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January 13 2010

(SPOILER) For the discussion of Buffy #31. Titled 'Turbulence', this one-shot Season 8 story is written by Joss.

Joss's last issue, the Willow one-shot, was wonderful. Can't wait to see what he cooks up here.
I don't have my copy yet but I did read some spoilers for the issue from someone who has read the issue.

Sounds like it's going to be a good one and raises some interesting thoughts in relation to the big news last week.
Re: Big news last week. I would ask that it be kept out of this thread. Some people are still trying to stay unspoiled for it.
Which is why I won't speculate on it here and keep my thoughts pertaining to the text of the issue when I get my copy.

Might be a good idea to put a warning in the header of this thread not to do just what you said,Simon.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-01-13 18:55 ]
the issue was pretty good. It seemed a little short, but that's just because everything is really 'happening' now it seems. All of the pieces are lining up for a big finish.

It's interesting that nobody notices that Faith, Giles, and Andrew are missing. It actually seems kind of hard to believe.
Buffy using her powers on the goddesses was pretty awesome, and it seems like she and Willow combined make a pretty powerful team of awesome.

The biggest 'meh' part of the issue is that I feel like Jeanty's art has been continuously declining. There's one panel where Buffy and Xander are talking about Dawn when she calls him a pedophile and she looks basically deformed.

Not going to spoiler, but the Twilight reveal does make all of Twilight's scenes more interesting now, I find myself paying more attention to him, honestly.
I was a little confused because I thought Willow and co. were captured at the end of #30.

P.S. Twilight, don't you mean "her"? ;-)

[ edited by Riker on 2010-01-13 19:34 ]
ha yes I mean 'her' 'him' 'it' 'shim' as much as I can vague it up I shall!
MAN that issue was good. Season Eight is back on track. Holy crap.
Good to see Xander and Buffy finally have the conversation they needed to have. The dialog was spot on, especially Xander's " went from Riley... to gay... to me?!?" And then Buffy "It was a phase! I'm suppose to have that phase!" Too cute.

Poor Buffy, she's so transparent, wearing her heart on her shoulder. She's always looking for someone to love her, but it never seems to work out right.

I'm wondering what the future magical event was that gave Willow and the other Wiccans their powers back. Maybe it has something to do with future Willow's death rippling backwards? Hmmm.

Hopefully Dawn isn't in danger since she's fallen for Xander. Love in the Whedonverse is a dangerous thing, and I'd hate to see Dawn on the pointy end of a stake or the ouchy end of a bullet.

If Dawn has to die, please Joss, not through the chest. There have been too many chest wounds in your repertoire. Perhaps consider branching into head wounds. Oh wait... You are.

[ edited by quantumac on 2010-01-13 20:38 ]
Buffy called Xander a pedophile?

Thank you Simon, I've been afraid to read any threads here at Whedonesque, and particularly at livejournal, for fear of having spoilers rubbed in my face. I would rather read the story as Joss wrote it, and have things unfold in his time. And I think that very little was revealed in issue #31, but that's okay; I'm happy to have a couple of character/personal relationship moments. I can't wait for issue #32!
Menome, she emphatically did not actually mean it. It was very "end of 'Dead Man's Party'" type of insulting.

My review:

It was a great issue. I'm a little heartbroken on it, for the obvious reasons, but it was well done. It is very well. For my friends on the subject, I inform you truly that the end of Buffy/Xander hope as a ormance has finally arrived. But we were at last given our just due. Buffy's feelings are what they were. Xander's *were* what they were but are what they are.

It's kinda funny to me. If Buffy and Xander only had a few moments to have this whole conversation, if the world was in peril or falling down around them and they just *had* to say how they felt about each other, I think you could have boiled it down into this one exchange:

BUFFY: I love you.

XANDER: No you don't. But thanks for saying it.

Because, well, that's pretty much what they said. The scene was touching -- possibly a bit *too* meta for me, although it almost feels like Joss was answering me directly on some stuff, like having Xander explicitly say he's happy that he "made the list". As are we all, sir. As are we all.

But the man loves Dawn and Dawn loves him, and he closed the door in no uncertain terms. It was sort of beautiful. But still sort of sad. They could have been special, and I'm glad that they both seem to acknowledge it, at least.

Reconciling Willow in 8.28 and here isn't that hard for me -- I can't retcon 8.28 as her *not* encouraging Buffy with Xander. What I see now is that she pretty much just wants her friends to be happy, and that meant that SOME combination of the three of them needed to poop or get off the pot and tell each other they're in love. People think friends of theirs will be with one person all the time and yet they turn out to be with someone else, so the fact that Willow "knew" that Xander and Dawn had feelings each other doesn't mean she wouldn't have been happy for Xander and Buffy if that's who ended up together.

