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February 03 2010

(SPOILER) For the discussion of Buffy #32. The first part of Brad Meltzer's "Twilight" arc comes out today.

I've been so careful to be unspoiled about the 'Twilight' rumors... I really wan to read this arc without expectations.
Spoiler: EXPECT AWESOMENESS.

Although in fairness, that's what I'd say for anything under Joss' oversight.
Oh man, awesome issue. Nicely done, Meltzer.

(Can someone explain Xander's "spoon" reference, por favor?)
seriously amazing issue. i feel like things are going to start getting pretty dire. but a better dire than the one you were supposed to feel in retreat.

the whole segment of Willow finding the bodies cut with the Amy, Warren, General guy scenes was super suspensery and had me way more involved in the issue than I've been for a while.

this arc is going to be wondrous.

[ edited by Cazador on 2010-02-03 20:28 ]
'Spoon' comes from The Tick I believe. It was his battle cry. Love the various comic references! And I love Meltzer's style. Very distinct, yet fits in with whatever comic's world in which he is working. Not a lot of movement forward here; more calm before the storm; but well done.
Ah, ok. Thank you, EditorAl -- that explains it, as I'm unfamiliar with The Tick.
The series has definitely rediscovered its mojo. The last issue was the best ... until this one. Loaded with funny lines, genuine suspense, and geek in-jokes galore. I especially appreciated Willow's remark to Dawn: "It doesn't mean that every month -- on every Wednesday -- it has to be the end of the world." (In the tradition of: "Dawn's in trouble. Must be Tuesday.")

Great, great fun.
The connection between Buffy's new powers and all the Slayers dying was pretty mindblowing. And I loved how it was highlighted by how cavalierly they were treating the powers for the first half of the issue. Monkey's Paw indeed (and how awesome is it that Dawn is the font of wisdom here? Go Dawnie.)

[u]Theory[/u]: Buffy relinquishing her powers in Retreat to the Tibetan goddesses and then calling upon them with anger and vengeance in her heart is what's causing her to now be the receptacle for all the powers syphoned off from the dying Slayers around the globe. Buffy demanded the Slayer powers back and she got it. Problem being she gave away her powers to the earth and the goddesses, but she's also the giver of all the Slayer powers to every activated Slayer around the world except for Faith. Buffy is now taking back her gift of Chosen without even intending to do so. And Twilight has set up the world to start killing off all the Slayers which begs the question: does he want her to be the receptacle for all these powers? And if so, is he collecting all the Slayer power into her so that when she turns the "sword on herself", she'll end the Slayer line?


Meltzer pretty much knocked this out of the park for me. Great writing--very entertaining but definitely written for a comics audience. And Jeanty had some of his best panels in long time too. There were some panels of Buffy that I want so badly as art for a banner. And I haven't felt that way since Wolves at the Gate and the panel where Buffy clicks the lighter on.



(Also--SlayAlive Q&A's are up if anyone wants to partake in a little Q'ing to the A'ing.)
Having read CBR's review the other day, I must say I was pleasantly surprised with both the writing and the art this issue. This issue was great, and I was expecting great things from Meltzer because I simply love Identity Crisis.

I loved the character moments, but more importantly, we got quite a nice "mythology download" (Buffy's powers, the dead Slayers, Warren/Amy/General in while Andrew/Faith/Giles out, the machine, etc.)

Twilight looked like he was standing on the bridge of the Original Series Enterprise at the end. Now that we know Twilight's identity (I won't spoil it, don't worry), the voice rang true in my head.
It was a good issue and as a comic book fan and reader I got a kick out of lots of little things in the issue

I like the explanation for Buffy's powers and can't wait to see how this plays out over the rest of season 8.

