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"To coin a popular Sunnydale phrase, 'duh'!"
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September 02 2010

(SPOILER) The uncensored Buffy #37 cover art. Jo Chen's artwork gets revealed in full. Big spoilers if you haven't yet read Buffy #36.

Wow, that cover is just creepy scary, which I think is the point. *g* I can't wait to see how The Master is back.
It is pretty creepy, but the other version is more haunting.
Creeptastic. She's under his spell.
Right back to the beginning.
Is Buffy holding something or is that just hand-on-heart worried pose?
"...lives altered."

Oh there is so gona be some resetting going down here.

Canon's getting a face lift.
Yes,The Master looks very menacing.I still want to know how he's back though.
I haven't read #36 yet but couldn't resist: my reaction was to whisper out loud: "oh my titting god". Need #36. Need. Now.
Heinrich Joseph Nest, we've not missed ye.

Hey, maybe it's (and I'm being half-serious here) The "Hamster" from the Wishverse.
That is one great cover.
It could be the Wishverse Master...did they ever specifically explain why it was only vampWillow who came back in "Dopplegangland" ? Was it simply because it was Willow helping Anya with the spell ? That's what I always assumed and I suppose the implication is enough.

The Master coming back that way would set a potentially annoying precedent though (just like how anyone can potentially be brought back from magical deaths, without them coming back wrong/zombified). vampXander, Wishverse Angel, Buffy, Giles, Larry, Oz...how many others. I don't think it'll be a Wishverse explanation. If it's just The Master, he could've learned what happened to him in the regular Buffyverse, watched Buffy closely, and planned around it, maybe.

I don't mean to start anything with this observation and it's not really a complaint, but a comment in the link's comment section reminded me that we haven't had an original main villain since Season 5 (Glory). Does that feel a bit strange to anyone else ? And with Twilight and The Master, it's the same deal as Seasons 6 and 7. Old villains emerging as greater threats.
The past always comes back to bite you after all. Plus, The Master seems very fitting given the arc titles. First being "The Long Way Home" and the last('s alternate title) "Sunnydale".

That said...are we sure this Master is alive? Is there, like, some sort of afterlife hell for vamps and maybe that's where he is, beneath the hellmouth('s remains)?
As far as the Wishverse thing goes, Vamp Willow was the only one to show in Sunnydale because the powder poured on our Willow, the "representation" of the Vamp Willow that was pulled out of the dimensions (rather than Anya's necklace, which was the original target). So if the crumbs of the Master's bones are still around somewhere, that might be a possibility.

Until I saw the full cover of the next issue, I though that the image of the Master with the egg thingy was in the past, and it was just something he'd planted there during his 60+ year time in the Hellmouth.
Boy, when Joss said he was going back to the beginning, he wasn't kidding.
I'm excited, partly because this is a nice trip back to Buffy's origins! I thought The Master was underutilized and underwhelming during the first season as a result of Whedon still trying to get a feel for the direction of the series. To see the Master as the biggest badass on Season 8 is to hopefully see his full potential as Buffy's nemesis fulfilled.
And my take is different. I have been thinking about this. So, we now know the Master is involved. So what? How does that give us any information that actually fits with the story that has been told.? It could have just as easily been Glory or the Mayor and I don't think it would make a bit of difference. The Master was part of S1, and tried to come back to this world, only to be defeated in the end; he again tried and was ground to dust. There is no reason he should be back, not from the story anyway. And this story is 4 years and 36 issues old! His return tells us nothing that we could have learned by reading the story. There is simply no way to see this, and to hold this over us for such a long period is just cruddy story telling. It right now makes no sense. And there are only 3 issues left. This is like watching all of S2 and not knowing that Angel was involved until the end. I never thought Joss could write bad stories- I did not like Dollhouse, but it was, until the end, coherent; but this, this is just unlinked from logical consistency. It does not add up. Maybe somehow it will in the remaining 3 issues, but there sure cannot be any emotional resonance. Has Joss lost his mojo?
Well, maybe we'll get some space-f**king with the Master... that'd be different.
In space no one can hear you orgasm. Which begs the question, if no one can hear it, did it happen?
Oh baxter, please don't give them ideas!
And further- ohmigosh, I am on a roll- all of the sudden the Master, a powerful vampire who by all accounts is dead and dust, can take over and direct the entire US Army and influence popular culture so that vamps are accepted? Huh? And use Angel to help him do this? What?
We should consider ourselves pretty darn lucky to be graced on this board with so many folks who are either smarter than Joss, or able to tell a story better than he can.

