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November 12 2009

(SPOILER) Buffy Zone Update. Scott Allie talks Buffy #30 reveal and teases Willow one-shot, Joss's issue 31, and Brad Meltzer's arc.

I dunno, the lack of response could equally be indifference.
He doesn't say there was a lack of response. He says there was a lack of a particular kind of response.
"I was expecting Buffy fans to go nuts over that one. I thought fans would hate it, feel like we were making their story too 'comic booky,' with a flying girl."

Yeah, that's exactly what I thought. It's what I thought way back when Willow was the only one doing the flying. I don't care how much it was foreshadowed (though I do appreciate that), flying with no visible means of support is not one of the things Buffyverse suspension of disbelief covers. And that one time when Dark Willow floated up to Andrew and Jonathan's cell doesn't count, because it was for like five seconds and only twenty-five or so feet high.
Snake Lady's name is ? Huh.
Indifference. The foreshadowing was cool. I like that the final image of #30 calls back the first glimpse we got of Twilgiht. The people upset by the season being too much of a comic book have already bailed.

Problem is that since they can do anything (giant dawn, mecha dawn, flying willow, hijacked submarine, etc. etc.) and generally require a constant strenuous suspension of disbelief from the audience, there's not much room left for dramatic bang. It turns out that license to do anything is usually not very good for the art.

Still, it'll be interesting to see how the themes all play out. These characters may not be able to move me the way the ones on the show did, but there's plenty of interesting stuff to puzzle over.
Except Willow was flying back during the series, they just didn't have the budget to truly show it. She was flat-out flying in Season 6. I still don't understand the complaint about Willow flying in the comics because she was already doing it.
I liked it. Especially how it was introduced. The rhythm of it was very Buffy. As was her own surprise to notice she was flying mid-angst.
Yup. Just like when people criticised issue #4 when Willow healed herself after the lobotomy. Even when in Grave she waves her hand and the scars disappear from her face. Or when she casually removes Warren's axe from her back in Villains. I have no issues with Joss making a story out of it but it actually wasn’t necessary at all. Pretty much everything we’ve seen Willow do in the comics she’s done in the past seasons and there’s plenty of examples to prove it.

I loved the foreshadowing for Buffy’s flying and it was gratifying to have proof that this season was planned out.
I... actually just didn't realize we were meant to take Buffy flying literally. I sort of read it as a dead/out of body experience thing as is her wont, to die but not really and/or come back.

I suppose that is an interesting direction to possibly take her in though and I see it working thematically. For all her efforts to not be alone-- Keep her friends and family or share the power and not be the only burdened chosen one, they needed some sort of excuse to explain why she remains in power despite her track record suggesting she might not be the best at it. Now her friends are pairing off without her or turning away and she ends up with even more powers beyond those of your normal slayers.

However, I will be a smidgen annoyed if she ever turns back time by reversing the direction the earth rotates in or if we end up with a Dark Buffy saga where she keeps dying and being reborn as a phoenix force.
If anyone could figure out the permanent URL to this I would be extremely grateful.
My lack of reaction was because I didn't understand that she was flying on her own, I thought that a magical being (maybe the snake-lesbian) was lifting her up. I was simply waiting 8x31 to understand what the hell was going on.

Anyway, I don't mind at all Willow and Buffy becoming more powerful: I watched the TV series, girl power it's not something that I would consider unexpected.
I agree that the lack of angry responses is due to indifference. Of course, those that like the comic are not indifferent to it, so they will provide a generally positive response. But by issue 30 those who aren't enjoying aspects of the comic (such as characters flying, the general comic-book-y-ness, the effect of an unlimited budget, the portrayal of magic) will have become resigned to the way they feel. It's rather hard to sustain anger over such a long period of time. Therefore apathy is to be expected from that section of fans.

