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September 11 2013

(SPOILER) Discuss Buffy Season 9 #25. The season finale is out now.

So what got rebooted?
Just the vampire mythology -- new Seed, new vampiric paradigm, apparently. So far we know that in this new setting

1) Vampires are vampires again, not zompires (but existing zompires appear to still be zompires, unfortunately)

2) Vampires are daywalkers, or at least have a very high tolerance

3) Vampires can shapeshift into at the very least, bats. Whether this is inherent or some sort of universalization of Drac's old tricks, undetermined.

The "Vampyr" book is literally and figuratively a clean sheet of paper now.
Are we supposed to know the new vampire chick at the end? It seemed like we should know her, but I don't remember her at all.
Buffy's hair also got a reboot. But overall, an OK ending to an OK Season. I just hope Season 10 is a fresh start for the team, with less baggage and guilt hanging over everyone. I was hoping to see an appearance from Giles at the end, but looks like we will have to wait for that reunion. I just hope they don't pull some off screen stuff for that reunion, that is one I think we really need to see. Also wonder what will happen to Illyria, hope she made it somehow.
Overall, a really great issue. Wrapped up the big battle in the first 1/2 and (like A&F) allowed for a good amount of character work to close out the season. I do wish that Buffy had been a little less quick to let Xander off the hook. I hope he REALLY tortures himself over this.

I'll be interested to see where Season 10 goes. We don't even really know the format it will be in. I'm assuming we'll get a Buffy title, but what about Angel or Faith? I'm thinking Giles will join the Buffy title and help her deal with the fact that the VAMPYR book is blank. He'll probably be super frustrated that she didn't even crack it open after it's the one thing he left her.

Not a huge fan of the turning into a bat thing. Seems really silly and cheesy. I'll wait and see what it means, but I'm not really digging that change. The walking in the sun should be interesting. Also, if the new rules only apply to new Vamps, I'm guessing it won't change Angel/Spike's abilities.
Hard for me not to see that as the end of Illyria's arc. I think that was the end of Illyria's story. Not only does it pay off her own agreement with Drogyn back when that she belongs to the Well (where she died), but it both calls back and advances the ball in her humanization from "Not Fade Away". I think she's done. I don't see any loose thread hanging over that scene at all, no reason to expect she'll pop back up, let alone that Fred would.

Did anyone else find that, all things considered, this was sort of the Wayne's World "let's do the mega-happy ending!"? Magic is restored, Dawn is saved, all key characters survive except for one heroic sacrifice, even the Only Guy on That Council Anybody Knew survived. Buffy and Spike have a moment of zen, for those who that's their thing, Willow is uber again, Buffy forgives Xander. There's a slight grey area about how things will go forward with Xander and Dawn, but honestly, Buffy's argument on that is so compelling, they can't have Dawn depart from it very much or very long without her appearing unreasonable, so... there we are then.

I certainly hope the vampire reset applies only to new vampires, because if the upshot of all this is that Angel and Spike are conveniently daywalkers... FFS.
Giles is back ?! Can someone sum that up, please ? And have they ever got around to bringing any other departed people back ? Think I read a rumor about Tara at some point ? I haven't read the comics in awhile.. but I plan to eventually.
I guess the vampire upgrade is due to Maloker's essence being absorbed and released throughout the world by the new Seed's "Big Bang."

I can imagine scenarios where Illyria could have survived this, but Fred's body is toast and the whole Frillyria question seems to be moot now. That's a shame. I think there was lots and lots of untapped story potential there.
Well....I'm not sure I liked that. :-/

Dawn survived (unfortunately), we STILL don't know who imprisoned Koh...Simone's Slayer instincts should have overpowered her vamp instincts and caused her to kill herself...

With both Giles and the Seed back, the ending of Season 8 has been completely undone. I am intrigued by re-writing the rules of magic, but otherwise I feel a little let down.
So did we ever find out what the deal with Illyria was? How DID she stay alive without magic? Also I'm curious did Willow and Illyria ever exchange any words to each other? It's weird because of willow and Fred
I too got the feeling we were supposed to know who this new vampire was too... But if so, I just don't knnow or remember them. I just hope it's not another obscure one of the activated potentials that was buried in the supporting cast of hundreds in S8. I was honestly so bored of Simone being dragged out for the entire season I was glad when Maloker showed up just for the distraction - I couldn't stand another one.