As for Dawn... man, I do worry about her a little. Based on the 8.30, this, and the 8.32 preview pages, despite us, the audience, knowing that Buffy and Xander aren't a threat to her (or Joss is willing to turn them both into real jackasses), Dawn is still obviously very jealous/paranoid about them.

The voices were spot on (imagine that, Joss knows his characters!), and I can especially hear SMG say "I think I might have an idea... just diving right into the PDA there..." It was very cute.

Now, to the rest.

Twilight... is evil. And what's more, he's pathetic. He thinks all this is to make Buffy "see"... something? Oh shut up, dude. I thought immediately of Veronica in "Heathers" --

VERONICA: You think you're a rebel? Do you actually think you're a rebel? You're not a rebel, you're f*cking psychotic!"

The soldier that died asking Buffy about love? Died because of Twilight. Died for Twilight's BS. Every Slayer, every one of Oz's people. Every soldier that died in "The Long Way Home" and "Retreat" died by Twilight's will, and HE thinks HE has something to "show" Buffy about what the world really needs?

(removed the part here that deals with reaction specific to Twilight's actual identity, but is no more favorable than the un-spoiler reaction)

Nice touch with the confusion spell, and seeing it actually *affect* Xander. It was very "Older and Far Away".

Buffy's reveal of the superpowers was awesome. One of the best panels of this season will be Jeanty's art of Buffy's posture as she says the one thing she *had* to say -- "look. Up in the sky."

Also, BWAHAHAHA at Kennedy, Xander, and Dawn all guessing what her secret was. Especially Kennedy. I also like Kennedy finding it hot, and Xander wisely making sure NOT to find it hot :)

Seriously, one of the best issues to date.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2010-01-13 21:01 ]
Oooh, very nice review, KoC.
For the record, it is Humbert Humbert.
Were Andrew, Faith, and Giles the only ones shown captured at the end of #30? I can't remember and I don't want to open my copy because I've taped the mylar bag shut.
I think Willow was too? I'm not sure....why did you tape it shut?
Quite possibly, my favorite issue of the entire season. It's been a very long time since this comic has hit every note perfectly ... and this issue does perhaps the finest job of doing just that. Very satisfying issue.
My issue has gone into its box with all its brothers and sisters (I have a special long box for just Whedon comics). I tape it closed otherwise the lid bends and wrecks the part of the bag that covers the opening. How nerdy of me!
I enjoyed Xander and Buffy's conversation. Buffy was in the wrong here because it truly did seem like she only felt interested in Xander because he wanted Dawn and not her. This has been an enjoyable character storyline and has sort of neatly put a bow on the Buffy/Xander maybe-romance of the past eight seasons. And Dawn/Xander have lots of interesting potential too.

Totally off topic, but I've got a Q: If, let's say, five Slayers in Buffy's squad die, are the rules the same? Would five Potentials around the world get activated? We haven't seen much of this in S8.
Buffy can't have liked Xander *because* of the kiss, because she was on his way to woo the guy when she *saw* the kiss. That wasn't actually what Xander was talking about when he said "because of the kiss" -- he meant "because of the kiss" is why she shouldn't have said anything.

Riker -- I don't think so. I don't know. We really haven't gotten much in terms of the metaphysics of the Slayer spell.
Riker: With the exception of the bizarre slayer activation in Harmony Bites (which really grates on me because it makes this less clear than it should be), we have that answer from Chosen.
ANY girl who might be a slayer, is a slayer. A slayer dying officially means nothing because the potential who would take her place is ALREADY a slayer.
Not to stay too far off-topic, but the spell in "Chosen" is incredibly uninformative. What about girls who come into their potential after the spell? Is that what we saw with Soledad, and therefore happening continuously? Does the spell operate continually like that? Just what age range was effected? And so on.
I put that down to Joss and co making it up as they go along. For me it moves the story from A to B but for anyone trying to rationalise it or connect to other events then it must be an absolute nightmate.
Well, it might be worth expositing now, given that it could really inform exactly what motivates Twilight and how he's going about accomplishing his goals.
This issue was nigh pitch perfect! I laughed at Twilight not remembering Andrew's name, I teared up at the Buffy & Xander convo, then laughed, then did a happy sigh. I cheered when Buffy rose up into the sky to fight the Goddesses! There was so much emotion in this piece!

