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October 07 2010

(SPOILER) Cover art and info for the final issue of Buffy Season 8. The fortieth issue will be out in January.

When will season 9 start?
Middle of next year?

I'm guessing that's not all of the Jeanty cover on display. Love how Jo Chen's cover bookends her issue 1 cover art.
The parade of possible betrayers on Jeanty's cover? Spike and Dawn are missing.
Dawn is there. Just not as Dawn the person.
Shiny... and why is Angel not smoking? He should not be uber at this point. But I suppose Jeanty's covers never come true or even supposed to be real - his 37 cover was totally bogus.

[ edited by dorotea on 2010-10-07 22:45 ]
What did Buffy break off the end of her scythe in? Or who?
Oh my gosh... Chen's cover is just poetic... the way it shows the progression from the confident Buffy in the issue #1 cover to this defeated semblance of our slayer.
Everyone's wearing black...
Seconding the theory that that's not all of Jeanty's cover. Unless I'm missing it, his signature's missing.

Love Chen's. It's heartbreaking to look at, but it's amazing and love the call-back to issue one.
That said...if the scythe gets so beaten up, what happens to repair it before Fray's time? Or is it symbolic of the death of slayer-hood?

As to Jeanty's cover...kinda reminds me of the funeral in Serenity. Wonder what it means that certain faces are present and others aren't...if anything at all. Potential mislead for previous issues?
I think this is actually all of it this time - the 36 cover did not have a sig either when it was posted. In any case - it does not mean to be taken literally. At this point Angel would be enjoying his freeze in Carbonite/Skinning alive or possibly being pinned to a rock while the gryphon eats his liver or something.
Were the #39 covers ever revealed? Other than part of the Chen version? I've lost track.
Were the #39 covers ever revealed? Other than part of the Chen version? I've lost track.

Ominous Giles is ominous.
I'm pretty sure that when this cover is released, Dawn will be on the cover and Giles will be gone. They're pushing the "Dawn is dying!" thing way, way too hard for it to happen.
Dawn is there. Just not as Dawn the person.

I didn't get that at first, but now I love that thought - it's poetic and beautiful.

I love these covers SO much.
Oh right! So many ominous covers. Thanks for that Simon.
Patxshand: Interesting idea. Wonder if cover alterations are possible on such a major scale. The Chen cover (the one with the mask on Angel) for 35 shows they plotted altered covers at least once. The counter though is that Giles and Faith being next to each other would make sense here. Hell, it flows with matched sets: Giles and Faith, Xander and Willow, Buffy and Angel. Still, interesting. Wondering where Spike's hiding though.
Dawn doesn't have to die, so to speak, for Dawn as we know her not to be there. What else is there to defeat the twilight except the dawn?
trunks- It's not really a major scale at all. All Jeanty would have to do is draw Giles and then edit him into the background over Dawn. IDW did way bigger stunts, having Franco drawing an entire panel of Vamp Angel so folks wouldn't catch on to Angel being human, as well as letting out a cover-quality Spike ad just to gag on the Twilight situation. It's super doable.
I've mentioned this before, but "twilight" refers to any period in-between day and night, including both dawn and dusk; more accurately, it refers to the time between dawn and sunrise, and dusk and sunset. As "dawn" and "twilight" are not opposites, I feel like everyone's taking this "dawn is the Key to defeating Twilight" thing a bit too far.
Is Spike back in the crater?
I like the idea of Dawn defeating twilight I really liked her character in season 7 and I would like for her to get her time to shine!
I love, love, love Jo Chen's cover. I want to get a print of this and put it up next to the print I have of the first cover. (Incidentally, she looks a lot more like SMG this time around, and she's also a lot buffer.) Love the split scythe.
I like how Jo Chen's cover mirrors her cover for issue 1.The Jeanty cover raises all kinds of interesting questions about who is not on the cover assuming it's not cropped.
@Beth: I had the same thought (about the prints).

@Water: Twilight, while meaning both, is typically used to refer to dusk...example being the fact that so many on these boards have taken it as such. True, it can mean both but a lot of folks don't realize that, so the dichotomy of dawn/twilight could remain in play. Much as I'd like Dawn to play a major role here though, I kinda think that's too obvious.
Maybe both Spike and Dawn end up dying in the final issue, thereby changing the course of history and away from the Fray timeline.
Three things:
1. On the Jeanty cover, everyone's wearing black.
2. No Spike or Dawn with the group.
3. The Jo Chen cover is the opposite to her first cover. This is Buffy in mourning, fallen from grace.

