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Buffy # 30 Issue Discussion Thread(Full Spoilers)

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  • #61
    I don't say he hasn't changed. It's just honestly a change that I don't find particularly interesting or compelling. A lot of characters changed over time in the series, that doesn't generally mean that those changes were for the better. Spike has become less interesting over time in the comics. Though again, that was also true about him in season 7 as well. There is a tendency, at least in my view, for Buffy's love interests to become bland as hell when dating her or when they are clearly the main LI in play. Angel was boring as all get out through the first 22 episodes of the series, and through pretty much all of season 3, Spike was boring in Season 7, Riley was boring in Season 4 and 5 (though he actually got interesting as they neared his breakup.), my one exception to this whole thing is S6 Spike which I felt was the most interesting romance that Buffy ever had in the show or comics. It also doesn't help when Christos Gage just isn't writing nearly to the level he was in A&F Season 9.

    It's partly eye of the beholder I'm sure. I know that people thought Cordy was ruined in the first few seasons of Angel for example, wherein I thought she was great.

    And as I said, it's not just Spike, I found pretty much everyone's story outside of Willow pretty boring this season.

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    • #62
      There's that brilliant scene in "Storyteller" that, I think, addresses this issue. Andrew's recording Spike with his camera. Spike reacts just like the soulless Spike would, all angry and aggressive and...and then we learn that he's just pretending, trying to be cool, because that's just not who he is anymore. Point is, I feel like at this point it's simply too late for those lack of snark complains, like, three seasons too late.
      Last edited by a thing of evil; 06-09-16, 12:20 AM.

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      • #63
        If you recall Lies My Parent's Told Me happened right after that episode, you know the time where he embraced that what he was before was part of him too and he ended up being a fusion of the two. The whole symbolic point of him reclaiming the duster? Then of course Angel Season 5, was also a thing. I do count the After the Fall stuff as well. Spike in Dark Horse has generally been pretty boring. No one is saying bring back soulless Spike. But the character needs to have at least a little bite to him, now he's just a big fluffy puppy with bad teeth.
        Last edited by bishopcruz; 06-09-16, 02:41 AM.

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        • #64
          The duster was used symbolically yes, but it was because Spike had changed that he needed it. Having become souled he found he no longer relished in the fight/kill any longer and used the duster to reconnect so that he could fight as he needed to be able. So rather than fusion as such, it seems to be about finding/accepting a new self and walking a new path I think. Duality hasn't ever been presented as a split Spike struggles with in the same way that it has been part of the stories for Angel or Willow, something they need to accept is always part of their complete selves. So I don't think this was about seeing/accepting that light/dark within aspect but choosing who you are and what you do. Spike has always been about image and so was able to don the duster (which he had symbolically left behind) to mentally gear up to fight. It is a fine line perhaps, because it is about reconnecting to the past, but rather than the focus being about accepting who he was I think it is about control and choosing who he is going to be.

          AtS had him far more snarky because of the reasons I said before imo, not because he was fusing his sides better or some such but because he is so insecure around Angel. Having someone constantly unsettled and defensive isn't a positive situation for a character. S8-10 are consistent progressive characterisation from S7 with variances logical to the different stages he is at with the gang. The notable exception of course was when he crossed over to A&F last season when there was, as they openly noted, regression. So again +Angel =defensive/snark and immature behaviour increases.

          What were the issues you felt with Xander's story this season? You say he regressed, do you mean around the Anya situation?
          Last edited by Stoney; 06-09-16, 09:20 AM.

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          • #65
            Spike in Dark Horse has generally been pretty boring.
            I don't find him boring.

            Spike's story post season seven, the way I see it, is about William finding his place in the world and, more importantly, finding his identity. He's not William the poet, he's not Spike the soulless vampire with an adopted low class demeanor - that's in the past but he still looks at certain aspects of both of those personas fondly ( Like seeing yourself in an old photograph wearing an outfit you thought was so stylish. "Who's that git in the bell-bottoms and giant pointed collar?" And yet...also realizing you are the baddest badass of all. And if anyone can make that outfit look good, it's you ) and so they still surface and you can see it in the way Spike talks and even dresses in season ten. A bit of a poet, a bit of a vampire but also something completely new. That intersection of his real personality and the partially created one and how they influence the new and different person he is I find very interesting. And by the way, Spike and Andrew should grab a beer and talk about that stuff!