And if we're to take it that its abilities were sort of `transferred` as part of the explosion (good catch btw!), then the rulebook really is blank right now. We had another former(ish) Old One die in that same explosion and though its constant power changes left me unable to keep it straight, at various times they included talking to plants, time alterating, and... dimension shifting. (Hi, Twilight-lion-thing?) Along with Severin and who knows what abilities who had by the end.

Enjoyed the issue overall though. I was genuinely slightly relievved that Dawn survived - a miracle in itself - and while I wish oddly that Simone hadn't quite been so easily dealt with, I'm still glad to see the back of her at long last. Overall they could have done a bit more with the impact of the `death of magic` throughout the season...
Hm. Will this new return mean the dimensional walls can be opened again? (Hi, again, Twilight-lion-thing...)
I'm assuming she's from the three Billy comics in Dark Horse Presents. I haven't read those yet but that is the location.
No she's not, Sunfire. Same location, but she does not appear in those issues. I think she is a brand-new, one-off character, and I think her only purpose is to show how the vampire rule book has changed.
I liked the issue. And the season. Buffy was in a Freefall down to the center of the Earth. And she gets up back to a new Dawn.

[ edited by anca on 2013-09-11 17:15 ]
Ok, I'm surprised. It seemed too significant to be new. Thanks for the correction, watcherinthewoods.
I am not certain that she's not important. She just didn't seem important to me. At first I thought she was Simone or Illyria resurrected in a vamp body, or maybe Dawn or Buffy had ended up in a vamp body. But it looks like the zompires just turned a random girl at the mall, then she awakens as a vamp, shows off her new powers, and flies off never to be seen again.

I think it was curious to set that scene in Santa Rosita. Because it's Billy's hometown, one would think the new vamp is connected to him or important in some way, but the Dark Horse Presents story takes place exclusively in Devon's neighbourhood, and the mall isn't glimpsed once. I don't recall any red-haired female characters in the two issues that introduced Billy last fall.

[ edited by watcherinthewoods on 2013-09-11 17:29 ]
...so the vampires just went classic. I think Buffy and Willow will recreate the Vampyr mithology by writing their own entries in that book. Just like the Charmed Ones.

(I don't even know why I still read it.)
I am not certain that she's not important.

Poor choice of words on my part. I just meant, I felt like the story was returning to a previous scene for whatever reason. I'm cool with it being a brand new person we've never seen before. It's just not what I expected.
My thoughts on Season 9 overall:

PROS
-Setting: I like that Buffy is back in the US and living in California. San Francisco is a good place for her and the gang considering her complicated history with LA.
-New characters: I love Billy, Anaheed, Eldre Koh, Dowling, Severin, Tumble, and Root. Normally it takes me a while to warm up to new characters, but I liked these guys right away and want to see more of them next season.
-Stories: I loved that the stories were more down to earth. This was what I wanted from a comic book contination of Buffy that I didn't get with Season 8. Simone and Severin, although magical, were more relatable villains than Twilight.
-Length: 25 issues was a good length for this season.
-Writing: Having a single writer write the season added some much-needed consistency. Andrew Chambliss did a good job with character voices, and the storyline was pretty addictive. The pregnancy/robot twists, plus the Deeper Well/Dawn story arc, made for compelling reading.
-Angel elements: Having Wolfram and Hart, Illyria, and the Deeper Well show up in Buffy helped merge seemingly disparate elements from the Angel series with the Buffy series. Finally, the Buffyverse felt whole.
-Billy: I love the addition of a male Slayer/young gay man to the Buffy cast.

