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February 13 2013

(SPOILER) Discuss Buffy Season 9 #18. It's the third part of the "Welcome to the Team" arc.

What is going on here? I've tried my best to not join the negative Buffy bandwagon, but this issue was just a mess to me. It feels like they are trying to tie the whole season together very quickly and it comes off forced.

I suppose changing the past/Resurrection is a theme of this Season with Angel trying to save Giles and Severin trying to save his girlfriend. Lots of halfway decent intentions couple with questionable execution.

Illyria being Severin's target makes sense, but how did he even hear of her? Anaheed's a slayer? Andrew's back? Dawn's going to be a robot? I hope this is going somewhere good.

That all being said, I still enjoy reading Buffy, even if it is disorganized.
Dude, what's up with all that yelling?
I was totally pegging the cliff hanger to be Willow's arrival through the portal (and not actually Severin). I guess I was surprised by the truth...

Also, if 9 million fans are screaming 'The end of magic = the end of Dawn' ... Dontcha think the characters in the Buffyverse would have caught on to that hint? Hmm... well, they will next issue.
I have my copy of Buffy # 18,"Welcome To The Team Part III of IV"

I thought this issue was a strong issue overall.This issue does have some reveals as is already out there now in fandom.

1)Dawn is dying.She's in a coma and the doctors don't have any answers.The scene with Xander at Dawn's bedside is one of the strongest moments in the season so far IMO.When Xander tells Dawn,"Last night,you asked me if i ever felt guilty about walking away from Buffy.The answer was No....because i always told myself that walking away meant YOU'D be okay.SO WHY AREN'T YOU OKAY?You're suppose to be okay.I need to make you okay."

That got me.I never had a strong opinion about the X/D pairing.Liked it well enough but no strong feelings.This moment made me an actual fan now of it.And I thought Georges Jeanty did well in this moment.I could hear Nick's voice..

2)Andrew re-enters the story and he and Xander decide to put Dawn's mind in a robot.

Nice link-up to earlier in the season.As someone who actually liked the robot twist with Buffy,I'm, glad to see that his might play a larger role in things.From the way it looked to me,I think they want to try to put Dawn in a Buffy bot at least in the temporary.That could raise all kinds of interesting problems for the group having walking around wearing Buffy's face.

I'm still not a fan of Andrew but i actually did get a smile at the Star Trek IV bit.

3)Anaheed being revealed as a slayer could be a interesting twist depending where it goes.The reveal to Billy was pretty cool especially earlier in the issue where he he told Anaheed that she can't help because she's not a slayer... and his self revelation that neither is he,not really and can't afford to have a repeat of what happened with Dowling.Looking forward to hear her explanation to him about actually being a slayer.

I know there is speculation already out there that she could be working for/with Simone,maybe as a mole.I'm actually hoping she's not a baddie.I don't get that vibe at this point.

4)The reveal of Severin's motives and plan.

So he wants to save his girlfriend and his target was Illyria.He used the council to draw her out in the hopes of draining her of her powers,specifically her time travel abilities in the hopes of pulling a Back To The Future and changing the past by saving his girlfriend.But if he un-does the past that could cause more damage to reality which already has been damaged by the loss of magic.

This gives Severin a little more of sympathetic bend but he's still not doing anything for me as a big bad.As for changing the past.It's been done twice in the Buffyverse.I Will Remember you and Angel :After The Fall.And reality wasn't destroyed.Granted as pointed out,reality has already been damaged due to loss of magic,a factor not present in those previous times.Still,I hope they don't actually have it happen.I had problems with it when it was used to conclude After The Fall.

The way the issue ends,it looks like Severin might succeed since Buffy and Koh are sent away from Illyira and the last panel has Severin beginning to suck Illyria dry.

Overall I thought this was a strong issue and this a stronger arc than most in Buffy's side of season 9.

As mentioned already,Scott Allie revealed in the letter page revealed that billy will be getting a spin-off story soon.I assume this is the story Jane Espenson mentioned a few weeks back on her twitter.

