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February 12 2012

(SPOILER) Preview page for Buffy Season 9 #7. It'll be a long wait till next month.

Aha! Scott's had that first panel as his Twitter avatar for the past several days. It had me wondering, because I knew it hadn't happened yet, narratively.
I don't think she goes through with it. Especially after Joss's comments about how Buffy shouldn't have a baby. As she said in season 8, when does she ever do what she is supposed to?
I actually saw this page on Tumblr three days ago but for some reason I got into my head it was from #6 because I hadn't read it yet. And then it slipped my mind until now.
I like the juxtaposition between dealing with this very human level thing and doing so atop a spaceship run by giant alien bugs.
Nite Owl/Silk Spectre came to mind.
Ah, I saw this page already. I thought it was the preview pages.

Still, this is a fantastic page. The comics have my favorite Buffy/Spike scenes.
And yes, the ship reminds me of Watchmen :)
@Simon: Wonder if "Hallelujah" is playing on the radio aboard the ship. :)

[ edited by wenxina on 2012-02-12 21:51 ]
Hmm. There's no music in that scene in my copy of the Watchmen comics.
Just importing my thought on it from the 9.06 discussion...

That is a universal and unmistakable gesture of bonding and acknowledgement between a mother and unborn child. Her facial expression is ambiguous because of the angle, but the hand gesture is unmistakable. I am frankly squicked by the idea that Buffy could have that universal moment and then still go through with it. In order of preference, for me --

1) this page is before she's gone to get an abortion and segues into a decision not to have one.
2) this page follows an abortion and is a sort of unconscious expression of guilt or doubt.
3) I stick a fork into my own eyesocket.
4) this is a moment of maternal bonding that will then be followed by a moment of non-materal unbonding.

And I'll add, good call on Watchmen, Simon. I knew this reminded me of something. It's also kind of reminiscent of the rooftop scene in "Lullaby" (and probably about a similar topic).
Oh, that first panel. Judging from the tender way she's touching her belly, if she really does want this baby and she goes through with the abortion because it's what she believes she has to do, that just makes me so sad for her.
What is that last panel meant to be?
The last panel looks like one of those closeup pictures in Games magazine. Is it a grill? Is it a comb?
There's a "4" on the top right of the page. Page number, perhaps?

And it appears that the space ship is floating in towards the city.

So in that page I don't think Buffy is post-abortion. I think it's more likely she's on her way to getting it done.
Be as squicked as you like. It happens.
For thousands every day.
The look on her face was very ambivalent...my guess is she won't go through with it. Joss going on so early about how she's making the right choice for her, etc, makes me suspicious as well. Since when does he announce and elaborate on plot plans so far in advance?
I would be hugely surprised if there was an abrupt change in the decision given how much press and such has been made out of this being *the* choice Buffy has made. Bear in mind too that in many cases if not all they went seeking him for comment, not the other way around.
She's not ready. I for one would probably lose a lot of respect for Joss himself if that fact and the idea of this plotline suddenly gets tossed aside after all this, because his words feel so sincere and genuine in talking about it. It would just feel like such a cop out after such a brave story and character decision now... I just can't see it.
If her decision changes that's not tossing the plot line aside; it's the actual plot line.
If her decision changes, the irony is that I think Joss will be in more trouble for having "teased" than Juno or Knocked Up ever got into for having punted. He would learn very harshly that it's all nice to say it's "the moment of decision" that matters, but that what actually matters is her actually getting an abortion, and if she doesn't, he's gonna get munched.
There's no way that Joss will change this plot line. None at all. Leaving aside the difficulty of having to rewrite and most likely redraw the next few months worth of Buffy comics, there's the small matter of the guy's integrity as a writer. I can tell you now, if it was me, I wouldn't change a single paragraph based upon pressure from my fans, no matter how many people might be calling for the story to go a different way.

Not to mention the fact that I get a very strong feeling that the pregnancy and/or abortion is a key factor in his plans for season 9. If that's the case then short of rethinking the whole season, what can he do to change anything?

Besides, the cat is out of the bag now anyway. Buffy has said she wants an abortion. That can't be changed so why even consider altering course now?
I can tell you now, if it was me, I wouldn't change a single paragraph based upon pressure from my fans, no matter how many people might be calling for the story to go a different way.


