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Angel & Faith #20 Discussion Thread(Full Spoilers)

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  • Angel & Faith #20 Discussion Thread(Full Spoilers)

    Set up and ready from Georgia's advance review spoilers galore.

  • #2
    After reading Georgia's review I can only say once again how glad I am that I stopped reading this title around issue 11.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Reddygirl View Post
      After reading Georgia's review I can only say once again how glad I am that I stopped reading this title around issue 11.
      I was so disgusted and disappointed with the last issue - I don't look forward to reading this issue. Especially the Spike making a move of Faith and the other two women in contrast to the lines Buffy has about Spike and his alien insects in the previews.

      I don't about anyone else, but I find even the tiniest bit of reference and connection to Angel and sex and any mention of Buffy after his choices and conduct and the events he helped initiate as Twilight highly offensive. I can't say in public the extend to what I feel about the treatment of women that these comic books have presented.
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      • #4
        For the definition of character bashing see Spike's portrayal by Christos Gage in the latest issue of A&F.
        "Gunn dies, Illyria Survives, Spike shanshus, Angel looses an arm and Xander looses an arm too, which is odd because he wasn't even there."
        Joss Whedon at the High Stakes convention - 2004

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        • #5
          I really don't understand why they had him reject Morgan, who was all in, for Harmony, who is just going to end up hurt. Unless that's the point. To make Spike look even worse by hurting Harmony. Blech.
          No thanks. Not my Spike.

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          • #6
            Do they seriously think that by dragging Spike through mud, they'll make us like Angel more. Because someone has to tell them they are doing the exact opposite of that.
            Last edited by Sky; 27-03-13, 10:00 AM.
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            • #7
              There's also a worse possibility, which is that Gage et al. don't think it makes Spike look bad to have sex with Harmony regardless of their history (and her presumably being hung up on him) because she's a dumb pornstar who gets what she deserves. Sigh.

              The fact that Angel apparently gives him Harmony's number suggests that is actually a pretty likely interpretation of how the creative staff views Harmony.
              Last edited by Local Maximum; 27-03-13, 08:38 AM.

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              • #8
                I actually read this issue. Well, parts that I could read without getting the heebie-jeebies and well, here is what I got to say:

                Sickening. I have never felt so much visceral disgust at a comic book before. Not even with the Twilight debacle. This is the worst characterization I have ever read of Spike, except IDW’s Willingham’s take on the character. As a Spike fan, this is isn’t Spike. I don’t recognize this caricature as Spike.

                For these two issues I have actually felt honest dislike for my favorite character. My heart goes out to Angel fans who have had to put up with this bad characterization for the last twenty issues. I wish Joss were writing these comics, because I think season 9 would have been epic and perhaps one of the best seasons under his belt. But sadly the potential of season 9 has been wasted. I honestly weep at the thought. I felt season 8 could have been salvageable, and Buffy and Angel redeemable. Only if. If only.

                Here is some fun fanwank: Spike, on his way to help Angel, was abducted by shape shifting demons in order for them to garner secrets and weakness regarding both Buffy and Angel, since they seek vengeance because they broke the Seed. In the meantime one of the demons took Spike’s shape and went over to Angel and Faith. There, Angel, being smart, noticed it right away. At the end he called Harmony as a ruse and when this Spike personator took the bait Angel jumped into action to find and save actual Spike from the other shape shifting demons. Once Spike was free he got a call from Buffy regarding Dawn and took off to help. (That explains the bad characterization and why Spike wasn’t there immediately to help with the Dawn situation.)


