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Buffy # 14 Issue Discussion Thread(Full Spoilers)

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  • Buffy # 14 Issue Discussion Thread(Full Spoilers)

    Hey guys.I'm going to open the issue discussion now if that's okay.I had a death in the family yesterday and so I might sporadically be online today/tomorrow.I probably won't even get my comics until the weekend.So I wanted to get this open now for any advanced reviews that pop up today.

    - - Updated - - -

    Leyki has her review up for Buffy # 14.

    https://leykimayri.wordpress.com/201...cated-part-01/

  • #2
    Just read it. It was... Okay. The journey through Spike's mind felt like something straight out of a fanfiction. The romance stuff was too sappy, the darker stuff like Buffy watching Spike kill Nikki was completely glossed over. I doubt anything she saw in his mind will impact her relationship with him at all.

    Remember back in AtS when Cordy could barely look at Angel after viewing his past from the higher dimensions? I doubt we are gonna get that kind of depth here. For instance, if the story wanted to go dark, they could have shown the attempted rape in the bathroom and have Buffy personally feel what Spike felt. They could have added a bit of conflict by showing Spike talking smack to Wood about what Nikki "signed up for" and how she didn't love her son. They could have introduced Buffy to Fred, Gunn, Connor or Lorne via Spike's AtS 5 or ATF memories. I think the whole concept of a mind walk is a cheap, fanfictiony plot-device to begin with, but this was executed in the shallowest way possible. They hammered home the idea that yes, Spike does indeed love Buffy and they hit all the expected notes of Spike's past -Drusilla, Nikki, and Spike suffering beautifully for his soul. I really feel like several pages added nothing new to the story except remind Buffy of how awesome Spike is.

    And what's the deal with Archaeus? I thought Maloker was the demon who sired the first vampires? What is the point of Maloker if this Archaus guy is the one who really started it all? And since when could a vampire or demon "control" their blood relatives? I don't know if I like the idea that the Master himself was literally sired from an Old One. I figured the Master was old, but not THAT old. I always kinda liked the idea from the non canon books that the Master was sired by Lilith who was rumoured to be the first vampire. I feel like pinning an origin down on the Master kinda ruins his mystery, especially if his origin conflicts with what was already established with Maloker. Maybe the two are somehow related?

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    • #3
      Very sorry for your loss, BAF.

      I think this was the weakest issue of season 10 so far. A pity. It could have packed way more emotional impact than it did. Plus, Buffy escaping Archaeus inside Spike's mind was way too easy.

      I get that the stated purpose of the mind walk wasn't for Buffy to take a wander through Spike's past but to discover his connection to Archaeus, but still, I think the book focused way too much on Spike's feelings in the present (the fanficcy elements are so strong in this issue I'm beginning to be suspicious that the whole thing is some weird set-up of Spuffy 'shippers) and not enough on his past. And that goes for Drusilla's past, and Angel's too. As far as we know, that's the first time Buffy's seen any of this (though, like with parts of Spike's past - his fight with Nikki at least, if not his human history as the bloody awful poet - she knows of it -but that's not the same as seeing it) and it was all just skated over because she had to get to Archaeus.

      It felt like the book didn't have enough pages to deal with the content.

      Also, I'm not keen on this Archaeus at all. I've never liked it when the comics have sprung on us something that seems so out of whack with the show (the seed of Wonder and the Twilight prophecy are two other plot devices I really dislike for that reason). I don't get why Archaeus looks like he does. He doesn't look like a vampire, so why are his 'descendants' vampires? He doesn't even look like Maloker. I daresay there'll be some explanation to do with the re-jigging of magic to explain why we've never seen or heard of him before, but I'm getting tired of those. They just strike me as way too 'comic book' for the Buffyverse (which is ironic, but there it is).

      I didn't agree with many of the criticisms of the previous arc, which I enjoyed very much. But this is a very weak issue and doesn't bode well for the crossover.

      Though, judging by the Connor/Willow story in A&F season 9, crossovers aren't Gage's strong point anyway. Most of the deep, emotional stuff in that arc was skated over too, in favour of a lot of hugging.

