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Buffy S9 "Willow -- Wonderland, Part I" discussion thread

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  • Buffy S9 "Willow -- Wonderland, Part I" discussion thread

    Well, the issue is out. I'm not sure I quite here Willow's voice all that clearly, and it was all a bit too "Cast Away" for too long at the start, with Willow thinking to herself. I mean, I'm glad there was a bit of the "now what?" to it because I always thought her plan had a lot of "now what?" when it got to this point -- she accomplished the "collect underpants" phase, but she is in that immortal and all-important Phase 2 before profit.

    So she makes a friend -- who, I can't help but notice, looks reminiscent of Urkonn, although not the same. I think the comparison is more than likely to be literary than mythological. Which is to say, I think that Marrack and Urkonn will serve the same function in the story and the same tropes, but aren't the same sort of creature. Which is further to say, Marrack is going to turn out to be somewhat evil and Willow will probably have to kill him later. His muted bluster about returning to Earth with all his power sounds like a bad thing.

    Hard to say if Willow will straight up succeed in this story, because I think they'll save the magic lights coming on for very close to the finale of Season 9, but she'll probably come back with most of the major puzzle pieces she needs.

    Thematically, the thing that stuck out was how the caterpillar guy tried to remove the distinction between light and dark magic. First, I object to the cheap cop out of trying to go with "it's all just magic" which would be a serious retcon. Second, the choice to mock the idea by suggesting there's no such thing as "dark science"... because, uh, yeah, there is. Ask this guy. And this guy. And these guys...
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  • #2
    There is no such thing as 'dark science'. There are folks who use science for immoral and nasty purposes. Blaming methodology that is being used to achieve these kind of purpose is akin to blaming printing press that was used for mass-production of Mein Kampf for being a 'fascist tool'.
    “Personally, I kind of want to slay the dragon” ranks as probably the best next-to-last line in TV history. (Granted, I’m not exactly sure what the competition is.) -- A.V. Club

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    • #3
      Originally posted by dorotea View Post
      There is no such thing as 'dark science'. There are folks who use science for immoral and nasty purposes. Blaming methodology that is being used to achieve these kind of purpose is akin to blaming printing press that was used for mass-production of Mein Kampf for being a 'fascist tool'.
      The thing that, rightfully, makes dark magic "dark" is how it is done and for what purpose. Necessarily, that is all it takes to make dark science "dark".
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      • #4
        Scott Allie talks "Willow" at NYCC 2012

        http://buffyfest.blogspot.co.uk/2012...lie-talks.html

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        • #5
          I watched the interview.Here's bulletpoints.

          1)Hell dimensions in the Buffyverse are any dimensions that have magic in them.So where Willow is in issue 1 is a hell dimension but not as bad as Quor'toth but is still pretty hellish.

          2)They worked hard for things to link up and Brian Ching who had already begun drawing the mini and gave Rebekah Isaacs designs for the Angel & Faith arc.

          3)Marrak is a warlock/witch into darker stuff.He's power hungry and knows our world has been cut off from power.He's motivated personally to get back to earth with power and be all powerful because nobody could oppose him because he's the one guy with magic.Of course we know some other people and objects are retain their magical powers on earth but Merrak is teaming with Willow for a way back to earth because he thinks he'll be Billy bad ass.Marrak is not someone we've met before

          3)The vignette in the beginning with the two colors in the rainbow was done for people not reading the other season 9 books to get the gist of the world without magic and why Willow is doing what she's doing.The world is aware of what's going on due to the outing of vampires in season 8.The average population doesn't know in detail what happened but they know due to the outing of vampires they know about magic and they know there was some sinister stuff that happened at the end of season 8.Willow is really bummed about the loss of magic and reading it into coke not tasting as good but everybody can see a two colored rainbow.

          4)The loss of magic is going to become a more serious situation as things move on.

