Or – “This One Is A Game-Changer…”
What do you do when your greatest weapon is also your biggest weakness?
Go for the ‘Hail, Mary…’
Previously, on Buffy The Vampire Slayer:Â Things have not been going for Miss Summers and her intrepid crew of librarians, cycloptics, sapphic sorceresses, sort-kinda-chosen ones, geeks-turned-good, former giants and/or centaurs and Faith.Â The mysterious organization called Twilight, with it’s eponymous superhuman leader (whom we at least now know is is NOT Riley Finn) is still hot on their tails, along with the regular band of undead idiots who want to eat them…Â Worst of all is the ascension (thanks to a reality show starring vampire bimbo ((Vambo?Â Bimpire?)) Harmony Kendall) of the the vampire to the level of pop culture icon.Â With their primary enemy the new Sanjaya, the Slayer brigadeÂ has Â found themselve (you should pardon the expression) demonized in the media, sort of like a legion of pubescent Simon Cowells.Â Their whole army is in retreat, old enemies have come together to destroy them, DOGS and CATS, LIVING TOGETHER…Â Total Chaos.Â With their primary AND secondary hideouts compromised, Buffy has to ask the question: Where do you hide 500 superhumans?
Answer: In a cave, somewhere…Â Buffy and Willow fly to their new hideout,Â transmogrified into a seagull carrying a fish, and Buffy worries that Willow might go all “Dark Phoenix” again from the amount of mystic energy she’s been channeling recently.Â Far away, in a bunker beneath Berlin, Faith and Giles run silent, hiding out in a Nazi burrow.Â Of course, the monsters attack, leaving Faith angry.Â “I knew it was sutpid, going underground!Â Demons LIVE underground!”Â The twosome barely makes it out alive, while Andrew leads his band of slayers on a mission into a different catacombs in Italy.Â Something follows them, and Andrew is barely able to believe it when his old friend Warren steps out of the shadows with a tale of woe, claiming that girlfriend Amy had betrayed him.Â Andrew almost buys it before Amy’s monsters attack, leaving another faction of Slayers out in the cold.Â Giles, Faith, and Andrew’s band find the new slayer base roughly fifteen seconds before a horde of undead swarm out of noplace to attack them…
The Slayerettes high-tech gear is useless against the demon attacks, and the magical defense are no less pressed for the tanks, bombs, grenades and napalm.Â Team Slayer fights honorably, right up until the point where they capture a demon, and Willow disappears him to get some information, with the strong implication that she’s going to magically torture him.Â As their final magic force shield falls, Willow returns with news…Â The demons have been targeting them all by the extensive use of magic.Â The Slayers retreat to their submarine, and Buffy explains to Giles what happened in the far-flung future:Â she met and killed Evil Willow, and she thinks that this sort of magical exercise is what caused her to be crazy in the first place.Â Buffy and Giles make the decision that, if magic is the beacon, it’s time to turn out the lights.Â Buffy has Willow and company prepare one last teleportation spell, a spell that will take them to the one person she knows who has been able to successfully hold off a magical nature.Â On a peaceful Tibetan cliffside, a young man opens his eyes from meditating to see a Trident submarine has materialized on his lawn.Â “Huh,” says Oz with a wry smile…
ThisÂ seriesÂ was created to actÂ as the equivalent of a television season, and as such, we’re at the point where things look very dark and we know they’re gonna get darker before the dawn…Â It’s interesting to see Oz back, though I wish it hadn’t been spoilered in Previews months in advance.Â (Granted, given the name of the website where this is seeing print, I suppose I have very little room to complain.)Â This issue is one of those transitional episodes, where we are brought up to speed on “The Story So Far,” some complications thrown in, and the next phase set up, and in that it succeeds well.Â The art is Georges Jeanty doing his usual superlative job, with likenesses that are clear enough without being overly static and photo-referenced.Â Jane Espenson will have you in the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Joss Whedon” frame of mind, and overall it’s a nicely handled issue.Â There are some plotting/pacing issues for me (the coincidental timing of everyone’s arrival, and what feelsÂ like a truncation of the Giles/Faith plot before it ever really got started), but Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 8 #26 still pulls out a well-above-average 3.5 out of 5 stars.Â For some reason, the issue felt like a lot of pieces were in motion on the board, but not a lot actually happened…Â I have faith that the rest of the arc should pace out a little better.