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June 13 2012

(SPOILER) Discuss Buffy Season 9 #10. It's the final chapter in the Apart (Of Me) arc.

Great issue.

Liked the part where Simone calls out Buffy for killing other slayers.
First impression after quickly swiping through on my tablet: bittersweet.

That scene between Buffy and Spike before he takes off in his spaceship just about broke my heart, but he lays it all out there. Most importantly, he tells her, once again, that he knows she'll do what's right because he believes in her. It is a moving declaration before parting ways for the time being.

I find the final proclamation by the "Buffy body" to "Buffy brain/mind" to be strangely reassuring, touching, and empowering. Buffy's voice is confident and sure; she is, in essence, tapping into another part of herself. The last two issues left me feeling rather ambivalent about the trajectory of Season 9, but I think this is a solid note on which to conclude the arc.
I wanted to add that I'm actually curious as to where the story is going to take Dowling.
I have Buffy S9 # 10.The conclusion of "Apart(of me)."

First of all,I think Scott Allie did a good job pinch hitting and co-writing this arc overall.I actually liked last issue more than this one but I did enjoy the robot arc and thought it was a fun fake out when it was revealed.And I do see how this whole thing is setting Buffy up to try to get her life together over the course of the rest of the season starting with the "Guarded" arc next issue and a change in jobs.

I do think there was some blurring in this issue on how Buffy like real Buffy with robot programming was vs. robot Buffy with real mind.I think this issue was murky on that in order to have the payoff of Buffy wanting to get her life in order and having what the other buffy did but for real.

It reminds me also of why Angel left in season 3 and makes me think he really was right that Buffy would want those things one day and knew that.

I have to also say,I like the streaks in Buffy's hair and wish she would keep them.

I'm finding Simone right this second a weak big bad for the season if that's what she is.We have little more of a idea of her plans and how Severin probably fit into them.If she wanted to tap power she needed from Buffy than it's clear why she recruited Severin.And she has a backup plan to which i'm sure we'll find out at some point later in the season since I expect it will be forced to be put into play.

Still,I'm not finding her much of a threat as far as big bads go and think that's added weakness so far this season.

On the whole Buffy/Spike front and the setup for the Spike miniseries.I found this still in line with my interpretation of the relationship since season 7.Spike being in love with Buffy and Buffy having strong complicated feelings for Spike but not loving him in the way he wants her to.The sequence here....

[i]I love you. You know this. But I can't get jerked around no more. I'm not even saying I blame you. I can never tell for sure where your heart's at, so I'm not gonna stand here under a romantic, albeit deadly, sunset lecturing you.[/i]

...and Buffy's face,looking down sadly while he says this is in line with what my interpretation has always been and that she knows it and lets him go after he he says..."[i]I believe in you, Buffy. And I know you'll do right. That's how I have your back."[/i] and her expression.

I know we bring our own interpretation but this whole sequence I found very poignant especially n light of my opinions on spuffy and how I think Buffy's feels about Spike verses how he feels about her.

I thought this was a big and important moment with Spike deciding not to be loves bitch as it were anymore and that if Buffy can't give him the [u]type[/u] of love he wants than it time for him to really get on with his life and explore moving on(which the Spike miniseries seems like it will explore).And i think it's a big important moment for Buffy because now she can't use Spike's feelings as crutch,as her dark place.She has to pick herself up herself instead of having someone else do it for her.

We know Spike will be back later in the season and I think if Buffy ever really needs him that he will always be there but my shipper preferences aside I think both characters really need to be apart right now.Both need to get their own heads on right.

Buffy needs to pick herself up and the fact that she lets Spike go after giving Spike a out with Simone(something Spike admits he would of used in the past) is the first step to ending her free fall especially if she doesn't feel for him or want that type of relationship with him the way he does for her.The mature thing is to let him go than to continue to use him as a emotional crutch.

And Spike needs to be more than all about Buffy.I think we saw the beginning of that in season 5 of Angel and After The Fall(and if you count the Spike miniseries than there too) but since returning to BTVS,he's backslided and I think that it's big deal that he's choosing to do this while in the face of Buffy in his life again.That he's choosing to walk away if he can't have the type of relationship he wants with her.

We'll see what happens when Spike returns to the book later in the season.It could go either way as others have pointed out.

On the Dowling front,this issue is setting up him becoming part of Buffy's team and his boss I think wants him to be a official liaison between Buffy and the police and their new special vampire task force.Which is a smart idea.It sounds like the zompires are now turning the tide against public opinion for vampires too.

Overall,this wasn't a bad arc.I liked the art too mostly.I still feel that hodge podge jumping around feel to the season though.