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            • #66
              I've been looking over older discussions on the board trying to get a feel for people as I've been gone for a very long time, and am just on one of my periodic, yet sadly less and less common over the years desires to both vent and discuss stuff about the comics, which is part of why I took a while to respond to this. Neither here nor there I suppose, but just wanted to mention it.

              This post does deal with the comics, but is kind of a meta commentary on Spike as a whole.

              The reason that I say Spike is boring now, much as I found him dreadfully dull in Season 7 of the TV show is because of a few reasons. Spike began on the show as a villain, but he was Buffy's first likable villain. Honestly the Master wasn't awful, but it wasn't until Spike that we had a villain who was both threatening and also fun. He had presence, so much so that he was kept around much longer than he was originally intended to, for both good and ill. More good than ill mind you, but definitely parts of both. Spike success, and why so many liked him was because, not only was he a bastard, but he was a bastard that actually had a heart, he cared about things, and he unlike every vampire we had seen until that point, actually could love to a fashion. Once Angel left the series, Spike was brought in as a replacement, first so that the show could always have a link to the whole vampire angle of BtVS, but later as a potential replacement for the Slayer loves a vampire angle. And for the bulk of his tenure on the show, he worked very well for just about everyone in those roles.

              This changed sometime around season 5, for some, in season 6 for others, but it really ended up splitting the fan base in a nasty way in Season 7, and not just because of shipping wars. Shipping wars had been around since the long, long, ago. The earliest spats were between what would be known as Bangels and Banders, Xillows and Canders, but even some those who stayed the hell out of that whole dumpster fire eventually got tired of Spike by the end of S7. Hell, I even remembered an article on Slate I think that compared Spike to the Fonz. Some, a not inconsiderable number of fans, still loved the hell out of him going through that time, but there was a drop off in liking the character.

              Why? Several reasons really, but a lot of had specifically to do with how Spike with a soul was handled. Angel was our only real view of a souled vampire before Spike. He was made to be likable with a soul (well sometimes) but there was always a direct disconnect between souled Angel and Angelus. It was clear in the writing, and it was clear on screen. With Spike though, the writers had an issue. See, people already liked Spike, by and large, without a soul, and they weren't going to be able to completely change the character when they brought him back in Season 7. So what to do?

              The writers themselves never seemed to be sure. Spike had been likable prior to being souled because well, he was a bit of a bastard. Yeah he killed people, but he didn't hate them, he watched Passions, he liked wheatabix in his blood, he fell in love, and he helped people even when there wasn't anything in it for him. He also was violent, LIKED being violent, he accepted what he was, but never hurt the gang in a permanent way. He already seemed half souled, already, and the parts of him that worked for people who weren't interested in his love life, his Snark his speaking of truth no matter what, those bits were inherent to who he was. In many ways he was a vampire version of early Cordy. What was he when souled though? He in Season 7 became Spike-lite. He was still funny, but not as funny, still a vampire, but he might as well have not been, and he sucked up screen time like it was going out of style. The writers were trying for most of the season to find a good balance of him remaining the character that I, and others liked before, while changing him enough to make his soul meaningful.

              I don't envy them that. They'd written themselves into a corner long before they made the decision to ensoul him, and it took them almost 2 full seasons on 2 different shows do get him to a perfect mix of old and new Spike. The IDW comics actually did a great job with this as well. Bryan Lynch was one of the best writers that post-soul Spike ever had. I'm also not saying people are wrong for LIKING the route they took in S7, and again now in the comics, but a sizable number people did not, and it seems like a decent number people here don't either. I mean if you'd have told me last time I was around that Maggie wouldn't be doing a nonstop happy dance for Spuffy I'd have called you a liar.

              The thing is, the Spike of the comics feels like a shell of the character. Yeah, he and Buffy are talking stuff out, but it's preachy, it feels like as some have said an after school special. The biggest problem that he and Buffy have had is that he's not sure she really likes him, and... he might hurt her I guess? By becoming a better person, he becomes less complex, and even more damning, less entertaining. Though this has often been a problem on Buffy when it comes to characters who left returning. Angel is never as bad a character as he is when he's on Buffy (or in her comics) and Spike, who is main character material just becomes bland around her again. I don't know if its inherent, but it happens over and over.

