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December 23 2009

(SPOILER) For the discussion of the Willow one-shot comic. It's written by Joss with interior art by Karl Moline.

No one's been to the comic shop yet? Where's the reviews?

Hello, fandom? Where are you...........


Christmas. Bah. Humbug.
Getting it tomorrow.
Got it. It's very strange and explains very little. I like where it started to go but it felt very much like Part 1 of 3. Nice to see Tara and how lost Willow feels though.
Did you say TARA? No wonder they released it two days before Christmas! Now I REALLY can't wait to read it.
I just got my copy.I need to read it again since I was reading it in a rush but it to me has a very Restless feel IMO which is cool.Will be interested to hear if others got that vibe from the issue.

And I knew it.From Scott Allie's Buffyfest interview.

Buffyfest: Continuing with Willow, the One-Shot comes out soon. Besides Kennedy, will we see any other Buffy characters in the story?

Scott Allie: Ohhhhhhhh yeah.

I knew it had to be Tara in some form.

I was right.Tara does appear in the issue.Willow has to choose a guide on the path of wisdom and her heart wants it to be Tara.

Love the little teary smile when Willow sees Tara.Moline does a good Amber Benson likeness too.

But Willow quickly reject the idea realizing that as much as she still wants Tara,that journey is over.And either Tara is an illusion or at peace.So it's no thanks to both.

And not wanting to pull Tara from peace does really bring things full circle to ripping Buffy from heaven at the start of season 6.Willow's learned her lesson.

I don't go for bringing more dead characters back but what was done here was handled well and not actually Tara.More likely a illusion of what she could have and her heart wants but she turns down for the reasons above.Almost like this is the opposite of what Joss was going to do in season 7 by bringing Tara back via a wish from Buffy.Joss basically just did the reverse of that here.

In the end,Willow chooses Saga Vasuki as her guide because Saga Vasuki is a trickster and for truth she chooses that.Willow will know if Saga Vasuki lies because she always lies.

Now to read the Angel Annual and Angel:Only Human #5.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2009-12-23 21:52 ]
Gotta agree with Sunfire that it really did feel like part 1 of 3. Not sure what this book accomplished, although Joss' writing is always nice, as is Karl's art.
This issue continues the string of disappointing Buffy comics for me. I'm not really sure what it is, but I just feel like something isn't clicking. Maybe it is the overly complex stories or rushed plot points, but it's been almost a year since I've really enjoyed one of these issues. It could also be the way they are written. I think sometimes the writers use too much Whedon-speak, something that doesn't translate as well on the page as it did on the screen. As much as I'm against dumbed down storytelling I think sometimes the dialog and the stories need to be more straightforward.

Then I was thinking maybe it was because they were using writers that weren't familiar with the medium (with proof from BVKs arc being a clear standout IMO) but then I remembered that Astonishing is one of the best books of the decade and Whedon's issues don't really do much for me either. So I really can't figure it out and I can't articulate very well how I feel, I've just found that recently there has been something off about the series.

With that said, I am still excited to see where the story goes and how Season 8 wraps up. It sounds like it's going to be quite a ride.
Well, we got to see Tara. This is good. I would have liked to see more of her, but Joss isn't in that business. At least not yet.

I understood what Willow was saying. She wants Tara back, but not as an illusion, and not if it means disturbing Tara's peace. More than anything in this world, she wants Tara back. Tara completes her. Yet, she won't hurt her lover to do it. She won't ever let herself hurt Tara again, even if it were possible.

[ edited by quantumac on 2009-12-23 23:09 ]
Well, what this does is it finally and forever takes Tara off the table. It in one swoop provides her to those who have been waiting, while at the same time denying her to those as well. Very smart and somewhat devious, if you think about it.

Odd thing about pulling Buffy from Heaven. In the end, it was a good thing. That seems to be forgotten. What price, really, was paid cosmically? So, why not Tara as well?
A good thing how? What they did was the reason The First very nearly ended the Slayer line. An untold number of Potentials died and so did the Watcher's Council.
Not sure what this book accomplished

I see a lot of Buffy and Willow's ongoing issues as continuing fallout from Willow's decision to bring Buffy back and her general abuses of power. I think both characters are more recovering than recovered from that era. We've seen Buffy struggle to process things this season but what little we've seen of Willow doing that has only raised more questions or even just seemed kind of random. It was nice to see some of the context for what's been going on in her head since she's been playing most things so very close to the vest in Season 8. But yeah, I think we need like 40 more pages of it to even begin to understand what's up with Willow nowadays.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2009-12-24 00:05 ]
I thought it was awesome. I'll be posting a link to a more detailed review shortly.

