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"Oh my god. What can it be? We're all doomed! Who's flying this thing!?"
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March 01 2010

(SPOILER) Newsarama interview with Brad Meltzer. Coincides with this week's release of Season 8 #33. Note: interview does not name Twilight's true identity, but enough clues to figure it out. Includes some pages from the issue.

There are some pages from #33 included so I added a note about that. I think you could read the interview and remain unspoiled but between one of the pages and one of the interview questions there are some strong hints in there.
That was a great interview.
Nrama: How do you think Buffy having superpowers enriches her story? And will more be revealed about the cause of those superpowers?

One thing that kinda bothers me is people keep saying Buffy now has superpowers. She already had superpowers. Now she has exponentially prefixy superpowers, k? Even Meltzer says "Now Buffy has powers" and all I can think is she already had powers.

I think my favorite part of writing this series has been the variety of genres we're able to tackle with each issue.

Yes. This is why I love BtVS.

I just couldn't shake one thought and that was: Man, I just feel bad for Joss. In the end, this is his story.

Completely agree.

Great interview. I'm enjoying reading Meltzer's thoughts and I'm looking forward to #34 which by his own words he describes as Buffy mythos heavy.

This question: Nrama: Since you're getting to write the big reveal of the "Big Bad," will there be anything left for Joss to do in the final arc of the season? made me laugh. Duh! Of course the finale will be the best part.
I'll probably look this over in Newbury Comics to see if the character who has been revealed to be Twilight can possibly justify their actions, especially their attempt to lobotomize Willow. (Everything else--the war against Buffy, the deaths, can perhaps be justified as "necessary because Buffy was screwing up the world" or whatever, but lobotomizing Willow was unnecessarily cruel.) Knowing the true identity of Twilight, I can't see any in-character justification for any of their actions (or even for the fact that they're wearing that silly costume) and for me at least this character has essentially been destroyed. (I don't want to say the character has Jumped the Shark as it's a rather trite term now--how about I just say the character has "Cyloned the Tigh".) If the comic manages to convince me in the store, I'll buy it. Judging by how out of character pretty much everyone has seemed over the course of this series though--stealing from Fort Knox? Really? Piloting submarines?--I have a feeling I'll be saving three bucks.

[ edited by Hellmouthguy on 2010-03-02 02:02 ]
It's a little annoying Emmie yeah, but on the other hand I think it speaks somewhat to or about the audience in an interesting way. I mean the fact it's simply taken as a given that the vampire slayer has some degree of powers, and it takes flying, super-speed, and the ability to pick up a train before we consider her "super-powered."

I can't tell if that means we're simply more willing to accept the extraordinary as fans of the show, comic book fans are more used to power inflation, or the TV show just didn't have the budget to distinguish that she's got super-strength rather than just good training.

Anyway, I am surprised how much I did enjoy this guy's first issue. I absolutely love Espenson, BKV, and Drew Goddard but this is the first issue in a really long time where I felt like there were stakes that I actually cared. (I do wonder if this is partially from having Twilight spoiled for me though since I'm so much more intrigued with the motivations rather than just who it was.)
You mean do I feel any pressure that I'm revealing the moment that people have waited nearly a decade of their lives for? That the whole series is built around?

Umm, a decade? I thought it was only three years we've been waiting. So is the reveal meant to explain something that wasn't explained in the show?

And I'm tired of people talking about character assassination before said character is even revealed.
I'll just be happy when I can finally talk about it without spoiling people. This whole, "knowing things and discussing a topic but not discussing everything because it's a spoiler" thing is kind of a drag.
Well, it feels like a decade...
It's been three years. I don't know how bad the math is, that's closer to a decade than I'd like.
It's somewhat typical of Joss' self-professed math suckage to equate 3 years to a decade, so maybe Meltzer picked up on that. :)

As far as "having superpowers," would you prefer it if they said "$*#@ing superpowers"? :) It is of course true that Buffy already had superpowers (super strength, speed, agility, instincts, prophetic dreams, ability to recognize that bursting into song was unnatural when the rest of the Scoobies except, oddly, Dawn, could rationalize it), but maybe in Meltzer's parlance they don't count the same way seemingly every comic book superhero's ability does?

Good interview.

It's a bit frustrating that even this issue will probably not explain Twilight's motivations--although at least I'll be able to talk to my unspoiled girlfriend about the identity.

Incidentally, it's not clear to me that Warren lobotomizing Willow was done with Twilight's approval. And even if it was...well, it certainly doesn't seem to me the worst thing Twilight has done/allowed to happen, as Willow is a lot guiltier than virtually any of the deaths, on either side, in "Retreat." Plus...I have a feeling that Twilight figured going in that it wouldn't take and Willow would come out okay, and so let Warren get his eye-for-an-eye (brain-for-some-skin)?
You mean do I feel any pressure that I'm revealing the moment that people have waited nearly a decade of their lives for?

Is he referring to the show as a whole and not just season 8?
Could he be referring from the time frame between the end of Season 7 and now? That would be pretty close to 7 years...
People, it could just be a hyperbole.
Incidentally, it's not clear to me that Warren lobotomizing Willow was done with Twilight's approval.