CONS
-Not enough Joss. I wish he had more of an active role this season as he did in Season 8.
-Scott Allie's writing: Please never use Scott as a fill-in writer again. He is a good editor, but his story arc was the low point of the season.
-Lack of consequences due to end of magic: I felt the end of magic could have been explored more in both Buffy and Angel & Faith; however, I am more interested in seeing how the rules of magic have been re-written in Season 10.
-No Buffy/Angel crossover: I would have loved for the two books to cross over, and for Buffy and Angel to interact. This and Season 6 are the only seasons where they weren't shown together onscreen/panel, and that was a disappointment. I hope there is a proper crossover next season (like a story arc that requires you to read both books to get the whole story).
Nothing about her seems uniquely significant to me. She is just there to show off the new normal, no reason as of yet to assume there is more to it. She just happened to be in mid-turning at the right time. Now, if they want to make her important later? But right now, she could be totally anonymous and still have done her job in the story.

This is "Magic A = Magic A" being demonstrated. New Seed is different. Whether it was Willow, Severin's hunch punch of stolen power, Maloker, it is all in the stew. It is different magic. It's an entirely different kind of flying, altogether.
I think a Buffy/Angel meeting was just too difficult to deal with this season, considering what happened in 8. I actually like that they kept them separated; it would not have made sense to me for Buffy to forgive Angel any time soon. Better that she didn't see him.

Also, remember at the end of Season 8, there was a panel of this guy with glasses. Did we ever see that guy again, I can't remember.

[ edited by Jelly on 2013-09-11 18:07 ]
Also, remember at the end of Season 8, there was a panel of this guy with glasses. Did we ever see that guy again, I can't remember.

That was Severin.

It looks like New Stripey Leggings Vampire Girl may be getting previewed as a Big Bad for next season, but I kind of hope not. She's too much like Simone II. Maybe she's just meant to illustrate the new world order where vampires are concerned.

It occurs to me this may be the universe's Plan B for dealing with the loss of balance Buffy introduced with the Scythe spell. Instead of wiping out all the spare Slayers, make the vampires tougher.
The glasses guy was Severin!
Thanks for the reminder folks, for some reason I forgot that was Severin. Perhaps this is a pattern then? Preview the new Bad at the end of the season?
I was just thinking "bat"!
It's an entirely different kind of flying.

Aside from "undoing S8", I really don't know what the main title of BtVS S9 was about or what it accomplished. If the idea was to get back to character, isolating and dissecting them in their respective self-exploratory miniseries was a poor way to go about it. I think characters are best revealed when they're interacting and bouncing off each other. There was a little more of that down the stretch, but too little too late to save a season that mostly left me flat.
It's extremely unrealistic, not to mention difficult, for a group of high school friends to hang out all the time in their adult lives. I thought Buffy, Willow and Xander having their own separate stories made sense and was interesting.
I haven't seen anybody else mention this so far, so I'm wondering if maybe I just missed something while reading the issue.

When Willow's casting the spell to re-form Dawn, at one point she says the following:

"I'm trying but... ...something feels different now."

Is this just a reference to the fact that magic is somehow different now (as demonstrated by the unburny new vampire girl), or do we think that something weird and wacky is going on with Dawn (again)?

[ edited by Axed84 on 2013-09-11 19:37 ]
I guess we'll find out in Season 10. I hope that Dawn came back different. Her being saved at the end of this season was a little too easy/happy for me.
Well, I could see where maybe Dawn has come back different and that is what Willow perceived; she was reconstituted with the new magic, not the old. Make two batches of soup, one with canned stock, one with stock from scratch, they taste different. Who knows what might be a bit different about Dawn? They certainly have it as an option. It could, though, just have been about Willow feeling out how magic worked now, like baseball players playing in Denver vs. closer to sea level.
Willow has been doing a lot of feeling out of magic being different in all the places she went during S9... but Xander also noted something different with Dawn.
Randomly noted; if the dimensions are open for travel again, what does this mean for a certain snake lady, Twilion, and Wolfram & Hart, among others?
Dawn made note that she was the Key...perhaps she will wield the power to open hell dimensions without having to turn into a mystical ball of energy.
I hope Buffy comes back for the next season. Beyond bored now with pod Buffy.
I got my copy of Buffy # 25,"Part V of The Core" and the conclusion of the Buffy Season 9.

I liked the reunion scenes with Dawn and the Buffy and Xander rooftop scene(I thought Jeanty nailed the Buffy teary eyed image) but overall I eh to the issue like many others seem to be.

