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April 24 2013

(SPOILER) Discuss Angel & Faith #21. Dark Horse gives you What You Want, Not What You Need.

Been trying to buy this digitally all such luck! Looking forward to this arc. Judging by the title, I think we're in for some meaty drama!
I like the play on the infamous Joss quote (which no one ever seems have a direct reference to).
Wait, is Dark Horse no longer releasing the comics digitally on the same day? Do we have to wait??? This better not be the case, or I'll be really pissed!
Neither of the webpages for the comic allow a digital purchase and it's not showing up anywhere in the app... I'm impatient, I want it NOW!
This issue felt like it was about twice as long as it was... lots of action packed in there.

I really, really don't like that Angel and Faith don't remember Dawn. I understand why the fake pre-season 5 memories would fade, but everything after that was real memories. Just doesn't make sense. And why does Spike still remember her?

I give the issue 3 1/2 stars... would have been 4 if not for the memories-of-Dawn logic fail.
No logic-fail. Spike remembers Dawn and Faith and Angel don't because Spike knows her better. That's all.
It makes sense that those without as deep a connection to Dawn would fade first. I love that it's finally making the Buffy story interesting. There's real stakes to what's happening now, something that's been sorely needed for a long time.
I also can't get it digitally. Yet another instance of the Dark Horse digital store crapping out. I REALLY wish they would just publish through ComiXology. I have never once had an issue with that app, whereas the DH app is one of the worst I've ever used.
Well, this raises a question or two. Why is Dawn sick? What does that have to do with her fading from reality? And if ultimately she does fade from reality, what would that mean? Since no one would have any memory of her?
I think Dana that all of the real memories would still be there. Any interactions from Season 5 onward. Just a guess.
Webite seems to be sporadic. After many tries, I finally got it. In regards to the issue, I quite enjoyed it. I'm glad that there was mention of what is happening in the Buffy title. I think it is believable that Spike would remember he because they had a special bond. It also gave a reasonable explanation for his departure.

@Xane - That would not coincide with Angel forgetting Dawn then, as he would have a least remembered that she existed then. Doesn't he have a photographic memory?

[ edited by Jelly on 2013-04-24 15:57 ]
I thought this issue was really fantastic and leaves you desperate for the next one.

Regarding the fading memories of Dawn, I thought it was a nice touch since it's just another way that Dark Horse has tied to two series together and created a more connected Buffyverse. Yes, there are some questions regarding the specifics of this phenomenon, but can anyone really take issue with this plot point when it's fairly obvious that these questions will be answered in future upcoming issues (probably in 'Buffy: S9')?

My review will be up at Fanboy Comics and Whedonpolis later today for those interested. Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs continue to rock my Whedon fanboy socks!
Holy crap that was exciting. They really are not letting any of the characters off the hook on this one are they?

And that cliffhanger?! Gahhh! Evil!

Oh and I also had problems downloading the issue. The DH app is so bad. Gt it eventually though.
I thought this was a good issue. I thought Spike sounded right this time and his decisive exit true to character. He may fear being Buffy's dark place but it doesn't change that there are people he loves in SF and when something new threatens them he wants to be there to face it. It isn't all dark when you want to positively effect people's life because you care and if he will stop letting himself be pigeonholed there are people he can belong with. I would just like to see him settling somewhere and feeling his own worth, wherever that ends up being. I don't think he is ever going to get that around Angel so I won't lie, I heartily disliked last issue and was really pleased how quickly he exited stage left this issue. I'm not sure as it stands if he can get it around Buffy either however, something would have to change between them.

If I'm accepting that Dawn as a completed spell can be altered by the seed disappearing I am happy to accept real and fake memories surrounding her may also fade. I'm sure it will all be explained somehow (even if the answer is a little less than watertight!). I don't know Angel has any 'real' memories of Dawn but Faith does from S7. I think it is basically as Jelly says though, that Spike had a close, specific bond with Dawn so she isn't fading as easily/quickly to him. Anyway, the touch about Angel/Faith not knowing Dawn I thought worked nicely in the scene and Spike's lack of patience/inclination to try and explain had me fondly recalling the "ben is glory, glory's ben" thang.

