Or – “What We Need Right Now Is A Big Plot Twisty Moment…”
“An’ what th’ bleedin’ ‘ell are you lookin’ at, mate?”
Previously, on Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Season Eight: Buffy’s foe has been revealed, and if you’ve been paying attention, you know that he is Angel, former flame and presumed love of the Buffster’s life. After retreating to the mountains of Tibet and unleashing all manner of chaos, Buffy and Angel’s reunion was a particularly carnal and destructive one, as their new Kryptonian superpowers would have you believe. An ancient prophecy that explains how the universe will end is in play, with Buffy and Angel as the catalysts, and they have even created a new universe/dimension/something-or-other with their super-$#&ing. Abandoning that nascent universe, the vampire and the vampire slayer return home, only to find themselves under attack by monstrous creatures that apparently serve as the antibodies that will help destroy this world and make that one reign supreme… Or something. I’m kind of vamping on that last bit, no pun intended. The battle is suddenly interrupted by the arrival of a strange spacecraft that turns the tide, and it’s mysterious pilot: William The Bloody, terrifying vampire overlord in long black coat, known to his friends as Spike, Buffy’s former flame and (to some) presumed love of her life. This ought to be good…
So, there’s this big battle, and flying monstrous thingamas all over the place, but this issue opens someplace else, in a flashback labeled “Some Time Ago…” We see Angel burst out of some sort of wormhole, crashing through one of the O’s in the Hollywood sign, crashing to the ground, getting up and dusting himself off. He’s surprised first by seeing Los Angeles not destroyed (which I presume is a reference to the Angel series from IDW, which I haven’t been following for a while now) and second when a nearby dog starts talking to him about his destiny. (Heck, Peter Griffin never complains…) His reveries are interrupted by a plane crash, and Angel instinctively responds by catching it in mid-air with his Twilight superpowers. After bringing the plane (an Oceanic flight, I might add) down safely, before the entity which possessed the dog reappears in the body of a bystander, telling him that his new gifts are a reward that “make Shanshu look like a sack of crap.” Elsewhere, elsewhen, Spike is on the hull of a strange yellow ship, obviously in combattus interruptus, when he realizes that they’re about to crash into the tower which houses Big Ben. (I usually try to avoid pretentious pedantry, but Big Ben is the BELL, not the clock nor the tower itself… Bygones.) We see time passing, as Angel sets up his Twilight identity and Spike observes from a distance, before smash-cutting to the storyline’s present (which is probably our past, but is the future of both Angel and Spike’s solo books.)
As Spike and his new spaceshippy conveyance start to evacuate the survivors of last issue’s giant battle, Angel and Buffy both remind themselves that they don’t trust Spike, even if he did save the world at the end of Buffy’s television adventures. Angel splits, leaving Buffy to try and pump Spike… FOR INFORMATION, ya pervs. Spike reminds her that she shouldn’t trust Angel either, and goes further to tell her that he knows about the new universe she created with the world’s loudest one-night-stand, and that Buffy might need to worry about what happens when that reality “comes looking for mummy.” Spike cheerfully tells her that they have only one thing they need to do: Recover the Seed of Wonder, which is a new one on me. He reveals that their final destination will be a familiar place indeed. “We are currently on course to the source of all magic on Earth, and sorry, tree-fans, it’s not Stonehenge.” He tells of a house of worship, swallowed by the ground, and a city lost the same way, as Buffy slowly comes to realize where they’re headed: Sunnydale, California. In the wreckage of that fabled suburb, we find a pair of gnarled hands wrapped around a glowing red egg, as a VERY familiar face to Buffy fans remarks about how “kids’ only come home when they need something… If you’ve seen Season One, you might be able to guess whom I mean. (Here’s a hint: Roger Delgado.)
I’m unsure how I feel about this issue, honestly. It’s a change of pace from the navel-gazing that dominated the entirety of Brad Meltzer’s arc on this book, and restarts the momentum that ground so completely to a halt with that story. It’s got Spike in it, which makes me happy, as he’s the most charismatic and entertaining character in the entirety of Buffy’s reality. And more, it’s ramping things up to the inevitable big ol’ battle that will have universe-spanning consequences, blah blah blah fishcakes. The problem is, I can’t help feeling like this arc is coming about ten months too late for the title. The last few issues of this book are a big haze for me, one that required me to reread and even Wiki to percolate a decent “Previously, on:” and that’s an issue that many people seem to be sharing with me. My friend Sarah, the biggest Buffy fan alive, who will read anything featuring the characters and follow the actors to excreble show after excreble show had this to say when I mentioned that this was the last arc of Season Eight: “Good.” When you’ve lost the die-hards, you may have lost the war… In any case, it’s well drawn by Georges Jeanty, as usual, especially the fun bits where Spike bosses around the insectoid crew of his new battleship, and there’s some lovely dialogue between Angel and the voice from beyond, but overall I’m still a bit underwhelmed. It’s better than the book has been, but part of me remembers the first year of this book with a sad fondness… Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Season 8 #36 works what it’s got going on, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall, and giving me at least some hope that it’s going to end well.
Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: Any guesses on what’s hiding in Sunnydale?