Riker,the voice of Twilight didn't ring true to me(no spoiling here either) but I chalk that up to us not supposed to be in the know on who Twilight is yet.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-02-03 22:39 ]
Note that "Tick" (with the "Spoon!" battle cry) creator Ben Edlund was a staff writer on "Angel" for the last season.
I really enjoyed it, and the comics have recovered. Other than red stick figures, I liked the art. I think Andrew needs to go. Sorry but I'm tired of him. I never was a fan to begin with though. The next issue should be exciting even if I sadly know who Twilight is.
It'll be interesting to see the conversation next issue between Giles, Faith, Andrew and He Who Must Not Be Spoiled. (I'm assuming that they'll be the first to see Twilight unmasked.) And do Amy/Warren/General Guy know who Twilight is? Because if they're really on the Buffy side now, they could spill the beans without any Buffy/Twilight faceoff.
My biggest pet peeve about comic books is that you can finish reading them in 10 minutes, and then you have to wait for another month. I'm a big fan, so it's hard to wait.

This issue seemed to have a bit more substance to it, in the sense that the conversations seemed to last longer. I really enjoyed it.
90% satisfied.... Just a few too many superhero references for my tastes. The joke got old fast. I was struck by the line "This is starting to not be fun anymore", which came at just about the same time I was thinking the same thing!

As for Twilight's brief appearance, I still can't hear the original character's voice reciting the dialogue... Hopefully we start getting real answers and in character explanations next month.

And the opening scene bugged me... Somehow the existence of vampires and demons bothers me less than the laws of physics required to be broken for a brief conversation before plucking a bullet out of the air. And the fact that he apparently fired the bullet in the jungles of Tibet.... and the bit about Buffy not liking guns because "they keep killing her friends." When a vampire with a sword kills one of her friends, they were killed by a vampire. If one of her friends were to be killed by a vampire with a gun, they would have been killed by a gun. Subtle but noticeable bias....

Overall I'd call it a good read, but it felt... forced. Maybe I'm spoiled from two months of Whedon written material, but something just seemd a little off.
I defenitely think this issue was a good return to form, as was said.
I really wasn't feeling the last few issues, and i wasn't expecting them to be able to rationalize the superpowers. But it came nicely, and it was a good explanation.
I especially liked the faster than a speeding... oh i just realized what they were doing

Btw He who must not be spoiled's voice didnt ring true for me either
This sounds horrid. Changing the most basic rule of his 'verse, then not sticking with it? Sounds like a comic book universe in the traditional sense at best, or maybe Patrick Duffy in the shower at worst. "I got to beleivin' my own stuff." (Jonathan Winters)
It's not horrible, but the Highlander-esque reasoning behind Buffy's superpowers didn't struck me as shocking at all. In fact I kind of thought that's what was happening, albeit not because of globe trotting death squads....

It's a decent issue, but falls far outside of the series best. With luck it will pick up, and if not, it's still better than most of the junk on the shelves.
Great issue, funny and engaging the whole way through. Unlike other issues where not much happened, in this one not much happened but it felt like a lot happening. Some of the jokes were very meta, like the ones that alluded to Kitty Pryde.

Buffy having superpowers doesn't bother me at all. Characters gained wacky powers all the time on the show, they just always lost them by the end of the episode. So if 4 issues of the comic = one show (it feels about that), then, we're somewhere around the second commercial break. I think it'll probably be over by the end of this arc or next; I seriously doubt Joss would make Buffy into Superbuffy forever.
Nobody else thought the Xander-trying-to-get-Buffy-to-be-Shadowcat/Kitty Pryde bit was worth a comment? I thought of all the comic and geek references in the issue, that was the pinnacle.
I thought it was even better when Buffy pretty much denied the appeal of her own existence in reply to Xander's description of Kitty Pryde. :)
The Kitty Pryde blow-off was great. It rivals "a vampire with a soul? How lame is that?". Actually, it trumps it, because Buffy is talking about herself.

For me the best line was "General... would you care to step outside?" Now THAT, folks, is how you reference.

I had an odd thought about Buffy's power. Not their origin, but their manifestation. It's been pointed out and it's true, that it's strange (especially considering their source) that Buffy's powers do not appear to have much relation to her own powers as the Slayer. Flight connects to nothing, telescopic vision. Invulnerability (surprised they didn't test that; it's the other obvious test Xander could perform with the gun), if she has it.

