Buffy: Season Eight #10 (the standalone by Joss Whedon) is called "Anywhere But Here." A bigger version of the variant cover than we've seen thus far is to the side of this post. Very clickable.
The way things are looking "The Long Way Home" trade paperback is going to come out tomorrow. It might be released Thursday if the Monday holiday affected shipping, but the way things are looking, it should be in our hands tomorrow. It has that awesome Jo Chen cover, a killer layout, and hopefully a few 'special features.' It collects the first five issues of Season Eight. I'll post a review of the TPB as soon as I get my hands on it.
NOTE: I don't want to disappoint, but it looks like the TPB might be delayed to October 17th. Shit.
"First Night", the first standalone of "Angel: After the Fall," will tell us what happened to the side characters directly following the "Not Fade Away" cliff hanger. Looks like we'll finally see what happened in that alley.
It was originally implied that there would be a break between issues #9 and #10 of Buffy. Turns out? Not so much.
Buffy: Season Eight #10 (Standalone written by Joss Whedon, pencils by Cliff Richards)
BLURB: Buffy and Willow meet a demon who reveals a dim future, forcing the two to reflect on their past. Meanwhile, back in Scotland, Dawn confides in Xander the deed that led to her mysterious growth spurt.
The Jo Chen cover is right to the side. The Jeanty variant was posted a few entries ago. It doesn't look like we'll be getting an extra rare cover from Cliff Richards the way we got the Paul Lee one for "The Chain", but one can hope.
COVERS TO ANGEL: AFTER THE FALL #3--> CLICK (Tony Harris will no longer be doing covers. With this third one and on, Andrew Robinson has taken over)
Information on Buffy: Season Eight #10- Scott Allie says... "That’s a housekeeping issue. That’s how things start with Joss. He goes “I have to fill a blank. There’s this thing I have to address, and it turns into something so much more. Issue #10, we did a contest on MySpace where you write in and say “this is how BUFFY affected my life,” and Joss picks the winner and the winner will be drawn into an issue of BUFFY. Joss read all the entries, and was really moved by a lot of them and the winner he was struck by and he basically wrote Issue #10 about her, sort of. It’s a Willow and Buffy issue, with some Xander. It’s an issue that catches you up and shows you how things are screwed up with our characters." He also said, in an audio interview, that the issue is comparable to episodes like "Hush" and "The Body." Oh yeah, and it'll make you cry fan tears.
Information of Buffy: Season Eight #11- We find out who/what the Big Bad of the season will be.
Information on DREW GODDARD's arc (ISSUES 12-15): Some vampires get a new power that isn't very vampire-y. The Scoobs head to Japan to dig up some info on the case. *Sigh* Sounds so good.
SPOILER (Highlight to Read:) At some point in the season, Dracula will make a cameo.
SEASON NINE: Scott Allie says... "It’s a real ambitious thing and we’ve already sketched out what Season 9 would be. At one point, I was pretty sure Season 8 would be the end of all of this. The original idea looked like that was it, but now we have a Season 9, that would be much different than Season 8. We might take a break, but when Joss and I talked about it, Joss said he might want to take a break between eight and nine – “maybe a month.” That’s barely a break. It’s not even a summer, but yes, Season 9 should happen pretty soon after this"
What Is It?: Spike: Shadow Puppets Issue #4. This is the fourth and final issue in the "Shadow Puppets" mini-series written by Brian Lynch and penciled/inked by Franco Urru. It's also the final "ANGEL" comic before "After the Fall" comes out.
Timing: Four months after "Spike: Asylum", and although the second issue of the series hinted that it takes place sometime late in Season Five due to a scene with Angel/Wesley/Illyria, the presence of "Spoiler Wesley" and references to "Old Friends" lead me to believe that it's Post-Not Fade Away. Which I'll get into later.
REVIEW: Today was a glorious day. Only a Buffyverse fan knows how good it feels to walk into a comic store and get handed four crisp, unread Buffyverse comics. Buffy: Season Eight #7 and Shadow Puppets #4. Each with the original and variant cover. Sigh. Needless to say, I may've cracked the speed limit with the force of Olaf the Troll God's hammer to get home and read these issues. I already gave you guys my take on Buffy #7, so here we go with the conclusion to Shadow Puppets...