Can you commit right now that that's your stance even if it it turns out that the story he has planned is one in which she does not get an abortion? Long shot, I know, but this ought to be a two-way street, the value of the story uber alles when it comes to audience response.

I'm at a loss for figuring how her getting an abortion could advance the genre-arc for the season. All I can come up with is "destroying the Mark of Gachnar -- *smash* ... is not one of them..." I can think of a bajillion well-worn tropes about how her pregnancy could advance the plot, but not her unpregnancy (impregnancy? Depregnancy?)

Buffy has said she wants an abortion. That can't be changed...


Hamnoo? If that "can't be changed" it would make it a miracle of philosophy and metaphysics. Why can that no be changed? Is there a membership card she'll lose?
Right now, the reality is we don't know whether the story is "Buffy gets an abortion" or "Buffy decides to get an abortion and then something else happens". I can't speak for anyone else, but my opinion, or stance, will be based on how whatever story is being told is told. So far, I'm satisfied. My views going forward won't simply be about what happens next, but about how what happens next is told and the place it has in the overall story being told. But my opinion isn't going to be (for example), "Wait, now she's not getting one? Eff that!"

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2012-02-13 20:42 ]
I think you'll be an exception, not the rule, bix. One need only read the newly posted "love letter to Buffy" for an example of someone who might 'splode if either Buffy's thought process or circumstances intervene before she ends her pregnancy.

I'm unabashed in my hope that her thoughts, feelings, or circumstances do so intervene, but I really just don't expect them to.
I think it's clear just from conversations over the years on this site that every story development has someone who will explode over it.
I'm with The One True b!X. I'm assuming that Joss has had this story planned out for a while and won't be persuaded to change it based on fan reaction. With that said, Buffy has made a decision, but has not acted on it yet. While I have my own preferences to what I want to happen, I'll be content with anything Joss says for the next issue. Season 9 comics have been amazing so far, and I love the story telling behind it. As long as the abortion is part of the story telling and not a political statement, then I'm happy.
"Can you commit right now that that's your stance even if it it turns out that the story he has planned is one in which she does not get an abortion? Long shot, I know, but this ought to be a two-way street, the value of the story uber alles when it comes to audience response."

You misunderstood me, KoC. I didn't mean to suggest that Joss wouldn't change that Buffy goes through with the abortion, specifically. I was saying that whatever the story is that he has been planning, whether that involves an abortion, an instant mystical pregnancy or Buffy in maternity clothes, he won't change it because of anything we say. And yep, that would go for me as well, if it were my story to tell. Whatever the original plan, that's what we'll see.

"Hamnoo? If that "can't be changed" it would make it a miracle of philosophy and metaphysics. Why can that no be changed? Is there a membership card she'll lose?"

Again, slight misunderstanding of what I was saying. What I meant was that the page of story in which Buffy states that she wants an abortion is out there now. Printed and sold for the world to see. It happened. It can't be taken back. Obviously the next issue can have her saying "You know what, Spike? Changed my mind! Let's you and me be parents!", and if that's the story Joss wants to tell then that's what we'll see, but the reaction that the current issue has spawned isn't going anywhere and I'm sure for some people even the suggestion that Buffy has considered abortion is a step too far. As you said yourself a few posts up, either way, as far as some of the fans are concerned, Joss can't possibly win.
hpg, to me from the beginning the worst shortcoming of this has been how well they've woven the decision into the character and the story. Buffy's list of reasons could have come off a lobby pamphlet at a clinic, they didn't feel very tailored to her personality or circumstances much at all to me. There were plenty of ways to make it unmistakably tied to Buffy's unique circumstances or even her unique personality, and I've rattled off a half dozen or more of those over the week, but Joss opted instead to offer a lot of blanket "this is why women often get abortions" platitudes about things we've already seen Buffy rise up to and overcome before. It would have been a lot more uniquely Buffy, for instance, to have her just adopt a fatalistic sense that Slayers Shouldn't Be Mothers; it would be ironic at least for her to be making the pro-choice choice of choiceness out of a feeling that she actually had no choice at all.
Confused. Abortion clinic pamphlets say that having no job, having roommate troubles, and having had a drinking blackout are reasons to get an abortion?