As for asking questions, one of the things I love most about Whedon's works is that it has the audience ask questions. What does this mean? How does this fit? What is this hinting at?

I recently wrote a piece of meta about Buffy and Willow's connection in Season 8 (Disclaimer: It's a metaphorical relationship connection I draw). And having reread all the Willow scenes in Season 8 last night, exclusively just her scenes, I suggest that those who read "Goddesses" and were left wanting maybe give it a shot. Because in reading them all together, a picture starts to take shape. And it really does help you understand Willow and where she's at right now.

Key points would be when Willow returns and talks about Kennedy dying, her emotional breakdown when she tells Kennedy she regrets choosing Buffy over Tara and that she won't lose the woman she loves again, and her line to Buffy, "I won't betray you. Any more than I have."

Willow still has a lot of secrets going on here. And compared to the frustration I feel at Twilight, with Willow - well, her mystery feels rather fascinating because there are solid pieces to analyze and ruminate over.
well, her mystery feels rather fascinating because there are solid pieces to analyze and ruminate over.

To paraphrase Once More With Feeling, "I think that this book's mostly filler...."

I'm trying to keep enthusiastic, but Dark Horse and the once infallible Joss are really making that hard. It's starting to feel less like season 8 is a story arc that will take 40 issues, and more like they're taking 40 issues and filling them with season 8. We're in the home stretch now and the story really needs to start moving....
I definitely disagree that this book is only filler. Willow's character progression and her journey into a compromised position are foreshadowed here when she goes to the Trickster Aluwyn to be her spiritual guide convinced that she can handle it. Compare her hubris in naming Aluwyn her guide to her kneeling position when she calls on Aluwyn for aid in ToYL. Pride goeth before a fall and the Trickster did something that compromised Willow so much that she ran away in fear.

This is a dreamscape, spiritual type of journey. It's character driven too. It's not directly moving the Twilight and Army plots forward because it's only supposed to give insight into Willow pre-Long Way Home. And it really does this. Most notably, in giving Willow the opportunity to have Tara back and Willow rejecting it because Tara is at peace. That is a huge moment for her - finally letting of Tara - that Willow has been working towards ever since Seeing Red. Filler? Gods no.

Sometimes I feel like I'm reading a different book than other people. Or someone is missing the forest for the trees. Or maybe we're all looking at different trees. I dunno. But I went into this book hoping for more insight into Willow and I got it. So mission accomplished there for me. I feel all insight-y now.

Plus, Whedon dialogue sparkles like no other. When the language itself is that entertaining, then you add on longterm character development and establishing identity for the mysterious Saga Vasuki... Good stuff. Meaty mystery to dig into.
I can agree with it being character driven, and I even appreciate the Tara moment. And I might have really enjoyed this issue earlier in the storyline. But I think the timing of this issue just kills the momentum the book was building with the revelation of superbuffy....
Ditto what Sunfire and Riker said. Actually, ditto most of what everyone but Emmie (nothing personal, I just don't see it that way) has said above.

Was Angel: Only Human #5 out this week? My store didn't have it.

ETA: Angel Annual? Definitely not worth $7 to see how badly fake hollywood got a fake adaptation of a comic book plotline.

[ edited by jclemens on 2009-12-24 02:23 ]
So Willow has matured to the point where she wouldn't consider forcibly drawing Tara back from PAradise even if she found a way to do so.

Think about it. There's things that statement doesn't say. Joss will do whatever he wants to give us what we "need."

And yes, being able to tell soemone's lying because they have their mouth open has its benefits.

And a fourth point I forget.
I'll have to read it again and not look at the images, because I really don't know what is up with Moline. I don't insist that the characters look like the actors who portrayed them. It is nice when they do and Moline is clearly capable of it but I do ask that they maintain consistency and the images of Willow were all over the map. Her hair and dress and dialogue where the only things that identified her. Just because a line said she looked like a schoolgirl, it didn't mean she had to look 12. I like his other art, just not Willow herself.
I see it as "filling in" rather than "filler." These little books jump along pretty fast from frame to frame. This one is a nice holiday diversion, a piece of the story that didn't find space in the earlier episodes, and a good chance to puzzle over the whole Willow thing.
I personally felt that Tara's appearance was the biggest anti climax we've had in any Whedon work.... And I agree w/sunfire that not much seemed to have happened here. But I'm glad I got my hands on it and I'll reread it bearing in mind the comments by Emmie and others.
This issue was meant to be a one-shot flashback all along. Maybe people were expecting it to be more a part of the main story? If they were then I can understand the disappointment. But it was exactly what I expected it to be: a single issue about Willow, unrelated (or nearly unrelated) to the rest.