We're entering the mid season now so we'll see how things proceed.
I actually quite liked this issue, which is a breath of fresh air because I haven't been too fond of this arc as a whole. Maybe I can now go back and reread it all and it will be better now. I did like the resolution of the robot body and what it forced Buffy to realize about herself, though I still see a lot of major consent issues and wish Andrew hadn't gotten off so easy about it.

I like that Spike is leaving. Not that I don't love Spike but because it just feels right. I like that it feels like he has changed from the last time he was on Buffy and for me this feels like a true character move.

Wasn't too crazy about the art in a lot of places, though.
I've really loved what Joss and Co have done with all the Buffyverse comics. The only problem; does anyone else not like the whole bug army spike has? Out of all the things that has happened in all the series, they are the only thing that pull me out of the world. Something about them just ruin these great stories for me. They did alot of great things with the IDW series that they didn't bring/disregard in darkhorse. I just can't believe they chose to keep them.
I kind of like the bug army, myself, silly though they are. And I really enjoyed Spike's moment of genuine panic and concern for the bugs in this issue.

All in all, I liked the issue. I need to read it again, more slowly, but the quick read through made me happy and that'll have to wait till tonight. I'm sorry Spike is leaving, but thought it was a good scene; I was disappointed that Buffy just doesn't say ANYTHING though. Not even goodbye; I mean, come on! Also, what exactly did Andrew and Buffy say to Buffy? I get it, it doesn't really matter and we'll never know, but I want to know!
Concerning the bugs, they remain a glaring reminder of the absurd indulgences of Season Eight. I wouldn't be overly upset if they didn't survive the season.

Sometimes I feel like Andrew can be a bit obnoxious in the comics. I think the actor really delivered it in the show, however. Luckily, this issue seemed the right amount of Andrew.

Overall, I thought it was a very solid issue. I hope we start seeing more of Dawn and Xander. I've been reading Runaways for the first time. That's a comic series that gives every character something to do in an issue, just like Buffy the Show managed to do.
I'm glad everyone seemed to enjoy this. I'm also glad Allie is stepping aside now. I felt this issue, and this arc, was perhaps the messiest cannon Buffy comic ever. Buffy's body made no sense here. She was empty. She got her hair dyed. She was brainwashed. Buffybot didn't want to reason. Then she wanted to reason. Buffy got unbrainwashed (off screen). How? Meanwhile a completely impossible to follow fight scene was happening in the other room. Simone's plan doesn't make any sense. And the "meta" moments were painful -- it's tough to do those without making the world suddenly become paper thin, and these did not work.. Not to mention the total and utter final deflating disappointment of the abortion story line coming to nothing interesting at all. I liked ALL of season 8 better than this. Like Season 6, the problem here wasn't concepts, but execution. Also, I miss Dracula. My wish, if I got a wish, is that Gage got to write BOTH books and Isaacs got to draw them both. Angel and Faith rocks socks in every issue. The art alone is worth buying the books for, so easy to follow, so fun to look at... and Gage's story is just so so smart and insightful. As it is, with Joss making movies and Gage and Isaacs writing us a great book already, I will take Chambliss (don't fall behind again, please!) and Jeanty back happily next month.
I think I agree with cderochefort. This arc was pretty sloppy, and I didn't love this issue. It wasn't bad, but there was just something about it that made me be pulled out of the 'verse. It was too all over the place and I felt like they were just trying to wrap everything together quickly, so that they could move on. Not terrible, but not exactly good. It's nowhere near the quality of Angel and Faith, IMO. And Dowling is kind of like the male Kate Lockley, whom I also loved. Interested in him.
I enjoyed the issue, but I do agree with some of the comments about the inconsistencies and how they seem to just be glossing over how much Andrew violated Buffy by doing what he did.

I did feel like the conclusion of this arc kind of sold me on how they dealt with the pregnancy storyline. Initially I was really unsure, but I understand how the events got Buffy to where she needed to be, while not completely derailing the series by changing her life so drastically.
cderochefort and Fred_Sonja, my thoughts exactly.

I do agree that this arc seems rather hollow. Like it was going for something strong in the beginning and then just kind of got disjointed and meh-ed at the end. The explanations of things were messy and the fact that a lot of time went by off page only made following it harder to swallow. The pregnancy scare and abortion issue was interesting and was emotional, but it was undercut by “nope, you’re a robot and a malfunctioning one at that”. And then that was further undercut by, “And we went Dollhouse on your body and imprinted it with a tame Buffy personality that came to just like Echo did and now Buffy-Echo wants her Buffy- Caroline back so they can be one person” riff. Not wholly original and just painfully executed.

