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Buffy #23 Discussion Thread -- FULL SPOILERS!!!

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  • Buffy #23 Discussion Thread -- FULL SPOILERS!!!

    Just opening this now since the issue should be out tonight/tomorrow morning.

  • #2
    I asked Georgia and she said she's too bored to write a review, so here is a very quick summary.

    Issue begins with the preview pages in order. Buffy and Willow go to save Dawn, the Council, Illyria and Koh go to face Severin. Koh is certain they can fight him without the slayer.

    Severin tries to summon more power, feels the council coming closer, asks Simone to protect him but she has other plans. She goes and finds the Old one who created the first vampires and wakes him up.

    Spike calls Xander and puts Dawn on the phone. He starts forgetting even her name, not only him but also Buffy, Willow and Xander and Dawn is disappearing. Although Spike has Xander saved on his phone under the name "wanker", he knows how much Dawn means to him and he also informs him that Simone is turning slayers into zompires. Whatever he recorded is useless, as it seems to disappear together with Dawn.

    Willow and Buffy find a source of magic very powerful, Willow feels attracted to it and thinks that it may be the solution not only to Dawn but to everything. Meanwhile the Council has problems with the Old one and Willow sends Buffy to help them. Buffy wants to stay and help Willow and her sister, but Willow insists and asks Buffy to trust her.

    Xander finds Buffy and they both find the dead body of Simone near the Old one's coffin. Xander tells her what Simone has been doing, and maybe they'll have to face an army of zompire/slayers, but Buffy finally gets Simone's plan. As she lifts her scythe to decapitate Simone, she wakes up as a zompire and attack.

    End.

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    • #3
      Not much to add really. Worth noting Willow is glowing red like she has the/a seed of magic within her. Also, being bitten by the old one seems to, for some reason, have given Simone zompire status but with cognitive functions still intact. Can't really see why she wants this so much unless she has some additional further strengths from him. It isn't like the slaypires are being shown to be too difficult to kill, all you need is Billy on hand, someone ring him quick!!

      The core people to Dawn - Buffy/Xander/Spike/Willow all seem to be in the same situation in terms of remembering her, Xander possibly showing less 'loss' of awareness than the others if there is anything in it at all. I was surprised at first that Spike called Xander over Buffy and wondered if it was a bad choice prompted by trying to avoid her and then realised that it did actually make some sense for Spike to automatically think of Dawn's other half as being an emotional priority considering the importance he places on love. It is yet again, for me, a healthy sign of him putting his emotional side beyond just Buffy. He isn't eager to call her to use Dawn's plight to connect or gain brownie points he is thinking of Dawn and all those around her, putting aside his personal interests/gains for hers and in doing that it is the best for him too. I still would vote for the likelihood of Spike moving on to some degree next season, probably getting into a serious relationship whilst Buffy dates Dowling. Spuffy is more likely to still be revisited eventually I think if they keep Spike in Buffy's title, as that keeps any development for him as relevant to her story. Heck, s/o and b/o could even go on into S11. It would be interesting for Buffy to witness Spike achieving a mission/normality balance with someone else as she thought him to be the last place to look for that. They could use that too as contrast if she continues struggling for the same, it could be something that makes a difference to them in the long run. Anyhoo, too many possibilities on that front and these thoughts far too plucked out of the ether, but so little went on in this issue to comment on this was where my thoughts strayed.

      As an aside, it put a smile on my face to see some people had written in to openly criticise Spike's time in A&F, including, it seemed, a non Spike-specific fan who thought it was badly done too.


      EDIT: I know Simone had a picture of the jewels on the casket she was looking for but how the heck did she find the one she wanted amongst that number soooo easily!!

      EDIT EDIT: The fact that Spike's recordings about Dawn disappeared too means that she could literally be wiped away (smoochy assurances from Xander she lives in him aside, although that possibly supports ideas mooted that Dawn will be preserved within someone else).
      Last edited by Stoney; 10-07-13, 12:08 PM.

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      • #4
        So now confirmed right there that going straight to the source for vampness bypasses zompire factors. She is fully cognizant and talking -- not a zompire. I've phlebotenized that before, zompires are zompires because normal siring is a wireless connection; Simone grabbed some ethernet cable and plugged right into the router.

        Loved that Spike and Xander actually had a moment of semi-productive bitching at each other, because some of their finest moments have been while semi-productively bitching at each other.