Severin and Simone didn't do it for me as threats although I liked the parallel Severin and Whistler had at the end thematically linking both titles together.

Also after the final issue of Angel & Faith and now this issue,I'm pretty sure that the overall theme of season 9 which Scott Allie said couldn't be revealed until after the season since it would spoil things(much like the theme of season 8 couldn't be revealed until after that season ended.) was [b]Forgiveness[/b] and [b]Self Forgiveness[/b]

[b]Forgiveness[/b] and [b]Self Forgiveness[/b] as a followup to Season 8's theme of [b]Betrayal and Self Betrayal [/b]

Thematically it makes sense but I don't think it was executed as well as it could be but I think that's what they were going for and it also made it click for my why there couldn't be any Buffy and Angel interaction either.It's what I said at the beginning of the season,they need to get their head on straight first before even thinking of dealing with each other.They both arrive at that self forgivness by the end of this season.I know not everybody will think Angel should be at self forgivness yet but that's my take on the last few scenes of Angel & Faith # 25 and I think Buffy is at that point now too at the end of Buffy # 25 with her telling Xander he needs to forgive himself first.

We'll see in the Slayalive Q/A if that is the theme of season.

ETA

The first part of the Slayalvie Q/A is up and looks like I was off about the theme.Oh well.

But overall the story this season on the Buffy side didn't do it for me.It was dull.I've said in the past that I think the more bomastic aspect larger scale of season 8 works better in the comci medium then the apprach they took this season(which works great on T.V)

I was expecting something bigger for Xander at the end of this issue but that was just really liking my own speculatiosn about a Xander/Angel story for next season.I still would like it and I think it could still work coming out of season 9 but it doesn't have the ommph it would without something more to have happened.

Willow probably had the flashest story this season with payoff.

I think Spike story across Buffy,his mini,Angel & Faith and back to Buffy to be there for Dawn was about him really moving on from Buffy.

I'm sorry to see Illyria's exit.I really do wonder how much different thingss would of been of Joss had time to wite her.

It feels like there lots of dropped plots.

Who imprisoned Koh(a character that I felt was just there) and what about Buffy's neighbor.Anybody remeber that.It fel like in a previous Q/A Scott Allie was playing up that being a major point.

The return of magic does rais the question about the Fray future and the new form of vampire could be interesting.But it is weird that we now have three types of vampires running around now.I'm not sure where this story is going but the Vampry book being blank seems to indicate this is going to be a mjor factor next season.

So Buffy # 25 didn't stick the landing for me like Angel & Faith # 25 did but was true of the whoel season.While the last two arcs were improvements,I think Angel & Faith ran rings around Buffy in season 9.

But I'll be reading again for season 10 and hoping Buffy's story is better next season.

Also the letter column seems to confirm my speculation that NYCC next month is when season 10 will be unveiled.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2013-09-12 01:48 ]
This thread is moving way too fast down the page so I won't wait to comment.

I enjoyed the action of the issue, even though I found it slightly confusing. But I was pretty much spoiled and expecting not much. I loved the Dawn conjuring and the call back to Buffy's blood.

I am stumped with how Buffy got out of the well. I know it's been discussed but none of the speculation is making much sense. Also, how did Willow know that the Gandalf staff had the power of flight? I can't remember.

I'm wondering if Xander was touched by magic in the well and he's the one who is different. They all got quite a blast.

Finally, I didn't get nearly enough BAMF!Illyria in this season. Resurrect her and send her to Angel. She'll keep him busy.

Second finallys, @Buffyfantic I hope you're right about NYCC and I hope it's on Friday when I'm there.
hann, I was wondering the same thing about Xander, if his words about Dawn being different are just a feint and it's actually he who is the one who has "changed". I'm very excited about the thought of a juicy Xander arc in 10.

I enjoyed this issue. Of course I also loved season 4 from the get go and actually really liked Riley and thought Adam was a great Big Bad. Call me crazy.