I think it's entirely valid to dislike Willow's magic use in this season. Examples of magic she used as Dark Willow don't seem that relevant to me as she was tapping into dark magic that she doesn't normally use. Ordinarily, she doesn't do things like flying, whereas in season 8 she's able to fly for miles with little effort. Healing scars is much less significant compared to healing after a lobotomy. Same principle, but a different level of power. Some people just aren't keen on that.
Willow's approach to magic has always been akin to her approach to knowledge. Even in S1, she wasn't above a little illegal hacking to get what she wanted. It was always done out of curiosity though, not malice. The seeds for Willow's rule bendy-ness were sown right from the start.
That said, why would anyone expect her to have stagnated in her abilities? In S7 itself, despite being more careful about using magic, she showed that she was still crazy powerful. In "Chosen", she claimed that the Scythe spell was a place beyond the darkest place she'd been. The fact that there is good magic that's as powerful, if not beyond the confines of dark magic is pretty much smacked in your face, with the flowing white hair, the bright light emanating from her, etc.

And so, if she's gone beyond Dark Willow, why is flying out of the question here? She's been shown that magics aren't necessarily bad, and that it's all about control. Flying isn't inherently a dark magic thing, it's a power thing. Dark Willow was a lot more powerful than pre-Dark Willow (who in a moment of bliss is able to levitate anyway). S8 Willow is more powerful that Dark Willow. This is pretty explicit since Willow is now able to teleport, whereas in S6, Anya says that as powerful as Dark Willow is, she cannot do so yet. Hence, growth.
I was expecting Buffy fans to go nuts over that one. I thought fans would hate it, feel like we were making their story too 'comic booky,' with a flying girl.

I wasn't shocked. My initial reaction was along the lines of "Good grief, so we've come to this have we....."

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2009-11-13 15:49 ]
This is probably less about my issues with the idea of Buffy and Willow flying and more about my inability to swallow that concept in the first place. Teleportation I can deal with. And even flying--it's just that "no visible means of support" thing I can't stand. Not even for Superman. I want to see what forces they're manipulating to make that possible. Air swimming without moving the limbs doesn't cut it. And again, what Dark Willow did wasn't flying, it was floating. She was upright and had her hands out in a clearly gravity-repelling gesture.
Taaroko, I think people may be making reference to Anya's line that, since Dark Willow can't teleport to Andrew and Jonathan's jail cell, she'd have to fly.
A person flying in a comic book is about as common as you can get--the fact that it's Buffy this time just isn't that shocking a sight to see--it's practically mundane.
The idea of Buffy flying doesn't bother me.Maybe it's because I'm so use to reading superhero comics.I've been collecting comics since I was 12/13 years old.I'm interested in seeing where this development goes.

I do think it's funny as hell though how Buffy beat Clark to the flying thing.Nine seasons in and Clark still can't fly on Smallville but Buffy can.And she did it faster
Clark still can't fly in Smallville? Wow, I spent the entire first series wondering when he was going to learn he could fly.
Clark flew, but...only when under influence of Jor-El. So okay, Clark's body flew.

I prefer winged flight as well, but I have no problem suspending disbelief for flying purely by strength of will or some unseen manipulation of gravity's pull. In the Buffyverse, "it's magic" is enough of an explanation (because then, yeah, simply by having use of magic and that enabling the possibility to fly/float, thinking makes it so).
Yeah, see I'm mainly confused that some in this thread seem to have no problem with magic in Buffy, but as soon as that magic is used for flight it's all "hey, wait a minute".
With all the silly stuff that happened in the TV-series, I don't see why flying would be a problem. I guess I just have no problem dispensing my disbelief.

And surely if one could use magic, one of the first things to try would be to fly!
Yeah, I dunno. Big magic portals to hell dimensions ("Becoming 2" and "The Gift", can't-remember-title-of-Angel-ep-where-baby-Connor-gets-taken-to-Quor'Toth), especially long-lived Mayor turning into giant snake-like demon ? The show had already done BIG magic long before Willow flew/floated.

