Or – “Treat The Other Man’s Faith Gently…”


Even knowing what a good writer Bryan K. Vaughan is from Runaways, Y: The Last Man, and various and sundry other works, I have to admit that I was a little concerned to hear that other writers would be handling parts of the Buffy: Season 8 series.  I am officially thrilled to know that (at least in the case of BKV) the characters and mise en scene established are strong enough to make the change with aplomb, and that Vaughan has a lock on Whedon-esque dialogue and a knack for drama, not to mention making a fight between three tonne (since they’re in England) gargoyles and a 115 pound woman seem totally believable.

Previously, on Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Season 8:  Slayers, slayers, everywhere and still the monster profuse. After the destruction of Sunnydale, Buffy and her band of Buffy1.jpgslayers have taken up residence in Scotland, training a literal army of their comrades under the protection of most of the original Scoobies.  Recently, though, old enemies have reared their head (I love that phrase) in the form of crazy witch (not a metaphor) Amy Madison and Warren “Wanna See A Pancreas Up Close?” Mears, both of whom were sicced on Buffy and Co. by a mysterious underground conspiracy known as ‘Twilight.’  Last time around, we finally found out where Faith has been, minding the OTHER Hellmouth in Cleveland (home of both Howard the Duck and Drew Carey, for those of you keeping score.)  She has been recruited once again by Rupert Giles, who has a mission only Faith can perform, and an offer she can’t turn down: complete freedom…  assuming she lives.  Her target?  A rogue slayer with a bad attitude and a healthy dose of noblesse oblige.  After a crash course in etiquette and accents, Faith is sent in, but this issue starts inside Faith’s ever-so-perfectly-beautiful head, remembering why she doesn’t have much truck with friends…


This flashback courtesy of (if memory serves) the tail end of Buffy Season Three, at a point where Faith had chosen the wrong side in an ongoing conflict with the evil shape-shifting Mayor of Sunnydale.  I’m sure someone will correct me, if I’m wrong.  “In the end,” thinks Faith, “no matter how many wicked good times you had together, you woulda been better off flying solo all along.  Anyway, live and learn…”


Heh.  “Almost die and learn way more.”  Very nice summation of Faith’s general attitude, there.  Faith finds herself pulled aside for a security check, and is nicely asked for her invitation.  In character (as the Viscount of Avalon’s daughter) she dresses the commoner down.  “Do you honestly expect me to wave around some cheap parchment like a bleeding sped in line at the cinema?  Let me inside before I have you sent back to whichever stable-house detail your superiors mistakenly pulled you off of.”  The majordomo snorts, “You’re one of them all right” and waves her through.  Heh.  Entering the ballroom, Faith nervously enters the receiving line, and nervously checks that her concealed hair-fob knives are in place, while the guest of honor whines that she wants less talk, more presents.


While Lady Gigi’s pet Irish Warlock (sounds like a party drink, doesn’t it?) ruminates on whether or not to kill Faith, we cut back to Scotland, where Dawn Summers (currently trapped in giant form) discusses her current super-sizing with Willow Rosenberg, ace witch hottie.  Dawn refuses to discuss whether or not she and her ex engaged in carnal relations or not, but Willow can’t reverse to spell until she knows what went down…   so to speak.


Willow turns to see Renee the slayer approach, and asks “First of all, what did we discuss about calling me by my mother’s name?”  “That I’d be turned into a baby goat if I didn’t knock it off?” Renee replies, and Willow tells her to let Buffy know that she has already checked the mystical defenses today, but Renee corrects her.  “She said she was looking for, and I quote, ‘Laptop Geek Willow,’ not ‘Broomstick Action Willow.’ ”  Heh.  The true test of a good Buffy line is whether you can hear Sarah Michelle’s voice reading the line, and that one echoes in my head clearly.  Willow heads off to check on the new radar stations, seeing as how at least part of the US Military wants them dead.  Speaking of murderous urges, Faith is ready to endulge hers, finishing her preparatory cigarette to steel her nerves for manslaughter.  Miraculously, her target comes to her, asking “Mind if I bum a fag?”  Faith replies that she can bum whomever she wants before realizing that she can be done with this mission in two minutes flat…  They bond over the phoniness of all the schmucks at the party, and the wonderfulness that is Amy Winehouse singing, and Gigi realizes that she may have found a kindred spirit.