What I noticed is... she seems to have whatever powers she wants to have. 8.30 ends with her feeling alone and clearly wishing to escape... and she can fly. Xander says they don't know if she has superspeed, but as soon as she wants to outrun a speeding bullet, she can. She wants to be strong enough to hoist a train engine, she can. She thinks it would be easy to leap over the castle, and it is.

Phasing? Web? Telepathy (which she *knows* she doesn't like)? Teleportation? Claws? She's not interested in these when Xander suggests them and she can't do them. He pushes her on telescopic vision, though, and while she thinks she doesn't have it, as soon as she realizes its usefulness... suddenly she can do it.

I don't know if it's completely coincidence or not, but it's consistent -- the power flowing into Buffy seems completely malleable by her will.
As a comic nut,I loved all the comic book references in this issue.I was actually hoping for a Smallville joke that Buffy's flying before Clark is.lol

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-02-04 04:06 ]
KoC, I think you are on to something re: Buffy's powers.

Also, if the dead Slayers' powers are going to Buffy and not other Potentials around the world, the Slayer line is being screwed with again. Could Firsty be back soon?

And maybe it's just me, but I thought all the dead slayers in the swamp could've been a reference to Solomon Grundy's Slaughter Swamp.

[ edited by Riker on 2010-02-04 04:31 ]
That does not add up. When Willow cast her white magic spell, she gave all the girls power (thus, it was not strictly Buffy's gift). There was, first of all, no indication it came strictly from Buffy, or diminished Buffy's powers. Therefore, it makes no sense that as each slayer dies, the power returns to Buffy and makes her SuperBuffy. Or that somehow this has to do with whether or not there is anger in her heart. Last I read, she has always had a lot of anger in her heart when having to go after demons and people trying to end the world. The only thing I agree with is that the intent of this entire season is to end the slayer army and return the slayer line to one person (and then to harmonize that with the Frayverse).
I had assumed the same about Buffy's powers. The Superman Analog seemed very conspicuous, and so not quite right. As soon as she suddenly gained the vision, I assumed she was willing the powers.

However, KoC, I don't have a clue what the stepping outside is a reference to, though I'm sure when you tell me it will be a headdesk moment. I should have at least realized it is a reference, considering it doesn''t make sense in context, which stuck out to me.

I also don't understand Andrew's comment about the viewscreen. It appears he's looking through a window that is supposed to be the Enterprise viewscreen. So how is it better than a window?

My name is bobw1o, I'm a dunceaholic.
Dana, it makes perfect sense, exactly as you pose it. All the spell did was give all potentials slayer powers. That power came from wherever, and manifested in the girls as slayer powers. It's additional power to Buffy's own. Call Buffy's level of power 1 and now you have a total power level of about 1500. Kill off 500 slayers (for example) and use whatever mojo is sending it to Buffy (it would seem this wasn't happening previous, but if few enough died maybe they took no notice) and voila Buffy level 501! Once again, the why is more important and interesting than the what.

And for the record, I totally hear Twilight's true voice in this issue, but depending on personal interpretaion of the way the lines are said, I can see why it wouldn't fit. Kinda like the terrible choice of how to perform the lightning hitting a toad line from X-Men. It's terrible as is, but could have been hilarious.
"General would you care to step outside?" is a line Superman used in Superman 2 whilst floating outside a Daily Planet window. He was speaking to General Zod, one of those three super people banished from Krypton. Good stuff.
I'm gonna have to do most of this invisdable.
1. I loved the issue. First one in awhile that had me cackling (much to the amusement of my fellow restaurant patrons I'm sure) with joy.

2. I think KoC's sentence: "the power flowing into Buffy seems completely malleable by her will" is wonderful. I may be wrong,

3. And re: Twilight voice
Thanks jay swif!

And.... *headdesk*
No prob bobw1o. :)

[ edited by jay swif on 2010-02-04 07:17 ]
Magic can make any kind of sense the writers want it to, really. Like, they could say that Willow created all the slayers by summoning that energy out of somewhere, but when they die it can't get back and goes to Buffy instead, because Buffy is the original. Or anything really; it's not like we know how the original spell worked. And even if we did there's always a magic loophole.
err, didnt willow use the power of the redaxe? by which i mean 'scythe' - though its obviously an axe. isnt that where all the other slayers' (bar faith) power came from? or was that just somekind of magic-catalyst?

