Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Faith And 'B' Meet Again

What Is It?: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Issue #8: No Future For You pt 3 (written by Brian K. Vaughan)

Timing: BtVS Season Eight, follows the events of "No Future For You Part 2"

REVIEW: In a recent interview, Brian K. Vaughan told us how hard it was for him to write characters like Buffy and Willow. He said that he was more interested in--and better at--writing darker characters like Faith. Well, whatever initial problems he may have had writing for Buffy certainly don't come across in this issue, because her quips while fighting Gigi (yes, that does happen here, and YES, it is awesome) are some of her best dialogue since... a long time.

The blend of seriousness and comedy is at its best in this issue. I'll lay it out for you. We start with a serious Faith/Gigi conversation, then go to a light-hearted Faith/Gigi conversation. Then, we get a light-hearted Buffy/Willow conversation that begins to turn really serious, and then POOF (you'll get my "POOF" if you read the issue), we get a kick-ass fight, and then a really, really serious Faith/Buffy confrontation. This is the issue that finally puts on the table all of the things we were hoping Buffy and Faith would get into in Season Seven. I won't spoil anything (though, why are you reading a review if you don't like spoilers), but it ain't pretty.

This issue also gives us a lot more to chew on that #7 which was, for all intents and purposes, a bridge between #6 and #8. Here, we get an awesome thing about Faith to speculate on (see the 'SPECULATION' category below), a revelation about how Faith currently sees how her relationship with The Mayor was, and a killer cliff-hanger that will leave us scratching our necks for more like Tyrone Biggums. Vaughan also brings up an issue that we fans have been debating for a long time, since the show was on air. Buffy and company have always been against killing humans... but what happens when humans are the main players in the war against good? Buffy takes a very surprising, sensible, and different stance on this than I would have expected, and the inclusion of her new views (not even a panel) will give us something to talk about until the issue is opened up further.

For those who love to debate, this issue will scatch you in areas that #7 couldn't. For those who missed bad ass fight scenes, this issue will tickle your pickle. For those who are fiends for spot-on characterization, this issue will salt your fries. For anyone who likes all of the above, your areas, pickles, and fries will all be taken care of by this issue. Oh, and for all of those who ever wondered what it would be like to hang out with Faith in a bathtub, just ask Gigi. She'll tell you (see pages 4-7).

Art: Not only does Georges seem to be improving on his likenesses of both Faith and Giles, but this issue also marks the first time he nails Buffy's mannerisms. Her 'movements' are spot-on, and she's coming off as the Buffy we loved in Seasons 1-5, not the Buffy we were frustrated with in 6 & 7. However, we also get bad ass Buffy in action, which Georges seems to be getting better and better at. While the fight scenes in #4 were pretty good, Georges blows that all away with the spectacular Buffy vs. Faith scene. His most interesting character design has to be Gigi; the girl can go from beautiful to scary in a panel--and I don't mean that in a bad way. On the not-so-good side, Georges seems to be getting lazy with Willow. I know she isn't essential to this issue, but she is one of the main four characters in the series, so I don't think it's asking too much to request more detailed and accurate Willow-faceage next issue. And since I liked to end on a plus, I have to add that it's pretty cool that Georges didn't make the tub scene all boobalicious or gratuitous. He kept the integrity and respect that the series always maintained.

Characters We Know: Faith, Giles, Buffy, Willow


Speculation: Faith has clearly grown emotionally attached to the girl whom she was supposed to assassinate. She sees Gigi as simply misdirected, not evil. In this issue, she actually went as far as to knock Buffy and herself out a window to prevent 'B' from killing Gigi. She professes to Buffy that she's still one of the good guys (in a revealing character moment that almost mirrors her breakdown in 'Five by Five'), but it's my opinion that she's found herself in one of those grey areas again. Though not in the way one would think. She sees so much of herself in Gigi that she's unable to let Buffy kill her like any other 'bad guy.' I'm unsure who is RIGHT in this (Buffy seeing Gigi as a murderer, Faith seeing her as misdirected), but the conflict of interests is classic Buffy/Faith. This could go either of two ways. Faith will spare Gigi, and help her pull herself away from--sorry--'the dark side.' However, I don't think that's going to happen. I think that Faith will be forced to kill Gigi, which will probably be the start of a very interesting, very dark arc for the character.

Now, though, I'm not so sure about Roden being Big Bad. He didn't seem very 'in charge' in this issue; Though I won't let the way he came off in the few pages he appeared in in #8 change my idea completely, I'll say that I wouldn't be surprised if he was revealed to be just another pawn of a much more powerful Big Bad. Though I'm hoping we're brought back down to Earth a little. I mean, look how each season the Big Bad gets more and more powerful. A vampire --> A trio of vampires, lead by a former lover --> a Mayor (man in charge) --> A cyborg/ military organization --> A God --> An unstoppable witch/best friend --> evil as a whole. And, notice, the best Big Bads were the most humble ones: the vamp trio and the Mayor. I hope the Big Bad, when revealed, is--more than anything else--an interesting and unique character that is a real big threat but isn't another 'biggest thing we've ever faced!'

Rating: 9/10


Courtney said...

Hi! First, thanks for the review- spot on, as always.

You wrote "I'm unsure who is RIGHT in this (Buffy seeing Gigi as a murderer, Faith seeing her as misdirected)"

This seems especially true in light of Buffy and Willow's conversation. Buffy's walking closer and closer towards that grey area as well, which makes the relationship between Buffy and Faith all the more complex.

Anonymous said...

I just hope Joss didn't convince Vaugnh to kill Fait...

Nathan said...

Great review! I definitely share the same question about where they'll be taking Faith's character. I really hope that they don't make her go back to her old dark ways. I think she's earned her place back on the gang's side.

PatShand said...

Thanks for your comments, guys.

COURTNEY: Thanks for the compliment. I'm totally with you on what you're saying. Buffy was always the 'white hat' compared to Faith, but now it looks like Faith is the one who wants to show mercy. The question is... Does Gigi DESERVE that mercy?

ANONYMOUS: I don't think Joss would really have to convince BKV to do anything. It would be the other way around. If Joss wants Faith dead, he'd have said "Well, Brian... you're killing Faith in this arc." And Brian would be all "Okay."

NATHAN: Thanks man. I don't think Joss would send Faith down the 'evil' path again. It's wack to rehash storylines, and Joss isn't wack. Or ain't wack. I think 'ain't wack' works better. I don't think you can say a word like "isn't" before a word like "wack." But I digress; I think the road Faith is going to go down is more of a 'dark, my life is hell' road than a 'kill kill kill murder murder murder' road. However, I wouldn't even be surprised if Faith bit the dust next issue. O_o