Angel got called on his approach/attitude towards his plan repeatedly in the issue I felt and that was good to see. He wasn't considering not doing it though which isn't great still but I don't think he was denying that it was selfishly motivated. I quite liked Alasdair's possessiveness over his belongings and how Faith calls him on it. It is very easy to put great weight and value to objects and this was a really nice 'human' touch to all their supernatural happenings/considerations and I thought it was a perfect piece of writing.

I loved Faith's 'crazy Whistler' lines but I have to say 'pro tip' to Faith, don't warn the person you could take the head off that they aren't watching you with the axe, just take their head off!! I find it hilarious that Whistler is going around gathering objects off people like some magic!Grinch with his scraggy black bin liner, ha!
Well, I applaud concsistency, even for a plot element I thought ill-advised. I'm actually a bit intrigued for a change. (Even though I still prefer my own idea that Dawn is finishing her third year of med school and is recently married to a guy she thinks will back her up in life, hint, hint.)

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2013-04-24 17:48 ]
Oh my ... That was exciting. The final arc starts in a great way !
I have my issue and really enjoyed it as usual. About the first thing you notice is that Spike is smoking again...not sure why that remains such a key element whenever he is in a scene? Whatever though.

Things that I liked:

Angel is still all about bringing Giles back for all the right reasons, mainly because he didn't deserve to die.

Angel gets all grr and aggressive while in battle. I LOVE that side of him.

Everyone is in with the plan to bring Giles back.

Angel's hopeful moment of thinking maybe Buffy can come and help.

Buffy mentions, makes me giddy after living so long with the no mention clause during the live show.

Faith's line about not taking your eyes off the bitch with the axe. I don't even care for Faith but laughed out loud at the dialog.

The art. Giles looked like Giles in that first showing. The cover art of Angel is gorgeous.

Things that I didn't and will NEVER like:

Faith talking about Giles as if he is HERS. Her watcher, her father figure, her anything. She was the one to do a bunch of things with him that he always wanted to do? Excuse me, I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. These are the things that prevent me from putting aside my series long Faith hate. IMO, this is just one more thing that Faith has managed to spoil for Buffy. Giles is Buffy's watcher. Buffy's father figure. Buffy's mentor. Yeah, best to stop on this topic. Profanity is wanting to escape through my fingertips.

Really really can't wait to get my hands on the next one.
I have my copy of Angel & Faith # 21.Part I of "What you Want,Not What You Need."

Well,we're are reaching the end of the road on season 9 starting this week here and continuing in two weeks with Buffy.This is what the whole season has been building to on the Angel & Faith side of things.

Will Giles realty be brought back.I've had my doubts but after this issue,I do think he will be brought back BUT not in the way we want or as we have known him(possibly tying into the title of this arc.I mean,we want Giles back but do we need him back if he's drastically altered?)The cliffhanger end to this issue pretty much screams it to me.

This whole issue gets to the heart of the title of this arc.Angel,Faith,the aunts and even Alasdair(who admits it despite he reluctance due to the danger) want Giles back.But is that what's really best?Is that what is really needed?

I think it's a pretty telling moment when Angel admits/understands that this doesn't undo Twilight.It doesn't bring everyone else who died back or fixes all his mistakes.But at least he feels he would of put one thing right.

Ironically the big bads over in Buffy,Severin and Simone are trying to undo Twilight,bring everybody back and basically do a cosmic rewind.

This whole issue was juicy with the back and forth of Angel,Faith,Alasdair and Giles's aunts.

I also am glad they gave Spike's exit in this issue on page instead of just having him turn up over in Buffy.I suspect he'll arrive in Buffy at the end of next issue in two weeks.

Was interesting seeing Angel learn about Spike knowing Pearl and Nash and that he ran into them again in Sunnydale.

I do like the fact that Spike was going to stay and help Angel & Faith and that Angel wanted that help if they hadn't got the call from Buffy.

I also liked Angel's little reaction to Buffy calling.Wonder if he was going to tell her about bringing back Giles.