[ edited by kiniget on 2010-02-04 08:48 ]
I think this begins to tred sort of dangerous territory. If we accept- which I do not, yet- that the death of a slayer returns power to Buffy, and in the end this results in only Buffy with power, I guess some of the feminist message of S7 really goes by the wayside, even more so since it was men who gave this power to the Slayer to begin with. That would be a retcon I would hate to see happen. But I hope I am wrong.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2010-02-04 16:35 ]
The feminist message was about sharing power, not the power itself.
Whether much happens or not, this issue still gives me a feeling of excitement about Season 8 which I haven't really felt since Wolves at the Gate. In part that could be because I know the Twilight reveal is near, but I thought that Meltzer got the voices of the characters and their interactions with each other just right and at the end of the day that has always been one of the main reasons I have loved Buffy.

I also really enjoyed the Kitty Pryde reference.

As someone who has remained unspoilt as to Twilight's identity I really appreciate that people are being very careful to avoid spoiling the reveal. But can I just ask that you are extra careful, all the talk about voices feeling right or not feels to me (quite possibly wrongly) as if they are verging on accidentally revealing who Twilight is. Thank you :)
Don't worry, mgmn, it's not.
Thanks Riker, I guess just with so many people knowing I've become slightly paranoid about somebody accidentally letting it slip.

Anyway as I said I do appreciate that people are trying hard to keep the reveal secret.
Wenxina, even if it is about sharing, the power won't end up being shared. Does not change the point.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2010-02-04 16:36 ]
I can see the concern Dana, but they've just established that the power going to Buffy is a bad thing. First by Dawn berating us the whole issue, and then with Willow explaining where it came from. So messages are not lost, they are reinforced.

I have more trouble accepting there is an iPhone in 2005, but then, this world is a bit different than ours in some other ways...

mgmn, give up, it's Sid, the dummy. Honestly, all the signs are there... ;-)
Why would you not want to know? It's all over already, I also say give it up.
It would be greatly appreciated if the identity of Twilight not be revealed in this thread. I would rather not spoil it for those don't know.
@Dana5140: The power always originated from men. In that light, the whole empowered woman thing is a sham, which it kinda is. You have one girl who is strong, but controlled by a patriarchal system of Watchers. The fact that the origin of the Slayer is tied to a mystical rape of sorts cannot be changed. What Buffy changed instead were the rules governing the dissemination of said power. In doing so, there are consequences. We're just learning about them now. However, I fail to see how Buffy getting powers from dead Slayers cheapens, or nullifies the empowerment message from "Chosen". She shared her power. She didn't expect it to come back to her in such a macabre fashion.
And as bobw1o pointed out, we're told (and shown) that this is not a good thing. Whether this has been happening from the get-go remains to be seen. Or if there was a switch at one point that triggered Buffy's sudden power boost.
If Buffy was sharing a gift with the potentials it seems to have turned out to be a horrifying one. They get zapped, wrenched out of their lives, hunted down, slaughtered and in the end *Buffy*, the one who started it all, reaps the benefits. I know she didn't intend it that way at all. But the metaphor really limps if the gift turns out to be a death sentence that benefits the gift giver.

This is really dark. Buffy's been (unintentionally) eating her young. And it's all the darker that before realizing where the power came from, we see her out geeking it up with Xander the day or so after she lost all those girls in battle. People already thought that was pretty callous. Now it's outright macabre. They were too busy celebrating Buffy's new powers to bother to mourn for the girls who turn out to be the source of that power. Gulp.

I'm expecting a major angst-fest in #33.
I know who Twilight is now... it's obviously Captain Kirk!
Or any other thread not labeled as such, right Simon? |-)~

Obviously, my Sid comment was a joke, though I think quantumac is on to something...

Anyone who has managed to stay unspoiled I commend you and wish to help you in your quest, but I gotta say, you're gonna be disappointed when you find out which powerpuff girl it is!