But for whatever reason, maybe a threshold for cheesyness, I can see how many viewers/readers would have their limits. If Mecha-Dawn hadn't made me laugh a little and been an obvious reference to Japan/Godzilla, I probably wouldn't have been as forgiving of it. It's certainly possible in the Buffyverse (if some morally bankrupt scientists could create Molloch's robot body, Ted could create Ted, and Warren could create androids as complex as his own image, April, and the Buffybot), but why the Tokyo vamps would go so far as to build one to combat Dawn rather than use magic means to take her down was a bit of a head-scratcher. But I just accepted it as part of the flavor of the goofier side of the show.
Well, I don't have any problem with the plausibility of characters using magic to fly. My issue was with having a character become so powerful that it creates a problem for the story. It makes it so much harder to put your characters in genuine peril. Obviously that situation no longer exists.

[ edited by NotaViking on 2009-11-13 21:57 ]
For me the problem is not so much the flying as it is the sense that there just is no boundary at all. Willow flew in the series -- sure. But that was in a verse where magic always had consequences. It may be that Willow's completely casual use of powers stunningly beyond anything she managed in the show will have consequences. The story isn't over. One hopes that there will be consequences to all this. But I don't blame readers who looked at that and thought that the freedom of budget was causing Joss to miss the art. Willow's story is more interesting when magic has consequences.

But for me the real perpetual suspension of disbelief has been in lots more than just the "we have no budget constraint" excesses. It's been in the whole unshown plotline of people loving vampires and hating slayers. Or the slayers "hiding" in Tibet by importing enough arms to fight a small war. Or submarines hijacked and whipped out for no real reason except that it looks cool. Or a town in German acting as if it came out of a medieval fairy tale. Or British aristocracy acting as though they come out of some cheesy dime novel. No one of these things is a big deal. But the accumulation of them for me means that anything goes, there's no concern for whether the logistics make sense, and that means that the motivations often don't make sense because it's hard to dope out motives when characters are operating in a universe that seems to have no rules at all.

Still lots to admire. The metaphor of flying was well set up and has potential. But I don't care about these characters in any kind of emotional way. And the failure to create a coherent universe with boundaries (somewhere, anywhere) is a big part of why. And it's a HUGE part of why Buffy flying is strictly no big deal. She could move the earth out of orbit for all there's any constraint to what can happen in this 'verse. If anything goes, nothing is special. There is no organic feel to the story. Instead everything bends to what the metaphor requires.

ETA: Joss has always been too casual about whether the logistics make sense. In the show the narrative force of the story overcame those problems, and maybe the budget limits are part of what saved him from himself on this. But for whatever reason, the carelessness is a problem for me in season 8, and it was an obstacle with DH. I'm a fan of both works, but I'm not in love with either.

[ edited by Maggie on 2009-11-13 22:50 ]

[ edited by Maggie on 2009-11-13 23:00 ]
Willow's grid warping powers have had consequences. It turned out that Twilight was tracking magic and Willow's defences were were the primary reason Buffy's group of Slayer's were unable to hide from from him. They were also the largest part of the strength that allowed the three goddesses to deal out destruction to both sides. The stronger Willow's power the more it can be used against her as was pointed out by Warren in the opening arc.

I do care about these characters, especially Buffy, and one reason for that is the sense they've created of not being in Kansas any more. Her comic book world is bigger and stranger than anything she thought she knew in Sunnydale and I feel her disorientation. It should be easier, she's not creeping about other margins anymore, there's no Council to bully her and if there were she's not just one girl any more. But the more they do the more comes back at them, nothing turns out as expected. The world's all different.

[ edited by hayes62 on 2009-11-13 23:17 ]
Yeah I agree with hayes62, it definitely has had consequences. Not just for Willow but for the entire organisation. And I can’t imagine Saga Vaskuki (who apparently taught her a lot) is exactly the nicest person you want to get involved with. Willow was running away from her and even from herself.. “what she is yet to become.” That can’t be a good sign.
Consequences hit us in the face in season 6. Or really all along. Big, bad, immediate consequences. Bigger, badder, medium term consequences. Moreover the consequences just happened as part and parcel of the magic. It'd get out of control and do more than the person wanted it to do. Or it came with an automatic negative as in the entity that came along with Buffy's resurrection. Or it just warped personalities as in season 6. The magic was always bigger than the practitioner and that was always the problem.