              And Spike's not the only person this happened to. Xander sucks compared to who he was in S8 (once again, he needs to find out he's not a loser), Dawn has been in a holding pattern for what feels like forever (her latest arc was cute I guess?)


              And on a completely separate note, I hope S11 gets some better artists. I was never the biggest Jeanty fan, but the art is just so bland now, it makes his stuff seem genius by comparison.

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              • #67
                I don't think they were inconsistent on the effects a soul has because Spike and Angel are very different personalities that came to being souled from very different paths. There is individual coherence in the vamps from their human origination to their unsouled selves (the same as all vamps we are shown) and then also to their souled selves. So I don't think they struggled on how to write Spike souled, I think it works excellently well. I find dislikes like you describe for S7 are exactly what I was saying about some people just preferring his character unsouled and not liking the fact that he did change. Ironically there are also those who voice the sister complaint that he didn't change enough with the soul when personally I find the differences between Angel and Spike and their paths pretty well explains why there are more extreme swings in Angel's behaviour.

                I really love how Spike and Angel's stories are given depth through the flashbacks and understanding William draws layers into understanding the souled version of Spike. I find the coherence across his character from intro to exit in BtVS to be incredibly well written. The more laddish/brash character that AtS had him fall into with his defensive snark around Angel and in AtF as he tries to mark an individual path more works well overall. Personally I think the AtS/AtF years were important developments for Spike, but they were about finding out who he wanted to be whilst also avoiding making himself emotionally vulnerable. That he turns eventually to wanting to focus back on being with those that he loves and wants to belong with is really consistent characterisation and progressively is where he should have ended up. It may not work out for him or he may reevaluate and want to move on, but he needed to get to the point where he could come back and try to gain the life he visualised that would satisfy his soulful wants outside of feeling that he should fight the good fight. As always I'll emphasise that I don't always think the finer details or execution are excellent, but that overall progressive path he has travelled is still fabulous to me.

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by Stoney View Post
                  I don't think they were inconsistent on the effects a soul has because Spike and Angel are very different personalities that came to being souled from very different paths. There is individual coherence in the vamps from their human origination to their unsouled selves (the same as all vamps we are shown) and then also to their souled selves. So I don't think they struggled on how to write Spike souled, I think it works excellently well. I find dislikes like you describe for S7 are exactly what I was saying about some people just preferring his character unsouled and not liking the fact that he did change. Ironically there are also those who voice the sister complaint that he didn't change enough with the soul when personally I find the differences between Angel and Spike and their paths pretty well explains why there are more extreme swings in Angel's behaviour.

                  I really love how Spike and Angel's stories are given depth through the flashbacks and understanding William draws layers into understanding the souled version of Spike. I find the coherence across his character from intro to exit in BtVS to be incredibly well written. The more laddish/brash character that AtS had him fall into with his defensive snark around Angel and in AtF as he tries to mark an individual path more works well overall. Personally I think the AtS/AtF years were important developments for Spike, but they were about finding out who he wanted to be whilst also avoiding making himself emotionally vulnerable. That he turns eventually to wanting to focus back on being with those that he loves and wants to belong with is really consistent characterisation and progressively is where he should have ended up. It may not work out for him or he may reevaluate and want to move on, but he needed to get to the point where he could come back and try to gain the life he visualised that would satisfy his soulful wants outside of feeling that he should fight the good fight. As always I'll emphasise that I don't always think the finer details or execution are excellent, but that overall progressive path he has travelled is still fabulous to me.
                  As to the bolded you keep saying this, but you then aren't reading what I'm saying. He changed in Season 5 of Angel and the follow ups, he was not the same as he was pre-soul. It was a well done extension of who he was, and where he was going. It continued well in the comics, and more importantly, it wasn't boring. I have no issues with change, most of my favorite characters in the Buffyverse, Angel, Wesley, Cordelia, and Faith to name a few changed quite a lot over time, they moved to where they ended up organically, and it was great. Spike's changes have never had much of a consistent vision, and part of it was that the early sections of the transition were handled in Season 7, a season saved from being the worst season of Buffy by virtue of not being Season 1. No one came out of that season unscathed. It's pretty clear that outside of a few standout episodes, the writers had NO IDEA what they were doing that season, hell the the Initiative plot line was more internally consistent than Season 7.