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tennyoelf View Post
                  Here is some fun fanwank: Spike, on his way to help Angel, was abducted by shape shifting demons in order for them to garner secrets and weakness regarding both Buffy and Angel, since they seek vengeance because they broke the Seed. In the meantime one of the demons took Spike’s shape and went over to Angel and Faith. There, Angel, being smart, noticed it right away. At the end he called Harmony as a ruse and when this Spike personator took the bait Angel jumped into action to find and save actual Spike from the other shape shifting demons. Once Spike was free he got a call from Buffy regarding Dawn and took off to help. (That explains the bad characterization and why Spike wasn’t there immediately to help with the Dawn situation.)
                  Sounds good to me. One presumes that Spike, Angel, Faith and anyone else involved in this have sworn a secret oath reluctantly to pretend that that was Spike, since those events may be mentioned in future issues -- and this was done because of [magic phlebotinum] which makes it so that aliens might kill cute puppies if they state outright that this substitution took place.

                  These same aliens *may* have been responsible for other characterization lapses in the past (I will not choose any particular examples, leaving those as an exercise for the reader).

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Local Maximum View Post
                    There's also a worse possibility, which is that Gage et al. don't think it makes Spike look bad to have sex with Harmony regardless of their history (and her presumably being hung up on him) because she's a dumb pornstar who gets what she deserves. Sigh.

                    The fact that Angel apparently gives him Harmony's number suggests that is actually a pretty likely interpretation of how the creative staff views Harmony.
                    Why should there be any worries over Harmony since they had their greatest friggin hero/champion screw over his proclaimed "love of his life and forever soul mate" - having Whistler screw over same woman, have Angel ala Twangel brutalize other slayers and bring about the death of who knows how many people. Have Andrew bring all that same crap of "let's screw Buffy by violating her at a party, stealing her body, stealing her mind and trying her into a friggin BuffoRobot.

                    Do these people over at Dark Horse have any idea how much they are destroying the franchise for so many devoted fans? They can count me out of their customers for their intended season 10. They only reason that I will continue to purchase this season is because I have the entire bloody series and I might as well stay with it to the end.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Local Maximum View Post
                      There's also a worse possibility, which is that Gage et al. don't think it makes Spike look bad to have sex with Harmony regardless of their history (and her presumably being hung up on him) because she's a dumb pornstar who gets what she deserves. Sigh.

                      The fact that Angel apparently gives him Harmony's number suggests that is actually a pretty likely interpretation of how the creative staff views Harmony.
                      If this is really the mind set of the writers then I think that explains a lot, unfortunately. If "She doesn't have a soul, she's an evil demon, she doesn't count, she's a slut, Spike already a bad boy/hero who would never be tainted by sleeping with a soulless monster, etc" is their excuse then, well, I think it's self explanatory. Disgusting again, but it makes things clear on how they stand.

                      Originally posted by Local Maximum View Post
                      Sounds good to me. One presumes that Spike, Angel, Faith and anyone else involved in this have sworn a secret oath reluctantly to pretend that that was Spike, since those events may be mentioned in future issues -- and this was done because of [magic phlebotinum] which makes it so that aliens might kill cute puppies if they state outright that this substitution took place.

                      These same aliens *may* have been responsible for other characterization lapses in the past (I will not choose any particular examples, leaving those as an exercise for the reader).
                      Right! And by not talking about these events lead to much angst and heartbreak, but the audience will never see this in depth character study because it happened between issues and we just need to assume it happened.


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                      • #12
                        Angel and Spike come out of this looking pretty bad. It's Angel that gives Spike Harmony's number. You might even say he 'procures' her for Spike.

                        I think the vibe Gage is going for is this: Big Brother Angel thinks Little Brother Spike needs to blow off some steam (as it were), so he does the equivalent of buy him a toy. Neither of them think Harmony counts as a person, and apparently neither does Gage.

                        He also doesn't appear to have taken in the fact that in AtS season 5, Harmony baulked at having sex with Spike again because she knew he didn't respect her, and that in the folloiwing episode (Harm's Way), she points this out to him and he sort of apologises (characters with souls are never really allowed to apologise to characters without them).