Seriously, best issue in a long time. Not as meaty in terms of symbolic storytelling like Willow: Goddesses and Monsters (see: also awesome) but Turbulence delivers what fans love most about the Buffyverse: the characters we love interacting in gloriously entertaining and heroic ways.

Dialogue, characterization, the story ending with Buffy flying (in secret) to Buffy flying (in public) which amounted to her coming out of the closest, both with her powers and her feelings for Xander.

A better issue than anything we got last year. For me 2009 was a dark time for the comics, much like the entire middle of season 6, which I hated deeply. Things are looking up, hope it stays this way. Although I thought Willow was captured......

I feel like season 8 could of been 30 issues and would have been more focused. But too late now.
This, pretty much, like everyone else is saying: the best issue in a long while. Pretty much spot-on and perfect on most counts, most of all that Buffy/Xander conversation. I feel like everything else has pretty much been mentioned, but I felt the need to add to the love. After all the crap about the comics these last few days, this was a breath of fresh air and reminded me why I cared again in the first place. Loved. it.
Got to Big Planet Comics five minutes before closing. And you know what the lady behind the counter said? "We're closing in five minutes."

It's wonderful! Air: clear. Plus fun.
I have my copy of Buffy Season 8 #31 and Angel #29.Haven't read the Angel issue yet but the Buffy one was amazing.Some of Joss's best comic work.Definitely my favorite of the one off issues he's done.Issue 10 being my second.
I just wanted to share a transcript of the Buffy & Xander scene posted here for anyone who hasn't gotten a chance to read the comic and likes spoilers. :)
TWILIGHT: "So much destruction, so many fallen...factor in the confusion spell my own Wiccans tossed into the field and it will be hours before you are missed. Days before you're sought. But when Buffy realizes what she's missing...such powerful elements in her makeup...her trust...her guilt...and your name WILL come back to me."

So Joss deals with the elephant in the room in order to explain why we get shippiness instead of desperately seeking the captured. The real question, of course, is why Twilight didn't capture Willow, Xander, Dawn, Oz, Kennedy, et al. back at the end of "Retreat." And in fact I was almost sure he did. I can't find my issue now. It's very frustrating how I can't check. In any case, if so that's a pretty monumental screwup, but I've already gotten used to the idea of this since I saw the preview.

I suspected for a while that the entire issue was going to take place in Buffy's mind, with the entire thing a confusion spell (hee, "Once More, With Feeling" reference) on Buffy, the only remaining survivor.

I liked the issue as a respite from the arc--certainly, the greater ethical concerns of all of Buffy's plans aren't dealt with, to say the least of the bank robbery, stolen submarines etc. But I think we can write most of that off to the confusion spell--this one is so clearly a step to the side of the plotty bits that it seems hard to fault it.

The Buffy/Xander conversation was funny and in character (as was the cute Buffy/Riley exchange). And the depth of references? (To "Into the Woods" of all things.) Strong. There's Willow/Oz, Kennedy finding Buffy attractive, Andrew reduced to Tucker's brother anonymity again.

And of course. Dispatching with the Goddesses so easily? The slayers' power being returned? There's something worrying here, in the speed with which it takes place, and I doubt it's because of Twilight. We still don't know what the Goddesses want, or why they gave Buffy her power back. If this is all there is, it's pat, but I'm not convinced that this is all.

Wllow's suggestion of an event yet to come? Giles, Faith, Andrew and others in Twilight's clutches? This feels very old school, almost early season two-ish in the way the brightness is being subtly taken over by the dark.

EDIT: I'm not sure Joss expects us to approve 100% of Xander/Dawn. Dawn's shirt has "18" sewn on the labels--maybe meaningless, but maybe a reminder of her actual age? And that she is much younger than the Xan-man? Not exactly Humbert Humbert, but even after Xander shoots the idea down it continues.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2010-01-14 04:12 ]
Oh, and Joss?

What a pitch-perfect issue. For me it all comes down to that Buffy/Xander scene. It actually broke my heart just a little bit, and I had a little flashback when I read it too Xander alone in his room after being rejected in Prophecy Girl. As soon as I finished the issue, I went back to that little sequence and read it again several times.

The greatest review I can give to this comic is that, when it is working, it fills me with the same sense of exuberance that the show did when I watched it for the first time. It's had it's rough patches (which I likely enjoyed more than many others did,) but it stills feels like Buffy to me.
The people captured at the end of 30 are mostly indistinct, but one is definitely Willow. The face is too hard to make out but those are her clothes from earlier in the issue (purple shirt, blue ankle-length skirt, green vest over top the shirt, and of course the red hair). I'm going to assume that was a mistake, otherwise I'm missing something.
WilliamTheB: You know if you TELL Joss to not kill a character, he will just to show you the funny. Pleading might work better. Oh, and cold hard cash works wonders. :-)

[ edited by quantumac on 2010-01-14 16:14 ]
Maybe the Willow thing at the end of #30 was an art error because that scene was written by Joss.

