Monday, February 15, 2010

Again With the Goodness

What Is It?: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Issue #32: Twilight, Part 1- Buffy has F#@$ing Superpowers (written by Brad Meltzer; art by Georges Jeanty).

Timing: BtVS, Season Eight. Shortly after "Turbulence."

Warning: The bigger spoilers will be written in black text. Simply highlight to read. As this is a review, there will be some minor "spoilers" sprinkled throughout the text that don't warrant being hidden. If you have not read the issue and don't want to know anything about the plot, don't read this. Spoilers for previous issues will obviously not be hidden.

REVIEW: First of all, this one is extra long. It comes in at twenty-five pages. That's three pages above the normal count, and the story really benefits from it. Like the extra long "Angel: After the Fall #1" before it, this feels more like a full episode than an act of an episode, and that kicks ass. And, in a trend that began with the Willow one-shot in December, I just didn't want the book to end. From #20 all the way up until #30, I'd often count the pages, wanting the book to just be over already. But this, along with "Willow" and #31, was just too good to end.

The issue deals with the fallout of Buffy's realization that she has superpowers. As Buffy and a completely geeking-out Xander test her new skills and push her boundaries farther than they could ever imagine (not in a sexy times way), Dawn openly expresses her fear that these powers are not coming from somewhere good. Willow suggests that the powers are coming from the universe thanking Buffy for kicking the crap out of the goddesses... which doesn't make sense because Buffy used the powers to do that. There are two subplots, one featuring Warren, Amy, and the General (who seems randomly introduced, as all the characters are aware of him and consider him as big a player as Warren and Amy) approaching Buffy and co. with an offer of sorts, and one that follows Giles, Andrew, and Faith, who have been captured by Twilight. The eponymous Twilight makes a brief but epic appearance, delivering the best line of the issue.

(SPOILER:) "Who wants to hear a really cool master plan?"

If that ain't a way to leave me hungry for next month's issue, I don't know what is.

Meltzer is a great fit for Buffy. The dialogue is spot on, funny, and fits right in with the best writers of the series so far (inarguably Joss, Goddard, and BKV). The nerdspeak hits a new high, which totally fits in the issue, considering Xander's affinity for comics and Buffy's new superhero-like powers. He giddily makes her try out different popular superpowers and nearly squees when she discovers that, yeah, she can do some of them. The scenes are really well written, and the subplots are balanced very nicely. Meltzer is a master of pacing... and I think he delivered the most powerful opener to an arc thus far.

Also, a new weight is added to this somewhat light story when Willow discovers the true source of Buffy's powers. I'd assumed the powers were from being touched by a goddess, as it was the last thing that happened to Buffy before she'd woken up with new powers. But. The real source is so much more thematically charged, and man it works for the story. Buffy's powers are coming from (SPOILERS:) the mass genocide of slayers around the world. Since she gave them their power, their power is going to her when they die. Creepy, huh?

All in all, a fantastic issue. I was originally skeptical that Joss himself didn't want to write the unmasking of Twilight, but now I see why he trusts Brad Meltzer with such an important moment. 'Cause the dude can write. And the dude can write Buffy.

And also... just throwing it out there... the subtitle on this issue was awesome. Buffy has f#@$ing superpowers indeed.

Art: Again, I'm impressed by how good the art is getting again. I'm still a bit peeved that the shittier scripts of the series so obviously received shittier treatment from Jeanty, but if anything could make it better, its Jeanty doing such a kick-ass job of late. Buffy looks like she should, there are laugh out loud sight gags (THE RABBIT!), and it's just a solidly drawn book. Kudos for stepping it back up, Jeanty.

Covers: Jo Chen’s is simple. Decent, but simple. It could have been an iconic image, seeing Buffy taking flight like this, but... I'm not sure. She just looks kind of long. And she lacks detail. It's as if someone took the cover and then stretched it in MS Paint until it was slightly too narrow. Not bad, but not a standout, like Chen's usually are. George's is way more dynamic, and I do dig the concept--yet another homage--of having Whedon, Jeanty, and Allie bugging out as Buffy lifts a train. Though... what is Joss wearing? Otherwise, a decent cover. I dig how it says "Buffy Comics" too. The new look of the variants is very cool.

Characters We Know: Buffy, Xander, Dawn, Willow, Amy, Warren, Faith, Giles, Andrew, Twilight.

Rating: 9/10


Quique12 said...

The Jeanty cover is an homage to the first Action Comics cover with Superman lifting a car.

I also liked this issue a lot, best Buffy issue since the teen numbered issues.

ryan said...

I can't wait for the trade, so i;m gonna get the single issues!!

Jason said...

I thought the dialogue was fantastic in this one... especially the part about phasing. I remember reading somewhere that Joss is a big fan of Kitty Pryde and also said something about Kitty and Buffy being similar. So that was just.... cool.

Tom said...

Joss isn't just a Kitty Pryde fan, he wrote a bunch of Astonishing X-Men comics featuring her. And they're damn good. Better than most of the Buffy comics, for me.

On page 9 (i think) of this comic, there's a shout-out to the fact that Kitty Pryde was one of Joss's inspirations for creating Buffy. Xander is explaining what it means to "phase" (which is Kitty's power), and then his monologue segues into what could equally be a description of Kitty or Buffy: "And you're really cute, and you have this spunky personality and you're not afraid of the tough guys who everyone else is terrified of."

I think that simultaneously serves as an explanation of why Xander loves Buffy, and also of why Joss loves Kitty and created Buffy.

R.M. said...


Just discovered your blog. It's amazing. Hard to find reviews on the season 8 of Buffy. Great work.

I'll add your blog to mine, because I think my readers will like to take a look at your work!

Jason said...

I have the omnibus of Joss' run on Astonishing and it's...well... astonishing.

ryan said...

astonishing x-men like buffy season 8 definitely got better towards the end.

Anonymous said...

Are you coming back to update the next Buffy/Angel Reviews? I would be really interested in hearing your take on the Twilight Issue and what's going on with Angel in this next arc.(And also on Spike's OOC)

PatShand said...

Sorry guys, coming very soon! The new Angel review is up, and the new Buffy will be up very soon.