Or – “What We Need Right Now Is A Big Plot Twisty Moment…”

“An’ what th’ bleedin’ ‘ell are you lookin’ at, mate?”

Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Season Eight #36
Writer: Joss Whedon

Penciller: Georges Jeanty
Artist: Georges Jeanty
Inker: Andy Ownes
Colorist: Michelle Madsen

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.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  Any guesses on what’s hiding in Sunnydale?

 

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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5 Comments

  1. Christian
    September 5, 2010 at 5:04 am — Reply

    My big problem with the issue was having not read any of the IWD-verse issues since about issue 7 of Angel, having Angel just appear like that and especially Spike flying a yellow submarine of giant bug deserved at least a foot note or more explanation somewhere!

  2. September 5, 2010 at 6:11 pm — Reply

    Well, if you believe Internet rumblings, the upcoming Spike series will explain his presence, while the Angel series may or may not do the same as it begins to transition from IDW to Dark Horse…

  3. September 5, 2010 at 7:40 pm — Reply

    I kind of liked Meltzer’s arc, but it really did slam the handbrakes on the “season”…and I’m *still* lost as to the hows and whys about Twilight and his doings.

    There’s what…four issues to go until season’s end? I really hope Whedon can bring it all together but it just seems like there’s too many plates spinning to able to do that without having a whole lotta questions unanswered going into Season 9. (They did it with the last Season of Dr. Who, too…which shat me right off).

    • Brian G.
      September 6, 2010 at 7:20 pm — Reply

      Why does everything have to be solved in Season 8? If anything, isn’t Buffy known for defeating a big boss and dealing with the aftermath in the next season? The Master, Angel, Glory, The 3 morons/Willow and (to a lesser extent) Spike. She stops all their dastardly deeds then in the following season tries to move on with life in their wake. So with the bad guy revealed as HIM, I’m sure he’ll walk away leaving her to cope with his failure/sucess in season 9. It’s just the way of things.

      • Obsidian
        September 7, 2010 at 1:02 am — Reply

        I agree. Not everything needs to resolved immediately. As long as everything IS resolved ultimately.

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