All very ominous.
Or perhaps Jeanty's cover means that everyone behind Buffy dies, which ties in with his cover for #37.
Bring it! Bring the pain!

Also, I LOVE the Jo Chen cover. I compared her first to this one, and Buffy's likeness is sharper, the emotion is greater, and the beautiful brushwork more apparent. Anyone agree that Jo ages like a fine wine? (What has it been, 4 years?)
Dawn's there in the dawn. Spike's absence is represented by the upright Sunnydale sign.
The covers are both beautiful. The Chen cover looks so much like Buffy that I'd like to have it hanging on my wall. The Georges cover Buffy looks like a younger version of herself.

No idea what any of it means. Which is also kinda beautiful. Never see Joss coming.
WilliamTheB: I didn't get the Spike being present by the sign standing up; I kind of just saw that they wanted to make sure we knew we were standing next to Sunnydale, but you could be right. Interesting idea.

cheryl: I agree, this is a stunning Jo Chen cover. Really, it looks like Buffy, but not only that, it looks like Buffy should look a year or two from the events of Chosen. As far as the Georges cover, to me, his renditions always look younger because of his style. Even Giles looks like a young-ish man in the comic. I have no problem with that, but it seems to be his style...semi-cartoonish, semi-realistic. I think it fits.
Gorgeous covers both. Chen's is poetic, and Jeanty's is reminiscent of the season 1 cast (-Cordy, +Faith).

A thought: Twilight = no magic; Dawn's existence = magic key. This could be a serious conflict. Either way, I'm sure the rest of the season will be gripping.
5X5B: I know what you mean. But the sign is so closely associated with Spike--he made it crash thrice.

Also the cover is a reference to the ending of Chosen. Buffy, Xander, Willow, Faith, and Giles were there standing over the crater, which the Sunnydale sign had fallen into, with Dawn. Here, Buffy, Xander, Willow, Faith and Giles are standing over what looks like flat terrain, with an upright Sunnydale sign, with Angel. They were side-by-side in Chosen, and in a line here. Also, now they're all wearing black.

So the swaps are Dawn <=> Angel, crater <=> flat, fallen sign <=> upright sign, and side-by-side <=> follow-the-leader.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2010-10-08 06:55 ]
I love the Chen cover so freakin’ much. It really shows just how far Chen has come when it comes to capturing Buffy’s likeness when you look at her Issue #1 cover (which doesn’t really resemble SMG all that much, IMO) and then you look at this one which is just spot on. I also love it because it was such an effective idea to show the toll this war has had on our Buffy. She looks so broken and sad :(

It’s just a great choice to bring everything full circle and it makes me all nostalgic for the series. I haven’t quite processed it yet that this is the finale Chen cover for S8, after 3 years.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-10-08 07:24 ]
Buffy looked very broken and sad for #37 also and nothing bad happen.

Probably after #39, when the Seed is destroyed, Dawn vanquishes and all the magic memories about Dawn fade away.
No Spike, I guess maybe Scott is gonna kill him off after all :p (No, he won't!)
Oooh - thoughts! Would Dawn go through in to the baby universe to close the magic off...keys lock as well as open! Would Xander go with her?
I doubt Spike will be killed off, 2 seasons in a row is kinda much. Plus he's only just arrived, we didn't get any backstory and closure with Buffy. I hope that by the end Angel has lost the superpowers, he doesn't deserve any kind of reward, not even the shanshu.
I think the most likely to die is Dawn, her death and how it came about could damage the core four in a big way.
(very) crazy thought but... what if all those characters are the casualties, obviously not all of them of the permanent kind and maybe not all of them of the physical kind. Heh, maybe season 9 is the big red herring and it's all going to end here (LOL, yes, I had my crazy flakes this morning...or, actually, my crazy pastries).

But I do think that Jeanty's cover has a very "farewell" feeling to it.

Also, I was thinking how all the various resolutions to the tv seasons were heavily foreshadowed during the course of those seasons. S2 and S5 stand out especially but I think it's true of all of them. So, shouldn't it be simpler to guess how it ends? Or maybe it's just "simple" in retrospect, like a good mystery.
The scythe Buffy is holding on the #1 JC cover is clearly different from the bruised and battered one she's holding on #40. Too much attention to detail? Or something else?
As long as they're not introducing multiple scythes like they potentially did in the IDW Angel comics, I won't let some minor detail discrepencies between Chen's #1 and #40 covers bother me (if they're going the multiple timelines route, I suppose there could be more than one scythe in play at once without it seeming like MacGuffin overkill. Wasn't there, during "Time of Your Life"/the Fray arc this season ? I forget if Buffy took it with her to the future).