Was gonna do a better joke, then realized it might actually have weight...

Off to wait for the end of the world during a wednesday next month...
@Maggie: 1. We don't know if Buffy is actually getting "benefits". New powers have always been approached with caution in the Buffyverse. Cordelia's visions came with neuronal death. Buffy's temporary telepathy came with the risk of insanity. Merging four souls into Super-Slayer in "Primordial" angered the First Slayer. This "gift" may very well be a curse. And perhaps Twilight knows so. All I'm saying is that it's too early to tell.

2. Her granting the power of the Slayer to these girls didn't make them targets. Twilight decided that. To blame the sins of another on Buffy is somewhat unfair.

3. As for mourning... it's not that she doesn't mourn them. #31 showed her guilt over the whole affair. If the focus of the next few issues was merely on mourning, detractors would say that it was over-indulgent. As for callous... well, the same was said about the end of "Chosen", so perhaps when you've survived a few apocalypses, you celebrate the fact that you're alive in the moment. I will say that you're probably right about the angst fest, considering that Twilight will be revealed then too.
I don't have a problem with Buffy and Xander taking pleasure in what appeared to be good news. I've known too many military and read too many military histories -- one *does* have to close off their emotional vulnerability to casualties, especially those in command, or they flat out cannot function. I didn't find Echo's behavior in "Epitaph Two" callous, for instance, when

Buffy and Xander and Willow and the others don't have the luxury of eating themselves alive over all they've lost when they need to rally, reorganize, and encourage themselves on. So, being geeked over powers -- not at all outside the realism of human behavior even in that situation.

Now, what the origin of these powers is making me think though is that they are the tipping point that Twilight has been steering her towards. I am wondering if Buffy is going to face a choice during this arc -- save a Slayer (or Slayers) life, or let her die to get the extra power shot she might need to take down Twilight. This would be a payoff to what's foreshadowed in "Time of Your Life".
@Wenxina:

1. My comments are based on what we know now. I expect it'll look different when we have the whole picture.

2. Not saying it's her fault. I'm saying the metaphor just limps when it goes from "Buffy gave these girls powers and too bad that also made them targets" (which was already at least a mixed bag) to "Buffy gave these girls powers and too bad that also made them targets, and oh by the way at the end of the day Buffy ended up soaking up all those powers after the girls had been murdered." Nothing to do with her intent. It's just you can't celebrate the goodness of a wonderful gift, when the gift turns out to be horrible. (And while Buffy didn't intend them to be killed -- Buffy has always known that being slayer carries a heavy price with it -- so it's not like she had no reason to expect there to be no downside).

3. I think it's more the way this issue works. The effect is that we get the first third of "ha ha ha ha ha, super geeky cool" only to find out that the whole time it's flat out macabre. Others were a bit put off about the levity a mere one day after devastating defeat based only on the first half of the geek out. I didn't think too much of it -- but the geek out goes on considerably longer than what we saw in the preview, and the reveal in the end casts an ugly shadow over all of it. I think that's an intended effect.

#1 and #3 might go together. Part of becoming a god is getting a god-like detachment. We could be seeing a subtle portrait of the early effects of what that power will do to her. God-Buffy finds it easier to revel in defeat than pre-God Buffy would have. It's possible that's intended. Or maybe Meltzer just thought the geek out was fun, and didn't really take in how ugly it'd look once we know what it really is. The bottom line remains that one day after a gazillion girls died, Buffy and Xander were out partying about the powers that it turns out she got from all those dead girls. It's horrifying. And unless she's really changed, I expect Buffy will be horrified.
From the look on her face when Willow told her that she's "sucking" the power out of the dead Slayers, I'm gonna go on a limb here and say that she was horrified. Takes all the fun out of testing new powers when hey, new powers came from dead comrades.
Btw, I'm really interested to see what Scott says in response to your question over at the SlayAlive Q&A. That was the first question that popped to mind when I read the part about the origin of the new powers.