          5)They aren't making any big statements about our real world.Scott says this is the first time he's saying this.People have been complaining season 9 is just a throwback to season 6(Oh Buffy's has to get a job,her job sucks.she's not inspiring etc) and Scott says that they're right.They are retreading those themes but they are coming at them from a slightly different point of view.When they started talking about season 9 even before the writers conference,the question was,what stage of Buffy's life are we talking about here and what's worth saying about it.Without spelling it out,what they are leaning towards is,You might of been big man on campus in high school,you might come out of school thinking you're hot shit but using his own life as an example,he came out of school and couldn't do anything.He couldn't get a job because the world just didn't care.Buffy was the slayer,she was the Chosen One.She led a army.She was on top of the world in some ways.And it all turned to crap and she's now serving coffee.For some people that is sort of the experience of going from the insulated world of high school and collage out into the big uncaring world of work.That is what these characters are going through in the aftermath of the dissolution of the slayer army.The slayer army was the climax of the whole Chosen One thing.Willow did that spell activating all the slayers and that was the payoff for many of the things they were deep in through out high school and collage.And now that it's behind them,it's all kind of a load of crap.What they're left with isn't all the romantic and great.

          6)Scott talks a bit about the comic industry as a whole.

          7)Rebekah Isaacs walks by and Scott Allie and the Buffyfest crew wave her into the interview.Scott Allie takes over the interview to ask Rebekah some questions.Rebekah had no idea this was about to happen.Innocently walking by.lol Scott says they want him to ask her a question so his question is,Where the hell are those pages?Rebekah:Oh um.Scott:No No,you're totally on deadline.She's killing it.She's doing a great job.We figured out how to get around too many fill in artists which annoys readers.Rebekah:I work as fast as Scott tells me.Scoot says that Angel & Faith # 15 is the last issue that will have a fill in artist.Rebekah is drawing all the rest of the series for the rest of the season.Issues 16 -25.Rebekah can''t believe she's this far into season 9 because it's gone by so quickly.She's 75% in and it feels like she just started yesterday.It's been very enjoyable working on it.

          8)Rebekah leaves and they begin talking about the variant cover artist for Willow,Megan Lara.The very first cover she did was actually the issue 2 cover.What's now the issue 2 cover is now the issue 1 cover.

          9)Willow doesn't have a really great plan to bring magic back.She just knows the only way to do this is to go where there is still magic and figure it out from there.

          10)Willow is going to change a lot when her arc is over.One of the things Scott is most excited about with the Willow arc and the Spike arc is that,and they didn't know this was going to happen when they started the Willow arc but with both the Spike and Willow arcs,they want to take these characters and move them a inch forward.Character development in this sort of story doesn't come by huge leaps and bounds and revelations/epiphanies but you move forard a inch at a time.These five issue miniseries serve to take Willow and Spike forward.We've been accused of regresssing the characters and yeah,the characters have regressed.We didn't do it on purpose completly but we saw how it was happening and it felt like a truthful thing.It wasn't like Joss said you got to makle Spike act like,he has to get less mature.In the five isuse arcs they have,both characters will evolve a bit and will come back into the main flow of the world a little bit better prepared to deal with it.

          11)After her miniseries,Willow might pop up somewhere else before retuning to the Buffy book.Scott adds.I said nothing.Just she might and you guys are like SPOILER!!!!She's going to show up in another book- Hellboy,Scott adds,how can I pass that opportunity up(I'm sure that's a joke.lol).

          I just picked up my copy of Willow:Wonderland # 1 but haven't had a chance to read it yet.Was working on viewing this interview and getting down the bullet points first.Will read and post my thoughts on the issue later.
          Last edited by BAF; 07-11-12, 07:28 PM.

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          • #6
            The Willow recollections was interesting because the most important factor I'm getting from the water drinking scene is she doesn't feel appreciated at all. I think Willow felt she was always at the mercy of situations - Buffy slaying, (the Oz/werewolf), computer hacking, being forced to choose Aluwyn to get information and losing Tara. In each and every instance Willow wasn't the one in control and had to react and stand helpless on the sidelines.