ETA: I'm being blunt and simplistic there, because obviously Buffy's point is that she doesn't think her life has a place for having kids at the moment. But I'm mainly befuddled at the idea that abortion clinic pamphlets are sales pitches for abortions.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2012-02-13 21:38 ]
Non-literal examples are non-literal. She launched into an array of talking points, is more what I'm saying. I'm young, I have a low-income job, blee blah bloo. Lots of women get abortions for those reason; lots of others persevere and become successful mothers despite those reasons. There's nothing distinctly hitched to who Buffy is in life or in mind or in spirit to any of them, it was just... a laundry list. And, making it doubly frustrating, I've never seen her talk so poorly of her own competence and worth and contribution and usefulness... and it's supposed to be "true", we're obliged to respect her decision and agree. Meh. There are 130 million children born in the world a year, and I'd guess that all but a few million of them would be lucky to have Buffy Summers, the woman she is, her values, her honor, her determination, as a mother. This would be much less frustrating if Joss had made any attempt to convince me that Buffy, personally, individually, shouldn't become a mother, and not because of generic reasons.
Maybe the reason you see the reasons as "generic" is simply because they are actually common reasons in the real world. And it's pretty clear for a lot of us here and elsewhere that Buffy feeling those common reasons didn't feel out of place or out of character at all.
Oh, I think they are out of character with her good days. They are not out of character for her miserable days. The end of 9.06 is completely consistent with the end of 6.13, for instance, or 2.22, the other times when we've seen Buffy bottom out emotionally. That's the other angle on all this I keep on about -- how we're supposed to ignore the plain visibility with which she is in one of those states, or at least the idea that it is negatively affecting her decision making process.

As for the sufficiency of her common/generic reasons... well, it's like I've been saying, it's just a might insulting for Buffy, or her creator, to speak in these unconditional declarative terms about how she couldn't be a good mother when so many mothers make it just fine without an Nth of her advantages -- because to speak in such declarative terms demeans them. Whereas, if a better job was done of hewing away from the general and into the specific, that insult is avoided. And, yes, I do think that the absolutist "Buffy is obviously not up for this" tone of both her scene and the interviews given about it are tantamount to an insult of those who are getting it done in worse circumstances, albeit not a conscious or intentional one.
Showing a character making a specific choice doesn't demean other characters in similar circumstances who decide differently.
If you know someone who has made that decision on top of having more apocalypses narrowly averted than anyone, just denied the world of magic, is several times beyond the expected lifespan of her calling, is rapidly being sought out more and more by creatures determined to do her harm alongside the new threat of more aggressive and stronger vampires PLUS all the real work/father/life/home/future issues that Buffy has... then that person would be in a similar situation.

Other than that, in this context, it's only Buffy and Joss who have the full weight of that burden to consider. There is no one like her. As I said but was unclear on, I'd be disappointed in Joss if they had been answering the press so clearly and definitively on this having been the choice that has been made, that an abrupt retraction of that would seem bizarre and seem to take away from the whole idea of the message that either choice is valid and that Buffy was making a well considered decision for herself as anyone should.

(I'm not phrasing that quite right but hopefully someone will be able to interpret it. Adding to what Sunfire said there - I think it might actually demean the appearance of the option Buffy is taking as being valid now if they were to go back on it. Although of course whatever will be was decided on months ago anyway...)

[ edited by apollo11 on 2012-02-13 22:25 ]
Sunfire, that's not what I said, though -- I'm talking about the way in which her decision was framed (both in text and metatext) as being the obvious and foregone conclusion of the circumstances. That's how it read to me -- that of course she'd make this decision because of course these circumstances make it impossible to raise a child. Not that that's how Buffy perceived it, not that it's true of Buffy but not true of others, but that that's just how the world itself works.

But, again, it's predictable, because the watchword here seems to be to make as little of this as possible about Buffy's subjective state of mind, because that invites the observation that her subjective state of mind has been butt... for most of the season, really, but particularly from the time she woke up in 9.05. The only time she seemed to be in anything resembling her old self, mood wise, was talking to Robin, but... well, yeah.
Setting aside the abortion debate, it strikes me strange that there might be a single conception of what's in character or out of character for someone over an entire lifetime. When I was 25 there were decisions and behaviors that baffle me today. Was I out of character then, or am I out of character now? People, be they fictional or real, aren't monolithic across their lives. That they might have made one kind or set of choices regarding a given kind of obstacle is not a lifetime predictor of choices they will made given the same or similar obstacle in the future.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2012-02-13 22:34 ]
She spent the whole issue collecting advice and deciding. It was hardly a foregone conclusion. Nothing about her circumstances make raising a child impossible. Otherwise it wouldn't be a choice, would it.
What b!X just said!