And yes,it does seem the people less close to Dawn are losing their memory of her first.Jeez,I wonder if we're going to get to that point with the Scoobies.

And with all that, we got things coming to a head with Whistler,Pearl and Nash too.

So I enjoyed this issue very much.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2013-04-24 19:39 ]
@Cherly - In all fairness, the events that drove Buffy and Giles apart were completely between those two characters. Faith wasn't responsible for that relationship fracturing.

Also, while Season 8 hasn't been the most well-received season, I think it is fair to say that the writers did write a great arc for Faith that very much showed her and Giles building a relationship based on the similarities in their need to atone for past mistakes. This isn't something Faith took from Buffy. This is something that evolved naturally between Faith and Giles while Buffy wasn't even present.
Hate to be the one to note it but... Xander was actually the first one to notably have forgotten something with regard to Dawn with the forgotten birthday fail. So the closeness theory wants a little there.
I think after season 7, Buffy grew up in a way to become like the oldest child to Giles. Everything with the slayer's squad in season 8, and after the episode in "Lies that my parents told me" Buffy and Giles distanced themselves. So, Giles and Faith they started to have a relationship like father and youngest daughter IMO. With all the time that they spend together fighting against "bad" new Slayers they built that. I dont think Faith wants to spoil anything from Buffy like cheryl said
I really liked this issue.

I think Spike's memory of Dawn as contrasted with Faith and Angel's makes total sense. Spike had a long relationship with Dawn, and I was touched by his horrified expression on learning that she was in trouble. Anyway, I love everything about the Spike scene.

But I love even more the rest of the issue. I've long been worried that A&F was brushing off Angel's darkness and was going to let him just "fix" his mistakes by resurrecting Giles. Well, this issue makes it clear that Angel hasn't learned anything from his Twilight Fail. He's still willing to put a lot of people at risk in order to pursue an agenda that ostensibly has noble aims, but which is largely animated by his own concerns. I love the hints of Angelus throughout "You think you can stop me"); I love the fact that Angel is risking a mini-version of the apocalypse that Whistler, Pearl and Nash are unleashing, etc.

In short this is the story I've been hoping for -- the one where the quest to resurrect Giles turns out to be not Angel fixing his mistakes but rather repeating them. One hopes that some real character movement will happen as a result of the fall-out.

And the fall-out should be interesting. We don't yet know what form it will take, but it looks ominous indeed. I'm really looking forward to the next issue.

ETA: I was also seriously annoyed at the delayed release of the digital version. Admittedly, I'm the idiot who waits up until 3:00 a.m. to get the issues as released, but having waited up that late it was particularly aggravating to discover that I'd messed up my Wednesday for no good reason at all.

[ edited by Maggie on 2013-04-24 21:01 ]
@Bryamnthecomicslayer, you could very well be right but I honestly can't make myself care. I didn't appreciate the "relationship" during season 8 either. Did it make sense ? Sure. Would it have really happened? I don't see it. Maybe if Faith hadn't spent so so much time trying to ruin Buffy? Maybe if Buffy didn't love Giles so much? Maybe if Buffy hadn't been hurt when Giles turned his estate over to Faith? Lots of maybes. I admit, I am not very forgiving of Faith and I do recognize that I am supposed to buy into the new and improved shiny mature Faith.

@Maggie. "You think you can stop me?" Is totally something Angel would say. He gets pretty grr when it is this important. Angelus would have been more smirky, cocky and sarcastic with his reply. He would have probably said something like " I am REALLY hoping that you try to stop me."
Memories of Dawn since season 5 episode 1 are not magical, and thus should not fade as she fades, any more than your memories of a dying person should fade as they get closer to death.

It doesn't make sense to me, and it bothers me. This is one of those things that probably wouldn't have bugged me on the show, but does bug me in the comics. I guess that's what comes of not having actors to sell the illogical stuff.
It can't be as simple as that; Faith spent a fair amount of time around Dawn in Season 7 if nothing else. It didn't protect her in the least.