            I think Willow feels she's never been accepted for who she is and I think the magic element was the one thing she enjoyed most because it gave her the self confidence she never had before. Willow didn't have to depend on others and didn't have to care what others thought of her for using it on her terms. I don't think Willow likes feeling inferior to others and is ashamed of her lack of powers now.
            Last edited by DorothyFan1; 07-11-12, 07:44 PM.

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            • #7
              1)Hell dimensions in the Buffyverse are any dimensions that have magic in them.
              So Earth was a hell dimension prior to S9 then?

              The average population doesn't know in detail what happened but they know due to the outing of vampires they know about magic and they know there was some sinister stuff that happened at the end of season 8.
              So long for the "wordwide apocalyptic events" at the end of S8. Ah, the beauty of retcon...

              She led a army.She was on top of the world in some ways.And it all turned to crap and she's now serving coffee.For some people that is sort of the experience of going from the insulated world of high school and collage out into the big uncaring world of work.
              That's one weird metaphor - Slaying is an insulated world? Comparing it with army service would be much better than comparing it to school or college, IMO.
              Xander: "Willow, you are the best human ever! I adore you! Well, that's the cookies talking, but you rock!"

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              • #8
                I think that was amazing issue. Alice in Wonderland imagery reminded me of SMG once wanting to do a movie based on this video game - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_McGee%27s_Alice

                and the world they are in also might be closer to the hellish video game version than to Carrol's original.

                The water drinking scene is remarkable in that Willow remembers all of her great loves and lovers - and maybe not so great as well. While Marrak remembers all his greates failures. I guess to each its own. While the metaphors might be a bit blunt, this issue is still way better than 90% of S9 in all books and minis - with maybe an exception of the last A&F issue.
                “Personally, I kind of want to slay the dragon” ranks as probably the best next-to-last line in TV history. (Granted, I’m not exactly sure what the competition is.) -- A.V. Club

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                • #9
                  Marrack so clearly is going to play the guy wanting to abuse the power. If they are going to try and show a balance then perhaps we are supposed to see Willow look to accept and utilise her darker side more effectively and that is the progress they feel she can make forwards by taking a step backwards into the temptation of it. Maybe.

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                  • #10
                    Wow, thanks for the recap BAF!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Buffyfest View Post
                      Wow, thanks for the recap BAF!
                      Thanks for the interview.

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                      • #12
                        If BAF is correct about Scott Allie's comment (I didn't watch the Scott Allie interview) I think it means Willow is going to pay Angel another visit. Given the context of what Angel is trying to do with resurrecting Giles it stands to reason she had to be involved with it. If I'm correct it means Willow either helps Angel succeed in bringing Giles back or she stops him.
                        Last edited by DorothyFan1; 07-11-12, 11:05 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DorothyFan1 View Post
                          If BAF is correct about Scott Allie's comment (I didn't watch the Scott Allie interview) I think it means Willow is going to pay Angel another visit. Given the context of what Angel is trying to do with resurrecting Giles it stands to reason she had to be involved with it. If I'm correct it means Willow either helps Angel succeed in bringing Giles back or she stops him.
                          Scott says maybe to their question about Willow poping up elsewhere after her mini and before returning to Buffy.The Buffyfest crew reacts like,"Hmmm?" and Scott than reacts like,"I said nothing" and you guys react that i just dropped a big spoiler.Basically all he said is maybe and the Buffyfest crew read into it a confirmation of a yes.I think Scott was like,don't read into it either way.Than he started joking about her popping up in Hellboy.

                          I have Willow:Wonderland # 1 as mentioned before.

                          Here's Karios's summary/review of the issue.

                          http://perpetual.livejournal.com/124031.html

                          Willow #1, Summary and Review

                          Preview page; Willow flashes back and thinks about her mission, followed by a page summarizing her role in the last A&F arc and bringing us to the present, where she's floating with the Scythe in her mystic world, a volcano erupting in front of her.

