Thursday, November 26, 2009

Awful? Nah. Good? No way.

What Is It?: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Issue #30: Retreat part V (written by Jane Espenson; art by Georges Jeanty).

Timing: BtVS, Season Eight. Right after "Retreat part IV."

Warning: Since this review is super late, no spoilers are going to be blocked. If you took as long to read it as I did to review it, go get the comic instead of reading this!


Well, it's not as bad as #29. Not nearly. It doesn't fix any of the stuff that is fundamentally wrong with the story, but it pushes the characters forward in a slightly more interesting way than I expected after the utter travesty that was the last issue. I had to sit on this book for a long time to really get a sense of my reaction, because I didn't want to go in with my #29 anger fresh in my head, and I also didn't want to keep you guys waiting too long. So here we go...

+ The threat of the goddesses was actually handled rather nicely. As random and odd as their appearance was, the scene when the Scoobs realize that the goddesses aren't on their side was pretty chilling. I didn't really get why the goddesses didn't just stomp their temple for maximum killage, but that I can suspend my disbelief for.
+ Riley. We find out that he's been on Buffy's side all along and that Twilight might have known it. I hope his time spent undercover is elaborated on a lot in future issues, because all he gave Buffy was "You need a miracle." This, I'm excited to see. And in Buffy: Season Eight, anything that excites me is a rarity and a blessing.
+ Another thing that excites me... Buffy flying. Yup. It happens at the end of this issue. It seems to be the one thing that Scott Allie said they were building toward this season that actually seems as if they were building toward it. It's a great moment, and I'm thrilled to see where that is going. It has the potential to continue the terrible, shark jumping trend of making everything so damn large scale, but it also has the potential to inject new life into a story that, at this point, seems kind of tired.
+ Fun stuff between Twilight, Warren, and Amy.

+ Still with the guns and the not caring. It was sort of touched on when Buffy asks everyone to give even their wounded enemies shelter, but how how how can you have Xander, Dawn, Buffy, and these characters shooting humans and not show any sort of emotional reaction? What is going on?
+ While it might be necessary, the mass murder of the slayers here--as well as their loss of power and Buffy's gain of super power--seems like a really obvious way of putting things back to the status quo of Buffy strong, everyone else weak. Is it important for the story? Probably. Does it cheapen Chosen? Unfortunately.

Art: Jeanty's busy panels continue to suffer. It's impossible to tell any of the males, aside from Xander for obvious, eye-patchy reasons, apart. You have to skim through the book to see who is wearing what color shirt in order to see who is who. The first time we see Andrew and Giles, it looks as if two new characters with mushy heads have been introduced into the fold. The close-ups of the faces for the non-war moments, however, are the best they've been in a while. Jeanty's really handling the Buffy/Xander/Dawn love triangle well through his art, even though I have no idea how the whole new found Buffy/Xander connection makes sense, story-wise. An improvement over what Jeanty's been doing, but I wish he were as consistent as he used to be.

Covers: Jeanty's cover is... eh. I have no real opinion about it. It's the same way most of his covers have been recently. Terrible compared to what he's done before, but, on it's own, just boring. Adam Hughes is on A cover duties, and his coer is the better of the two, but also really weird. Buffy has "realistic face, cartoony body" syndrome, and the rest of the cover is blocked by snow. It's not bad, but not particularly good either. Seems to be going around a lot in this issue.

Characters We Know: Buffy, Xander, Dawn, Willow, Giles, Andrew, Oz, Kennedy, Amy, Warren, Twilight, Riley, Faith, Satsu, Leah, Rowena.

Rating: 5/10


Jonny Carrington said...

Excellent review Pat, all the Buffy fans I know aren't up to/haven't bothered with Season 8 and it's nice to see a sensible soul who hates the way guns were used as much as I do.

Wenxian said...

Don't disagree with everything you said... but I will have to say that I thoroughly disagree about the cover art. Hughes' cover looks pretty much like a Hughes' cover... so no surprise there. But Jeanty's is actually one of his better ones in a while. His more conceptual covers have always been his better ones, and this one was the strongest that I'd seen in a long time.

Guns... don't like them, but also don't understand why anyone would expect the girls to be crying too much about being given a fighting chance, when the other side doesn't even blink when lobbing napalm at them. Perhaps the question that should be asked is why no one is demanding for panels depicting soldiers crying about blowing up a bunch of young girls.

Anonymous said...

The last two or so Buffy comics have been so dreadful, there are no words. The main story has gone so far from anything the TV show was like, the people who thought this storyline was a good idea should be kept away for good.
Sure there are some good and interesting parts of the story, but really it's a pile of crap that we only read because it has the buffy logo on the front cover.

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Anonymous said...

They have weapons. Hell, yes, because they have no powers anymore. And they have no powers anymore because that was decided in a spur of the moment, to hide from Twilight. Nothing wrong with it. They are killing humans. It's wrong indeed and not like Buffy. Though they are actually defending themselves. It's war. A war not started by them. As of fact, those soldiers are not humans, they are monsters. Only monster are capable of killing hundreds of teenage girls. And they knew at that moments those girls didn't have any powers. It is only by coincidence and pure will of defending themselves from being killed that they have weapons and can defend themselves.

wytchcroft said...

well, the art still sucked but this was a whole heap of better than the previous issue.