        Definite rebound issue as we push toward the finale. Stronger than I was expecting.

        Anybody else feel about an 80%+ certainty that Xander's role here is going to be to get himself Malokered into a turbo-vamp to even the odds against Simone? I'm frankly good with that. I just hope that's not permanent gameface there.

        Stoney, Xander's "inside me" thing to Dawn did not go unnoticed vis a vis my curious thought that she could be fathered by the midi-chlorians on Buffy by the end of the season. Not my first choice of plots by any stretch of the imagination. I mean, hell, they've put more into getting me as member of the audience to buy into Xander/Dawn as more than an academic concept in this arc than before it, but it's all very "A Hole in the World" and that's probably not by accident.

        As for the above, I know think that the route to Nyan here, which I still think we're on, is going to be more cliffhangery, setting up Season 9 to start in about the same place as the Season 3 "Vampire Diaries" plot when
        Spoiler:
        Damon and Elena hugged and were all "you and me against the world" when Stefan had his humanity shut off by Klaus


        To wit, that Buffy and Spike will turn to each other because Dawn will probably be gone and Xander may well be evil as hell and not going to take it anymore, and Willow could be... new Seed, mother of Seed, Seed-juggling, whatever the hell is going on there. Did I call it with "do magic bullshit therein" or what?
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        • #5
          I think the most important thing that happened in this issue is the conversation between Buffy and Willow. You just know Willow is going to let Buffy down. The question is how and why. And it does look like Willow is the new Seed which means it looks like its Willow who will be trapped in that place.
          Last edited by DorothyFan1; 10-07-13, 01:24 PM.

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          • #6
            I also think this was a much better issue. Mostly because this one is actually worth thinking about. I haven't got anything like a full meta, but here are a bunch of interesting pieces worth pondering:

            * Simone as something of a doppelganger for Buffy. She's always been anti-metaphor, hence desire to use guns to get the job done more efficiently. Well, she wants to become a vampire. Buffy's greatest fear was becoming a vampire. Yet metaphorically, she wanted to merge with a vampire, and the death of the metaphor(magic) came out of that desire.

            * Huge that Buffy chooses Dawn over the world. Huge that Buffy then hands off that baton to Willow. Huge that the reason Buffy has to give up the mission to save Dawn is because of her prior mission to confront the vampire (not the same thing as saving the world).

            * Willow's line about it not being dark magic. It being her. It's always being her.

            * Severin calling Simone "Clare" in an issue where everyone else is forgetting Dawn's name.

            All of the above was pretty powerful. Less powerful, but probably also meant to fit into the density of meaning that might lie in the above points: Illyria being in the mix.

            I've got too much else going on right now to puzzle it all out. But a lot is going on with all the various relationships to power, and the various relationships to magic/metaphor.

            I felt surprisingly moved by the last panel -- despite having read Z's summary ahead of time. That arm coming up echoes Buffy's arm coming up to stop Severin back in the first arc. Simone wearing vampire face, which echoes Buffy's fear back in season one Nightmare. Simone having chosen Buffy's worst nightmare. Buffy having to confront all that.

            Totally agree with King about the odds on Xander becoming a vamp going up. I don't get there from plot necessity, and don't know that it will go down as an act of Xander trying to do something to stop Simone-pire. But the panel of Spike going into vamp face with Andrew as a result of rage, and the panels of Xander raging, and the repeated mentions of his anger suggest to me that Xander is heading for vampirehood.

            That one panel of Spike in gameface is a nice way of pinging off of the rage he has to have felt about Andrew's role in interrupting Spuffy. It's also the only panel in which Spike isn't 100% fully human, which is itself interesting given that everyone else is doing a dance of some sort with metaphor/magic and/or power.

            I called it on Spike forgetting Dawn in a way that parallels all other, save possibly Xander. Though even Xander doesn't remember her name. Love that it's her name that's forgotten. It's always darkest before Dawn.

            I love that Spike has Xander's number on his phone. And of course Spike would have called Xander directly. It's not a swerve around Buffy at all. It's more evidence of the writers clear effort to show Spike's head in a different place. Dawn needs to talk to Xander, so Xander is who Spike calls.