Funny, visually stunning, and bursting with references to the show. You can either love or hate the puppet idea (even the biggest puppet lovers of us have to admit that having so many puppetized characters is a bit fan-wanky),but the simple fact that it works better in comics than it did on television isn't up for debate. Both Lynch and Urru are great at hitting every comedic beat, and I can't tell you how impressive it is to make a drawing of a puppet look expressive. The story did actually feel a bit crammed this time (there is so much happening), but a second read-through will make you appreciate the issue a lot better than the first go around. I loved the previous three installments, and this was no different. The idea of Puppet Angelus was great, and the interactions between the various puppets (I'll provide a list below) were well done and hilarious. There were a few jokes that went over my head (Spike talking to Puppet Drusilla: "If you were Drusilla, you'd be so orgasmic that you were turned into a doll you couldn't bloody well function.") because of iffy syntax, but it was made up for with the side-splitting panel in which Smile Time goes global. That panel is too tasty for me to even give you a hint at what you see.
The climax isn't handled with the quite deliciously chaotic finesse that "Spike: Asylum" was, but it did make for an enjoyable read. There were a few parts of the book that I found myself torn on (the genius of the idea of the three different Wesley puppets vs. the tastelessness of 'Spoiler Wesley') but overall, I'm happy with the way it ending. Both Lorne and Spike are done flawlessly, and Brian Lynch's invented characters Beck, Tok, and Betta George continue to steal the show. The final page of the issue is all at once sweet, funny, and a perfect note to end the story on, keeping the theme of team-work and friendship going strong until the final panel.
Art: Manifique! ...If that's a word. I mentioned in a separate review that Franco Urru is the master of action scenes, and he comes through nicely here. He handles the action, comedy, and even the subtle dramatic moments perfectly. He had to interpret multiple new characters from the show and--though I didn't recognize Puppet Cordy and Puppet Connor--he, for the most part, did a stellar job with the puppetizing of our favorite characters.
Characters We Know: Spike, Lorne, Ratio Hornblower
Puppets: Angelus, Wesley (three different versions), Gunn (two different versions), Fred/Illyria, Drusilla, Connor, Cordelia
Speculation: This wouldn't normally get a speculation category, but with "Angel: After the Fall" coming out next month, I had to do it. The presence of "Spoiler Wesley" introduces that fact that this--maybe--might take place after "Not Fade Away." If so, Gunn is alive... (REMEMBER everyone, this section is, as the title says, pure speculation). Lorne was talking to a 'Charlie' on the phone, trying to convince him that they should do children shows. If so, it means that Lorne is still hanging with--at least some of--the Fang Gang.
What Is It?: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Issue #7: No Future For You pt 2 (written by Brian K. Vaughan)
Timing: BtVS Season Eight, follows the events of "No Future For You Part 1"
REVIEW: Expectations were high for this issue. The first part of this arc was nothing short of perfect, so everyone was wondering if BKV could keep the goodness up.
He can, and he did. The story unfolds, throwing both Faith and us faithful readers into the center of action; an uppity British party. Basically, the plot is that Faith has to try to kill another slayer, a rich young Brit--and the hostess of the party--named Gigi. But nothing is ever that cut and dry in the Buffyverse, is it? The issue starts off with a flashback to the scene in "Graduation Day Part I" where Buffy fights Faith (then, the current 'slayer gone bad'), thinking it's going to be a battle to the death. We, for the first time, get Faith's perspective on the fight, and--as the issue goes on--the connections between the flashback and the major drama of the issue become clear. Gigi isn't just an 'evil slayer.' She's a person, quite like Faith was when she was 'bad.' Can Faith step into Buffy's shoes and kill a girl who is following the same path that she, Faith, wound up recovering from?
That's still up in the air. A lot happens in this issue, but the plot is still left on a cliff-hangy note. One of BKV's strengths is his pacing. I loved Joss' "Long Way From Home" arc, but the thing that I've noticed most about why "No Future For You" is simply a better arc is the fact that it's paced well, from page-to-page and even issue-to-issue. As a seasoned comic writer, BKV knows just when to end a page to keep the reader turning, but not too fast. His panelling allows you to appreciate each page to the fullest, without simply skimming over any images. It's the perfect balance of a fast-paced story and a story you want to take your time to read.