I am expecting that we'll see this escalate as we approach the conclusion of the arc, maybe with Spike or Willow for instance losing their memories of Dawn between panels on Buffy. The last two outs would obviously be Buffy and Xander themselves. I think Xander would remember her longest, since at this point I'd say it's fair that he knows her best, but since the original spell was for Buffy's benefit in the first place, might be that she'd be the last to forget her.
Faith talking about Giles as if he is HERS. Her watcher, her father figure, her anything. She was the one to do a bunch of things with him that he always wanted to do? Excuse me, I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. These are the things that prevent me from putting aside my series long Faith hate.

I'm thinking back and even at her crazycrazycraziest I can't remember her even threatening Giles. It seems to me that Giles was always someone she respected and cared for (as much as she could at the time). Since then with the whole Steel/Peed thing, Faith's feelings have solidified.

Notice it's only Faith who feels this way. Nobody else tries to tell her that that is how Giles felt. This isn't about Faith versus Buffy, for Giles fatherly love. This about both Faith grieving for the same father figure that they both loved, respected and fought alongside in different ways for different reasons.
In her miniseries, Willow had two different visions of her friends with their faces missing. In the first, it was just Dawn with a missing face, but in the second it was everyone... Dawn, Buffy, Xander, and even crowds of strangers. In the second vision, there was also a portal involved, into which all the faceless people were falling or jumping.

That could be a hint that the death of the Key would be a very bad thing, and not just for Dawn.
@Gouki. I hear what you're saying and if it were anyone but Faith I'd probably jump on that train with you can do. I have Faith issues, always have. She has just done way too much to Buffy. Maybe someday?
It was a relief that the comic got back to form in #21 after a couple of poor issues which ruined the intensity of the story for me. It was also good to like the characters of Angel, Faith and Spike again. The cliffhanger was an interesting one and I shall definitely be anticipating #22 with some excitement and trepidation.
It's interesting to me that the title of this arc echoes in reverse that Joss quote about giving the audience "what they need and not what they want". I think it's safe to say most of the audience would want Giles alive and well so to me it sounds pretty ominous, in a "careful what you wish for" way. Or, it's a total coincidence.

Anyway, great issue. #22 can't come soon enough.
Well, Giles is not the only person the audience might want alive.
I'm not sure if I should be excited that the previously favorite Dawn and Spike friendship might go back to existing, or if I should prepare myself for him to forget her before she dies. UGH!
Angel and Faith not remembering Dawn: Awesome touch.
I suppose I never really buy into any writer when they get into the conceit of "what an audience wants and needs" though. To be fair, most writers are writing what is in their head. It's what THEY need to make the story work. An entire interweb of fanfic's later, it's obvious it's not the only way you could have written it. It's the way the writer wanted to. Because lets face it, any series going past 5 (Star Trek, Dr. Who, Buffy, Lost) years tends to have the same problems of fans abandoning the franchise because they don't like the direction. Obviously needs aren't always being fulfilled.

As an audience member, I have no vested interest in the endgame right now. Any dead character I can think of Giles, Anya, Tara, Jenny Calander, Doyle, Wesley, Fred etc. I have no need to see again. I do have a need for Angel as a character to be resolved. I think between AtS S5-Present they have danced with his morality to the point that he's an extremely divisive character. And as a fan it's not fun to spend every issue with one side or the other saying "SEE!!!" To me, he has made less sense and has borne more scars of different writing ideas than any character I've seen. Most characters I see, I see the characters. When I see Angel, I generally see an amalgamation of differing and often abandoned writing directions.
"Because lets face it, any series going past 5 (Star Trek, Dr. Who, Buffy, Lost) years tends to have the same problems of fans abandoning the franchise because they don't like the direction. Obviously needs aren't always being fulfilled."

I think that, going by Joss' definition, the fans were abandoning the franchise because their WANTS weren't being fulfilled, rather than (what Joss defines as) needs.