                  And Season 10 is drawing from the well of Season 7.

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                  • #69
                    OK, I'll be blunt. This comic's title is not Spike™, it's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. What it means is that Spike needs to fit in with and complement the rest of the characters. Could the soulless and/or snarky Spike still do that? I don't believe so. It's season ten. Scoobies are older, more experienced, more powerful - why would they hang out with a person that acts like Spike circa season four? Scoobies are grownups and if Spike's to be one of them he needs to be a grownup too.

                    I think that you, and other people who voice similar complains, want Spike to be a member of the family that still acts like an outsider. That's impossible.

                    And on a completely separate note, I hope S11 gets some better artists. I was never the biggest Jeanty fan, but the art is just so bland now, it makes his stuff seem genius by comparison.
                    Last edited by a thing of evil; 07-09-16, 11:52 PM.

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by a thing of evil View Post
                      OK, I'll be blunt. This comic's title is not Spike™, it's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. What it means is that Spike needs to fit in with and complement the rest of the characters. Could the soulless and/or snarky Spike still do that? I don't believe so. It's season ten. Scoobies are older, more experienced, more powerful - why would they hang out with a person that acts like Spike circa season four? Scoobies are grownups and if Spike's to be one of them he needs to be a grownup too.

                      I think that you, and other people who voice similar complains, want Spike to be a member of the family that still acts like an outsider. That's impossible.

                      Chill out. I get you like the current take on Spike. I don't. It bores me to tears, and apparently I'm not alone. And no, it is not impossible to have a bit of edge and snark to a character known for it, even in a family scenario. I have had close friends that I have known for nearly 2 decades now, we've grown , we know each other well, and we still can rag when need be, the guys who were smart-asses in college are still smart asses today. And just because the comic is called Buffy The Vampire Slayer doesn't excuse what is to my opinion poor characterization. We're not going to see eye to eye on this, I get that, but woobie Spike has very little interactions with the gang that are not about his relationship with Buffy. Now to be fair, this is just going by my reread of the last 10 issues, the season was so bland before that, I barely even remember it aside from the Vampyr book and new magic stuff, it was just that dull.

                      Spike, as a character would be better off in his own series. That goes without saying. I suppose in the current comics at least the odds of him going through a ridiculous bit of character assassination like Angel did are low, here he will just die the slow death of ever increasing apathy.

                      As for the art, seriously, compare Issacs to Jeanty in S8, it's not even close. She's not bad, but her faces are all over the place, and the layouts are often dull as dirt. I'm not saying she's mid-late AtF bad (when Urru left), but few things are.

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by bishopcruz View Post
                        As to the bolded you keep saying this, but you then aren't reading what I'm saying. He changed in Season 5 of Angel and the follow ups, he was not the same as he was pre-soul. It was a well done extension of who he was, and where he was going. It continued well in the comics, and more importantly, it wasn't boring. I have no issues with change, most of my favorite characters in the Buffyverse, Angel, Wesley, Cordelia, and Faith to name a few changed quite a lot over time, they moved to where they ended up organically, and it was great. Spike's changes have never had much of a consistent vision, and part of it was that the early sections of the transition were handled in Season 7, a season saved from being the worst season of Buffy by virtue of not being Season 1. No one came out of that season unscathed. It's pretty clear that outside of a few standout episodes, the writers had NO IDEA what they were doing that season, hell the the Initiative plot line was more internally consistent than Season 7.

                        And Season 10 is drawing from the well of Season 7.
                        Sorry you are right, you are saying that you liked the progress that he took in AtS and are not just wishing he was back to his unsouled self. But there was also regression and negative reaction to being around Angel that affected him in AtS and had him behaving closer to his unsouled self at times because he was defensive and unsettled and that aspect was not positive progression. He did gain during that season, but it wasn't all good. I wouldn't describe him as changing then, he was developing from who he had become in S7 since becoming souled. As you say, an extension, and I don't think that is the same. I suppose our basic disagreement is that I think that Spike's progress is very organic and the strongest progressive story in the verse. Season seven isn't my favourite season but I don't think on it as badly as you seem to and Spike's arc over it I think was very strong and fitted incredibly well to all that we had seen of him before and with what he was going through. The way they showed changes in his character from becoming souled I thought were excellently done. I find S8-10 have been more consistent with the S7 depiction of souled Spike than the AtS/AtF times but see that as simply being because he is back in BtVS and is looking for something for himself and with those characters that he doesn't when he is away from them and/or with others he is more defensive with. But I find him doing that, and importantly him wanting to return to do that as someone very motivated by his emotions towards those he cares most for, is a very legitimate/supported character choice. I'd find it hard to see him move on/away from the BtVS group without having had a period of time such as he is currently exploring and it either going wrong in a significant way or him changing his mind about what he wants for himself.
                        Last edited by Stoney; 08-09-16, 02:51 AM.