      I hope I'm wrong. If there's less material to get through in following issues they will probably be better.

      Oh well, at least I still care enough about this comic to talk about it. I'm so bored by the current season of A&F that I have nothing to say about it at all.
      Last edited by Morphia; 22-04-15, 08:57 AM.

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      • #4
        Sorry to hear of your bereavement, BAF.

        I liked the issue, but agree with Morphia, that the content of the comic sort of felt like it was rushed through. Somehow the effect was to make this trip through Spike's mind too sanitised, which was the point that Vampire in Rug said as well. Having said that, I don't mind Archaeus - as plot devices go, he's quite interesting, if only we get more focus on the darker aspects of all this. Will give this issue another read through again, when I've more time to digest it all. I kind of like the romantic stuff, even if I can't believe it is truly happening. something has got to go wrong....

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Shade of Pale View Post
          Sorry to hear of your bereavement, BAF.

          I liked the issue, but agree with Morphia, that the content of the comic sort of felt like it was rushed through. Somehow the effect was to make this trip through Spike's mind too sanitised, which was the point that Vampire in Rug said as well. Having said that, I don't mind Archaeus - as plot devices go, he's quite interesting, if only we get more focus on the darker aspects of all this. Will give this issue another read through again, when I've more time to digest it all. I kind of like the romantic stuff, even if I can't believe it is truly happening. something has got to go wrong....
          I would probably mind Archaeus less if he looked more like a Buffyverse vampire in some way - like one of the uber vamps, perhaps? On the other hand, if it turns out that the Master and descendants are not progeny of Maloker but of some other Old One, that would potentially be quite interesting. We'll see how it unfolds.

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          • #6
            Hmm. Will need to reread it. Nothing really learnt about Spike's character which was a disappointment for me.

            The idea of there being a link along the sire line doesn't bother me, but it being strong enough for there to be a serious contribution of Archaeus' demon, which they did make it sound like it stopped the demons in the line being individual, I didn't think worked. That does seem to clash with how the mythology has always been presented before. For him then to be able to crop up and manage to exert influence seems a bit iffy and does raise how sure they are that Spike didn't kill those people. I don't feel that I have my head around how this is supposed to be working well because of the implication the demon isn't individual, but then Giles also talks in terms of offshoots which did sound more individual than duplicated overall essences.

            Buffy's comment of 'literally' falling in love with the same guy twice was idiotic because they clearly are not the same person even if they are saying the essences are duplicated and linked and then the gag of shagging himself with Dru was just not funny. It seemed beyond dumb that the two of them needed it pointing out to them that Spike was his own person because his human self was part of what made him the vampire he is. I presume they were laying it down for new readers but it just made the characters look idiotic.

            The climax of Spike lunging for Buffy after she has just been in his mind and seen some bad but was assured of his love just seems a weak set up for her to fear him again to me. I was really aware of the underlining the power imbalance between them got again in that she brushes over letting slip that she loves him but when he looks for reassurance about how she feels post mindwalk having expressed worries about it changing her mind about him, he gets some assurance but with a conclusion that there is a lot to process and when she figures out how she feels she will let him know. That combo seems really harsh to me, hitting being pretty dismissively callous and I have to say pretty self-centred too. Of course now she has a reason to add in some doubt/fear. Even though they are saying that it is the influence of Archaeus (and assuming it stays true Spike didn't kill anyone) her statement of certainty that the last thing he wants to do is hurt her seems very weighted just before he looks like he moves to attack. So they are possibly going to lean on the urges, bloodlust, desires of the demon still being a part of him. It seems to be heading down the predictable path I think Aurora has been flagging of Buffy's self focus driving a wedge, alongside exploration of the inner monster also flagged that I've talked about before. Buffy certainly didn't take the opportunity/experience to step down from the driving force in their relationship by owning up openly to her feelings or really openly considering his above hers at the end there. A split or just some open acceptance of him from Dylan, a bit of jealousy thrown in. It all seems too obvious and easy writing to me but does appear to be where we are going. Hopefully Spike will get a little bit of the pedestalling of Buffy knocked out a touch by the whole thing too, we can only hope. They would certainly be better off if they both made movements to meet part way from where they have started. But I do also see the potential that Spike's own discomfort at his inner monster will have him wanting to change even further if he feels it can still ride roughshod over his soul. The want to be human is definitely looking stronger.