While I don't think Spike has moved on from Buffy, that he still loves her, I do believe he is in a healthier place now emotionally speaking and no longer orbits around her world. Which I think is the reason he went to the moon. You know, mooning over someone...
I know I am in the minority, but I enjoyed Buffy season 9 more than A&F. Part of it has to do with the fact that I'm always able to relate to Buffy. I applied what she taught me when I went to high school, college, got a job, looking for a career, and so on. Angel, the show and comics, are mostly about redemption and forgiveness. I admit, A&F had amazing illustrations and the character's voice was spot on throughout the series, unlike Btvs. I feel that season 9 is an improvement from season 8, so I'm hoping season 10 will be an improvement from 9.
All of this is of course just the writers distracting everyone from the Empathetic Talking Beachball's major game-changing role in the upcoming S10 and 11.

Gonna be huge.
In relation to Dawn; Xander did mention that she couldn't have known some of the stuff he had said or done, but she seemed to. It all happened in the Deeper Well, so maybe they didn't resurrect regular Dawn, but something from there in Dawn's body. They made her from Buffy's blood and she got ridiculously blasted with the seed's explosion, so maybe she brought something else back?
Something else like Illyria... wouldn't that be a kick in the pants?
I hope Xander doesn't come out of this with powers of some sort. I need him as the balance for the slayers, witches, keys and vamps.
I'm curious how this "slow rebirth of magic" is going to play out, especially in regards to Fray. Magic is back, sort of (i recall Willow mentioning that she used Severin's blast to speed up the return of magic. I assumed at the time that'd mean it wouldn't be fully 'back' until Fray's era but this seems to indicate otherwise. So is magic back in full, or is the seed still getting up and running and these are just the first waves of magic kicking in? And now that we have, presumably, super vamps literally flying around, what does that entail for the Fray era lurks?
Well, Fray suggests that Buffy and all of this world's monsters and magic get sucked into another dimension and sealed off from the world. That hasn't happened yet.
hpgwbtvs,

I feel the same way as you! Angel and Faith was an excellent comic, but I was more addicted to the stories in the main Buffy series. BtVS Season 9 was a lot more fun than Angel and Faith. A&F, like the Angel tv series, was a little more dark, adult and serious than BtVS. I prefer the angst and melodrama and humour of BtVS.
Not happy with Illyria's ending. *This* was Joss' big plan for her?! Very dissapointing...
Watcher, I think it DID happen though.
In Fray, it's left ambiguous whether "Buffy" (never confirmed, but we know it's her) was sucked out of our dimension with the demons or not. It's intentionally vague. At the end of season 8 though we saw the vast majority of demons and magics get sucked out of our dimension and into the others. I always felt we were supposed to read that as the "magic ending apocalypse" described in Fray. Not the least of which being bc season 8 was supposed to reconcile Chosen vs Fray in the amount of magic and slayers in the world.
Not that we couldn't be given another situation of similar effect down the line. That's just how I read season 8's finale.
I interpret that sequence in Fray as the final Buffy story. Eventually Buffy will be sucked out of our world and that's how BtVS will end, with Buffy in another dimension and Willow, Xander, etc. alone on Earth without Buffy.
We were being given a visual aid to an oral history in "Fray", not a flashback. There is nothing reliable about that depiction at this point, at least not that we should predicate other assumptions on.

Not to mention that, way back, we were told not to assume that "Fray" is a single timeline, immutable, unchangeable future for the characters we watch in the "present day" story. "Fray" doesn't need to be treated as an absolute future in the first place, never did. If it were, we'd already be looking at this issue and knowing that they'd have to have yet another significant mythological reset coming precisely because "Fray"-era vampires are neither zompires NOR daywalking batshifters. The existence of "Fray" did not and never has turned the whole of the rest of the "Buffy"/"Angel" canon into the Star Wars prequel trilogy.
No, Joss was using Fray to show how Buffy's story ultimately ends.
Then I guess I may as well rip up and burn my copy of Fray if you're telling me it isn't canon. If it's not canon, it doesn't count and it's worthless.
I was under the impression that Fray *was* canon, but that it wasn't considered an absolute fixed future, and I swear they said as much in that it may not be the future around the Fray arc in S8.
Hope I'm not too late to the discussion, but I really liked the issue and the season. Very curious about where it goes in Season 10.

Did anyone else catch the parallel to the end of Becoming when Buffy is taking the scythe away from Simone, holding it in front of her face, saying, "It's mine." Reminded me of Angel asking her what's left when you strip everything else away and she says, "Me." I loved that.