I'd started a post in another thread that I never got around to completing that was going to say pretty much the same thing. Whatever choices Buffy made a year ago, or five years ago, are not going to be the same as she makes now.

I mean, here's just one consideration. A few years ago, say early season 7 for example, Buffy had her home, an income, close family and friends by her side 24/7. A happy life, or as happy as a slayer's life is likely to get. That Buffy might well have come to a very different conclusion after finding out she was pregnant. This Buffy has lost everything that made that life so special. She's sharing an apartment with relative strangers, soon to be homeless, barely scraping by financially, her friends and family nearly all either dead, gone or avoiding her. It's not so hard to believe that Buffy today is going to come to a different decision that the Buffy that started work at Sunnydale High all those years ago.
B!x, I think it's in character, but not in the vein of who Buffy has been at her most exemplary moments. Whereas I see a lot of posts and at least one love letter who would seem to rate this right up there with ripping out Adam's power center*. We all, ostensibly, are describing it as "in character", though.

*That was a harder image to decide on than you might think. This is totally off-topic, but there are fewer definitive "Buffy beats the Big Bad" kill-shots as you might think (contrast, for instance, Angel killing Hamilton). Point being, it's being treated as a moment of great personal triumph IMO -- for reasons that have a lot to do with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", the intellectual property, and not really much at all to do with Buffy, who needs a hug, hard.
I'll assume you are saying there are posts/reviews that treat as such, because the story certainly has not been treating it as such.
posts, reviews, and dare I say interviews with professionals involved in bringing the content to the audience.
I'm with The One True b!X. I'm assuming that Joss has had this story planned out for a while and won't be persuaded to change it based on fan reaction. With that said, Buffy has made a decision, but has not acted on it yet. While I have my own preferences to what I want to happen, I'll be content with anything Joss says for the next issue. Season 9 comics have been amazing so far, and I love the story telling behind it. As long as the abortion is part of the story telling and not a political statement, then I'm happy. - hpgwbtvs

These are basically my thoughts as well. If Buffy does decide to keep it we were shown that she made a choice and that the message is clear that she had a choice...it's the choice that matters, or having a choice, that matters, not the outcome. As long as they handle it right and sensitively like they did in issue 6 I think they could very well show Buffy changing her mind.

I do agree with Buffy (and Joss) that she's not in the right place to have a baby at the moment...but isn't that usually the time for the best drama? Forcing a character into impossible scenarios? Because it's the wrong time for Buffy that's why they'll have her not go through with the abortion?

I really think that Buffy and Spike are going to be held up from the abortion clinic by Robert calling about a zompire attack. There she'll lose her arm and having a clueless doctor tell her she's lucky she didn't lose the baby from blood lose might make it ten times harder for Buffy. Abortion is already a hard choice but suddenly feeling grateful that she didn't lose the baby? That would make it so much more harder for Buffy whose heart is already made of love. (And she has been beaten down for almost two/three seasons, no wonder she came to this decision.)

Whatever they do I think they'll handle the situation well because I see the evidence they did so in issue 6.
As a total side note, it's true that now would not be the best time for Buffy to RAISE a child, and if she doesn't think she's ready, then that is of course a choice...but there was never a mention made of her possibly having the child and then giving it up for adoption. I kind of wonder why that wasn't even a consideration in her mind from what we see in the comics.
@Jinxgirl, they did raise it as an issue. Buffy tells Robin it would have been too hard for Nikki to walk away from him. I think that's where we learn that Buffy wouldn't have the emotional strength to do that. (It's a choice that I think is the most admirable one in the circumstances; but I do think it takes a special kind of courage to make it).
It's interesting to revisit a lot of the things that work allegorically for these real world choices in the Buffyverse prior to this (and reminds me of how even Joss has conceded that the whole idea of having metaphors for things is sort of a fond but distant memory). I mean, Angel basically put Connor "up for adoption". And he basically talked Darla out of an abortion... ish (philosophically, if not literally). And Buffy's been saddled with maternal responsibility she wasn't expecting for and taken the challenge.

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