate ? (I could live with it being Andrew, as lame as that might turn out to be in execution, if it means Buffy gets to kill both present and future Andrew as a result and eliminate him from the Buffyverse. Although the headache inherent in Buffy killing present day Andrew and then Andrew-as-Twilight technically never having done anything he did--not good for the easy-flow enjoyment of the story).

Would also explain why the Fray crossover/arc was done, to introduce the idea of time travel (and not just time manipulation/alternative perception like with Illyria and with Jonathan's repeat-the-task trick in that Season 6 ep about Buffy finding a job) and prepare us for this possibility after introducing future-Willow and all.
CRAP. Fill in your own blanks.
If Twilight's from the future, I still think Harth makes the most sense.
Sparticus wrote:
I've said it a few times now, but I think these books will make a lot more sense read back-to-back once the series is done (next year!). I think some of the weaker parts, or parts that don't seem to make sense (hey Fray arc!) will seem genius.

I sure hope so. This was the comic book that got me back into visiting my local comic book store regularly, but now it's slipped from being the release I time my monthly visit around (Phonogram) to not even being one that I rush to read as soon as I get my batch. I'm reading it out of loyalty more than anything and hoping that I'm left with the usual "my god, *that's* where they were going with this! It all makes sense now!" Whedon reaction.
For those worried about the 'Chinese' appearance of the robes of Tibetan monks - I think you're seeing insult where there is none. Take a look at the monks in issue 27 (the only one I have to hand) - most of them have their right arm bare - the chinese style robes do not allow for this - their robes are sleeved (you can see this in the links scottws provides). And often the Tibetan darker red shawl is worn wrapped over the orange shirt, so the shirt is less visible. See here and the third photo here for examples.

Add that to the fact that Oz appears to be approaching the temple at twilight (the moon is just in the sky and everything has a duller, reddish hue) so they'd be using their shawls in the cool evening and I'm really not seeing that they're Chinese robes at all. Sure, a bit of fine tuning in the colouring department could have gone down well, but such glitches are the stuff of comics (remember the old 4 colour days? How we laughed!)
I can't really add THAT much to this discussion (yet here I am tapping away) save to say that I'm not sure the concept of seasons works all that well in a comic form. That is to say, when you all talk about how meandering and sometimes seemingly rudderless the series has seemed (and at times slow) it think it's because there is no 'end date' (unless I missed it) for this season.

In other words, on the teevee you have X amount of eps to get yer point across. You know on date Y you are 'done' for the season so you'd best have yer ducks in a row.

Comics? Or at least in this series? Not so much.

Not saying it's bad or good - just a format struggle.
Like Sparticus wrote, these issues all read better in trade and I agree with the idea that the entire 'season' might as well.

I can never put down Watchmen until it's done and always felt it read better as one story than issues. This might end up the same.

PS - Emmie, loved your thoughts on the flying.
Agarda, you're right that there wasn't a set "end date" for Season 8, not from the beginning. Joss was free to make it as long as he wanted, presumably (it's a huge seller for Dark Horse), although Dark Horse editor Scott Allie personally prefers stories with beginnings, middles, and definitive endings, from what I remember. They did respond to reader questions by saying that it might be 20-something, then 30, then 40 issues, from what I remember (it kept increasing). But Joss and Scott Allie have been saying for a while now that it'll end at Buffy #41 (and then, when Joss has time for it, they already know what they're going to be doing for a shorter Season 9--but from the tone of Allie's comments, it sounds like that won't happen immediately after Season 8, there'll be some down time, be it months or a year or more). So with 11 issues more to go (plus the Willow one-shot), we'll likely be done with Season 8 by December 2010/January 2011, barring any production delays.

But this ain't Spider-Man/Superman/X-Men/Batman. I can't see Buffy ever being an ongoing with no end in sight (unlike Angel over at IDW).
Oh god I'm done. I'll still read these with very mild interest but I no longer mentally consider this part of the Buffy story now. The story finishes with Chosen. Because this was not in any way good. It was erratic, filled with plot holes, unfunny (even when it was trying to be), unexciting and lacking in any sort of emotional resonance. I mean, they somehow managed to bring Oz back without me getting excited. Perhaps it's because he neither looked nor sounded like Oz

But, yes, I'm now basically without any interest. After the awful 'Predators and Prey' I thought this one might get me interested again but apparently not. The deeply frustrating thng about this series is that every now and again it dazzles me with a brillliant issue
As I'm better with smaller observations...

I'm surprised no one mentioned Twilight referring to the soldiers as mortal, perhaps indicating that he is not which, yeah, flying, but still coulda been anyone mortaly as we now see from the last panel (as if we even needed to see it to know).

Where's Sam?

Excellent points re: Simone, Harth, and flighty foreshadowing.

Loved seeing Buffy looking her Chosen (post-Chosen) age on the cover. Would like to see that inside as well.

And last..."Into the woods," she shouted when calling for the Slayer army to retreat. The here again Riley's departing episode.

Which, if I may, take a look at my (second) Flickr page (member ID Whedon wildlife) to see me entertaining myself with Whedon episode titles. I know I couldn't post a front page entry or link about it but maybe this is okay? If not, apologies and I respect the delete.

[ edited by Brett on 2009-11-13 21:41 ]

[ edited by Brett on 2009-11-14 00:25 ]
Btw, I have a (wacky) theory: Twilight is Buffy from the future. I haven't yet given this a lot of thought to see if it fits. But Buffy can fly now and Twilight has made a lot of cryptic comments about how well s/he knows Buffy
As mentioned elsewhere (or was it here?) Twilight has a pretty male neck. So unless Buffy gets an operation later on...

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