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September 15 2010

(SPOILER) Buffy #39 variant cover and info. As seen on

twist on vampire slayer, i like it.
I wonder if the giant cross in the background symbolises Giles' death... or if his menacing look means that he's the real villain after all!
Does that image somehow bring back "Prophecy Girl" to anyone else?
This issue promises big casualties and, most likely, the betrayal. So if Giles gets to feature alone on the variant one assumes he plays a part in one of these things or quite possibly both. We know he was looking all season for a totem that could kill Buffy so he could very well betray her. We also had a reference in ToYL to the "last great Watcher Gates" dying in a battle at Starbucks. When asked if that could come up in S8 Allie said "there was room." So, I could really see it going either way here.

It looks like Giles is standing in the rubble of The Bronze which is cool and he looks badass with the crossbow and stake.

Wexina, now that you mention it he's standing almost exactly like Buffy does in the sewer tunnels. There's that pretty iconic shot of Buffy looking back behind her with the crossbow raised. Nice observation, especially with The Master back in play!

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-09-15 15:25 ]
@vampmogs: That's the iconic image I was referencing, yes. :)
I recently drew that shot, so it's very ingrained in memory at the moment.

Re: the totem, I asked Allie about it in a recent SlayAlive interview.

SlayAlive: The Scythe... it's kinda been on and off in terms of importance over the course of the season, but #34 brought it back to the fore when there was a panel of it just sitting there when Giles was saying that he needed to find a totem to kill a god. In your Buffyfest interview, you mentioned that Spike's coming back with more knowledge about the whole Twilight deal than anyone so far, and that he helps Giles understand certain things that Giles only half understood before. This may be completely spoiler-ish, but does the Scythe feature in this bit at all? For that matter, will we learn more about the Scythe in general?

Scott Allie: The Scythe has something to do with it, yeah. There won't be time to learn more about the Scythe in S8, although it will be significant to what happens in the remaining issues. The juxtaposition you're refering to is a little more complicated than it appears on the surface—it seems plain as can be, what he's saying there, but you don't know exactly what that's really about yet. It does pull together by the end of the story, though. Boy, that was vague. Sorry.

Going from that, I think Allie was hinting that the Scythe could kill a god, but it's not Buffy. In fact, in hindsight, there is another character other than Buffy (or Angel), whose mortal status has been in question before: Willow. And hey, "ToYL"...
Whoa Giles! That's a very good look for you! Seriously.

Wenxina, it's totally the Prophecy Girl shot! Good eye!
The violent look on Giles' face could suggest that he does the betraying, but the parallel to Buffy in S1 could indicate that he's doing it for good reasons...? This is interesting.
He's gonna kill the baby universe?

At the battle of the Starbucks?

[ edited by anca on 2010-09-15 16:03 ]

Going from that, I think Allie was hinting that the Scythe could kill a god, but it's not Buffy. In fact, in hindsight, there is another character other than Buffy (or Angel), whose mortal status has been in question before: Willow. And hey, "ToYL"...

Ohh! On the S7 DVD Extras Joss talks about that moment in the writing room when he has a "Ohh, that's the thing!" moment. Well, that was the feeling I had when I read your post. That's so brilliant that it kinda made my head spin :)

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-09-15 16:02 ]
The penultimate issue!

I thought there was going to be 41 issues?
Nope. A while back Allie said that it could go up to 41 but they seem to have settled on 40 for quite some time now :)
@vampmogs: Sorry to give you Exorcist neck cricks. :)

@Simon: It was probably going to be 41 issues at one point, because they thought that Meltzer's arc was going to be an issue longer. But that didn't happen, so back at 40 issues, excluding one-shots.
Thanks to both of you :). Do we know if the last issue will have the normal page count?
Doesn't sound like it'll be any different so far (at least I haven't heard anything about it being special in terms of page count). But apparently, the main story wraps up mostly in #39 (this issue), and #40 is a denouement issue of sorts, which will apparently set the stage for S9.
Very ominous cover.
So, if I'm following lines of speculation correctly, we're thinking Giles is going to betray Buffy and die?

Anyone else NOT PLEASED?

I mean, good narrative, sure, and it'd really give the story gravitas but GILES. DEAD.