            I was also daftly distracted by Dru going to bite Spike from behind him when we have seen that scene and that doesn't match. Minor thing, but it did distract me mid-read.
            Last edited by Stoney; 22-04-15, 12:00 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Vampire in Rug View Post
              Just read it. It was... Okay. The journey through Spike's mind felt like something straight out of a fanfiction. The romance stuff was too sappy, the darker stuff like Buffy watching Spike kill Nikki was completely glossed over. I doubt anything she saw in his mind will impact her relationship with him at all.
              Amen. I was honestly debating just making my review of the issue "good grief" and leaving it alone. And I think you are being unfair to fanfiction, honestly, because I've read 'ship fic more even-keeled and grounded. Season 10... when "what they need, not what they want" got replaced by "or, what they want, by the wheelbarrow".

              In fairness, Cordy wasn't herself -- literally -- at that point, and we don't know how real what she said was. Agree, Spike's POV on the AR might have been interesting, but I'm glad they stayed away because it's obvious the only point in bringing it up in the momentum of the issue would be for Buffy to feel bad for Spike.

              Yeah, Maloker/Archaeus requires fanwank out of the box and that's just sloppy world-building. I am inclined to try to say that Archaeus himself is a vampire, just exponentially older than most others and therefore altered more drastically, which would make Maloker still what was advertised. Of course, though, that doesn't explain why Archaeus would have a sort of "maker influence" when we've never seen that from any other vampire with progeny. It doesn't explain a lot of things.

              About the only mythological concept I like here is the head nod to a commonality among all vampires through the demonic essence that gets spread between them.

              This plotline seems to be a hotchpotch of several other mythologies... there are tones of "True Blood" with the Maker command type thing, tones of "Vampire Diaries" in the lineal connection angle, even tones of Eve in "True Blood" with the undue influence Archaeus can assert over Spike.

              Issue does very little to help my "Buffy" ennui :/
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Shade of Pale View Post
                Sorry to hear of your bereavement, BAF.

                I liked the issue, but agree with Morphia, that the content of the comic sort of felt like it was rushed through. Somehow the effect was to make this trip through Spike's mind too sanitised, which was the point that Vampire in Rug said as well. Having said that, I don't mind Archaeus - as plot devices go, he's quite interesting, if only we get more focus on the darker aspects of all this. Will give this issue another read through again, when I've more time to digest it all. I kind of like the romantic stuff, even if I can't believe it is truly happening. something has got to go wrong....
                I did like it better the second time I read it, so that's something.

                Still wish Archaeus looked more like a vampire, though.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                  Amen. I was honestly debating just making my review of the issue "good grief" and leaving it alone. And I think you are being unfair to fanfiction, honestly, because I've read 'ship fic more even-keeled and grounded. Season 10... when "what they need, not what they want" got replaced by "or, what they want, by the wheelbarrow".
                  I'm not sure about that as there seem to be massive swathes of fans that dislike it for various reasons, including some Spike and Spuffy fans. So it hardly seems that they are trying to appeal to the masses or are writing for satisfaction when Buffy remains guarded, Spike isn't secure/happy and there is now insecurity surrounding the dominance the soul gives. It feels a little more that any indication that Buffy has any level of happiness with whomever is always going to get negative responses from chunks of the audience which I find sad because that is ridiculous imo, that she can only have totally dysfunctional or short-lived romances. Hard to see how they could appear to get it right on this one. And yes, I know Spike's more abrasive side isn't around much at the moment but again, to not have any moments of comfort/security seems more forced than pockets of it that can then go awry, as it appears to be starting to.