I especially feel that the beats in Spike’s goodbye were off and I really had to focus to hear his “voice”. I am with Rambaldi on the bugs being ‘a glaring reminder of the absurd indulgences of Season Eight.” Cannot wait to loose them. I am really not a fan of Scott Allie as a writer, so I am looking forward to this season picking up again because I wanted to drop it and just read Angel & Faith.
Okay yeah, I have some thoughts now; some are echoing what's said above a bit. So Buffy's mind is in robot!Buffy, but I had the impression we were supposed to believe the consciousness in her body was sort of her too, some kind of tabula rasa Buffy (but not Joan!)-- but so we're supposed to buy that she's the most suggestible person ever? Simone talks to her for, what, an hour? And she discards her whole worldview and joins forces with her, and then 20 minutes later Buffy says... something??-- to her and she completely switches all around again? Let's look back to Tabula Rasa; the whole point was that even without their memories, everyone was still themselves and ended up doing the same things (more or less) or at least acting in the same ways and patterns. Whereas here... well, I just think having any part of Buffy be so pliable and submissive goes against everything the character has EVER been, let alone who she's grown into. I imagine an argument could be made that's she's experiencing a crisis of confidence right now so she's less strong than ever before but I just don't see it. It isn't who Buffy is-- even when she's down to nothing she still has that one thing-- herself.

And what's up with the Jeanty cover? There is not one single thing in the story that could in any way be stretched to make that scene make sense, which makes me feel like it was just a ploy to stir us up when we saw the picture a month or two ago, which feels cheap and annoying to me.

Okay so that was a lot of negative, whereas overall I did enjoy the issue (honest! see above) but I just had to get that off my chest.
Aphasia, Plus, even if this one had been accurate, it was ridiculously maudlin. Jeanty's covers usually follow the story! The Phil Noto cover on the other hand has the best writing in the issue! Buffy's thoughts: hee. poor crazy girl.

Goose, I agree about the beats on Spike's goodbye. For such an important and anticipated moment ... for a moment when SO many fans are going, "Are you really going to SELL this, is it going to seem genuine and Spike's next best step... or is this just so you can have the spin off?" they sure didn't sell it. The sunset was just lame-ish, and I, too, had to read the scene three times in my best faux-Manchester accent and I still was like, meh. I totally buy Spike leaving and it seems overdue ... but the beats on the scene were all wrong, yes.

Also, another hope for the future. Be FUNNY again. Allie just isn't funny in the Buffy way. I think that's what I meant when I said I miss Dracula. Wolves at the Gate was so FUNNY. Xander and feather earing girl had funny dialogue, the Japanese baddies were super funny, Dracula was melodramatically and loudly racist through the halls of his castle, they used the words "mealworms" and "bloomers" Those are funny words! Dracula lost his powers gambling for a motorcycle...heeee. I know people hated mecha-Dawn but come on... She had anxiety over boys and CRIED a lot! Which made Dawn punch her! And everyone showing up in Buffy's room with Satsu in bed including Dawn's big eye in the window! And Andrew being like, "Man, that dramamine was really strong." Right now, watching Angel be awkward and uncomfortable is funnier than anything said or done in Buffy.
I agree. On a conceptual plot level, I do like what's going this season...the scripts just lack that certain Whedon-Zing that was very evident and in play during season 8. There's a noticeable difference between issue 1 and the rest of the season...I haven't LOL'd ever since issue 1. Chambliss' writing gets the job done, but it just lacks that certain magic that makes Whedon (and the other writers from the show)- penned comic scripts be magical.
Space Bugs and the Hindenbug jokes are the bestest/funniest part of the Buffy side of S9. Just sayin. Spike escaped just a few beats before inevitably beginning to sparkle. (That might have worked well with the whole sunset business.) Overall though, the story is refusing to be funny because of its inherited somber underlining - it is mighty awkward to try and be funny over the heroine being roofied and potentially unwillingly impregnated - then discovering she was 'just' body-switched.
I definitely agree about having Buffy changing her mind 'off camera'/behind the scenes was just lame. Joss would never have written a scene so clumsy and disappointing. I enjoyed the Apart story line, I just felt that the execution left a lot to be desired....

Frankly I think that BtVS S9 is not measuring up to 'Angel & Faith' right now, and neither one of them can compete with Brian K. Vaughan's 'Saga', or Terry Moore's 'Rachel Rising' (the two series that have me really excited these days). I'll hang in there, and will continue reading, but my expectations get lower and lower.