There a couple of laugh out loud lines. "For a lady that almost ended the world, you're kind of a puss", and "It's very nice to not mace me" both made me laugh.

Willow being all naked and sexy in the water at the end is telling. Sudden, unabashed sexiness is generally a sign of a certain type of character growth. Of course maybe the writers will invert it, or maybe it meant nothing at all.
But it didn't tell us anything new about Willow, dispatch. It didn't explain anything new about her.
Think about it. There's things that statement doesn't say. Joss will do whatever he wants to give us what we "need."

What's that supposed to mean? It was major character growth for Willow. I'm not sure what you're trying to say, unless you just meant to post an insult.
But it didn't tell us anything new about Willow, dispatch. It didn't explain anything new about her.

We don't know that at all. For all we know, we just saw the beginning of Future Dark Willow.

It seemed to me to be a fairly significant character moment. She had all of the good and helpful goddesses willing to help her (is goddess the right word? demigod? spirits? whatever). But she turned aside from all of them and decided to follow the one that represented chaos and deceit, and the one that, in her own words, "always lies". And she did it while all naked and... articulate. That seems fairly new.
I agree with would have made a great first issue of a three story arc, but on its own, it feels lacking.
After a third reading, I've discovered a new question.

Willow asks, "I have a wound?"

Saga Vasuki replies, "You have part of it."

If I'm right about what the wound is, then I know who has the other part. The only problem with my idea is the other holder of the wound remains stubbornly dead, and therefore hard to reach by telephone (or story-line).

Yet, I'm seldom right when it comes to Joss. It's probably just another allusion to Buffy. (* sigh *)

[ edited by quantumac on 2009-12-24 23:32 ]
Will this be available in the collected volumes? I can't really find single issue comics without going far, far away so I always wait for volumes... All this talk has intrigued me immensely.
I imagine it will be collected in the Brad Meltzer trade.
I really enjoyed this issue! The dialogue was on fire and we were introduced to some very colourful new characters. I also enjoyed how much it humanised Aluwyn and made her more vulnerable. This issue depicted a very different relationship between Willow/Aluwyn and completely subverted my expectations. That's what I love about S8, with every new issue the picture becomes a little more clearer.

I loved Moline's art and thought he did a marvellous job. And I thought that the scene with Tara was beautifully written and drawn and was what needed to happen. It's time to move on.

And it did reveal some new info. It's apparently foretold that Willow will go dark, that the spirits in The Long Way Home were demi-gods and that Willow initiated the relationship with Vasuki, not the other way around.
Just wanted to share three reviews of this issue with readers:

Two reviews found at the SlayAlive Blog, the first by Wenxina and the second by Emmie (me). Then a review at Buffyverse Comics Reviews by Patxshand - "Is Willow Redeemable?"
I also felt that it ended too soon and should have been the first of a three parter. We've seen Willow begin her journey but it was really just an introduction to her relationship with Aluwyn and not actually about the path she has to follow or what happens to her along the way or what she takes from it.

It was nice when Willow finally stopped with all the school girl talk and was honest with herself and the goddesses, with a woman as intelligent as Willow I always think she uses talking as a defence against actually acknowledging the serious stuff that goes on inside. So yay there. Plus it was nice to see Tara again.

The only thing I had a problem with was that if Aluwyn says she always lies how do you know that isn't a lie and she always tells the truth? Am I overthinking things? It feels like that bit in Labyrinth where Sarah meets those two door guard dudes who say one always lies and the other always tells the truth.
I wonder why Dark Horse priced this one 51 cents more expensive (at $3.50) than the usual issue of Season 8. It was 22 pages, whereas regular Season 8 issues, including #31 that was released a few weeks after this, are priced at $2.99 and frequently run more than 22 pages. I didn't notice any difference in the paper/printing quality, so what's up with that ? I've seen comic companies pull that before--it's a special issue, so let's charge more for it. Just...because ?

I liked this issue. Some of the Joss dialogue was fun. I didn't need Tara resolution (kinda felt we got that in "The Killer in Me" during Season 7), but I do like to be shown once in a while that Willow remembers and cherished her.

My favorite comedic bit:

Aluwyn/Saga Vasuki: "And Ganderflub! You never even showed!"
Ganderflub: "I was fighting the great Ronok!"
Alywyn: "The what?"
Ganderflub: "You know...huge...kinda looks like a leaf blower..."

Heh, I just like Joss' random humor. Giant, dopey, tardy insect-demon !

The last line of the issue, courtesy of naked-Willow, "So where do we start?" Thinking that leads directly into Willow/Aluwyn exploration-sex (even if only an astral projection/sex-of-minds or something like that).

[insert Moline art-bashing here] Miss his Fray style very much.

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