                  It is interesting that they have very deliberately written this exploration of the demon/human mix with both Angel and Spike and made the answer something intrinsic to them both. So they have an unusual demon essence (with questionable individuality) plus their own personalities and their souls. This coming up around the time of the rule writing and magic shifts and for both souled vamps together does seem to suggest that although it will no doubt feed into the relationship stuff with Buffy/Spike it is more about developing the mythology around the souled vamps or gearing up to change it. Otherwise why would they have gone to such deliberate lengths to point out how the two souled vamps are in equivalent situations souled/unsouled in terms of culpability, had them both have these dreams with the same demon link through to their very origination and top it off with the heavy repeats around the expectation that the soul keeps the demon in check to then question the reliability of that? Both vamps will no doubt have very strong reactions to this as a personal threat and it seems a set up for creating wide-reaching fallout.

                  Maybe they will both end up becoming human due to a rule write about vampires that gain souls or some other convenient potion taking incident. Spike's insecurities (right or wrong) if Angel then rolls back into town all pulse bearing could have him looking to leave (successfully or not). And Dylan the (I assume still) human and blatant relationship pressure point, hasn't even rolled up yet to join in the muddles. It could just be about accepting the inner demon and the nature of the desires that the soul does still have dominance over, Archaeus manipulation aside, rather than seeing it as decidedly worse than what humans contain in themselves. Way too many possibilities and I'm not good at picking them out most of the time.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Stoney View Post
                    I'm not sure about that as there seem to be massive swathes of fans that dislike it for various reasons, including some Spike and Spuffy fans.
                    Massive swathes? Where is this, then? I guess my reaction was quite negative on first reading, but I did like it better the second time.

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                    • #11
                      I suppose, if I were to think it even remotely plausible that Archaeus influence is anything other than a temporary obstacle, maybe even a one issue obstacle, but certainly no more of an existential threat to his and Buffy's feelings toward each other than the trigger was (and let's not forget she was almost pathologically indifferent to the trigger), I'd see how they left there to be any insecurity on the table, but I don't think it even remotely plausible. It's a phlebotenous obstacle to substitute for the complete board-clear of character-driven obstacles.

                      Right now, it's hard for me to define anything as relationship pressure anymore than it was slogging through the Twilight series, since there is no credulity that there is anything else they have in mind other than a Spuffy status quo for at least a good little while. Only the open-ended nature of the franchise compared to a finite series of novels raises the notion to me that they'll at least eventually do something else, which, of course, will probably be Angel. Or Spike and Angel will merge into a hybrid fantasy creature?
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Morphia View Post
                        Massive swathes? Where is this, then? I guess my reaction was quite negative on first reading, but I did like it better the second time.
                        I'm sure if you gathered up the non-Spuffies, such as those generally disinterested in the relationship (examples to be seen here) and those openly anti that have been ranting about Spike stealing what belongs to Angel like Buffy is his possession or holding unsouled Spike to different standards of culpability to Angel, and then add those Spuffy or Spike fans that think it isn't a balanced or great start to the relationship, that there is a good proportion that aren't just feeling like it is a totally cheesy fanfic where they are getting utter wish fulfilment in spades. That was all I was really getting at. I really should try and control my penchant for dramatic sweeping statements thought I'll admit.

                        Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                        I suppose, if I were to think it even remotely plausible that Archaeus influence is anything other than a temporary obstacle, maybe even a one issue obstacle, but certainly no more of an existential threat to his and Buffy's feelings toward each other than the trigger was (and let's not forget she was almost pathologically indifferent to the trigger), I'd see how they left there to be any insecurity on the table, but I don't think it even remotely plausible. It's a phlebotenous obstacle to substitute for the complete board-clear of character-driven obstacles.
                        But the issue they are using Archaeus for is the remaining demon in situ with the soul and how certain they can be that the soul dominates. That matches up with Spike's fears as stated to his mum and could be a problem for them and an area of genuine development for Spike if it ever focuses back again on how he feels about it rather than Buffy. Same goes for Angel who has more openly struggled over the years with walking the line. I do agree that it isn't going to break Spuffy at any point soon but I would like to get to see relationships that people work at in the story, it doesn't have to be pretty but it would be the more refreshing change because that predictability of break up angst, infidelity, betrayal is just cliche these days and I find it beyond tedious.