No other info such as format or when the Billy story will appear.I wonder if it will be a online story like the Spike story that was done before season 9 officially started.Also Scott seems to like the idea of a Buffy Season 0 that was suggested in the letter page by a reader.Another updating of The Origin miniseries(which was based off Joss's original script for the 1992 Buffy movie) as well as fleshing out of how Angel went from the moment he saw Buffy as a dirty rat eating bum courtesy of Whistler to how he became the mysterious broody guy who popped up with cryptic remarks in season 1.
I actually quite appreciate this issue: less build-up and more pay-off!
Huge improvement, Buffy-hilarious and really well (and frantically) paced issue. I loved it. I want more. Like now.
I'll be honest... at this point, I'm almost entirely hanging in for the slim chance the Dawn story might turn out interesting.
I’m a little annoyed at all this yelling around Faith, Willow, Nadira. Now Xander everytime he gets in the page.

Xander agreeing to Andrew’s plan wasn’t so much of a surprise, a couple of issues ago he expressed his jealousy on the robot thing, might not like the outcome in the end. But a Dawn!Buffy-bot? That’s plain screwed. I like it.

And wow. Anaheed is the first slayer that wears glasses. Didn’t see that coming. That will make Tumble the watcher, nosy as he was searching Buffy’s room.

If time bending were an option I would like to know Buffy’s opinion: if she could undo something what it would be: smashing of the Seed, the Spacefrak, activating the Potentials, being Chosen, being born?
The best one in the arc so far, hoping for further improvement with the conclusion. Though my favorite part was the Trek reference...I'm really easy that way.

Mr.Savath_Bunny is right, though. It feels off that neither Andrew nor Xander have voiced the obvious end-of-magic explanation for what is happening to Dawn. It's a pretty reasonable assumption to make, especially for people who have lived through all of it, no?
Hm. I wonder if Siphon is going to absorb Illyria, leaving Fred. Earlier this season, I thought that that was going to happen with Spike... getting the vampire demon removed, leaving a human Spike/William. That Siphon left human bodies when he absorbed vampires might lead there. Question is, would he just absorb Illyria's power, or would he become Illyria's new host?

Anaheed being a slayer is... interesting. In issue one she mentioned that she is THIRTY. Which would seem to make her too old be a slayer. Is she lying about her age? Depending on how the timeline is being jiggered, that would seem to make her significantly older than either Buffy or Faith, and would mean she was at least in her mid-20s when she was activated with Willow's spell in "Chosen." Could she have been activated when Buffy nearly killed Faith in "Graduation Day," when Buffy died in "The Gift," or when Faith nearly died in Angel's fourth season?

Looking back at previous Anaheed appearances, she doesn't seem overly surprised about her roommate being a slayer. Is she just a slayer trying to live out a quiet, normal life in secret? The "vote" she took with Tumble in issue #7 would point in this direction.

I do wonder if a couple of members on the council, namely the Buddha-looking fellow and the little girl with the balloon, are homages to Neil Gaiman's Sandman.
I sort of doubt Tumble is Anaheed's watcher.

In their scenes alone together, it didn't come across like they had that relationship or that Tumble was "in the know." Anaheed mentions to him that she would feel safer with a slayer living in the apartment and Tumble commented that he would like her to teach him how to use a crossbow. Anaheed's statement implies that Tumble doesn't know she's a slayer and she's actively keeping that information from his, and Tumble's statement about the crossbow indicates he doesn't have even rudimentary watcher training.
Of things Buffy could undo, only the spacefrak makes sense. Stopping that prevents the entire threat that necessitated breaking the Seed. The other choices are... not things Buffy of sound mind should spend time contemplating.

Nyrk, I think it's possible that Andrew has already figured it out but just didn't need to bog Xander down with details since they were about to kidnap a patient and all. It would relate back nicely to Andrew's "Storyteller" fascination with Dawn's Key status -- and his general tendency to define people by the roles they play in whatever movie he's making in his mind. He'd be the first one to think of Dawn as a "what" and not a "who", and that would really be all it would take to realize what was the problem.
There is no Fred. There might be a William. Just going off canon I do not see how Fred could be left behind. And the idea of Anaheed as a 30yo slayer is all sorts of mystifying, in canon. The only answer is activated by Willow in her mid-20s or so. Anything else is a retcon I think would suck.
I don't see what troubles anybody about a 30 year old Slayer activated by the spell. We've never actually been given any sort of firm canon-mythology about age as a function of Potential. So what if she was 27, 28 years old when called? My guess is that the skew on Slayer age distribution would be right-tailed as age increases, with the most of them being called in the range of 15 to 17 years old (must be; if the norm was hovering near 18 or older, the Cruciamentum would make no sense -- the entire premise is that 18 is something of a milestone).

