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August 14 2013

(SPOILER) Discuss Buffy Season 9 #24. It's the fourth part of 'The Core' arc.

Not a bad penultimate issue. I hasn't been too hard to see where the story was going, but for a fairly uneven season it is ending on a high note in my opinion. These last issues have been pretty entertaining, and I'm genuinely concerned for Dawn's well-being. I wonder if this is the end for Illyria or if we will just see her evolve again. It sure seems like Fred is having some sort of influence on her.
I disagree that this has been an uneven season. It's been great from start to finish! Much better than Season 8. These are the types of grounded Buffy stories I wanted from the comics in the first place. My only fear is that issue #25 will end on a cliffhanger and we'll have to wait months and months and months for Season 10.
I was expecting more of a wrap-up like they did with Season 8, but I guess they want to keep the big climax for the last issue. Although there were some great moments in this issue, I felt it was a little light; I finished it pretty quickly.
My only regret is that Simone didn't become a normal vampire (having been sired by the first vampire + being a midst so much magic).

Now, I totally understand the build-up to her becoming a mentally intact zompire ... but she's so monstrous that I feel as though she'll need to be defeated (like Adam or Glory at the end of their season) instead of becoming an ominous threat (like the next generation of Angelus/Drusilla-type vampires who come around every now and again with an evil plot).

I thought Simone would be a good character to keep around like an ongoing nemesis, but with her becoming so powerful I feel that her ultimate demise is necessary.
This is the second cliffhanger this season that had me going "I have to wait a month?" - which isn't great numbers, but ain't bad either. This particular one is a great example of setting and raising various dramatic stakes, so hoping for lots of payoff next time.
As far as I'm concerned, a Slayer-turned-vampire should be suicidal. After all, it's a Slayer's instinctual nature to kill vampires. Simone should be struggling against her urge to kill herself. Hopefully something to this effect will play out next issue.

There is a lot to wrap up in 22 pages next month: the final fate of Dawn, the return (?) of magic, finding out who imprisoned Eldre Koh, defeating Simone and Severin, and the truth about Illyria/why she's still alive in Fred form.
I REALLY enjoyed this issue, which I can't say about a lot of issues this season. Off the top of my head, issues 14 and 20 were both highlights, along with this one. The season took a long time to pick up, but I feel like it all came together in the end. I'll have to reread the entire season one time, to really appreciate it. I still don't love Andrew Chambliss as the main writer, because he struggles with Buffy's voice, but he writes the book much better when the cast is fuller.

I really hope Illyria doesn't die. I assume she won't, since Joss hasn't even gotten his hands on her, and he wants to so badly. Her moments in this issue were the best, IMHO. It's so great to see how she's learned and changed, and she appears to be changing even more now. I mean, Jeanty went out of his way to make Illyria look like Amy Acker for the first time this entire season; it was obviously an important panel, to show how much she's looking like Fred.
I have my copy of Buffy # 24,"The Core Part IV of V."

Well,it looks like things are going down to the wire with season 9 where season 8 wrapped the main arc in issue 39 and the final issue was a coda.Doesn't look like that will be the case this season.

So we now know Simone's motives.She never wanted to be called and resented Buffy for it.As others have said,the vampire/zompire/how you become which has been clunky.I don't get how being turned by a old one would make a difference since the doors are still cut off and the vampire demon still can only remote control.But I guess we'll go along with it.Between the two,I guess Simone was the real big bad although she really was a weak one.

On the Severin front,,it looks like we'll get a measure of redemption with him with Illyria convincing him via her experience with Wes that he can't bring his girlfriend back but he can save the world in his death.He's going to die anyway but rather then kill everyone he can restore magic faster.I actually liked this bit and the Wes flashback.It reminds me a little of Doc Ock's death in Spider-Man 2 and the element of a final redeeming moment.Doc Ock's line that," he will not die as a monster" feels along those lines for Severin and is a nice parallel to Simone who will exactly die that way,as a monster.The two villains basically going in opposite directions at their ends.

As I said,I still think they both were weak big bads but atleast this adds a little heart to Severin story and makes me feel something for him in the end.

Will be interesting to see Illyria's fate.I think she would of been handled better this season if Joss had written her as I assume was the original plan since he specifically reserved her for himself.