Oh, and I agree that the joking earlier on was to setup the horror of the end, but I still don't find it that "wrong", since the Scoobies have rarely ever dealt with death the way we all do. The only two significant deaths (yes, that does sound a little callous, but I think you know what I mean) that were ever really mourned on screen were Jenny's and Joyce's. Oh, perhaps Buffy's too... so that's three out of a lot of deaths.
I liked this issue a lot. The art and the writing were hitting all the high notes.

I don't think Buffy's stance as a feminist icon is in any danger. The consequences of sharing power aren't all the stuff of motivational speeches. Sometimes the people who feel empowered really do go out in the world and get hurt or killed for having the audacity to join a cause. We got our first real glimpses of that Season 7 and Buffy #5. This is just a particularly brutal turn of events along the same theme.
"It's a decent issue, but falls far outside of the series best. With luck it will pick up, and if not, it's still better than most of the junk on the shelves."

Haha, What is this I don't even.
"It's a decent issue, but falls far outside of the series best. With luck it will pick up, and if not, it's still better than most of the junk on the shelves."

"Haha, What is this I don't even."

I just meant that the issue was okay, not the best by any means. But even at it's worst, Buffy Season 8 has been better than most comics I see published.

Except maybe the Goon. I demand a Goon/Buffy crossover! Please oh mighty powers that be, make this happen...
The only two significant deaths (yes, that does sound a little callous, but I think you know what I mean) that were ever really mourned on screen were Jenny's and Joyce's. Oh, perhaps Buffy's too... so that's three out of a lot of deaths.

I agree with that and would also add two others: Tara & in season 3, Buffy mourned for Angel after she'd sent him to hell.

[ edited by menomegirl on 2010-02-05 06:28 ]
Yes, I'd be very careful about confusing the feminist theme with the very real human issues involved in sharing that kind of power. I'm not sure how the chosen were going to avoid being targets.

And I do disagree, because I believe it is our hero's fault for where we are now. One of the great things Joss has really done ever since season 5 was show causation and effect. That is, as the stakes get higher, the choices that the Scoobies make invariably have negative consequences regardless of intent. Buffy's resurrection in Season 5 causing the First to attempt to kill the Slayer line. Willow's quest to learn magic going from benign to obsessive. And in this case, the need to activate this many Slayers to combat the First completely annihilating whatever equilibrium existed in the world at the time of the television series.

Twilight is a scapegoat because I think an attack on the Slayers was inevitable. At least, unless the Slayers took regular paying jobs that involved heavy lifting. They are super-powered vigilantes after all. Vigilantes make people uncomfortable. Twilight is just a spark in an engine fueled by the fear of people with superior abilities who operate outside of societies laws. I'm not justifying Twilight, I'm just saying I don't see any point in human history where this ISN'T what would occur. There would always be Simones, and they would always turn a majority of society against you.

[ edited by azzers on 2010-02-05 07:29 ]
I'm so curious what will happen next. (Living in Europe I just finished the "Retreat" arc.)

During the TV series there were so many points which remained unsolved or to less adressed for my feeling: Especially the killing of Warren and Drogyn, how Willow and Angel should deal with their deads, Willows "godessness" when doing the scythe spell, the whole complex of power, responsibility, the dark side of us, of which I always saw the demon thing as a valid metaphor for, and if or how the first evil could stem from the bad things people *did* then they first became capable to make decisions and started to make their first wrong decisions. Did the slayers' power really start with a rape of the first slayer by those shamans or is the slayer power deeplier connected, to some mother goddesses. Do the guardians play a significant role? How can Buffy and Angel integrate the fact, that their demonic parts made them in fact killers, even if the kill (mostly) beings that are a threat to mankind? And so on .... a little chaotic far from being a well structured essay, sorry.
I believe we had an inkling of where Buffy's super-powers came from when she felt guilty about telling anyone about them.

Buffy has had dreams in the past about previous slayers and I think subconsciously she realized her new power was from the new slayers who had died which made her embarrassed and reluctant to tell anyone without knowing why. And, I think Twilight is going to use that against her.

I'm still curious as to why X turned into Twilight.

