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Buffy, 9.16 "Welcome to the team, part 1" Discussion thread (FULL SPOILERS)

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  • #31
    I think Shipper is exactly right. It's just a mistake to read Buffy's story as a romance. If Joss were still at the helm in a meaningful way, I'd say we're meant to explicitly deconstruct that narrative.

    For example, Xander and Dawn say they like Dowling because Buffy is happy. That's the romantic trope. But I don't think Buffy is happy because she's into Dowling. I think she's considering being into Dowling because she's happy. The issue ticks off the ducks in Buffy's row: she's back into a rhythm with slaying and her new sort-of Scoobies. She's back in with her roomies. She can afford her rent x six months AND she enjoys hanging out with them AND she believes they like hanging out with her. She's in a good place with Xander and Dawn. Free fall is over. So she's happy. So she's now open to something. Dowling is the nearest something.

    This is the set-up to the adult life Buffy could pursue. If. If she hadn't smashed the seed. If there weren't bigger consequences she has yet to face up to. If Dowling dies, the point isn't the heartbreaking loss of a guy she loves. The point would be that this path of normalcy-as-a-slayer got destroyed by the overhang of Buffy's large unfinished business -- the consequences of smashing the seed that she has resolutely refused to deal with.

    My guess is that the coming whatever-is-wrong-with-Dawn is part of that as well.

    But we are not in act II of Spuffy uber alles. As Shipper observes, Buffy hasn't given Spike a second thought. I suppose Spuffy is on the table as a possibility later on. But later on we will be in a very different landscape -- namely the one defined by the realities of whatever it is that the smashed seed hath wrought. It won't be continuous with this landscape. If Spuffy were to reemerge (and there's no narrative reason why it should), it would be something de novo, something to reflect the new reality we are about to enter. Buffy's free fall may be over, but she's not yet fully awake to the new reality.
    ***
    On the issue, I'd say it's a mixed bag for me. Yay for the plot moving forward. If Kennedy is the uberzomp, then Guarded gets a little more resonance, which is good. I'm not someone who much cares about the art. I have up until now generally liked Georges' way with emotions and so on. The art here really was off-putting. Maybe it's that I don't like Georges' way of attempting pseudo-happiness. (Both Xander and Buffy are 'happy', but also obviously in denial about the fiasco-yet-to-be-revealed; and it's both Xander and Buffy whose drawings throw me off most sharply). And as a Spike-centric person it's disappointing how little he is in Buffy's picture -- though I suppose it's worth noting that neither is Willow. So the denial about the smashed-seed-fiasco-to-be-fully-revealed might be part of denial about whatever it is that Spike is supposed to represent in her life at this point. Finally, am on board with all those who are underwhelmed by Billy's introduction to the story.
    Last edited by Maggie; 12-12-12, 06:49 PM.
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    • #32
      It looks like the writers did drop the ball by having Dawn be allergic to peanut butter. I can't blame them too much, I mean Dawn eating peanut butter on the show once or twice is a tiny, tiny detail and I can understand how something like that can be missed. Still it does annoy me a bit and a kind of wish the writers had done more research, even if it is such a tiny detail. Surely someone could have done a bit of googling, just to be sure? Maybe they can change the allergy to something else in the trade-paperback.

      I'd say it's a pretty safe bet to say that people's memories of Dawn are disappearing. We've already seen that happen to Connor, and their stories are remarkably similar. Xander has already forgotten Dawn's birthday, we know there's something that Xander and Buffy are hiding from Dawn, Willow saw that vision of Dawn with no face and now Buffy has forgotten about Dawn being allergic to peanut butter. I wonder if Dawn's flu is an actual flu, or if its a symptom of Dawn disappearing like her body is failing or something. I could have lived without seeing that panel where we see Dawn's orange vomit in the toilet bowl...

      Holy crap it was nice to see Xander and Dawn again.