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                        • #13
                          Having read through some of the critiques and boards I keep coming back to the same question... What wouldn't be "fan-ficcy" about any sort of Spuffy relationship? You don't have to go far to know that there are thousands of stories written about this particular relationship that run the gamut from pure disastrous angst to Disney fantasy. These writers would almost have to move to a different galaxy to come up with something that 'someone' hadn't examined in minute detail before. For instance, I'm trying to decide what would have been more 'balanced' and less 'fan-fiction' about the mind walk scenes. If Buffy was to storm away unable to even look at Spike given the horrors she'd witnessed? I've read that scenario many times - up to and including her staking him or even killing herself. So, such an outcome could also be seen as fan-fiction.


                          Okay, there are particular tropes that have been worked particularly hard ("if she only knew how he felt" being one), but that doesn't rule them out as valid storylines. Maybe it is the very reason they are valid. I don't know where I'm going with this, but the criticism just feels over done.


                          I'm trying to not be naïve here. Like all fans I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop - we're conditioned for it after all! In the mean time I don't mind a little of the 'understanding, thoughtful' Buffy that we're getting - all the "touchy feely" relations. I also think it's unfair to say they glossed over what she saw in his mind. The final scene before they went after Archaeus has Buffy saying she hasn't processed everything - no doubt they will get to it in the future.

                          What did make my eyebrows hit my hairline, tho, was a concerned Xander handing weakened Spike a big ol' glass of blood! Really? Aren't we all grown up.

                          ................and Rebekah gives good Spike. Just saying :-)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kamw30 View Post
                            Having read through some of the critiques and boards I keep coming back to the same question... What wouldn't be "fan-ficcy" about any sort of Spuffy relationship? You don't have to go far to know that there are thousands of stories written about this particular relationship that run the gamut from pure disastrous angst to Disney fantasy. These writers would almost have to move to a different galaxy to come up with something that 'someone' hadn't examined in minute detail before. For instance, I'm trying to decide what would have been more 'balanced' and less 'fan-fiction' about the mind walk scenes. If Buffy was to storm away unable to even look at Spike given the horrors she'd witnessed? I've read that scenario many times - up to and including her staking him or even killing herself. So, such an outcome could also be seen as fan-fiction.
                            I can't speak for anyone else, but for me what makes it fan-ficcy isn't what is being done but rather how. It's all very on the nose and over the top, with all the subtlety of a hammer to the face. The fact that there are fanfics out there that have done the same story, and done it better is a pretty clear indicator that the quality is lacking at the moment. And I don't even just mean Spuffy fan-fics either. I can think of a couple B/X ones for example that have used the mindwalk concept before, and a few of them are actually very good.
                            “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.” -- Albert Einstein

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                            • #15
                              Here's what struck me as fanficcy and it did from even the preview -- it's basically an "argue a position" paper in writing class done as fiction. Quite a bit of 'ship fic (and gen fic) falls into a trap of using the medium as a soapbox, to use the story to declare what is and is not true that would otherwise be up to the audience to contemplate. Here, it's the metaphysically certain knowledge that Spike truly truly loves Buffy and that she knows that. And it's that the Scoobies are almost as damn schmoopy about them as they are about themselves, such that even a glib movie reference from Xander gets a smack in the head for... blasphemy, I suppose?

                              That's what made it feel ficcy. The only "pro" fiction I can remember that was so brazen in this style was a 4th season episode of "Heroes" that basically bent over backwards to declare as you-are-no-longer-allowed-to-interpret
                              Spoiler:
                              that Sylar was a reformed and good guy now, despite his on-again, off-again homicidal tendencies
                              . It's like a Take That from the author, to their own audience. And it's a common fallacy of fanfiction, especially where relationships are involved.
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