(X refers to the reveal of Twilight which I'm not going to repeat here)

[ edited by Simon on 2010-02-05 12:53 ]
Eh, I'm not too astonished by the Highlander-esque power distribution thing but maybe since I was falsely under the assumption this was a bigger trope than it really was. I still wonder the logistics of it since seems like the power ought to be redistributed across all the slayers (or at least Faith too as an "original"). Was that supposed to be something they wanted the audience to figure out before they said it outright or no? I pieced it together by the third or fourth trip but for a second I thought they were going to go crazy metatextual as soon as they talked about comic book Andrew talking about a comic book device writ "real" as they're alluding to comic books throughout the entire issue...

I don't really see it as undermining the end of season seven though, or really all that in conflict with it. Back then those girls were all getting targeted--and I'm still not too clear why The First stopped at all-- and that scythe thingie gave them a slightly better fighting chance.

That whole patriarchy thing confuses me too since I haven't seen season seven for awhile and I forget how linked the scythe is to the demon imbuing those magic Shadow Men tried to offer Buffy. Now that I think about it that old woman in the Sunnydale crypt makes even less sense than she ever did for all that 20 seconds on screen.

I have some questions about the issue but I'm not even sure they're ones the series plans on addressing. (and for that matter, is Buffy actually sucking the powers out of the other girls and leaving them in vulnerable situtations without powers, or is another uber-Buffy sort of an endgame Twilight's after by centralizing everything in her?) Well I suppose that last possibility would probably have to be addressed.
I think the power is flowing into Buffy because the giant goddesses chose her at the end of Retreat. They had absorbed all of the slayers' powers and she wanted them back, so they gave it back to her. The slayers that were already dead's power had nowhere to go -- it hadn't died with them because it had been in the goddesses, so it went into Buffy. I think that opened a doorway that's still sending the power to Buffy instead of it dying with the slayer, otherwise Buffy would have been getting stronger with every slayer death long before this. I'm curious to see if Faith is experiencing something, as well, as we haven't seen her fight since.

I think the message of season 7 was Buffy's speech, not the events themselves. Her actions, if the story continues, have consequences, which the show excelled at starting as early as S2 and Angelus. From S4 on, however, the endings of one season always had repercussions that bring about the problem of the following season. The ramifications part has intensified over the seasons. Defeating Adam meant angering the 1st Slayer, which led to a dream of Dawn. Glory's destruction meant Buffy's death, which causes every bit of s6 to be possible. The method of the defeat of the First causes the backlash we see here.

The feminist movement itself dealt with a major backlash as well, also due to major missteps on the part of its leaders. It has taken 50 years for us to get this far because the movement divided the female population by railing against things that many women loved -- not all women hated raising children and being housewives, not all of them wanted careers. Having an image of attacking all men also meant losing the other most important supporters ever movement needs: sympathizers. Not saying all feminists are man hating or against housewives, but much of a revolution is PR, and almost no one here is an actual feminist as opposed to a post-feminist, so don't think any of this applies to you if you are under 60 years old.

In a lot of ways, Buffy's robbing of banks to fund her army, forming an army without trying to cooperate with the world's governments, slowly dehumanizing herself into a callous general, all can be seen as allegories of any movement's missteps -- the question becomes, is Buffy Gloria Steinem, charismatic proponent of a movement that ultimately begins to win after misstepping on a few key points, or is she Che Guevarra, leading a revolution that will ultimately fail under the weight of its leader's hubris and miscalculation?
orangewaxlion, Faith especially, since she's currently the "official" slayer and Buffy is sort of a hanger-on due to first coming back from death by mouth-to-mouth and then being resurrected by magic, should be getting these powers too. Except for one little detail: when the Tibetan goddess zapped Buffy. That may've directed all the dead slayers' powers into only Buffy. Would also explain why Buffy wasn't getting noticeably more powerful with all the other slayer deaths that've occurred during Season 8 (although there being a "tipping point", a minimum numbers thing, would also explain it). [PuppetDog beat me to this last point]

As far as I can remember, the scythe wasn't linked to the Shadow Men/creators-of-Slayers at all. I don't recall being given any information on the origin of the scythe, though the woman (a "white witch" ?) at the end of the series who gave it to Buffy, I think she made some comment about it being made for Buffy, or that it was being safeguarded until she came to claim it (was it brought over by Europeans and buried, made by the First Nations folks? Who knows, explanation probably not forthcoming. The show rarely overexplained the other artifacts, I don't expect much background for the scythe either, though it'd be a nice surprise). Would need a re-read of Fray and a re-watch of the end of Season 7 to be sure.