I'll be reading the Spike series, but I really wish Brian Lynch was going to be writing it!
Re-reading 'The Long Way Home' and "No Future For You" just made me miss Joss' involvement with the comic seasons...oh Allie please make him come back to season 9...please? I would much rather wait for the next 'season' when Joss can be involved more rather than them putting out a comic w/o him on it.
I know some didn't like Lynch's take on the comics but his books were funny as hell. I laughed out loud constantly when I was reading his Angel and Spike comics.
I liked the way Buffy was drawn in this comic, she looked beautiful and like Buffy.
The Spike send off, same old same old, Spike loves Buffy, Spike is there for Buffy, Buffy doesn't really give a s*#@ as far as we can tell. Sigh. Bye Spike. I look forward to your comic. I am cautiously hopeful. I do wonder since Buffy is a robot without a heart or hormones would that impact her feelings about Spike? Will she feel differently about him leaving when she has her body back?
Did the line about Buffy forgetting Dawn mean something? Is Dawn being gradually erased from their memories?
I like the bugs, and I'm sad when one of them dies.
I don't care about Dowling. I hope we don't spend too much time on him. I would rather see more Xander and Dawn.
I will add my voice to those expressing mixed thoughts and feelings about this arc and its conclusion.

Having a key moment happen off-page/out-of-frame can be an effective device, but the context has to be right. Here there is too much being hidden by this choice, and while it seems as if more of what Simone is planning will be revealed, I am not sure I see the point of making readers work backwards to understand this arc (assuming that what we learn can be meaningfully connected to what was supposed to have happened here). If nothing else the decision 'not to show' made the opening to this issue needlessly confusing without being particularly revealing of anything in and of itself.

Perhaps there is an attempt here to pose questions about what makes someone who they are - following aphasia's 'tabula rasa' suggestion - but if you are going to explore that question, explore it, don't just use it as a plot device.

I also ended the issue thinking that the closing dialogue between the Buffys is something that would have worked better on the TV show. I see how the pink streaks in the Buffy body's hair is meant to work to distinguish the two visually, but the key element here is voice, particularly when you add the body's emergent consciousness to the interactions between her and the Buffy robot/brain. I think that this scene could have worked brilliantly if the words had been spoken by a actor, and we could hear the differences in cadence, for example, but on the page in this comic it reads as messy.
Here's my summary and review. I think I liked it more than most people did, just based on skimming through this thread. Didn't quite get all my thoughts down though, so I might sound like I'm just cheerleading.
Regarding Jeanty's cover, I agree with the criticism about being unrelated to the story. Don't know if it's been pointed out yet, but this cover is yet another hommage to a classic Marvel comics cover. See Uncanny XMen #136, in which Cyclops is seen holding Phoenix's corpse.
squishy, thanks for 'splainin.
I loved the issue. Good set-up for fanficcers (and I say it without irony). I have to admit that seeing two Buffies together made me fantasize about both Spike and Angel getting his own Buffy. Angel could end up with the domestic Buffy and take care of her while Spike could stay by the warrior Buffy's side and love her for her soul and slayer spirit, not for her body. Besides, he already has an experience with a robot Buffy.

I'm a bit surprised that domestic Buffy urged Andrew to delete her. I don't understand if it was included in her programming or it's just one of those plot necessities where we have to suspend our disbelief.
I understand and agree about the execution, but for me it goes deeper than that. Bottom line, nothing is going to work plot-wise when there are no characters or relationships you actually care about... and that's where I find myself. Buffy has been vacillating between irresponsible life mismanager and high and mighty dictatorial general since S6. S9 opened with her reverting to the former - she's disappointed the hell out of me. What limited time Xander has been given, he's been cranky about... something. Giles and Willow are gone. Spike just left - and his not-quite-relationship with Buffy wasn't exactly pushing new ground anyway. Dawn and Andrew are never going to be my favorite characters. Dowling - don't care. Oh, but hold everything! Kennedy is going to show up...

I just need one character to actually give a damn about - someone who is actually behaving admirably and having good positive family/friend/romantic relationships with other characters. Is that really so much to ask?
I agree with many others above - Spike's farewell seemed off. Did like that they referenced the running away together line - the closest Spike's gotten to what he really wants with Buffy. I'm glad that Spike won't be gone for good, but I'm looking forward to Xander and Dawn getting some screen time and whatever Downing will bring to the mix.
AAAAAAARGH another Allie-scripted issue comes in unfunny, poorly paced, emotionally unfocused, and alternately fussily didactic and irritatingly vague. Not to mention actually unparseable in places.