SA seemed to have said Faith and Giles will be in S9, so , from this perspective it is unlikely that Giles is the great Watcher Gates who would die in the battle of Starbucks. It is also unlikely that he is the betrayer - if only because this will mean that Faith will approve what he would do. Anything is possible , of course, but there are two more watchers in S8, and I now tent to tilt Andrew, for some reason.
And hey, this may not even be the full cover. Another cropped cover is possible.
Badass is as always a good look for Giles. I don't think he'll be the one to betray Buffy.
So, if I'm following lines of speculation correctly, we're thinking Giles is going to betray Buffy and die?

I don't think it is established or hinted that the betrayer is going to die?

As for a possibility that Giles is that betrayer, it would not surprise me a bit. That's probably why he is not :)
dorotea, I think Andrew's safe--he's the storyteller, and on the back of Chosen it would seem strange. I don't think anyone's that primed for death, except maybe Riley or someone, just to have a dramatic beat and thin the herd.

On the other hand, I think Giles' death could if anything, be one of the things that finally repair the Buffy/Giles relationship. It's been so fractured and strange for so long, I love Giles, but it'd almost be nice if he made a big sacrifice. And maybe that is precisely the betrayal. A betrayal can also be selfless it just depends on the point of view, i.e. Twilight. It could be as simple as disobeying an order she makes, for her own good.
Well, since the accidental leaks, I've noticed most of the spoilers have started trending toward Jo Chen's covers, so I'd hold off on thinking spoilery things about this one. I could be wrong about that, just speaking off the cuff. If they've gone from referencing comic covers to referencing similar movies to referencing Buffy S1 I would say the imagery speaks perhaps to Giles defeating the villain (but possibly dying, but also possibly coming back).

I think the thing about the Scythe killing Willow is dead-on, and I think despite the Xander and Dawn cover, my bet is still on Willow being the betrayer, given the universe Fray is set in and Willow's being alive and her guilt. She needed Buffy to kill her, and I'm thinking it's a combination of her guilt and (now that you've brought it up) perhaps the Scythe being the only thing that can kill her, perhaps after she uses it once again to do something major... Like banishing all magic and magical creatures from the Earth.

I dunno, but 'last great watcher' is so Andrew-ish - it reminds me a lot about the lectures he gave to his squad and it is funnily appropriate, in a sarcastic kind of way. Also Wells and Gates sort of click - Wells being the last name of the famous sci-fi writer as well ( Herbert G.) the creator of War of the Words , if you recall.
Someone tweeted us to say

@whedonesque there is an error in the new variant cover. the bronze sign is the old one. when sunnyd was destroyed the sign had a new look

Or it could be more proof that the comic book takes place well before the events of Chosen.
Well cripes, what if it takes place before "Welcome to the Hellmouth"?

Actually, the more I think about it, the more the voice, the font, and the Master thing ends up screaming the First to me. This is now, but they have to go back to the First to retrieve the seed of whatever.
Very cool look for Giles but this cover gives me the wiggings or whatever Buffy & co used to say all the time. The Prophecy Girl pose (great eye, wenxina) made me think of history being rewritten.

Anyway, I'm scared. And it's great!
@PuppetDoug: Scott already confirmed this is definitely The Master, not The First (any any other falsification).
Well cripes, what if it takes place before "Welcome to the Hellmouth"?

What if Giles becomes The Master?
Didn't Buffy have a dream similar to that? Season 2 maybe? We didn't see many dreams of hers that weren't prophetic or mystical in some way.
pulzer - it was in "When She Was Bad." In the episode, though, it seemed pretty clear that she wasn't being prophetic but rather that her dream was more like a normal one - an expression of her subconscious inability to deal with her death at the hands of the Master.
Someone tweeted us to say

@whedonesque there is an error in the new variant cover. the bronze sign is the old one. when sunnyd was destroyed the sign had a new look

Or it could be more proof that the comic book takes place well before the events of Chosen.

Or that it's just the cover and therefore it doesn't matter if it's the old Bronze sign or the new one, as it may not be depicting a canonical scene in the comic itself. Angel is staking Buffy on the trade paperback cover for "Twilight" -- is that an error since it didn't happen in the course of the show/comics? Of course not.

[ edited by Waterkeeper511 on 2010-09-15 21:23 ]
My impression is that we're done with time travel now. Time travel was dealt with in the Fray arc, but now this is all the real deal. So while people might be pulled into the game through portals, they're not time traveling to the past. Hence why we're looking at the wreckage of Sunnydale in all these little glimpes. It makes sense--there's more resonance to the story if this is the here and now. We get to truly see what the events of Chosen have wrought. Post-apocalyptic is always appealing.