For instance: you may want this character to survive, and everything to turn out wonderfully. But you need for that character to die, in order to feel how tragic and destructive the war was, and to be really shaken by this story. You may want this character to get resurrected and live happily, but you may need for them to stay alive in order for the story to have a real punch and to understand the gravity of the story. You may want the Federation to be a perfect place, but you need it to be imperfect so the story would speak to the problems of the real world. Sometimes unpleasant things need to happen for the story to get through the right messages and feelings.
Okay I really did love this. And I really hope they succeed in bringing Giles back(!).
It makes perfect sense that the people closest to Dawn (ie physically living in Sunnydale and interacting w/Buffy & her family) back when Dawn was 'created' would have the strongest connection to Dawn. Both Angel and Faith were far away in Season 5; I don't think 'real' memories necessarily factor in at all (besides Angel really never had any, while Faith's wouldn't have been very strong IMO).

This was an exciting, complicated issue which really managed to touch on so many important subjects. I really appreciated how well it was handled.
I think that, going by Joss' definition, the fans were abandoning the franchise because their WANTS weren't being fulfilled, rather than (what Joss defines as) needs.

That's replacing the narrative needs of the writer with the emotional need of the consumer. No one will debate a writer can write anything he chooses. But in the end, the viewer "needs" whatever it is they get from a series. Cut that off or change it, and you risk the viewer. It's why Buffy S2 and S6 are not even on the same page in terms of divisiveness. The emotional needs and storytelling style are vastly different.

You may want the Federation to be a perfect place, but you need it to be imperfect so the story would speak to the problems of the real world.

If your perfect Trek was DS9 then yes. But you're implying a uniformity in fanbase where none exists. I for example hate with a passion attempts to dirty the Federation to be "like us." The Section 31 storyline completely made me question how the Federation would ever have functioned for that long actively being hypocritical. As soon as it is "like us", it becomes implausible and I'd rather watch Firefly. I watch Trek for the world Roddenbery envisioned, not to see an approximation of humanity as presently constituted put into the future. My favorite stories in Trek? TNG Borg arc's, Romulan stories, and Klingon stories. Essentially, humanity interacting with something else and asking more science fiction type questions is what I enjoy about Trek. If I want a human melodrama, there are better sources with more logically consistent worlds geared towards that goal. So I would completely reject that's what Trek needs to be. Heck, ratings would suggest that since they went that route and Trek continually declined in popularity after that, obviously that wasn't what it's audience needed either.

[ edited by azzers on 2013-04-26 09:17 ]
Good issue, though I felt like I had to re-read a few panels as it was getting harder and harder to keep up with Angel and Faith's various arguments as they kept going back and forth on the Giles' issue. Sometimes I felt like, "Wait, what was the point you were making? Let me read that again." That argument may have been a bit longer than needed, but it's a minor gripe. I'm glad they said everything they needed to.

They were kind of mean to that old guy, but I sort of understood why, and they softened up once he agreed to help.

I thought it was interesting Faith getting a call from Buffy. I guess the two of them have reached some level of peace with each other. Presumably she doesn't hate Angel either if she's willing to contact the two of them in a time of crisis.

Not sure how I felt about Spike ditching them. I know Buffy is important to him, and I know he bonded with Dawn once. Still, it was a bit off putting to see how unimportant Angel, as well as Giles, were to him that he ran off without even giving it a second thought. How would Buffy feel about him abandoning an effort to bring Giles back?

I love the bond between Angel and Faith. The more they fight and argue, the stronger their bond becomes. I know this will upset people like Cheryl, but it's a lot like his relationship with Buffy was, just in a non romantic sort of way (at least at this point in time anyway). They are more effective as a team than I have ever seen him and Buffy be as well, but I guess that is just because they have fought together a lot more. Plus, they are an actual team. Partners. When Buffy's show was on the air, Angel was usually just her sidekick and it seemed like Buffy was his sidekick when she would appear on his show. Big difference. Angel & Faith don't have that leader/sidekick dynamic, just two partners on a team.

I won't say anything on the Dawn issue as it's been discussed to death already. I'm just interested in seeing where it goes. I'm a also a bit behind on the other books, particularly Spike and Willow's mini-series, so I don't have any interesting theories to provide.

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