Speaking of the art, I too have noticed a decline in the art. Willow's face in one of the panels looks particularly freaky.

This might sound mean, but I would like to see a new artist on Season Nine, if only to freshen things up a bit.
I loved this issue. We got some meaty, tender Scooby interaction. Great stuff. Thank you, Joss.

Like always, I need to reread this more carefully to pick up on the subtler stuff (that is always there. Always). So no more comments from me at this point.

Except--count me in among those confused by Willow being still with Buffy & Co. It really did look in the last issue as if she had been taken along with the others. Maybe something really weird is going on? Something that is part of Twilight's confusion spell? Maybe the Willow that is with Buffy & Co. right now is not Willow-in-real-time? Maybe there's some time-slippin' going on?

Or maybe, as some have pointed out, this is just down to art error/confuson.
Everyone should read any comic book at least three times, if only to get your money's worth.
Maybe Twilight let Willow go but his spell confuzzled her and she doesn't remember being caught.
That felt more like Joss to me than anything I've been reading - I'm referring to Buffy's conversation with Xander. Lovely.

And I know we're not supposed to get shippy here - but I've always pulled for Xander and Dawn. (I have the fanfic to prove it.) :)
My mindset towards season eight is probably well demonstrated by the fact that having got home after buying #31, I put it down and accidentally forgot about it for four hours. Basically, the whole last year of comics including the Willow one-shot have done very little for me.

It really puzzles me how mistakes like Willow being captured and now not captured, happen. It's been two months since I read #30 once and I spotted it straight away. There seems to be a lack of care and attention in this area. The continuity errors in season eight outweigh those in the first seven seasons by miles.

Also didn't care for the soldier suddenly dying after his little revelation. Convenient deaths like that are a very overused device in fiction. Things like this stick out more when you're not fully into the comic. Sadly, it would really take something absolutely fantastic happening to get me back engaged with season eight like I was way back.

So it's nice that that's exactly what happened in this issue ;). The conversation between Xander and Buffy was pure gold (or fried gold if you prefer). That's why I would always continue reading Buffy, no matter what. An exchange like that with such great moments for the characters and such funny lines, makes up for a heck of a lot. It's no surprise, of course, that it comes in a Joss written issue. Epic battles and huge goddesses just can't match a simple scene of two people talking to each other.

The end of the issue felt rushed, but then much rather that than five pages of Buffy battling the goddesses. While this was a great issue character-wise, I'm still not really grabbed by the story at the moment. The whole losing / gaining powers plot remains rather unsatisfying. Something to look back at after the season has ended perhaps, as it doesn't make much sense yet.

I've been avoiding the Twilight spoiler so I can't wait for that reveal (and then I can go back to all these threads I'm having to avoid and read all the reaction). Hopefully with the end of the season approaching, the story will pull together in a great way. Certainly this was the best issue for a long time.
What NotaViking said, pretty much word for word, except that the continuity error didn't bother me. But that was because I didn't remember what had happened last issue, due to the not caring much. Joss has said he relished the opportunities comics gave him that a limited tv budget didn't, and almost everything I've loved has involved people just talking.
I only mentioned the continuity error and not my love for the issue, so I should probably do that. I laughed out loud, twice (since I read it twice) at these lines:

[Buffy is talking about how she's going to solve the goddess problem:]

Buffy: It involves something I don't really understand. That, honestly, freaks me out, and I was hoping not to mention.

Xander: It's a nuke.

Kennedy: You're a dyke.

Dawn: You sacrifice a "key"...

I laughed into hysterical non-laughing. Those lines are so perfect in every way, even the rhythm of the words.

The whole issue was like that, just a delight. Xander and Buffy's conversation was perfect, and not what I expected, and was rightly the only right way to end the situation rightly.

The love for language and little moments is what I love most about Joss's issues, and his writing in general. It can't be duplicated, it is that good. The love for language and speech gets me every time. It probably couldn't be translated into another language well.
Anyone know if Scott Allie has fielded any questions about the apparrent continuity error that doesn't involve extreme avoidance of Twilight spoilers?
A classic Joss-script and though i am confused about flying Buffy as miss Summers is herself i kind of found in this issue, for what i love the buffyverse and what i missed through the last issues.