Who else pulled out the first Season 8 issue to hold the images side by side ? Yeah, this one's beautiful. Chen's gotten the SMG-as-Buffy likeness down so well, with a marked improvement over the issue #1 attempt.

I don't like how Georges draws lines on the characters' faces, especially on covers. I appreciate the way he really attempts (and seems to always succeed) in getting noses right, the detailing is appreciated there. But I don't think it works to give the rest of the characters' faces dimension and shadow. Look at Willow's face. There's no need for that line down the right side of her face (our left). Imagine would look perfectly fine without it. Shadow and cheekbone definition could better be conveyed by the colorist's work, in this case. Same with the lines on Buffy's face. The lines on Angel's work better, the four diagonal lines on each side denoting cheekbones effectively, except I don't remember Boreanaz looking so gaunt/longer-faced, that's more James Marsters' territory.
Seeing Jo Chens cover and seeing Season 8 come full circle has made the highs and lows of the last four years totally worth it! Can't wait for the last three issues! Glad I stuck it out to the end!
Maybe the one who betrays Buffy is really Buffy herself.

I know how Joss likes to revisit old threads, and there was one old thread I find quite fascinating: Buffy once vowed when the apocalypse came, she would kill anyone who tried to harm Dawn, even to the point where Dawn's last sight would be Buffy protecting her. This was putting Dawn's needs and her own in front of everyone else. It was kinda selfish. Giles tried to make her understand this but Buffy wasn't listening.

Buffy's older now, more mature. The events around her have shaped her. She's a general, not just a lone warrior. She had to kill her best friend because Future Dark Willow forced her to do it, knowing the event would somehow change Buffy's perspective.

What if Buffy realizes she must kill Dawn in order to save the world, but unlike last time, she realizes she has to do it? Destroying the seed would do the trick. I could see Buffy on the ground crying, hating herself for betraying herself by betraying her sister.

[ edited by quantumac on 2010-10-08 15:32 ]
Hi-res versions of the covers can be found HERE now.
I don't think Buffy could willingly let Dawn die. I think she said otherwise at one point but I don't believe it. I don't think that's selfish, either. I do think Dawn would trade her life to save the world and the Scoobies, it if came down to that.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2010-10-08 15:43 ]
Hmmmm. Perhaps Dawn trades her life to save the world and Buffy lets her?
I think Twilight IS Dawn. Dawn is the beginning, and Twilight is what the dawn fades into. Look at Twilight's symbol:
a flat line -- the Earth. A circle, curtailing off -- that's hte dawn, fading away, and where it fades to is where Twilight begins.

Why would Joss just now suddenly have Xander and Dawn getting it on? So the set up of when Buffy ultimately has to stop all evil and thus destroying all magic, that would mean the death of Dawn, but Buffy being Buffy, she'll be sad about it, but she'll justify it somehow -- she's not the same Buffy who dove to her death in the S5 finale. And when she makes that decision, Xander will betray her and try to stop her to save Dawn.

A theory.
Those are both powerful covers. It's setting the bar high for what the story has to deliver. Two theories based on Jeanty's cover:

1. Spike is between Willow and Giles and is blacked out in order to not spoil the fact that something has happened to change vampire and slayers which results at least in vampires (or former vampires) being able to work on their tans. Angel doesn't reveal that cause we can guess that he's still super-Angel. But Spike would reveal it.

2. They are lined up in order of importance to Buffy. Spike comes after the Scoobies, but ahead of Giles and Faith. Angel is the one Buffy loved more than she will ever love anything in this world. Anyway, Angel is standing closest to Buffy, the season has been all about the Bangel, so Angel is the one. How can he betray her more? Buffy doesn't seem to be taking his Twilight gig as a betrayal at all. There's room for him to hurt her badly.
What if the shocker about the death isn't who it is but how many there are? Do you think Joss would knock out all the minor characters in one fell swoop? Andrew, Kennedy, Satsu, Leah, Rowena, and then add it to Spike and/or Dawn for good measure?

...On the other hand, that's a pretty short list of "all" the minor characters, so it wouldn't be that huge. Riley and Oz and their respective people don't seem to be available to kill, though, and nobody's going to care if Warren and Amy kick it.

I am so in love with these covers. Jeanty's may be his best BtVS work ever. Whatever the context, it's a beautiful cast picture.
Monkey paw! You don't get little magical sisters for nothing.

It would be pretty hilarious if we are all completely wrong, and Xander and Dawn get a spin off where they live on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley and struggle to make rent and Dawn has late nights studying sociology which puts a strain on the relationship but Xander is a stand-up guy and supports her academically, as well as emotionally.