                        I also think, after reading this, that Gage can't have paid much attention when watching season 7 of BtVS. He obviously missed the conversation in the basement in Never Leave Me when Spike told Buffy she liked men that hurt her and she said that wasn't so. She didn't prefer him as a monster. I think he's at least self-aware enough to know this else way did he bother going and getting his soul back? Likewise, I think season 7 shows pretty clearly that Spike did not consider himself 'not such a bad fellow' when he didn't have a soul.

                        But Gage seems to have missed all this or decided it doesn't count, or that Spike was lying, or something, I don't know. Someone should ask him.

                        In short, I think we're supposed to thinks the Harmony incident is funny. We, too, are supposed to think it doesn't matter 'because it's Harmony' (hey, Angel says so, so it must be true).
                        Last edited by Morphia; 27-03-13, 09:55 AM.

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                        • #13
                          So Spike had no valid or positive impact last issue and this issue he slept with Harmony, but only after he hit on any female in his vicinity. This was even more pathetic than I expected and my expectations were pretty low. I have never held back in how much I dislike Harmony, she is awful, vapid and I see zero value in her personally. Spike is a free agent and, to many, very attractive, so why do we have to have him so pathetic that he is not even able to get meaningless sex without having Angel pimp him Harmony, which was completely and utterly foul. And Angel also gets to label Spike for being shallow at the same time even though this was his suggestion, his ‘thank you’, he wouldn’t do that for Faith but he just knows Spike so well that this would be what he wanted/needed, utter, utter yuk. Despite all the bad writing this season I was surprised at how abysmal this was. There is no personality compatibility between Spike and Harmony he just uses her for sex and they totally validated that here just to get some action into the comics because this was entirely void of any meaning. Oh no, wait because in S5 of AtS Spike realised that using Harmony when she cared for him made him an arse and he shouldn’t do it. So now he is just the arse who doesn’t care that he realised that he was an arse and just did it again anyway. It was pretty boring and you’ve regressed him past his own development, great writing, well done.

                          So the point is supposed to be that he is trying to get over Buffy but can't fully yet. So fine, this was all about polyfilla emotional response but did they have to make him play the desperate fool with no standards to do it for gods sake. Plus this seems a step down and far, far away from what he went through and where he was at in his mini. His characterisation is pretty unrecognisable in this crossover to how he has appeared in S8/S9 and his mini (and I miss VG’s voicing and Paul Lee’s art). I can’t wait to see Spike leave A&F, his visit was completely awful, roll on April.

                          My desperate attempts to make some sense here… this could be a set up/link for Spike/Buffy addressing the post Chosen/AtS period, but I very, very, very much doubt it. Or perhaps they are gearing up for her chasing him a bit whilst he gets more aloof. He is so sure she isn’t interested it would make sense from a writing pov that this is about the time she finally decides she is. Maybe we are supposed to be seeing him subconsciously react to how he perceives Buffy actually preferred him (which only makes sense if he is totally ignoring the relationship they had in S6 and their development in S7 beyond that, but hey ho). Or perhaps it is all just gearing up to him being turned human or some such change, they have so heavily laboured now how unhappy he is in the status of being a souled vamp.

                          Perhaps this is all supposed to be symptomatic of him moving on, of him looking for his own path. But whereas the idea that he was wanting to settle his wanderlust and find a better balance for his souled side, find a ‘home’ etc seemed to be the message by the end of his mini, which felt progressive and mature, we now seem to have backslid massively from that to wanting to be ‘wicked’ and the ‘big bad’ because he’s better that way. Can it be OK for him to have relationships/dalliances with evil/soulless females? How is that progressive or a good thing? They have teased him losing his soul here, although against this at least it hurt more when it was heading out, so maybe not. But importantly, it feels like they are repeatedly having him talk regretfully about having got his soul or that he didn’t really need it. Sadly, and as a Spike-centric fan this bothers me far, far more than anything else, it is basically to the point of him forgetting and no longer valuing what he did and why he did it. Geez, not good.
                          Last edited by Stoney; 27-03-13, 10:07 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Huh. Maybe it's because I was expecting the worst that I end up thinking this is OK. The last few pages excepted I think it's very, very good, and I don't think those last few pages are as bad as folks are making out.