Here we have nothing of the sort. Twilight taking exception is a *person* deciding he's anti-magic, and that's not a natural inevitable reaciton to magic usage like what we had in the show. The goddesses do end up getting out of control -- but that's related to trying to give up power and clumsily getting it back, not a natural consequence to all the magic Willow has been using effortlessly all along.

Willow has been flying as easy as breathing. And she's been in total charge of it. That's big magic and it hasn't been bigger than her at least not from what we've seen so far. The rules of magic seem to have changed (unless there are things to be revealed that we haven't yet seen).

If the change in the nature of magic weren't the only thing that needed serious fanwanking to explain away or dismiss, I don't think it'd be a huge problem. It's the constant barrage of things that need fanwanking that's the problem. The biggest of them is the core plot point that the world loves vampires and hates slayers, but there are many others. And the fanwanks don't add up. Buffy's robbing banks because the world needs defending, but whatever the threat was people are so blind to it that they think slayers are the enemy; slayers are so visible they have to hide underground in order to not be killed by distrusting humans, but they rationally think they can hide in Tibet by having dozens of girls suddenly show up and start importing major arms without drawing any attention to themselves from an organization that has a major military arm. After pages of that I shrug and say whatever.

There's still much of interest. I'd still call myself a fan. But I don't think it's particularly puzzling that a lot of people have bailed from the comics. And I sure don't find it surprising that people haven't had a big reaction to the flying because it's not anything special in a world like this.

ETA: Vamps -- if we get a pay-off to the story about the price Willow may have paid for all this power, that aspect of the problem goes away. There are lots of in-story things that could happen in the next 10 issues that would get rid of a lot of the stuff I'm talking about. The observation is just that based on what we know now there's a lot that doesn't add up; and in a world where anything goes, Buffy flying is no big deal.

[ edited by Maggie on 2009-11-14 17:26 ]
The comic still sells well, so I'm not sure how many people are really represented by "a lot of people have bailed from the comics".
The consequences of magic varied considerably both their magnitude and their immediacy on the show. I don’t recall any negative or unexpected consequences of Willow healing Buffy’s bullet wound or regenerating an entire belly’s worth of skin in S7. And although it’s easy to see with hindsight that there were consequences of her magic use, their full extent was far from clear while watching. In S5 she performed teleportation, attacked Glory and went walkabout through Buffy’s mind. The consequences were, respectively, one persistent headache, losing and mission accomplished. It wasn’t until S6 that the addictive nature of treating magic like a pharmaceutical fix-it became apparent and that was after she really had done something against the laws of nature. Her standard S8 powers of flying, healing and camouflaging are things we can do without magic. Raising the dead not so much. Time travel is a different matter and the aspect of her magic most clearly associated with Aluwyn so, as you say, the December issue may reveal a cost to that. Even without that we still have the very real human cost to Willow of feeling that she’s becoming a force instead of a person. It’s a bit more subtle than “Willow’s a junkie” but not less terrible.

Twilight may or may not be one person but the bulk of his power derives not from his being faster than a speeding bullet but from having been able to recruit so many and such powerful allies to his cause. Backlash like that may not be a magical consequence in the sense that the fellow traveller of Afterlife was of the resurrection process. But it is a very natural consequence for the powerful to want to bring down any new player in town.

As for not adding up; I react, you interpret, they fanwank. To take just one example:

Buffy's robbing banks because the world needs defending, but whatever the threat was people are so blind to it that they think slayers are the enemy;

Buffy fights the threats before they get to the surface and onto the human radar, all that does are the human resources she’s ‘accquired’ to achieve that.

In the show the narrative force of the story overcame those problems

I agree. Although logistics are easier to debate, whether a story works or not depends far more on whether it’s a story people want to read. Clearly S8 is not such a story for those who’ve bailed on it. For others it is.

[ edited by hayes62 on 2009-11-15 18:35 ]

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