It isn't quite clear to me either. I asked Scott Allie to at least clear up that point in the last Q and A thread but he waved me off. But we do know that Warren works for Twilight, and we also know that Warren is a coward, and Twilight could eviscerate him. I don't see Warren sneaking around behind Twilight's back. But if Warren did find a way to do this behind Twilight's back, then that strikes me as a cop-out. Personally, my guess is that Joss thought it would be cooly villainous for Twilight to order Willow's lobotomization and he didn't really give it any thought beyond that. There are people out there who would think it's no big deal, considering that Twilight has killed people already. But knowing who Twilight is, I think it's a big deal for the character to be so needlessly, callously vicious, *especially* to Willow. A lobotomized Willow would devastate Buffy and her friends emotionally far more than a dead Willow would and Twilight was obviously going for the pain. But in doing so, the character has lost me.

And even if it was...well, it certainly doesn't seem to me the worst thing Twilight has done/allowed to happen, as Willow is a lot guiltier than virtually any of the deaths, on either side, in "Retreat." Plus...I have a feeling that Twilight figured going in that it wouldn't take and Willow would come out okay, and so let Warren get his eye-for-an-eye (brain-for-some-skin)?

I think it's the most out of character thing Twilight has done. As for Willow's guilt--no one deserves to have their mind and identity destroyed. It's a living death and it's worse than what Willow did to Warren. Twilight figuring that it wouldn't work and allowing Warren to have his fun is perhaps the worst possible explanation I can think of from a writing point of view, because it's a dramatic cop-out. These things occured, Twilight caused them, I hope the writers at least face that. But I'm worried that the lobotomization won't even be brought up and all Buffy and her pals will talk about will be the deaths--which I'm betting will be quickly forgiven. Unfortunately, all these chracters--Buffy, Willow, Xander, Giles and more--went off the rails for me over the last two seasons of the show and I haven't actually believed in them since. Season eight, for me, is a continuation of stories I wish had never been told.
Hyperbole? Nah...I reject that! Reject it, I say! All phrases must be LITERAL!!!!!

And if they're not, then my temper will make me go nuclear.
Part of me almost wishes that a character we care about - no one major like Xander or Willow, more on the level of Satsu or Andrew - had been killed by Twilight so as to give a face to his victims. It's one thing to say "Twilight killed all these people, he's so evil" but it's another to say " killed Satsu".
It's one thing to say "Twilight killed all these people, he's so evil" but it's another to say " killed Satsu".

That's my problem with the lobotomy thing. Try saying " attempted to have Willow lobotomized." It's an evil and spiteful and unjustifiable act and I just don't see the character coming back from that.
Respectfully disagree with you, Hellmouthguy -- at least for the moment. Given some of the previous behavior and known motivations of the character you mentioned, I think it's an act of which he/she/it could easily prove capable under the right circumstances, and which he/she/it might well be able to mount a defense of, from his/her/its perspective. (I wish we had a nice, easy English pronoun that included all gender and being possibilities so I didn't have to deal with awkward linguistic constructions.) It would certainly be an evil act...but not necessarily spiteful or unjustifiable.

The following justificatory paragraph, which includes spoilers, has been invisotexted:

However, this may all be moot anyway. I think it more likely that Twilight didn't order anything to happen to Willow, and is simply willing to tolerate Warren's behavior -- for the moment -- in order to make sure that the overall plan doesn't unravel.
Respectfully disagree with you, Hellmouthguy...

What it all comes down to is lobotomization versus killing. I agree with your defense of the character's previous actions, but they beg the question: why didnít Twilight just kill Willow? Instead, she was nearly lobotomized, which isn't about saving the world from her magic, but instead about taking her off the board in the way that causes the most pain to Buffy. It's unneccessarily cruel--in fact it's vicious--and it's the cruelty of that act, versus the simple expediency of just killing her instead, which I take issue with. And if Twilight is willing to tolerate Warren having that level of autonomy then Twilight has lost control. I hope that isn't the case, but I agree it seems likely. It would also be a supreme dramatic cheat, and a dodge of the consequences of the character's actions. Attacks on Buffy's grunts is one thing--I could believe Twilight allowing Warren some latitude there. But attacks on her inner circle, on her closest friends--I have to believe Twilight personally authorizes those. Either way, Twilight, like the rest of season eight, just isn't working for me, but I'll flip through the book in the store as always and hope to be pleasantly surprised.

