Or – “I’ll Get You, Â My Pretty…Â And Your Little Centaur, Too!”
This would not the the first time that a young girl being chased by an evil witch fled to Oz in the hopes of finding her way back home…
(Of course, Â that means that Xander is probably Toto.)
Previously, on Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Season 8: Buffy and her faithful band of Slayerettes have suddenly found themselves reaping the downside of fame, with a massive mystical government conspiracy (featuring Buffy’s own ex, Riley Finn) hunting them down, and public opinion against them, thanks to a reality television show featuring former Sunnydale resident Harmony as a sort of blood-sucking Tila Tequila.Â More disturbing than that has come the news that their use of magic is allowing their enemies to track their not-so-much-underground-anymore activities.Â That news (combined with her experiences in the future with a once-again-Dark Willow) has caused Buffy to regroup and pull her forces back.Â In an attempt to find a way to give up their magicalness, Buffy has called upon the services of an old friend: young werewolf Daniel Osbourne, commonly known as ‘Oz’ who has moved to Tibet to learn to control his inner beast, play with various action figures, and do extensive voice-over work for Seth MacFarlane.Â With one last burst of magic, Buffy, her agents, and their giant submarine are teleported to the mountains of Tibet, right on Oz’s doorstep.Â But can they really go cold turkey from all the mystical shenanigans?
We open with Amy the witch using her scrying bowl to find out what happened to Buffy and company, finding that her magic reveals that they all drowned, but the evil Twilight (masked leader of the organization that bears his name) ain’t buying it.Â “I know Buffy too well to believe she’ll be silent when she dies!”Â Well, that’s interesting…Â Looks like a new clue as to the identity of our big evil, there.Â What males out there are unaccounted for who might have some residual hate for the Buffster?Â Could it be Principal Snyder, back from the bowels of a giant sandworm?Â While Twilight tries to track Buffy’s magic, Buffy and company try to figure out how to suppress their use of it, as we return to that incredibly annoying “Magic comes from demons!” crap that so badly marred Season 6.Â Oz introduces his new lady-friend Bayarmaa and drops the bomb that they’ve had a baby, causing a hysterical moment where everyone stares at a puppy that has been playing near the house.Â “Yeah, ” says Oz, “No, see, that’s the dog…”Â Ha!Â We are treated to the flashbacks of how Oz came to live here, and how he finally managed to overcome his wolf.
Twilight’s people manage to identify a magical spike in Asia, and head off to check it out, while Oz explains that the secret of suppressing magic isn’t to suppress it at all, but to be one with it.Â Be like water, he says, suddenly wearing a yellow coverall with black stripes, “don’t be a lake, be a river.Â Have a life.”Â He explains that if you let the magic pass through you, it will go straight back into the Earth, and takes the main characters for a walk, and there’s a relatively annoying bit where someone points out that the slayer powers are themselves demon-based.Â In a similar moment, Twilight (who hates magic) uses magic to trace the magic of people he hates because they use magic in an attempt to kill them before they continue with the magicky naughtiness.Â Â It’s all very hypocritical, really.Â Oz is willing to help Buffy repress her mystical side, for a very personal reason:Â “If this doesn’t work?Â You just made my home into a very big target,” he explains.Â Twilight and his band of schmucks arrive on a mountaintop in Mongolia, waaaay off track, and the masked man is enraged to not find his hated target.Â “Kill the man who found this “spike,” he orders, seething.Â “This battle doesn’t end with Buffy laying down her sword.Â It ends with her turning that sword against herself.”
Oooh…Â Ominous.Â The menace of Twilight aside, this issue is problematic for me in that it returns one of the more annoying portions of the original Buffy television show, the whole “magic as drug” aspect.Â It’s troubling in that we have characters whose lives have been forever changed by magic in relatively positive ways (Buffy no longer a slave to fashion, Willow no longer a wallflower to be ignored) and then have them trying to fight against that nature, which is kind of counter to the whole point of the show.Â I’m happy to see Oz again and I like the fact that he has built himself a life separate from the craziness that has enveloped the rest of the cast, but unless this arc ends with the characters able to mask their usage of strange powers, I will probably still be annoyed.Â The book maintains it’s usual art quality, and the story of Oz overcoming his own (and others’) inner wolf natures is a well-told one, but I’m still left with a vague dissatisfaction.Â Maybe it’s just my belief in moderation over tee-totaling, but I’m just not entirely buying the conceit, for the same reasons that most of Season 6 is my least favorite Buffy of all.Â Overall, it’s good to see an old friend, even under less-than-ideal circumstances, and it’s a well-constructed issue that advances the through-line of the Season 8 story arc, earning a middle-of-the-road 2.5 out of 5 stars overall.