Did Joss ever comment about who or what the heck that white-haired woman was in the Sunnydale crypt ? My favorite theory is that she was what Willow could become (what we got a glimpse of while Willow was performing the "Chosen" spell), but I'm not sure if I like the idea of it being Willow's destiny to be in service to the Slayer line for centuries (though she may essentially be just that, albeit with a darker path than the old woman, given FutureWillow).

Sounded to me like Buffy wasn't pre-sucking the powers out of the girls before they'd died (though the issue was vague enough about it and I almost suspected that while Willow was talking to the one dying slayer in Louisiana, that Buffy was unknowingly causing them to be vulnerable). Seemed instead that those recently-dead slayers were simply overwhelmed by whatever Twilight threw at them (and perhaps even vamp-loving, anti-slayer mobs that popped up regardless of any Twilight influence. 'Cause it wasn't Twilight who made Harmony into a star, was it ? It hasn't been revealed that he caused the latina slayer to go after her and have that end up on camera, no ? Twilight may've stoked the fires a bit though, if he has any media pull. He's managed to gain military aid, somehow, so making vampires popular probably wouldn't be that much more of a stretch if it serves his agenda).

Why was Andrew narrating portions of this issue ? I couldn't figure out how that at all fit with the tone of the issue, aside from making this more new-reader friendly.

Also, either Meltzer goofed, or it was intentional for Andrew to get it wrong due to lack of info on his part or simple forgetting, but the caption-quote, "Faith. Became slayer when Buffy died." is wrong. Faith became slayer after Kendra died.

[ edited by Kris on 2010-02-07 01:36 ]
Yeah, Kris, I wondered about the Andrew-narration too. It seemed to come out of nowhere, especially since we actually got a callback to the "Storyteller"-Andrew in the previous arc.

Otherwise: Awesome issue.
Andrew is probably my favorite unreliable narrator of all time. The fact that he identified Buffy as the star pretty succinctly and said even less about himself suggests he's grown up a lot lately.

I did wonder on re-reading how Satsu came to think he was off making a lasso. Totally believable. Totally wrong.
Sunfire, I chalked up Satsu's mistaken assumption to one of the results of Amy's confusion spell that was placed on the gang to make them not wonder about Giles, Faith, and Andrew for a while (and any other slayers that may've been captured and were likely executed by Twilight, unless he has other plans for them). The spell still caused Satsu to come up with a plausible excuse for Andrew though.

Andrew's narration, plus all his jabbering on once he woke up, also made me very suspicious that he was about to be revealed as a traitor. But I may just be hoping for that so that he'll maybe die already.
Good point, that would make sense. Very effective spell. Amy's gotten good.
Bit late, so I'll just say that I loved this issue - a fantastic start to Brad Meltzer's arc. Just one more month to go of avoiding the Twilight spoiler - fingers crossed.
I forgot to mention that I found the preview of Zack Whedon's Terminator prequel very good. Liked the dialogue and the story one of the resistance members told about the persistant T-800 was chilling. Could see myself buying the trade, even though I'm not that huge a fan of the franchise anymore. Despite liking the first two films (and one specific aspect of the third one, but barely anything in the fourth one), and having liked what little I saw of the TV series (will get around to watching those two seasons eventually), I'm not sure how much more I can get into the series if it continues to be treated "Salvation"-style.
Before I read the rest of the comments: cleveland, nice call-back and round up of some other floating-about Buffy series questions that I've also had! Well said!
I think this might be the 2nd best issue of he series, so far. The best? Joss' previous.
I loved the 'what's your power' riff.
Brad Meltzer is amazing. This issue was phenomenal! Every issue, it just gets better and better.

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