On the other hand, there are a few things I would have liked from this issue, but didn't see. I expected more Giles, thinking he might be playing Dixon to Faith's Sidney Bristow. But no such luck. Even though our favorite Ben-killing-Watcher gets a spot on the cover, he's only in one panel of the issue. Faith gets even more screen time in this issue than she did in the last, simply because there aren't that many other characters there to share it with. The variant cover, which depicts Faith, Buffy, and Gigi in formal wear is also misleading; Buffy only appears in the flashback. Xander and Andrew are no shows. What we do get is a marvelous exchange between Dawn (still breakin' scales) and Willow, which brings me right back to the show. Their dialogue (and before I forget, Faith's internal dialogue as well) is spot-on, and quotable to death. Especially Willow's "gay wiccan jewess" and "itty bitty things" lines. Simply amazing.
So all in all, I loved the issue. It's--in retrospect--as good as Issue #6. It's easier to rank #6 higher, because the perfection of it was such a surprise. This time, we expected it. And all I can say is that BKV delivered.
Art: Many people have criticized George's depiction of Faith. Admittedly, some of Faith's Issue #6 facial expressions looked a bit bull-doggy. But this issue, art wise, is a vast improvement on what I thought to be already great art. Georges visibly gets more comfortable drawing the characters page-by-page (especially with Faith and Willow) and he continues to kick ass in drawing the newly introduced characters. The action here isn't made up of the best comic action sequences I've seen (that honorable title goes to Franco Urru's fight scenes in Spike: Asylum) but Georges is an all around competent artist, and we should be glad to have him involved.
Characters We Know: Faith, Giles, Buffy (flashback), Willow, Dawn
SEASON EIGHT Characters We Know (NEW CATEGORY; WILL EVENTUALLY BE INCORPORATED INTO 'CHARACTERS WE KNOW'): Lady Genevieve, Roden, Renee
Speculation: I'm not as convinced as I was after reading Issue #6 that Roden is the Big Bad. He just doesn't seem as manipulative in this issue, but I'm going to stick with my claim. He'll probably be the Big Bad. There's not much to speculate in this issue that I can think of. With the knowledge that Lady Genevieve wants Buffy dead (and that Roden wants to put Gigi in place as the "queen") and Jo Chen's cover for Issue #8 (Faith choking Buffy underwater), I think its safe to assume that Faith will have to be working as a double... or is it triple... agent. She'll have to fight Buffy to make Gigi and Roden think she's on their side, so that she can kill Gigi in the end. I think that something along the lines of what Jonathan did to Buffy in "Seeing Red" will happen here (he leaped on her during her exchange with Warren, making Warren think he was trying to hurt Buffy, when in actuality he was whispering the secret to defeating Warren in Buffy's ear). By the end of the next issue, I'm expecting to see a Buffy/Faith team-up against Gigi. I think Roden will bounce before the mierda hits the fan.
+ Wednesday: Buffy #7 and Shadow Puppets #4 come out. Don't forget to get a copy of both issues! Support the 'verse.
+ Moonlight: New television series, familiar concept. Might sound wonky at first. Seems to me, though, people came into the picture expecting, wanted, even hoping to hate it. If you were any more negative, peeps, I'd have to name you Nancy. Give the show a chance. The pilot episode this past week wasn't horrible at all, and it's a new supernatural show. If a show like this succeeds, it'll make the biz more prone to taking on supernatural kinda shows. Screw Grey's Anatomy and Flavor Flav, that's the kinda TV I want to watch. So for the sake of all things fantasy, give Moonlight a --(insert Spikeism)-- chance, would you, you --(spikeism)-- --(spikeism)--s!
We--using that term very loosely--write detailed reviews of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Tales of the..., Fray, Spike, etc. comic series. Since I... erm, WE are relatively new, we'll be posting reviews for both old and new comics. We do try to have our reviews for new issues out on the release date.
As you all know, I don't own these characters. These characters and the comics reviewed here are all owned by 20th Century Fox, Joss Whedon, IDW Publishing, Dark Horse, etc. etc. This is their world, I just talk about it. A lot.