(edited to eliminate potential Twilight hints)

[ edited by Hellmouthguy on 2010-03-02 19:11 ]
Fair enough. As I said, I only disagree for the moment. We'll see whether Twilight can justify his/her/its actions soon enough, and I'll be as interested in the explanation as you. If the explanation isn't a good one, I agree the character could be irreparably damaged by the revelation.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go and start inventing a gender/being-neutral possessive pronoun. Initial testing has "huts" in the lead, but there's still much research and revision to be done.
Lobotomizing Willow wasn't necessarily Twilight's plan. Nor involving Willow, necessarily. We know that General Voll was involved with Twilight, from the scar on his chest. We know that it was Voll's men who found Amy and Warren trapped in the crater. We know that Voll wanted to bring Buffy down, because her agenda didn't jive with "American" values. Amy and Warren wanted revenge. Voll allowed them to carry out their vengeance plan, as long as they brought Buffy down. The plan was to use Willow as bait. But since she was already captive, Warren decided he wanted to toy with her a little, cut up his new dolly and see her bleed. None of this is necessarily a plan that Twilight hatched. In fact it's so crude that it probably doesn't even fit with his MO. We don't even know what Twilight's plan really is yet, aside from a vague notion of possibly ending magic.
It seems that Twilight's more interested in Buffy, then the Slayer army, as is always the case. The plan to capture Buffy seemed prematurely executed anyway... Twilight was still watching her when this all went down.
But hey, Twilight has shown since then that he's willing to do what it takes to take down Buffy's inner circle. He pitted Giles and Faith against Roden and Gigi. The outcome seems to be unfavorable, but I guess that will have to make sense in retrospect. He does seem to have a plan for the two right now, and I doubt it's just plain old execution. Too many theatrics just for a simple death...
Obviously Willow doesn't deserve to be lobotomized. But then I don't think Warren deserved to be flayed alive either. And I think "at least Willow left Warren's brain alone!" was pretty cold comfort to Warren when she tortured and flayed him. I guess my different reaction is that I don't see lobotomization as worse than death--I see it as roughly equivalent. And the amount of pain seems to be the same. So I don't see a huge difference between what Will did to Warren or what Warren did to Willow. I like Willow more and think she's a better person overall. But in terms of pure deeds? Nah.

This hair-splitting is because I see Twilight as, possibly, being about wanting to balance the scales. If that's the case, letting an eye-for-an-eye, pound of flesh (heh) bit of revenge take place would seem to be his M.O., even if the crudeness, as wenxina pointed out, doesn't.

As far as Twilight himself,

One more thing: if Twilight knew it wouldn't work and he let Warren have his fun, that's not a cop-out to me, because it still means he let Warren have his fun, with no greater purpose. Which means that Twilight is still very guilty for it--more guilty, in fact, for the torture, since it comes with no end point.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2010-03-02 21:03 ]
This hair-splitting is because I see Twilight as, possibly, being about wanting to balance the scales.

That's an intriguing theory, WilliamTheB. It doesn't save Twilight, or in fact season 8, for me, but it at least makes a bit of thematic sense. However:

Hellmouthguy, I mostly agree. Specifically though:

Or, there is always the explanation that it doesn't have to make sense thematically as long as it has maximal 'shock' value.
WilliamTheB and Hellmouthguy:

Invisotext is FUN!
Or, there is always the explanation that it doesn't have to make sense thematically as long as it has maximal 'shock' value.

You've given me flashbacks to when I screamed abuse at the telly when I saw the season 6 ending.

Invisotext is FUN!

Fortuntately it goes out the window tomorrow.
I don't care. I'm still invisotexting EVERYTHING. It actually is kinda fun. :-D

[EDIT: Damn, forgot to invisotext this. So...]

[ edited by BAFfler on 2010-03-03 00:21 ]

This is all so obvious- that what is happening is because the one involved is trying to do the right thing to save the world. Which means this is not it. Come up with a different explanation, because this one is too obvious and has no resonance. Even if it is all about ending the slayer line and returning power to a single girl.
Well, except "trying to do the right thing" is not equal to "doing the right thing." If Twilight thinks he's saving the world, there's still the big possibility that he's wrong, and it was his hubris that led him to believe he was right. That has resonance to me anyway.
I thought Warren and Amy intended to catch Buffy and Willow was just a convenient accident. Mystical bycatch, if you will.

I agree with WilliamTheB that doing horrible things with righteousness is pretty compelling stuff.
OR, the right thing is the wrong thing. There's always a question of pragmatism versus morality.

Personally, I think it's far more subversive and interesting if Twilight is right. Because that forces Buffy to question something she never seems to have to question, is SHE even doing the right thing or has her blind faith in herself led her to a bad end. She wouldn't be the first person in history that's happened to.

The reason I doubt is that there is a big possibility of wrecking the charecter that way. It could be done correctly and not wreck the charecter, but it would be tricky (it would be OH so interesting). And some people would not be able to process Buffy as being wrong on a major point. I think when Joss talked about Season 6 in hindsight, he felt the biggest reason people had problems with it stemmed from Buffy seemed disconnected and unsure, so maybe doing that again a different way puts him in the position of putting readers through that which isn't something he wants.

[ edited by azzers on 2010-03-03 02:42 ]
I agree, azzers. It would be awesome if Buffy was wrong and turned out to be the unwitting villain of the season herself. If that's the case, though, I have no idea why Twilight had to go to such extreme measures to make her realize it. Given who Twilight is, certainly he/she/it could have just *talked* to her. Oh well. I suppose we'll know more tomorrow.
Just think: in less than 24 hours we will no longer have to keep Twilight's identity such a secret anymore. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!!

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