                            To jump to the last few pages ... yes, the answer is straight up that they are seeing Harmony as a girl who just likes sex. They don't play her as having special feelings for Spike. Spike does go for that. And while I myself wish our culture were otherwise, the fact of the matter is that in the world at large emotion-free hook ups are deemed perfectly fine, so long as both parties consent, which in this case they do. What had been objectionable about Spike and Harmony in AtS 5 -- that Spike was using a Harmony who still had feelings for him, isn't present here. I think it's safe to say that Harmony isn't where she was a few years back -- she *has* moved on.

                            I had been worried that they were portraying Spike the way IDW did, but I don't think that flies either. The Harmony hook-up wasn't even Spike's idea. And while he does go for it, I think it's somewhat believable, because what this issue does well is explore just how messed up Spike is these days -- in a way I found more compelling than the mini.

                            So let's rewind to the top. Let me just note some reactions as I re-read:

                            1. We start with a reference to Spike's big heroic final act in Chosen. That strikes me as a good place to start.

                            2. We cut to Angel switching between his three 'voices' -- the Giles voice is talking about Angel having murdered Jenny. Not a bad contrast from my POV.

                            3. Yes Alasdair talks about three beings, but he quickly concedes there are just differences in personas -- and that strikes me as an apt characterization of Angel's situation vis a vis Angelus. Of course, that does mean the guy is basically schizo, but really it just means that Angel hasn't integrated himself, and we already knew this.

                            4. Angel was in fact self-harming in the aftermath of Twilight. So the panel of him blood-covered in #40 is explained.

                            5. Spike gets to be knowledgeable about magical gizmos, and he actually arrives at a potential solution to the dilemma faster than Alasdair. The whole scene gives us a sober, competent Spike, which is a refreshing change, I'd say.

                            6. The gizmo Spike thought of can be found in the possession of demons that eat souls. Hard to describe all the dialogue that happens here, but it's nice and dense. Spike's reaction to the news of where the gizmo is, is to suggest another alternative, namely drawing out Giles' soul with some other gizmo and letting it go to its eternal reward. Faith is having none of this and is clearly not connecting why these demons would be something Spike in particular would not want to face. Spike goes along with this, and gets a nice panel of dialogue showing concern for Giles. So basically, this is a nice answer to the bratty Spike who doesn't care about others. He is concerned that Giles' body be tended to, and he goes off to risk losing the soul he fought for in order to further the project to resurrect him.

                            7. Faith and Spike talk about resurrections in general, and it's a nice balance of the issues we fans talk about. Resurrections can be rough on the dead, but they can be good.

                            8. Spike comments that Faith used to be more fun (since she's been pretty focused on Giles and therefore intense, etc.). She replies she's matured. This will be the theme for the episode, Spike reflecting on his own new-found maturity and wondering if it's worth it. Anyway, his reply to Faith that there's no cure for the "less fun" bit of being mature, but sometimes life gives you opportunities to vent your frustrations. This is, of course, what lies behind Spike's choice to use the number Angel gives him.

                            9. Spike and Faith fight the soul-eating demons. After the battle, Spike says the bloody soul hurts more coming out than going in. He didn't lose the soul, but there had been a battle for it. Faith now realizes what's been at stake for Spike. Spike wants to carry on and keep going after these demons, and again there's a nice exchange between Spike and Faith, with her recognizing why he wouldn't want to go back to who he was, and him giving a kind of resigned/depressed answer about it not being a terrible risk since he wasn't an evil maniac without the soul, and some might have preferred him that way.

                            10. Spike does hit on Faith, but on the basis that they are two people who have been lonely for a while. Not the leering "I just want to get shagged" sort of stuff. I think there's a typo on this page where it says Xander but should say Robin. Anyway, Faith's turn-down is (a) Spike isn't the bad boy any more, in fact he's more like Angel and (b) she doesn't want to be rebound girl.