I'm sorry, this is Whedonesque opposed to Whedonsuks, right?
It gets to be all kinds of Whedon, the pro and the con. The indifferent even (I guess they don't bother to post?). If you don't like the way the conversation's going, try and made a constructive point rather than a sarcastic jab against other posters. And by try I mean do.

And yes this is a warning to all, there has been too much nastiness in threads lately. You don't have to be positive about the comics but you do have to not take things to a personal level.
Oh God, baxter, that was just ... sick and wrong. But also hilarious. :-)
Dana said:
"There is no reason he should be back, not from the story anyway."

But...how do we know that, after he was only just reintroduced. We don't know the reasons for why he is able to be back and in this case, perhaps it's much too early to be able to see the thematic reasons for using The Master again. He terrorized Buffy at the beginning of her time in Sunnydale, managed to kill her and twist the knife of irony just before he did so, the prospect of haunting her further was put to good use in Season 2's premiere, he killed her in the Wishverse as well (and due to "The Harvest" happening in that alternate dimension, he and his Order seemed like a credible threat in what they'd managed to do to the town in three season's worth of alternate-Buffy's absence), and he's the originator of pretty much all the important vamps in the franchise (though, granted, he had nothing to do with Spike and Dru as far as we know, barely met Angel, and only really mattered to Darla). What he might represent to Buffy (fear personified--regardless of the fact that she conquered it/him once--and evil nearly winning) could be put to good use, depending on what Joss is attempting in the end game here.

The story isn't bad or flawed simply because the answers or the clues to the answers are withheld from the audience until the 11th hour. We don't always require the device of the gun from Act 1 that needs to go off, or at least be referenced again, by the final act (to be fair, maybe there's some indication earlier in Season 8 for this ? I'd need a re-read).

"This is like watching all of S2 and not knowing that Angel was involved until the end."

I'm fine with last-act/arc turnabouts if they make sense, maybe The Master will, but you might have a point here, we'll see. Then again, Adam in Season 4, Caleb in Season 7, and wrathful Willow at the very end of Season 6, they were all villains who were introduced pretty late into the game, though there were hintings and developments leading up to the first and last. In Adam's case, the tease of room 314 for much of the season and in Willow's case, a building fuse of magic abuse over a couple years, lit by Tara's death, and just the fact that she's an original main character. But as a villain/serious threat, she was right at the end of the Season just like Caleb and The Master in Season 8 and no one knew ahead of time that the nerds were going to be displaced as the main adversaries before season's end.

I don't want the writer to be barred from providing potentially well-played and genuinely surprising out-of-left-field reveals due to the perceived need for forshadowing and obvious lead-up. Perhaps (we're all hoping, at least) The Master and whatever thematic elements surround him, whatever relevance he has to the story, will be worthy of discussion and a point in favor of Season 8 in retrospect (or even within the next issue or two).

It does not add up. Maybe somehow it will in the remaining 3 issues, but there sure cannot be any emotional resonance.

Keep following your train of thought to lead you to yet more open-mindedness regarding how it could end up. You say that it does not add up, but allow that maybe it will within the remaining issues. Then you sound convinced that it cannot have any emotional resonance and...maybe it will because the story's not over with, right ?

I know, I know, some cynics and those who've been heavily critical of Season 8 might be rolling their eyes and thinking along the lines of, "Boy, hope springs eternal with some of you". Not in my case. I'm just being realistic.

[ edited by Kris on 2010-09-03 07:49 ]
I think the story arc is doing just fine.

And, I'm still amazed by Jo Chen's work. The way it actually follows the line and character...wonderful work!
Kris: I certainly do not deny that it might make sense when it all ends, but that was not my point, and I apologize if it was not clear. What I am saying is that, given what we have read so far, it does not add up. In the existing issues, there is nothing there to suggest the Master was behind this; ergo, in my estimation, there is also no emotional resonance to the story, since it could just as well have been any past big bad- for the story as it has so far been told. I think, personally, that to stretch out the explanation for his involvement to this point is bad writing. There are structural problems to this tale. Now, might it all make sense in 3 more issues? Yes, it might. You offer up some well-considered comments on his return- but of course they are only conjecture and might be completely wrong, since from the story itself we cannot support what you say, not factually- only by interpretation, which is, of course, reader response............ ****waiting for the crush of negative comments directed at me for saying that**** :-)

I also have no desire to disallow writers from a last-minute surprise or reveal. But it has to make sense. It has to fit in with everything that came before. Try as I might, given what we know about the Master and what we know of him (ground to dust, never had really cosmic desires, but wanted to return and rule again), this entire glowing egg/cosmis frakking/Angle is Twilight story does not hang with that, again, based on the tale as it exists. To me, anyway. Like you, I hope it ends well, storywise; I am less sanguine it will. But I do hope I am wrong, believe me. If in the end this resonates with me, I will tell it to everyone, no joke. I take no pleasure in my displeasure, despite the comments directed at me for voicing that displeasure.
I don't know. With Buffy's new superpowers how is the Master supposed to be in any way scary or threatening. She beat him when she was a 16 year old baby slayer!

