Or – “Well, This Is Odd…”
So, weirdness is abounding in Buffy Summers life, as her best friend has lost her magic powers, several of her pals have gone missing in the last skirmish with their opponents, her sister is sleeping with one of her best friends, and she herself is going through some serious physical changes…Â Will even KryptonianÂ powers protect her from a broken heart?
Previously, on Buffy The Vampire Slayer: When things went badly in the battle against Twilight (both a government conspiracy and the masked flying lunatic whose name the company shared), Buffy and her slayerettes were forced to retreat, taking it on the leg and hiding out in the Tibetan alps where Oz has been holed up since he left Sunnydale back in the day.Â Unfortunately, the mystics who worked for Twilight were able to track them, and a full scale battle between super-slayers and army guys ensued.Â As casualties mounted on both sides (partly due to Buffy and Willow’s stupid theory that they had to give up their powers to hide from their enemies, totally ignoring the question of what happens when their enemies find them, as enemies always do) Buffy and her witches made the unprecedented move of calling on 3 Tibetan war goddesses for assistance.Â That also went well, as the goddesses made no differentiation between Slayers and sol’jers, killing with impunity.Â In the final moments of the battle, Buffy somehow managed to channel a new form of powers, and found herself floating high above the battlefield and wondering what the hell is going on.
Buffy starts this particular morning with a new ritual: sneaking out into the morning and flying around the mountains in secret. “Doing it with Willow was scary,” she thinks, “but doing it alone? Weird…” Slipping back to their compound, the newly super Buffy checks in on ex-boyfriend Riley, while elsewhere, Willow deals with her own ex. She apologizes to Oz for bringing her war to the peaceful mountains of Tibet, while Oz remarks in his usual style that she’s not the first person to do that there. (Nice bit of dialogue, with a little extra bite to it.) Suddenly, Willow is poleaxed by a blast of glowy green magical energy while returns her sorcerous might. Will explains cryptically that her re-powering is the fallout of a mystical event of great magnitude, but one that hasn’t happened yet. That’s probably not good, folks. Riley is badly wounded, but even he realizes that Buffy is treating her enemy’s wounded as well as her own. We can only hope that her opponent holds the same high morals, as Twilight is seen to be holding Giles, Faith, and Andrew on his side of the conflict, with a little help from a confusion spell that his witches have thrown into play…
As a repowered Willow leaps into action, trying to repel the angry goddesses, Buffy has a heart-to-heart with Xander. She asks him if she’s too late to get him for herself, and Xander responds with “Whotothehowtothehammina??” Buffy tries to explain that she thinks she has feelings for him, and he cuts right to the heart of it all. “That would be great… If it was a bunch of years ago and you actually MEANT it.” Joss Whedon really does a number with the dialogue here, as Buffy protests the reality of her feelings, and Xander explains to her in his normal way how this isn’t about him at all. “I’m on the list. Right after ‘being gay.'” He tells her that her newfound love for him is nothing but a phase, and that when she realized he was in love with her little sister, she should have known that the right thing to do was not to say anything about her own neo-crushiness. The whole thing ends quickly, as Dawn arrives with the news that Willow is out fighting goddesses in mid-air, and Buffy has to let the cat out of the bag about her new powers. “That’s actually hot,” remarks Willow’s girlfriend Kennedy as Buffy and Willow engage the three war deities in an aerial dog fight. They manage to dig a hole and rebury the goddesses, and Buffy tells Will about Xander and Dawn’s relationship… “I thought they’d NEVER figure that out!” remarks the wily sorceress.
The last arc of this series was an atypical one, filled with odd moments and stupid decisions on the part of Buffy and her slayerettes, so it was nice to have a return to more traditional characterization and dialogue here (coinciding, strangely or not, with the return of Joss Whedon to scripting duties this month.) Buffy’s new comic-book super-powers are odd for me, and feel like a meta-statement about the change in presentation venue from TV to comics, but the sight of both Buffy and Willow flying about the mountains attacking three giant glowing thingamas is a little bit awesome overall. The Buffy/Xander talk is wonderful, especially given that Joss has long said that the long-term plan was once to put the two of them together. His level-headed explanation of things (You came THROUGH gay to get to me.”) is both wonderful and tragic for Buffy, and overall I love the way the whole thing is handled, not too much movie-of-the-week while maintaining a feeling that this was really a serious discussion between two characters who had important things to say. I’m glad to see this book back to the point where bits that I like: strong characterization, action sequences that aren’t TOO contrived, and some wonderful art by Georges Jeanty. Buffy The Vampire Slayer – – Season 8 #31 makes me happy about this title again for the first time in a couple of months, and earns a hard-fought 4 out of 5 stars getting there. Next issue: we start to finally unravel the mystery of Twilight. I wonder who he could be under that leather mask? Could it beeeeee… SATAN??????