I'm loving how prominent it appears Giles will be in the finale. I've been underwhelmed after his portrayal and characterization in Twilight as well as his absence from most of the action for a large chunk of the season, so this looks promising. I'm also hoping for payoff on Ethan's involvement and his death in relation to Giles. Yes.

Great observations about how Giles is posting as Buffy did in Prophecy Girl. He's going down into the belly of the beast--is he a sacrifical lamb or will he rise triumphant?
Ahem, the Wish, Doppelgängland, and Normal Again were never supposed to be related to time travel either. There are a lot of arguments and essays written - but supposedly alternate timelines are not time travel.
Yes, alternate dimension hopping isn't time travel in the sense of going into the future or the past, but rather jumping sideways dimensionally (more time&space, than just time). The possibility of time travel was being explored in relation to traveling back into the past--that's what I was addressing.

Depending on how you read Normal Again, that too can be seen as a delusion of the mind, but even then I'd more call it an alternate reality a person can slip into rather than time travel. As for The Wish, I also wouldn't call that time travel, but an alternate reality that displaced the former reality.

Alternate realities =/= traveling into the past or the future.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-09-15 22:18 ]
Giles a s father-figure; "A girl can only really grow up after she loses a father or leaves an Archie." What the heck. (And yes I know the quote isn't accurate.)
but supposedly alternate timelines are not time travel.

'Birthday' had both.
Another worthwhile distinction: time travel where it's just your consciousness that takes a ride. I'd say it's different how Buffy travels to the future in Time of Your Life (both mind and body) compared to how Cordy traveled mentally/spiritually/what-have-you in Birthday (while her body was left behind). Then there's also the possibility that what Cordy witnessed was a complete illusion--she could've been walking around a very convincing Holodeck or seeing this world through a dreamstate--it's not like Skip is entirely trustworthy considering his motives in working for Jasmine.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-09-15 22:41 ]
To be technical, either all alternate dimension stories are "time travel" stories or none of them are. "Normal Again", though... how did that even get in the conversation? There was no time travel, no alternate dimension -- just a hallucination. Even if you think the asylum was real, it was *still* a story about a hallucination.

I love it. Giles has had far to little to do in season 8, not to mention the last seasons of the show itself. Any panel time with him is always welcome. He better not die though. :(
Word Kaan. Please don't kill Giles. :(
Heh... the page for the Chen cover is up in now, but there is no image. Boo to that.
Looks like it's spelling 'Bronze' behind Giles? Maybe? Has anyone else noticed that?
Nope. Not at all. ;)
DaddyCatAlso, i'm glad you quoted that, it was a sweet film, thanks for the reminder!

Uhm, in reference to the Prophecy Girl pose, remember Giles was the one who was gonna go and kill the Master instead of Buffy? Think this is gonna finish that attempt once and for all?
I was thinking, if Buffy hadn't gone to the Master in PG, sticking to her "I quit" stance, Giles would have gone and, most surely, died in her place. But without the Slayer's blood, the Master couldn't rise, so he would have remained stuck underground all this time. That's another alternate Master who, like the Wishverse one, could be very much alive.
I also say don't kill him! I do have a thing for vampire Giles and The Lost Slayer, but I still want him alive lol

The part about banishing all the magic, the Fray setup, now immediately pushes my mind toward Merlin and ASH's current character lol. *envisions Uther going "I totally love you!!!!" to Willow if she does banish it, or whoever banishes it* lol

[ edited by GilesQueen on 2010-09-16 15:42 ]
Why do alternate dimension stories have to be lumped in with 'time-travel' ones KoC? I get the technicalities of time and space in what you're saying, but narratively the two devices can have rather different impacts on a story. Mostly in that AU stories don't have much chance of affecting current story/arc (which in my opinion makes AU stories interesting, but kinda riskless), and time-travel is all about plot (not always but in my brain it should be, I mean we are talking someone's personal future here!).
Official solicitation for December has been released. Check it out HERE. Interestingly enough, neither cover is included in the solicitation.
Yes I saw that, I wonder why if TFAW getting the Jeanty cover was a mistake.
Either that, or they ran the cover by mistake. The Dark Horse website doesn't have either image up. Curiouser and curiouser.

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