Also loved Xander's response to Willow telling him to keep Maloker distracted. "That's what I'm doing?!" Totally heard that in Xander's voice.
I'm not telling you it isn't canon. I'm telling you that basic scifi/fantasy time travel mechanics may be misconnecting in this whole "Fray" discussion.

That "Fray" is an extant possible future for these characters, or that it was possible at some point, is unquestionably canon -- if because of "Time of Your Life" than for no other reason -- but it doesn't have to be the single specific future history of the world that the contemporary characters occupy.

If you put a character, Bob, in Sunnydale, say, six months before "Welcome to the Hellmouth", you could have shown him a look two years into the future and he could have either been standing in the Wishverse (a canon construct) or the regular events of Season 3 (a canon construct). But neither of those were immutable, definite futures for Bob; they were contingent on the success or failure of a condition precedent (Buffy comes to Sunnydale).
There is only one future, and it is fixed. Just like the past. If someone was sent back in time to try to stop the assassination of JFK, for example, fate would prevent them each and every time. The very fact that he is still dead now in 2013 proves that the assassination was never prevented. Time travel is possible, but events cannot be changed.
I don't think that's true in the Buffyverse. Angel has altered timelines at least twice now.
Angel provides one very perfect example. The day that was folded back. The past was changed, and the future/present differed. That's canon. Done.

Even the current science on the idea of time travel in our reality says otherwise in regard to the future (the current accepted theory being near lightspeed travel allowing a very limited form of travel forward in time). It isn't fixed, exactly. It can't be. When all that was in charge of the universe was pure maths and the motion of particles it may have been the case, briefly. Quantum mechanics however shows that on the lowest measurable scale of things the universe is utterly based on randomness and chaos. It is inherently unpredictable.

We change that, too. If I randomly decided to do something unpredictable, we have the infamous butterfly effect. There is nothing at all predestined in randomness. The universe didn't predestine us to have Voyager out there today influencing the particles in interstellar space. We did. We are not predictable. Nothing about our actions is fixed. We can do as we wish on a whim coming from nobody or anything but ourselves. I can choose to come in and edit or erase this utterly without reason or logic being needed. Hard to accept, but completely true.
Ah, randomness. Lovely stuff.

[ edited by apollo11 on 2013-09-13 11:32 ]
Buffy has visited the future of Fray, she has learned things that could have changed her actions in Season 8. So Fray's future timeline has already had an effect on the present timeline, enough that Buffy's timeline could be different and that Fray's timeline is an alternative timeline.

In sci-fi and fantasy, the writers get to write the rules of time travel. Sometimes they make sense, but more often than not they just go with whatever fits the story they want to tell, even if their rules don't add up.
I think that maybe it's time for me to stop reading the comics; at this point I'm only doing so out of a sense of completism.

I don't hate them, I don't think they're bad, but they're not really doing much for me.
I don't see why a "scientific" understanding of time travel needs to or should have any baring on the Buffyverse.
Buffy's gone back in time in a Season 6/Season 3 story penned by Jane Epsenson.
The fact that this was Illyria 2.3 wasn't stressed since she only had one scene, so her Fredness or unFredness wasn't an issue in this issue. And who knows if the Gang were correct in assuming she was blasted into dust by it?

So we weren't really supposed to recognize Stripey-Pants-Vamp-Girl. Thank goodness.

mjwilson: I've only followed since "Harmonic Divergence" out of a sense of obligation - I used to be a fan and need to see what's happening.

KingofCretins watcherinthewoods apollo11 Matt_Fabb : The whole idea of the Frayverse (the version presented in S-8- I didn't know the original) as being the defintie unavoidable future bothers me for one main reason; after all she's learned and gone through and ehr growth, the idea that Willow is fated to end up as GrayWillow is outright not just disgusting but revolting to me.
I really wish Joss would go for the ideas expressed in Eric Flitn's 1632 series and SM Stirling's The Change novels; if something with enough influence to change past events is moved into the past, the dimensions break apart at that point and continue separately. This Silver Age Superman approach I just find unconvincing now that I'm no longer 8 years old.

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