My fanon assumptions here -- until we get exposition next month I'm guessing -- is that Anaheed realized from the ads (not to mention the dreams) that she was a Slayer but also realized she didn't have any particular drive to save the world on a proactive basis, and also saw that Buffy's group was more of a School for Wayward Girls who did want to save the world, so she just went back to her life, albeit without ever needing help with a jar lid anymore. My first instinct is that she was just feigning ignorance with Buffy.
Unless women in their 20's can become Slayers, then Anaheed can't be a "Nu Slayer," nor can she have been activated when Buffy died in "The Gift" (she would have been about 23 then). The best explanation is that she was a pre-Buffy Slayer who somehow "died" and was revived (like Buffy in "Prophecy Girl") and then convinced the Watchers' Council to let her retire in favor of the new Slayer. Or possibly her death took place out of sight of her Watcher, and the Council never realized she was still alive.

I doubt Tumble is in the know... we had a scene with just the two of them (when they were voting on whether to keep Buffy as a roommate), and they gave no sign of having any secret situation going on.

The fact that Anaheed oddly appeared in Willow's vision of the most important people in her life (in the last issue of Willow: Wonderland) makes me suspect Willow has been aware of her Slayer status, and may have even brought her and Buffy together.
I was under the impression that the Chosen spell made every potential into a slayer, regardless of their age at the time.
Kennedy was established as being nineteen in the shooting script for her first appearance, and referenced as being the oldest of the potentials. I can also sort of recall Kennedy mentioning that she was probably too old to be activated.

There does seem to be a cut-off age for slayers. The "potential" thing would seem to go away at some point.
Sigh- I just think in the end this is another issue that deep fans see and new writers don't.
Anaheed's age was explicitly established as thirty in issue one, which was written by that one writer... Josh Weldon? ... I think he wrote and directed a Super Friends movie or something last year...

Seriuosly, though, this would seem to be a plot point, as I think Whedon would know that Anaheed is quite a bit older than Buffy. He certainly doesn't seem to be writing Buffy as being in her thirties. There's really not any way around this, unless Ana being a slayer is something that wasn't in the initial plans for season nine.
Dana, I don't think old writers would have caught it either. But, again, what's to catch? Rules like "only teenagers" and all that are all fanon, they don't have an explicit confirmation in the text. There is no continuity error at all with Anaheed being a then-mid-to-late-20s activation from Willow's spell. We can infer she's an outlier, but even then, we don't have the actual structure of the Slayer line's architecture to say how rare she is. On one hand, that's a sign of bad worldbuilding, but on another, they can do this without actually offending any rule they have committed themselves to, just one's the audience has invented.
My guess about the whole Anaheed's-too-old-to-be-called, is that if Buffy hadn't shared her power/activated every potential out there, she never would have been called, since she was already too old. But given the final images of Chosen - where we see the baseball girl and the woman who was about to get beaten - it's possible ALL potentials where called no matter their age. Fanwank much? Makes sense to me at least.
I expect we'll get an answer to the Anaheed question next issue, once she and Billy catch their breath. I thought this issue did a great job of generating motion in the comic, bringing things to a head as the seaons wraps up. The Billy/Anaheed conversation about "not being a Slayer" almost sounds like him responding to people on this forum! He's trying to be a Slayer, but he knows that he doesn't have the power that Buffy and the girls have. I suspect if the group do defeat Severin, all that stored up power might go his way.

Great moment for Xander in the hospital. If he views Dawn as his chance of pursuing a normal life, he's really accepted her as a person, and not Magic made Flesh. That could explain why he's not jumping to the conclusion that we all have. He wasn't in in Willow's visions, and Dawn has been fine for months. That could be a long enough delay that they wouldn't connect it to the loss of magic. Buffy's not even really aware that she's sick. The one person whow would have instantly made that connection? She's on a quest.
Kennedy's fears about being too old to be a Slayer was in reference to being called the "normal" way. When Willow's spell activated all the Potential Slayers, it also activated Dana (Angel, "Chosen"), who was 25 at the time, according to the backstory - she had been kidnapped at 10, and spent 15 years in the mental hospital.