While many suspected Willow would be involved in the creation of a new seed of magic.I think the speculation was she would become the seed,not give birth to it.Still we seem to be getting more setup for the future of Fray.The seed says magic is returning but it will take a millennia.If Severin and Illyria succeed than magic will be restored faster.I assume at this point that this will line us up for Fray where magic has been returned by 200 years later.Whether that will be fast enough to save Dawn,we'll see.Spike and Andrew seem to remember Dawn even if they can't see her anymore.And Xander still remembers her name.Speaking of...

Xander I'm sure is going to make some sort of sacrifice next issue.I don't know what or how but that seems to be his tranjectory this issue..

Not much else to say.Buffy is left in that cliffhanger..We'll see what happens next issue.

I thought the issue was good and I will admit that I'm curious how any elements could collide with this month's conclusion of Angel & Faith.I mean,would Whistler even want to through with his plan if he knows what has been done here with a new seed created,magic retuning and now a plan to speed up that return?

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2013-08-14 20:30 ]
My only regret is that Simone didn't become a normal vampire (having been sired by the first vampire + being a midst so much magic).

Zompires are caused by the fact that since the breaking of the Seed, portals to other dimensions are closed and the demon spirits that animate normal vampires can't get here. So it wouldn't matter who sired Simone or how much local magic there was... only a global return of magic would enable normal vamps to be created again.

And so, if Willow succeeds in super-charging the new Seed and bringing magic back, I wonder if those demon spirits will come streaming in and change all the existing zompires into vampires?
I'm really confused on how people are coming to the notion that Simone is a zompire. Maloker was the work around to not becoming a zompire. She is fully possessed of all her intellectual faculties and identity. She's not a zompire. She's a damn ugly vampire.
I guess the best argument there is the `both the presence of so much magic / the fact that Maloker's "ability" to create vampires is an innate power` blah de blah since there was no way for a vampire spirit to enter retained original identity`... handwavey handwave and done.

And minor lore correction again - Maloker is *not* the first vampire. Maloker is an Old One whose blood being mixed with a human*created* the first vampire. He's also a bit lacking in visual impact -very static too - and kind of a letdown. There's been so much aimless meandering this entire season though, and I don't plan on excusing an entirely weak 20some issues just because they're cramming in so much in the last 2 or 3. Any more than I would with the show.
Thank you apollo, I've been sort of a stickler on that point myself. It's totally "Frankenstein" vs. "Frankenstein's monster".
Simone is a vampire without the demon spirit that normally enters a newly-sired vamp. That means her evil is all her own... there's no "Simonegelus" there, it's all Simone. She just now has the physical abilities (and vulnerabilities) of vampires.

Regular zompires are caught between life and undeath. Their human souls are gone, but no demon soul has arrived to take its place, so they're just feral, non-sentient predators. There's no real evil in them, because there is no conscious decision to do harm.

I'm still wondering where Maloker's giant demon body came from. Why didn't Illyria get one when she got released, instead of having to swipe poor Fred's?

Speaking of which, this issue seems to be chock full of foreshadowing regarding Illyria: "I do not think magic is what's keeping this vessel alive anymore"... the flashback to Wesley's death scene... "It is not what I expected either..."

I forsee a big reveal next issue re: Illyria/Fred.
I don't think we need to split hairs or rationalize too much about the specifics of Simone being a vampire other than to acknowledge that she self-evidently is one, not a zompire. I'm not inclined to drill down into the nature of her identity because I've always thought that the Buffyverse's vampire mythology was a facepalming disaster in this regard, both as to their metaphysical nature and the soul/no soul distinction (an obvious ploy at the outset to make Angel a "good" or "good enough" vampire without having to actually make it a component of his actual persona, just draw a circle around him that says 'soul' -- basically for the same reason that vampires go 'poof', writing convenience). My hope had been... still *slightly* is... that whatever new supernatural status quo emerges from this arc also gives them the opportunity to establish new vampire mythology, and that they'll take that opportunity. Let Angel and Spike and Harmony and Dru, et al, be the scions of the old way, and Simone and anyone else who ends up a vampire going forth the new way.

Easiest answer on Illyria vs. Maloker is a memetic one, IMO -- different demons are different. Old One has always struck me more as an honorific than a species.