Before she can land the killshot, the two gargoyles swoop in for the kill, dragging her off and trying to kill her.  As Lady Gigi yells for them to let her go, Faith takes her last shot, headbutting the stone creature in the face, driving her other hair knife into it’s eye.  (Ow.)  She laments that she was so mean to Giles when he was just trying to help, expecting to die, leaping to the other gargoyle and blinding it, forcing the creature to smash into the ground.  A punch results in nothing but broken knuckles and ripped evening gloves, but as the other gargoyle sweeps in for the kill, Faith gets clever…


Leaping clear, Faith takes a moment to enjoy her victory before passing out in a heap of stone fragments.  “Bloody hell,” is all Gigi can say.  Some time later, as Faith regains consciousness, she hears them discussing whether or not to kill her. The Wild Irish Warlock wants her dead, but Genevieve isn’t ready to give up on a possible friend (or useful tool, whichever…)


Gigi greets ‘Hope’ with “This is Roden.  He’s from Belfast, but don’t hold that against him.”  Heh.  She explains that they are part of an old, ancient lineage of powerful people, and Faith, in character, responds with a hearty “Duh?”  But Gigi isn’t referring to the blueness of their blood, but instead to the power that courses through it, the slayer lineage.  “Roden says I’m going to lead the lot of us to take our rightful place at the head of this wretched society.  Right after I destroy the woman holding us back…  and take her mantle as queen.”  Faith can’t believe that she wants to kill Queen Elizabeth, but Gigi didn’t make herself clear.


And Twilight rears it’s symbolically ugly head again.  Interesting…  I hadn’t figured that their tendrils were that far-reaching…. and…  y’know… stuff.  And I’m sorry, but that outfit is distracting the heck out of me.  Let me scroll down a bit so that I’ll be able to think clearly…

Ah.  Better.  Now, then, where was I?  Oh, right, Faith’s adventures among the titled gentry.  This is getting very interesting, especially with Faith’s ruminations about friendship, belonging, and the fact that Buffy nearly killed her a time or two before.  I hope that she doesn’t choose the wrong side of this fight in the name of finding a place to belong.  Either way, Bryan Vaughan keeps the streak of BtVS excellence going here, with a plot that thickens, a nice bit of Willow dialogue, my beloved Faith in action, and something strange going on with Mr. Roden and his spellbooks.  Part of me is itching for a magical battle, but I think it’ll have to wait for later, as a Faith story is about what you do when you’re all alone with your back to the wall, not about how the power of friendship will save you.  I have been a fan of this series since Day One, and this issue is no exception.  Georges Jeanty’s art captures the wonder that is Eliza Dushku, and gives every character nuance and subtle expression, earning Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Season 8 #7 a mighty fine 4.5 out of 5 stars. 


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. Roy
    October 10, 2007 at 7:35 pm — Reply

    I’m all the way down to the comment box, and I’m STILL distracted by that outift.

  2. steviecool
    October 10, 2007 at 10:54 pm — Reply

    This series is so much fun. My only regret is that it’s not weekly.

  3. Afghanant
    October 11, 2007 at 9:28 am — Reply

    I agree this was a great issue. It really makes me hopeful for Angel.

  4. Adam
    October 11, 2007 at 12:47 pm — Reply

    Faith is so going to kick the ever living Shitake out of that spoiled brat. And you know she’s not going to turn to the dark side again. And there’s no way she’s retiring. She gets a kick out of busting up the bad guys.

    This will be a moment, though, where, if it hasn’t happened already, Faith comes into her own. Out of B’s shadow, and becomes her own women/slayer/uber hottie :)

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