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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Stoney View Post
                          Sorry you are right, you are saying that you liked the progress that he took in AtS and are not just wishing he was back to his unsouled self. But there was also regression and negative reaction to being around Angel that affected him in AtS and had him behaving closer to his unsouled self at times because he was defensive and unsettled and that aspect was not positive progression. He did gain during that season, but it wasn't all good. I wouldn't describe him as changing then, he was developing from who he had become in S7 since becoming souled. As you say, an extension, and I don't think that is the same. I suppose our basic disagreement is that I think that Spike's progress is very organic and the strongest progressive story in the verse. Season seven isn't my favourite season but I don't think on it as badly as you seem to and Spike's arc over it I think was very strong and fitted incredibly well to all that we had seen of him before and with what he was going through. The way they showed changes in his character from becoming souled I thought were excellently done. I find S8-10 have been more consistent with the S7 depiction of souled Spike than the AtS/AtF times but see that as simply being because he is back in BtVS and is looking for something for himself and with those characters that he doesn't when he is away from them and/or with others he is more defensive with. But I find him doing that, and importantly him wanting to return to do that as someone very motivated by his emotions towards those he cares most for, is a very legitimate/supported character choice. I'd find it hard to see him move on/away from the BtVS group without having had a period of time such as he is currently exploring and it either going wrong in a significant way or him changing his mind about what he wants for himself.
                          I think what you see as regression, I see as a more logical synthesis of who he was and who he is becoming. It keeps the core of old Spike, while opening up his humanity even further. I don't know if you've read the Spike solo stuff by Peter David and Bryan Lynch, I very much loved those takes.

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                          • #73
                            As for the art, seriously, compare Issacs to Jeanty in S8, it's not even close. She's not bad, but her faces are all over the place, and the layouts are often dull as dirt. I'm not saying she's mid-late AtF bad (when Urru left), but few things are.
                            Oh god no! Art is subjective, but imo she's been the best artist so far. Yes, her likenesses can be dodgy at times, but her style is elegant and I'd take that over 'fugly' every time.

                            As for characterization I think Spike really has had his 'spark' dulled somewhat and that could do with being sharpened up without loosing the progress he's made so far in his ability to work within the group.
                            Last edited by Silver1; 08-09-16, 08:56 AM.

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                            • #74
                              I actually agree with bishopcruz about Issac's art. I wouldn't want Jeanty back as I was bored of him by S9 and I think his art got more and more sloppy as it went along (compare his art from the first few issues of S8 to his later work in S9 and it's obvious he wasn't putting anywhere near as much effort into it) but I think Issac's is very, very bland.

                              She's a competent artist but her drawings don't "feel" like BtVS at all to me. It's not entirely her fault though as the colouring isn't great either. Everything is so damn bright that you'd forget this was once a gothic horror series about a girl battling vampires. There's no darkness, no atmosphere, no creepy shadows etc. Everything is bright, colourful, cheerful - even Spike wears polkadot boxers for crying out loud. If you think about the uproar over FOX's shitty HD remastering of the series you'll notice that one of the major complaints is how they have completely screwed up the lighting of the series (dark scenes are too bright, forgetting to add in filters or putting in weird bubblegum-ish filters over much of S1) and thus have really messed with the atmosphere Joss originally created. S10 is no different in that respect as the art doesn't capture the mood of the series at all.