I took Willow's exchange with Illyria as referring to the likely presumption on both their parts that Illyria may actually be sacrificing her own life for the preservation of others, which... is certainly new ground.
I never thought about Illyria vs Maloker, dust and no dust... It would have been cool if Simone has inhaled the Maloker's dust, like Fred, and her body would have been hollowed out to make room for Maloker to be born again, thus forging a new Big Bad for Season 10. "Simoloker" I really would have liked that twist, and then Illyria could have shown her real expertise next season (being a product of such).
The simplest explanation is that the Old Ones were basically imprisoned in the manner that most suited them. Maloker could simply have been entombed, while Illyria's eventual escape seemed to have been planned and may just have required the `essence` to be stored. Its organic body may just not have been up to millenia of aging - like its army, who turned to dust - while Maloker may have some form of more physical immortality, a trait that is passed on to the vampire line.

I still like to think the way they used an actual image of the male strongly implied to be the original vampire may indicate his eventual appearance some day, perhaps in S10. A vampire that has survived from the time of the Old Ones to now would be an interesting character to explore. Could he still pass as human? What kind of intellect would such a long-lived creature have? Would he still be a killer and a monster, or something closer to the Immortal, or have retained more or less humanity something like Spike?
Wouldn't the original vampire be more along the lines of the Turok-Han?
With a couple of notable differences - the Turok-Han were mainly described as an offshoot seperate species akin to the neanderthals (who contrary to fact are usually thought of as less intelligent, violent brutes)and more animalistic in general, and are an evolutionary line clearly different (Were they ever "human"? Could they ever have reverted to human form? Can or do/did they "sire" in the usual way?) Whether they are even descended from Maloker we simply don't know. The They don't appear to have taken on more demonic traits with age as the Master or Kakistos supposedly had, either. Or perhaps it was a case that Maloker `infected` homosapiens and neanderthals, hedging bets on either species to survive, and the Turok-Han are literally the descendant line on that side.

They had also apparently been somewhat caged underground for a vast amount of time, possibly along the same point as the Hellmouth itself, although the Council must have been aware of them as "legend" since Giles was. The first vampire could well have had the opportunity to grow in intellect if he had been free for all this time. Logically he should have anyway, making him less the `dumb brute` of the Turok-Han.

...I could literally go on the Turok-Han for hours and hours. They were one of my favourite concepts right alongside the first vampire - indeed when the first reveal was made with the "what a real vampire looks like" line I assumed it *was* the first vampire for that whole week - and it's something I think could be explored a lot more than it has been.
Don't forget that vampires are perceived differently, depending on the dimension they inhabit. In Plyea, the demonic aspect of Angel was different from how we have always seen him in our dimension.
I was a bit annoyed by the wrong description of Wesley in Angel season 5. He was never "obsessed" with finding a way to bring Fred back. He actually accepted her death as a fact and just became bitter and sad and attached to Illyria after. He just became completely resigned to the fact that she was gone, he wasn't going around looking for spells or tricks to bring her back. Just seemed like a weird line, as if he never watched the show...That was just not an accurate description of that awesome character.

[ edited by Jordo on 2013-08-16 05:15 ]
I think the idea of his obsession with Illyria was partly `coping` and a large percentage of it looking into any way to possibly get Fred back. It was an obsession, leading to him breaking the Orlon window in attempting to restore her before he started to accept it. Granted the comic did hit a little too hard on the idea though.

An interesting note that, regarding Pylea. Don't think it was so much that perception was meant to have changed. In our dimension the human part of Angel just holds more sway so we see a merging of the two. There, the demon within entirely took over and that was it as it truly appeared without the human element.

...But it still brings a very interesting point to the Turok-Han lineage - perhaps it is similarly that they too simply are more taken over by the `demon within` to where it buries the human side as happened to Angel. Then there's the fact that while presumably being older than the oldest `regular` vampires we saw, they never seemed to have taken on more demonic aspects... Ah, so much to speculate on!
I loved this issue, can't wait for the next one!
I'm really anxious to see how all this ties in to where FDW and Fray took us. Loving the cohesiveness of this particular arc.
Just read it finally. Why the heck was Spike on the cover of this one? People said he only had one panel, but somehow my brain interpreted that as a page. It seriously was one panel. One teeny tiny insignificant panel. Fair enough, but why the misleading cover?
@Xane - Well I bought it anyway!

One more issue, guys, one more issue

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