                            11. What follows is a conversation about whether Spike is or is not like Angel, with some word-punning off the Spangel connection thrown in for fun. Anyway, through this conversation, Faith has partly been working to make Spike mad, since they're beating up these demons, and it works -- he slices through them no problem.

                            12. Faith gives Spike some good advice about how getting laid won't get him over Buffy, but getting over Buffy might get him laid. Spike tries to say he's over her now, but of course he's not.

                            13. Clearly Spike isn't taking Faith's advice, because he does try to make a move on the aunts. I actually like the way this plays, too. He name drops some poets in an effort to impress them, but they have no idea what he's talking about. But the aunts turn him down because he seems like the sort who'd want to get attached, though he might have been fun if he didn't have a soul. This, of course, leaves Spike morbidly depressed.

                            14. They send Spike off to watch over crazy!Angel while they do the whatever they do with this gizmo that's been retrieved.

                            15. Spike then vents to the catatonic crazy Angel. The upshot of the vent is that Buffy wants nothing to do with him now that he's capable of real emotions, but he's stuck with the real emotions feeling bad about everything (I read this as hurt about being rejected, + the heap of guilt that comes with the soul).

                            16. There's a segue to the whatever they're doing (I don't want to say spell because that's not supposed to be what they're doing). Faith gets to speak to Giles basically inviting his soul into this gizmo (or something). Anyway, I find it an emotionally moving couple of panels -- she just flat out needs him, that's why she's changed her tune on the resurrection thing.

                            17. More of Spike's monologue, now veering to the topic of women not liking nice guys, and then being honest with himself about how he's never been any good on his own. He then moves on to a favorite theme of mine -- namely that Angel managed to move on from Buffy just fine. Angel comes back to himself (the gizmo whatever has obviously worked at this point), and says he's not over Buffy. Since Angel did everything Spike named -- found work, saw other women, built a life of his own -- I'd say it's clear he had moved on in important ways, whatever it is he might want to tell himself. Anyway, the panels after Spike realizes that he wasn't just venting to a catatonic Angel the whole time are really well done. Spike says exactly what Spike would say. And that's when Angel texts him the number. He tells Spike that Spike's problem is that he just needs to get back on his feet, that he's currently over thinking things too much.

                            And that brings us to Harmony, with whom Spike won't have to think.

                            Anyway, I was all set to hate this issue based on the review. But I really don't. The plot point I don't like (harmony) is done as well as it could be. And everything leading up to it is really, really good. I feel like that's all true to Spike. And while it wouldn't be my choice if I were writing this, I don't think it's character assassination to have him go along with Angel's suggestion about getting out of his head by having some mindless sex with a girl who isn't going to make any demands on him. (And again, there is nothing here that suggests that Harmony has the same feelings for Spike that she had back in AtS 5 -- so really, just mindless casual sex. Which if I understand correctly -- old fogey that I am -- is supposed to be just a-ok for all parties these days. Isn't it slut-shaming to say/suggest otherwise?

                            If I did want to rant about something, it would be that we can now officially add Spike to the list of people who have no problem whatsoever with what Angel did as Twilight. It just doesn't come up and it obviously never will. But for me at this point the big Twilight/Angel White Wash program is just baked in the cake -- so I will have to be content with the nice reminder that Angel is a schizophrenic dude who murdered Jenny and Giles and who did not choose to get a soul.
                            Last edited by Maggie; 27-03-13, 10:22 AM.
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                            "I don't want to be this good-looking and athletic. We all have crosses to bear." Banner Credit: Vampmogs

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                            • #15
                              Sorry, any type of writing that has Spike regret getting a soul and the fact he has one causing him to be depressed doesn't jive with me at all.

                              No, I personally think it takes a big dump on his character. He knows why he needs a soul and wouldn't want to be without it.
                              Last edited by Tennyoelf; 27-03-13, 10:40 AM.


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