                              Part of it because they lost Sunnydale as a backdrop. That was a great setting for the story as there was a magnificent contrast between the creepy cemeteries/eerie sewers/abandoned warehouses/dark alleyways and the bright sunny Sunnydale High or UC Sunnydale, but a lot of it is down to the art design as well. The Scoobies' apartment is way bland, bright and dull. There's hardly any scenes (that I can recall and admittedly I haven't read most of the issues?) set in cemeteries or dark alleyways and they even turned demonic realms like Arashmahar into a bland corporate setting instead of the dark cavernous place it was portrayed as in the show. The few scenes set in caves were so damn bright they didn't have any atmosphere at all, either. At least in S8 we had creaky old castles, Buffy slaying in cemeteries, eerie forests, ominous sunsets/twilights, scenes of Buffy sitting alone in her darkened control room and a lot of scenes were ACTUALLY SET AT NIGHT. Remember night time? A lot of the show actually used to be set in it given that, ya know, Buffy slayed vampires and everything. In fact, so much of the show used to be set at night that SMG would regularly mention the insane shooting schedule and crazy hours.

                              I think Issac's has many strengths over Jeanty. As I said, I'm not a fan of the design of her backdrops but at the very least they're more detailed than Jeanty's and she has put more effort into them. Jeanty started off great (The Long Way Home has fantastic backgrounds that are detailed and well-drawn) but he got lazy as he went on and in the end the backgrounds were pretty much just blank colours or very poorly drawn. And I would say that from panel-to-panel Issac's art is a far more consistent quality where Jeanty could nosedive pretty badly on some occasions. Jeanty also put some of the characters in the ugliest fashion choices ever (Buffy's long frilly skirt down to her shins with combat boots was a... interesting look) so Isaac's beats him on that as well (except for Spike who looks ridiculous a lot of the time).

                              However, whilst I think Isaac's is more consistent I also find it quite bland. She never really captures any of the characters. Buffy doesn't really resemble Buffy whatsoever. She's a nicely drawn blonde woman... but she's not Buffy. Jeanty had some very ugly panels but he also occasionally had absolutely amazing moments as well, such as;



                              Which, IMO, probably captures the 'essence' of Buffy's character better than any other artist ever has. Not only does that "feel" like Buffy but it manages to perfectly capture SMG's expression without just producing a stilted tracing of one of her photos like a lot of the cover artists do that almost always feel lifeless, staged and awkward. Issac has never produced a panel even close to capturing Buffy in that way and whilst her art may be technically more "pretty" than Jeanty's, it doesn't really resemble the character in the way his does in that panel or such as here;




                              He also did manage to produce early on in his work some pretty nice looking scenes;





                              Great atmosphere, colouring etc. All of which is lacking in the rather bland, soulless art this season. And, again, he managed to capture Buffy's personality exactly in that panel of her playfully cocking her eyebrow at Xander as she teases him. Issac's never manages that. She depicts a very pretty lovely woman who is attractive and well-proportioned. There's nothing remotely Buffy-ish about her, though.

                              His art was also playful like in these panels here where Buffy waits for Satsu to fall;



                              Which seems to be missing this season. Though, again, I can't entirely blame Issac's for that as a lot of that has to do with the writing as well. Whedon's scripts had those fun playful moments and 'stage direction' whereas Gage is too busy with his After School Specials to fit them in.

                              So I wouldn't want Jeanty back but the moments where his art worked it really worked. I'd want someone more consistent overall but I think there's far better artists out there than Issacs. And if you'd want more 'realistic' renditions of the character then you'd want to look at Jo Chen's interior art for Always Darkest;



                              And oh look at that!! It even includes a snarky line that is keeping in spirit with the original tone of the show. Something that has been non-existant for years now and has been replaced by preachy speeches about the importance of family and friendship and puppies and rainbows.... *sigh*
                              Last edited by vampmogs; 08-09-16, 02:18 PM.
                              "The earth is doomed!" - Banner by Nina

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                              • #75
                                so Isaac's beats him on that as well (except for Spike who looks ridiculous a lot of the time).
                                Really? More ridiculous then the 'old man Steptoe' version that Jeanty ended up portraying him as? It always amazed me how he could take an actor with such chiseled facial features that should translate well into comic form and make him look so damn ugly.

                                And as for Jeanty's Buffy. To me she never really looked like Gellar, but more like some kind of doe eyed caricature, with bodily proportions more akin to that of a child then an adult.

                                *shudders at the memory*
                                Last edited by Silver1; 08-09-16, 01:48 PM.

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