Now THAT is a series I could get in to.
Angel's had it to where anybody who helps him, ultimately kicks the bucket. And I seem to recall Giles mentioning (season 3) those who help Slayers, from Watcher's records, get it, too.

I think it makes perfect sense, Buffy being what she is and what she goes up against, if in the end ALL her friends are dead. Except Angel, who's gotten live to fulfill the end of the world, and Spike -- can't kill off Spike all namby pamby like that. He doesn't deserve to go out like Anya.
Ack! Dawn was a giant. A GIANT. I knew there was a reason for that. METAPHOR!
Anya didn't deserve to go out like Anya.
What if the betrayal is Dawn, but only because she sacrifices herself? What I mean is, her betrayal is that she undermines Buffy's "I'll die to protect her" line. Dawn's death is the betrayal in essence.

That said, I still don't really believe Dawn will die (or, at least, it will be a death that's undone somehow shortly after). She's too obvious, and to do that to Xander three times in a row just seems impossibly stupid.
How would Xander successfully support Dawn and help put her through school? (Granted I guess she was already in school somehow so Slayer money may have helped out.)

And I didn't really see anyone mention it, has Andrew been killed off in the one issue that just came out or something? Or could he be a big death? Or betrayer? I mean for the medium at which that character seems most at home (next to likewise geek with an eye patch) it seems rather Watchmen/Runaways for him to be a secret mastermind.
"How would Xander successfully support Dawn and help put her through school?"

Chip-n-Dales? ;-)
Xander worked in construction before right? Even being able to rent a good place while living with Anya.
I don't think Dawn would/should die. According with Willow's hulk girlfriend, some magic creatures still will be living on Earth, and Dawn is now a human woman.
The things seems going right in Fray's direction, except the Scythe being broken and Melaka's books having no metion of Buffy's past army.
Tharpdevenport...I can hardly see how Rescue Rangers could have anything to do with Xander supporting Dawn. Although a career at Chippendales could work.

didifallasleep: Re: Xander as Chippendales dancer. I know there was a reference to that in season 4 (Freshman), but it made me gag even before they made him super hot in season 8.

Don't even joke about that. Xander is best adorable and snuggly.

Also...JO CHEN FTW! Anyone else see "FTW" as "f*ck the what?" It took me a long time to get past that. Like reading the painted signs on the roads backwards. "Crossing School Slow," "Ahead Stop."

hahaha re the chippendales comment.

"No power on this earth!" is what you're referring to. I like the scene. Don't know that I'd want to see him go back to it, but it was funny.
So, ok, random speculation, sorta disconnected to the covers but want to get it out there before I lose it:
We know the seed is the big magic-creating egg of blah blah blah.
We know a betrayal is coming up.
We know Willow survives for another 200ish years.

...What if Willow, by way of her 'betrayal' or whatever, rather than fighting Buffy, takes the seed into herself or becomes a replacement for the seed? When Buffy kills her in the Fray-era, magic explodes out of her...this could explain that rather easily and would finally tie that arc into everything.
5X5B - I think you need to re-read my comment if you think I wasn't aware of that. :P

By the way - I love Xander's story of what he went through after graduation.
Further circumstantial evidence that Dawn will be, um, key: the portals through which the various beasties are coming are remarkably like those at the end of season five, which Buffy closed by sacrificing herself.
I'm trying to decide whether to get this issue. I've gotten all the rest in so-called season 8, but after reading Allie's dismissive answer to the well-written letter in this latest issue (yes, I picked it up today) I'm inclined to cut my losses and say goodbye now.

At least I'll have eight issues of Spike to look forward to.
Allie gave that letter the full run of the letters column and seemed to acknowledge what many non-fans of Allie have been saying about his handling of the issues brought up in that letter. How could you possibly still be pissed about the usual and would you really make the editor's opinions (of story content and character favorings--it's not like Allie's being openly racist or homophobic in the letter responses or on SlayAlive or anything horrific) a major factor in your decision making about whether or not to continue with the book ? How about basing it solely on the story and art and how much you're enjoying either/both ?

If you're already on the fence/none too happy with Season 8 lately and Allie's response just tipped you over the edge toward "ready to quit", fair enough (but again, what exactly did he say to annoy this time ? What's it gonna take, the Dark Horse staff taking a picture of him begging for Spike fans' forgiveness and publishing it in an issue of the comic ?)
That Jo Chen cover is unbelievable. I really hope that they will release it in poster form like they did with the first issue. It just creates the perfect book end to the season, it is so moving.

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