Maybe there will be glowhypnol. Now that I've gotten used to the idea that could actually be kind of funny. Wouldn't be any more unpleasant for me than the Bangel anyway.
So, no one else thinks Buffy looks like she's only about thirteen? I guess it's just me then. I was wondering if maybe she's supposed to be her fifteen year old self on the cover because I don't think she looks like she's twenty-two.
I agree with you Xane, the Bangel is disturbing and I also agree with you, BreathesStory, the artwork makes Buffy look like she's a kid, which makes the Bangel antics look really disturbing. But, I just wanted to put in my 2 cents on the last issue which I just got and read yesterday...Major disappointment. Yes, I can accept that Spike doesn't get the girl, but for crying out loud, could we have had just one or two panels of a nice reunion between Buffy and Spike? All this time I have been waiting for Buffy to learn that Spike was still alive...we didn't even get that. What a major cheat for all us Spuffy fans. Would it have been so hard for Buffy to say "gee, it's good to see you" instead of Bangel moments leading right into Buffy nagging at Spike. I have never felt so let down.
The artwork is spectacular! Totally blown away by it!
Just my opinion, but there almost seems to be a meaness in the way Joss addreesses Spike fans through his treatment of that character. I don't think I'm imagining it. It makes it all seem a little petty and less like storytelling than a fan/creator dialogue in story form. That's not all. The whole story has stopped being, in a word, charming, in any way - and it was charming at one point, it really was - a lot. Yeah, and I'm having trouble with the morality worm cans too. But especially the charming - I mourn the charming. Heck, I mourn everything.
@cmbackshane: Did you mean to post in the #36 discussion thread instead of here?
Let's try to steer this away from shippy territory (ewww Bangel! ewww Spuffy!) and especially away from conspiracy theories about Joss hating Spike or fans (?!) and using the comics to grind an axe about it.
Just my opinion, but there almost seems to be a meaness in the way Joss addreesses Spike fans through his treatment of that character.


I couldn't disagree more and I'm a huge Spike fan. Spike was written brilliantly in this issue. I've been excited for Joss writing Spike again for years now and he didn't disappoint. BRILLIANT.
I don't know. With Buffy's new superpowers how is the Master supposed to be in any way scary or threatening. She beat him when she was a 16 year old baby slayer!

And he killed her when she was a 16 year old Slayer terrified of dying at 16. He's pretty scary, despite being a sometimes hokey old-school vampire.
Hokey... but basically the source of about 2/3 of Buffy's real boy problems.
And the first guy to give her a permanent hickey. That's gotta stick with a girl. Older guy macking on you in the sewer... can we say complex? :P
I was just asking myself, when was Buffy ever just a 16 year old baby anything? That "girl" is what makes Buffy so amazing. If you are old enough to willingly die to save the world, you are old enough not to be considered a baby, imho.
Heck, in less than a year from that point, this baby slayer shows us exactly what she is made of when she has no friends, no hope and no weapons. It was always enough, more than enough even!

Totally agree about The Master, he was super scary and managed to scare Buffy quite a lot. More than anyone I think, which is understandable, since he is the one that killed her.

Wexina..we could also say gross! There is older...and then there is loose baggy floppy Clem skin old.
Now I see the relevance of the permanent hickey from #34.

The general thought was a remembrance of the GD2 bite, but in fact all the vampires with a taste for Buffy are showing up in reverse bite order: Dracula, Angel and now The Master. I don't know what this means (thrall, love, fear)
The point was comparing her then at 16 to now, with super powers. She defeated him then, so should be able to swat him like a fly now. Unless he got powered up with glowhynol as well.
Yeah, I get that. I think it's also important to consider the emotional resonance though. The psychology of the big Buffy villains is at least as important as their power/skills, if not more so. Plus this is a super-powered arc. The formerly dead bad guy who pops up as a focal point is going to be pretty damn capable.
@anca: Buffy's basically been tasted at least three times now by three different vampires. First, the Master. Then Angel. Then Dracula. And hey, all three have appeared in S8. When I first read #34, I thought it was in reference to Angel's previous bite. I still do, but in hindsight, it could also be in reference to the Master's bite.

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