[ edited by Rowan Hawthorn on 2013-02-14 16:41 ]
I'm confused as to the argument, or why this is a sign of 'bad worldbuilding'.
She was a potential activated by the spell. Why is this weird? Kennedy explicitly says that she thought she was probably too old to be activated in Season 7...all that means is that older potentials are (increasingly) less likely to be chosen/activated. it doesn't mean they lose their status as a potential slayer, they're odds are just slimmer and slimmer.
"Every girl who might be a slayer...."
Doesn't make a point of saying "unless she's over X years old..."
It would annoy me just because if every potential who ever potential'd was called, there would be 70 year old slayers, which we haven't seen and I think we would. Everyone in the Season 8 war was pretty much a teenage girl. I think it could be explained as something that fades at varying rates, and Anaheed caught the tail end at 28 at the time, but I hope they explicitly say it so it feels purposeful and not like a mistake.

I also wonder how old Xander's slayer lady-friend was in season 8, she seemed older than Kennedy's 19/20, and would seem to be the precedent of how old they can run thus far.

[ edited by narky on 2013-02-14 18:03 ]

[ edited by narky on 2013-02-14 18:05 ]
I don't understand this Anaheed age controversy. She's wearing glasses. If she doesn't need them she may had lied about her age too
I don't believe we've ever seen a Slayer older than Buffy is now (27, with Faith around the same age). Nikki Wood may have been close to that, but she was a Slayer for 7 years. Kennedy was afraid she was too old at 19. The youngest was the "Baseball girl" from Chosen, identified as 12 years old in Joss's script. So I think 12-20 is about the range for activation. The teenage years, basically.

I don't know why Anaheed would have lied about her age, especially since she mentioned it in context of being unhappy that she was so old.
I think the old rules (whatever they were) went out with the spell in Chosen. And if Dana was 25 in Angel S5, she was already older than Buffy by a couple of years. So what's the problem?
There never were any rules, it's always been fanon/fan inference. We can logically infer a little, based on observation and other mythological facts (like the Cruciamentum), and reason that most Slayers are called as teenagers, but there is no retcon here, no continuity error in Anaheed having been called at 27 or 28 years old.

What there is is... a lot of discussion about the mythology around her being called that has all but swept aside any impact from the actual substantive plot twist that she is a Slayer. That is why there is bad worldbuilding here, because the job they did in carrying off the shifts in mythology left so much unanswered that it sucks the air out of their own plot.
Yep. And then there is the Dawn dying storyline. Why is Dawn dying? I mean, I'm a doctor, and most of the time you can clearly find some reason for failing health. So, what's the story with Dawn? Long long ago, I thought the death of magic was going to play into her demise, but since so many others thought this as well, I am not certain this is the case any more. So, what is up? And robot? Really?
The doctors can't tell why Dawn's dying because there's nothing wrong with her body. The loss of magic is causing the Key to fizzle out, and the Key is what Dawn is. It's her life essence.

That's what I think is happening, at least.

Or maybe her mystical status is causing her to experience something early that everyone else will fall victim to later. That would explain why Willow first had a vision of her friends with (only) Dawn's face erased, and later saw them with everyone's faces erased.
Oo, Andrew I like that a lot. Would throw off everyone's running Dawn theory in a big way. Bit an interesting twist on our expectations.
Alt; think about how the face thing ties in with this issue. Dawn is going into a bot, after all...
I was excited to finally get this issue, but I have to say that the discussion here makes me wonder if it was worth going to the effort. *sigh*
Alt; think about how the face thing ties in with this issue. Dawn is going into a bot, after all...

But the doctors have already determined there's nothing wrong with the body she has... so putting her in a new one won't help her.
@pacer: A Spike without the demon would be human, but dead. Like, really dead. An Illyria without her powers would be a powerless Illyria - nothing we haven't seen yet. Illyria is not Fred, she just has her memories.
But in the context of face/identity, Dawn would still be losing hers.
This issue was a vast improvement, in my view. Lots of fast-paced stuff, and interesting character developments. It seems they might actually be tying things together in some thoughtful ways too.
Did Buffy and Koh ended up at the Oscar's?
(my random thought)-If Illyria and Glory got into a fight I wonder who would win? I cant wait to see the ending of this arc!

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