- great emotional scenes: Buffy-Xander-talk, dying soldier
- great little jokes embetted that only are funny if you know the ENTIRE series: "you sacrifice a key?"
- and big psychological studies made with simple expressions: "her trust - her guilt" (I especially like the "guilt" thing with Faith. Awesome point to the dark side of Buffy!!!)

I don't wonder that she hasn't recognized the capture of Giles, Andrew and Faith. We have a big bad, some Goddesses and some love-thing going on. As we know from former seasons, that's enough to push everything else out of sight. And as we also know: absent Giles is always a bad thing (my reference is here not the capture but the Giles-Faith-no-Buffy group so that Buffy has to deal with things on herself.)!! That's one reason why the "her trust" line is awesomely pointy!
Something I haven't seen anyone bring up, is the dialogue(or monologue) of Twilight. Not sure if this is relevant, intentional, or an oversight, but everytime Twilight has spoken in the past his/her words are printed in a unique font. I can only assume this was to imply there was something unique about the character's voice.

But in this issue, released mere days after the "accidental" reveal of Twilight's true identity, the character's words are printed in the same font as the rest of the characters.

I find that odd, as this issue was in all likelihood sent to the printer months ago. Maybe I've read too many detective novels, but when routines are broken I start to pay attention. Was this meant as an unguarded moment when the character still felt they needed to where a mask but could use their real voice? Was the use of a different font just to throw us off the trail until now? Was it merely an uncomfortably common mistake from DH? I don't know.... But in my conspiracy addled brain the timing seems suspicious.

As to the content of Twilight's speech, not buying it. Not for a second. There was no part of their soliloquy that sounded remotely like something they would have said before arbitrarily being cast as the "villian" of S8. Try it yourselves. Think of the original character, imagine their voice, and then imagine what the words would sound like coming out of their mouth.

I only point that out, because I can totally hear SMG and NB reading the Buffy/Xander bits, as well as Willow's dialogue sounding pitch perfect. Twilight's words sound jarringly out of charcter to me....
In answer to my own question, Scott Allie admits it was a glaring error showing Willow being captured at the end of #29 and the Slayalive q&a for this month has been protected for those who wish to avoid Twilight spoilers.
This issue was a complete joy to read. I don't usually describe things with the word "joy", that's how awesome and perfect it was.

I will mention something about the art--I don't think Georges should portray shadow on characters' faces the way he does. So many other comic book artists style it the same way, but it sometimes my eyes just can't be tricked into seeing what the artists & colorists want me to see. It just looks like the characters have weird lines on their faces. If only Jeanty would forego the lines, then Dark Horse could have the colorist imply the dimensions/curves of someone's nose or the like. I think Buffy Season 8 has a fine penciler, it's new colorists that it needs.

Theory: the goddess gave Buffy her power back in issue #30 for one of two reasons. The one I like the best is that, since the goddesses had all of the slayers' powers, they re-gifted them to the one person they believed/felt(innately/naturally?) should have them. Maybe Buffy's "Chosen" spell was the very wrong thing to do (it certainly disrupted the process that the African men/Shadowmen started way back when they began the slayer line with The First Slayer). So maybe the goddess was just setting things right (and she seemed so casual about it--although it's hard to read those Tibetan demonic goddessy faces, but her body language at least implied a casual feel--that it almost seemed like she was doing it as an afterthought). And watch, Buffy & Willow won't get the message and will probably redistribute the slayer power (spreading it out will take Buffy's superpowers away). Which will create the same problem (whatever that problem may be...some kind of imbalance, perhaps) that existed pre-issue#30, assuming there was a problem with there being that many slayers.

Although the official slayer, pre-"Chosen" spell, was actually Faith (Buffy hasn't held the mantle since "Prophecy Girl", really...she wasn't supposed to come back, but Xander saved her. Then the title was passed to Kendra, then after Kendra's death it was Faith. Buffy's kind of a hanger-on, of the slayer line, her death(s) will never call a new one. In theory, the "Chosen" spell kind of invalidated it all, who cares who the official slayer was after that).

The other explanation is that the goddess remembered, "Oh yeah, we were called forth/released in order to help the slayers", then sorta disdainfully gifts the main one, "Here, take that", then goes on to carelessly(vengefully?) stomp on any human it and its sisters spotted.
I think this is the single best comic book Joss has written yet.
@mbeauparland: Maybe it means that, when he's out in the world, Twilight disguises his voice (he'd have to, after all, since he's been talking to people who know him like Riley). But since he was alone in that scene (Giles, Faith and Andrew are unconscious), he uses his normal voice.

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