                          Abruptly she falls to the ground and cautions herself to be careful. She decides to try "an old trick Giles taught me for divining arcanic concentration", which involves drawing in the dirt with the Scythe: a five-pointed star within an eight-pointed star within a circle. The next step is an offering of blood, but her eyes go dark, so she decides to play it safe and tries spitting instead. At first, nothing seems to be happening, but then an inferno rises from the circle, complete with the shapes of skulls in it, and it blazes a path for her to follow.

                          Some flying skull creatures attack her. She runs from them, right into the path of a giant worm thing. She falls and crawls backward away from it, trying to threaten it. In the background, a small silhouette says, "That can't be...her!" There's an explosion in the sky, and the flying creatures come raining down. The worm gobbles them up as they fall.

                          As she's reacting, the silhouette comes up to her, revealing himself to be a great big beast-man with horns and medieval clothing, holding a staff in one hand and the Scythe (which she dropped) in the other. He explains that she attracted the flying skulls with her fire, which in turn attracted the worm, and introduces himself as Marrak, a "fellow conjurer". He says he's from her world, but dark magic made him look the way he does. He's been visiting this dimension for years, but now finds himself trapped here. As they walk together, Willow fills him in on the end of magic, and her goal of restoring it.

                          He immediately starts talking about power and vengeance, telling her that she doesn't know what he's been through. He also implies that it's in her best interest to be the only witch left in the world, but she shoots him down - she's doing this for the whole world, not just herself. Naturally, he says he wants to help her with her quest, and she accepts, as he knows this world better than her. She explains that she's looking for a big source of magic, and he suggests using herself, which she says sounds dangerous.

                          They're attacked by another monster, this one green with lots of eyes and tusks. Marrak tries to kill it; Willow bends her efforts to binding and neutralizing it without harming it, and eventually succeeds, using the rocks on the ground to make a hex. She says it'll hold for about six hours as they get away from there, but Marrak grabs the Scythe and kills it in spite of her protests. They cook it over a fire for dinner and sleep on the ground, though Willow is looking restless and unhappy.

                          The next day they keep following the trail, but it gets dimmer as they enter a forest, and then ends at a pool which has Marrak really excited. He says it's more radiant and pure than any he's seen since he's been here, and maybe it's the magic source they're looking for. Willow tests it with a druidic pendant and declares it safe to drink, and they both do. Soon they're both bombarded by memories - key points in her character development from the show and Season 8 for Willow, ending with her choosing Aluwyn as her spirit guide. Marrak just says he got kicked in the face by all of his failures, and asks her again about the water.

                          The explanation, that the pool is a spring of memories, comes from off-panel, and then the speaker is revealed as a giant anthropomorphic caterpillar smoking a hookah pipe. Willow calls him out on his blatant similarities to Lewis Carroll's caterpillar character, and of course his defense is that Carroll got a peek at this world after too much absinthe and based the character on him. According to him, the pool isn't a source of magic, so Willow asks where they can find one, and he wants to hear her reasons.

                          As she's explaining, Marrak tells her that the power to change this is in dark magic, and she says she needs to say pure. The caterpillar starts talking about how light and dark can't easily be disentangled like that, but Willow is distracted by a crunching sound. The caterpillar asks if they happened to kill anything on their way there. On the next and final page, the green thing with eyes and tusks that Willow and Marrak had for dinner is back, but it's much much bigger and fiercer-looking. The caterpillar says, "You did, didn't you?"

                          *
                          I feel much the same way as I did after reading the first couple Spike issues, but less jolly with laughter. Willow's on her own in this series, just like Darkplace in his, but her new companions and background critters are a little less zany and loveable, and her character a little more self-contained. Basically, she's got to carry this whole thing herself, which could be awesome - but if it is, it's got to be because Willow herself is awesome.