I assume Joss has a high opinion of him, to keep giving him these BtVS arcs to write, but he's just not up to the ludicrously high standards Jossholes have long expected Joss's writers to meet (and which those writers have met with startling consistency since the late 90s!).

And it's a real drag.

At least Meltzer's catastrophic mess of an S8 arc was funny and risky (also risqué). This one fizzled out after a strong start and I'm glad it's done. Blah.
I know some didn't like Lynch's take on the comics but his books were funny as hell. I laughed out loud constantly when I was reading his Angel and Spike comics.

I was one of Lynch's less polite critics hereabouts during the After the Fall run, though I've been meaner to Scott Allie. I think he had a few great moments -- he's definitely funny -- but ultimately delivered a muddled book that only intermittently achieved the emotional polyphony that marks Joss's good stuff. There are long stretches in After the Fall that are just abysmal. The funny bits often have nothing to do with character -- there's a lot of 'hey look at this goofy situation' stuff. To heck with it.

Also some of the character voices are swing-and-a-miss kinda things.

I know this is heresy, but sometimes I kind of wish Angel had just ended with the TV series.

Asylum is better, as is his puppet series. Both have a bit of a fanservice vibe in places; I think B.L.'s more fond of e.g. Betta George than he should be. But they really play to his strengths.
It's like they still haven't figured out how to properly do an ongoing Buffy series in comics, to be honest. Firefly and Angel the series have both fared the translation to comic form much better, and Joss has also done really excellent comic-exclusive material in the past (see Fray, Tales of the Vampires, Astonishing X-Men, etc.), but after all this time, there's still something off about Buffy.

I'm almost inclined to think they need to do a gigantic history-reset and just erase the entirety of Seasons 8 and 9 and reboot the comics. Start from the end of Season 7 and only do it when Joss is able to write it himself. If he can only do a few issues per year, so be it. It occurred to me when reading the Buffy-abortion plot that that was the most invested I've been in the comic in years, because it felt like a return to the roots of the TV show: take a real-world serious problem and wrap it in the supernatural, with the Buffy twist. It's not a rehash like Buffy being a struggling waitress and it's not the extreme comics absurdity that has been a mainstay of the series since the start of Season 8. It was a huge mistake to go with the cyborg Buffy subplot and is perhaps the best example yet of how they're missing the forest for the trees with the series.

I agree with EVERYTHING you said. I started watching this show because I loved the friendships/relationships and I don't think these have been particularly strong since season 6. Yes, I realize that Willow lost Tara and that was painful and Xander stopped dark Willow with a yellow crayon, but no one seems particularly tied to each other. It was always suggested that Buffy is strong and has survived longer than other slayers because of her friends, but I just don't think she feels tied to them anymore and I miss that!
I'm tired of the Buffy-feels-she-can't-connect-with-others/Buffy's-friends-are-mad-at-her conflict. If this is what the series keeps coming back to then it needs to end. The same story rehashed over and over again gets really tedious.
My review of the issue is now up on my BLOG. My general impression of the issue and arc: Some great character moments, but there are definite plot mechanics that need some grease. The last couple of arcs have been a return to the spirit of the show pre-Season 7, but unfortunately, the balance between metaphor and plot was a little teeter-totter-y.
So disappointed with how Buffy S9 is turning out so far. This issue didn't sit with me at all. How did Simone get the Buffy-body to think/act that way? How did Buffy-bot/brain get her to come back? Its far too convenient just to say it happened. Angel and Faith is just crushing it, and this book just makes me feel like I'm wasting my money. Its hard for me to admit but I am close to dropping this and just sticking with Angel and Faith which has been the best Buffy-verse comic I've read since the end of the TV shows.
I was really enjoying S9 up till the robot revelation, but this arc didn't work for me at all. I still don't understand why Andrew would come up with this hare-brained scheme in the first place; it undoes all his character development from S8, where he seemed to have actually grown up a little and become a real part of the team.

And the Buffy-body's actions in this issue make NO sense whatsoever. As several people have said above, we don't know how Simone turned her against Buffy OR how Buffy turned her against Simone. She develops some cognitive functioning beyond Andrew's programming, but goes along with whatever anyone tells her, and doesn't even care when Buffy's mind is put back in her (she expresses NO concern that she's being erased or whatever).

The separation and eventual reunion of Buffy's mind and body could have been fascinating--but instead nothing really happens.

The writing and art haven't really been working for me, either. Spike's goodbye should have been poignant; instead it read like speechifying. And I think Buffy would have said *something*, instead of just standing there looking pensive.

Oh well, hopefully things will improve with the next issue. At least we'll have Jeanty back; I miss him.

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