            The one thing I didn't love is Xander's too-easy turn around on Buffy. He's officially screwed things up here because he didn't trust her. But he's learned his lesson and is now officially the guy who trusts Buffy to get it done. Not that that wasn't always going to be the arc, just that it's been too compressed and by-the-numbers to pay off the one interesting arc they developed all season long. They still have the likely vamping of Xander as a beat that could maybe work, though.

            I'm agnostic about King's nyan forecast. But it does remind me that however good Willow is with the red glow, we have FDW up ahead, and it could well be that something goes very wrong on that front. Agree that it's possible we end up with Vamp!Xander and FDW (or Willow very much on the way to FDW), and this could well leave Buffy more alone than ever. Should be interesting.
            Last edited by Maggie; 10-07-13, 01:36 PM.
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            • #7
              Maggie, I sure as hell hope that if Xander is going to become a vampire (or whatever we're going to want to call these "straight from the source" vampires to distinguish them from 1.0) has some basis in the plot beyond "he stumbled blindly around the Well and there Maloker was". I want it to be of material importance in some way -- hell, even him just wanting to get the power, sort of an antithesis to Spike's trials to get his soul back. But him being the Lawson here -- vamped on the assumption that whatever he is after the fact, he can be useful in the immediate/short term -- seems the most direct route.

              Good spotting on the heirarchy of missions for Buffy -- she chooses Dawn over the Severin-world crisis, but she feels compelled to choose Vampirus Prime over Dawn. Gave a nice demonstration of any wounds between her and Willow being healed, though. That moment called back to the "big gun" conversation in "The Gift" to me.

              I thought the brief exchange between Buffy and Xander wasn't too flimsy, because... again, these two love each other and know each other and I don't think Buffy is unsympathetic to what motivated him. It's really just "Entropy"/"Seeing Red" all over again for them, just with much higher stakes.
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              • #8
                A better issue than the last one, but then the bar was pretty low.

                I liked the Spike/Xander and Xander/Dawn conversations the best, also the brief exchange between Buffy and Willow. All the rest is pretty much meaningless noise, except for the letters page (often the best bit), which I particularly enjoyed this time.

                Simone's plan is very stupid.

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                • #9
                  Haven't got it yet, just curious, what is the letter's page like?

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                  • #10
                    At a glance, it was the same 80% devoted to complaints about plot and characterization issues not really related to any issue that in a normal lettercol people would be writing in to react to. Today, Dark Horse was getting chewed out for the content of IDW's books, it would seem.
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                    • #11
                      Xander's lack of acceptance of his 'place' in the universe just had me rereading the panels when Spike first calls him. It reminded me of the enjoining spell where Xander was the heart but here he is asking the zen demon what place his fist has, the hand being Buffy's role which he has tried to encroach on. When Spike calls Xander is surprised that Spike is there with Dawn..."What? You're with... her?" If Spike was to return Xander would probably have expected him to rush to Buffy and where the fight is instead as another 'hand', another warrior in the battle the expectation is that he would be doing and not watching. But he didn't, he led by his heart, fulfilling the 'watcher' role as some have suggested he is suited to do. Dawn had wanted Xander to stay but he tried to be the hand and not the heart and yet when he is reconnected to her where does he automatically assert Dawn would survive? It points him back to the heart again where he should have stayed focussed.

                      What do you mean IDW King? There is a letter praising the art in both titles ( go figure?), there is one really ranting about Spike's appearance in A&F and another one from a fan who is saying Spike fans have a reason to complain about the crossover too. Just those three, no responses from DH other than to say thanks for letters even if they are complaining.
                      Last edited by Stoney; 10-07-13, 03:09 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Think you misread the emphasis there. I am 100% certain that what happened there was Dawn's name slipping through Xander's grasp for a moment.
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                        • #13
                          Nope, I get that Xander forgot Dawn's name briefly but he is still surprised that Spike is there with her, which is the point.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DanSlayer View Post
                            Haven't got it yet, just curious, what is the letter's page like?
                            It's mostly taken up with two letters from people who weren't keen on Christos Gage's depiction of Spike in A&F 20.

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                            • #15
                              OK thanks guys. So now we have three Big Bads like A & F? First Vampire, Slayerpire Simone and Severin? It just sounds like they are sidestepping the moral issue of does/should Buffy kill humans? She herself never physically did this in S8 either.

                              Yeah, vamp Xander or dead Xander seems more likely.

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