                          What do we know and love about Willow? She's magical, but come on, isn't everyone? We can't get a whole story just by placing her in an environment that amplifies her witchiness. We've already had a lot of out there, anything-goes settings in the comics, and most of them guarantee a varied landscape and a bunch of ugly, smooshy, creepy-crawler monsters. I really would have liked to see her find a more traditional fairyland - the type with fauns and unicorns - or a well-developed sci-fi ecosystem inhabited by alien but plausible races.

                          But Willow's the Buffyverse representation of magic, so the setting is too. Alright. Could we maybe see another side of her too? How about her brilliant analytical mind? Why couldn't the setting or secondary characters let her show that off? Maybe with a fast-talking battle of wits, or a puzzle in the lay of the land that Willow has to solve before she can choose her path. There just isn't anything yet to differentiate this series from any of the other three, and that seems like a majorly missed opportunity.

                          Of course, part of it is that she doesn't look like Willow. I actually really like the art - I'll get back to that - but I don't think anyone who wasn't looking for it would see the Willow character there. She sounds like Willow, but given that she's alone for half the issue, she's filling it up with talking to herself and thinking a lot, and that kind of thing never really sounds like anyone to my ears. She could really use a standing reference to the show, something more than direct quotes and illustrations, as nice as those always are to see.

                          I don't think either of the miniseries will prove to be unimportant to the season arc. However, I feel more and more like the content that really matters, for both, will fit into a page or two, and the rest of it is just about getting to the part where they can bring out that page with a flourish. Essentially that means there's a Wonderland-style journey (boy, let's not be too obvious) to make it look like the characters are working hard to come to their conclusions, which is great, but it's pretty much the definition of filler. Willow gets attacked by a demon, defeats demon, meets a fellow traveler, loses her way, meets a fantastic creature...none of it matters at the end, so its only worth is for the sake of the story itself. You know what story did a great job with the Wonderland formula? Alice in Wonderland. How great would it be if Lewis Carroll suddenly came back to life and yanked his stuff out of the public domain?

                          About the art - we've still got those gorgeous covers and nobody can take that away from us. And, like I said, I still like the style of the interior art. It's expressive and vibrant and I have no problem living with it for a few more issues. I could wish that there's a little more in the way of spontaneous design, though - intriguing background details or monsters that look like nothing we've seen before. Isaacs is great with that, or I'd probably forget to look for it. A comic artist's job is many-layered, and does account for a large part of the storytelling itself.

                          I'm hoping hard that things will pick up in the next issue, which I will certainly keep reading, but the base level that they've set down so far isn't promising. I'm realizing now that I haven't really said anything about what we've learned about Willow and her quest, and while I probably could, it just doesn't interest me that much. It does seem like her heart is in the right place, and that she's probably going to do something incredibly naive. And that Marrak is going to either betray her, or become interesting.

                          Just as long as nobody starts playing croquet with flamingos.


                          My own thoughts.I liked the issue.I agree it's slow moving but I think it's also in line with Spike # 1 and my feelings are pretty much the same.I think Jeff Parker has Willow voice down and i can hear Alyson Hannigan saying some of the more Willowy lines.

                          As for Marrak.Need to see more of him but obviously he's on the shady side and I don't think you needed Scott Allie's new interview to confirm he has his own agenda.

                          The art was fine with me.I really liked that splash page recounting major moments from the show.The giant worm creature reminds me of the worms from Dune.

                          Overall,I thought it was decent issue.Nothing spectacular but decent.

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                          • #14
                            I'm curious to know why Scott Allie ventured to offer this "maybe" comment about Willow possibly appearing "elsewhere" before returning to the Buffy comic. I think the closest approximation to a translation of Scott Allie's non definite remark suggests they might need Willow for one last bit in the Angel comic before returning her to Buffy. But this begs the question why bother putting Willow in yet another "elsewhere" before coming back to Buffy?
                            Last edited by DorothyFan1; 08-11-12, 02:29 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Or just that he didn't want to say?!!

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