      I thought the idea of a rope soaked in holy water to be pretty interesting. Does the rope have to still be wet to burn the vampire, or has the rope itself now become "holy"? I prefer the idea of the rope becoming holy because the rope didn't look wet. It's a cool new weapon against vampires. It's simple and basic and makes me nostalgic for the good old days when the scoobies used makeshift weapons against the monsters rather than fanciful McGuffin's like the scythe or the amulet or Glory's orbs or whatever other ancient prophecized weapon or item washed up in Sunnydale. To me, a bit of rope soaked in holy water is way cooler than any of this other stuff. It's not a contrivance or an ass-pull to make the good guys win. It's a creative use of items that can be easily obtained. It's inventive and logical and I wish the writers would do more stuff like this rather than come up with one new mystical McGuffin after another. The last big bad that was defeated by non magical means was the Mayor. The first three big bads had to be defeated using resourcefulness, fighting ability, quick thinking and teamwork. Every big bad after the Mayor required some variation of "lol, let's use a spell that the audience has only heard of just now" often combined with "lol, let's use this item that only became important just now." I know this seems like a pretty minor thing, but I really love the simplicity and inventiveness of that rope. It reminds me of the early scooby days.

      Illyria. I'm pretty thrilled to see her. I don't think she was drawn very well though. The artwork in this issue wasn't very good in general I guess. I've got no problem seeing her as part of a council. She may not be a "we" person, but she will play with others if it suits her interests and this situation with the council presumably does. Plus, we don't really know what experiences have shaped her in the years we haven't seen her for.

      Regarding Illyria freezing Buffy in the air, I don't think it's supposed to be a "new power", I think it's just an alternative use of her time-slowing/stopping powers. Maybe from Illyria's perspective, Buffy's speech is coming out super slow. Or maybe Illyria can selectively choose to freeze time around Buffy's body but not her head. Either way, I don't think this is a "new power" that needs exploring, I think its just Illyria's trademark time-travel powers being used differently.

      Originally posted by shipperx
      Do zompires follow vampire rules or zombie rules re: bites? Or are they making new (or situational) rules?
      Yes, the zompires sire following the same rules as vampires. When Dowling's partner Cheung was sired, Dowling talked about how her stomach was kind of bloated and there was blood around her mouth, he said something along the lines of "the zompires emptied her and the filled her back up again". Then in this issue, one of the zompires bites into its own wrist and forces the guy to drink the blood.

      Stoney -my take on Buffy being concerned about the guy being sired is as follows. She saw him drink the zompire blood. Yes, he's still alive for now, but he's also lost a lot of his own blood. He could potentially rise as a zompire if he dies on the way to the hospital from bloodloss or he swallows his own tongue or whatever. I see it as totally plausible that he could turn into a zomp if he dies for whatever reason now that he's got vampire blood inside him. Until his condition stabilizes and he's healthy again, Buffy should be concerned.

      Would anyone care to post a side by side picture of this zompire girl and the Slayer from Simone's squad who we think she is? I don't remember the girl. If that's the case, it will be interesting to see her cross paths with Simone and how Simone reacts to her former friend/team-mate. BTW, is it Simone or Severin who is supposed to be the big bad?

      Speaking of Fred-Illyria references... there's Illyria. Who is... inexplicably sporting pre-"Time Bomb" caliber powers? Gonna have a plot complaint about that pretty much no matter what they come up with to justify it (alternate dimension, reflexive seed-break-dump-power-thing, whatever), because one will recall that having all that power was on the verge of making her go boom.
      Yeah, I'm hoping they have a good explanation for that too. It will piss me off if they just hand wave it as another Seed related thing like how vampires, Mohra demons, Severin and apparently Eyegon have become more magical after the Seed was broken.

      Interestingly, in the IDW comics, Illyria got her old powerset back a few different times, I'll do a recap for anyone who is interested under spoiler tags.

      Spoiler:
      In "After the Fall" the story took place in a hell dimension. The nature of the dimension caused Illyria to have most of her powers but she couldn't fully control them. When she got stressed she bounced around through time seemingly at random, sometimes taking others with her. She periodically thought that she was really Fred, often turning back into Fred when she saw someone she cares about. Towards the end of the story she was turned back into her Old One form where she had full control of her full powers back. She then went on a rampage that was only stopped when the heroes were able to beam Wesley and Spike's memories of Fred into Illyria's mind, giving Illyria a better understanding of right and wrong and what Fred would have wanted. The story ended with everyone being transported out of the hell dimension back into the "real world" where no time had passed and Illyria was once again in her Fred form with her reduced, post-Timebomb power level but she remembered everything that transpired.

      In the miniseries "Only Human" she got her original powerset back when she was in the vicinity of the Mutari Generator which had been sold to the Scourge on the blackmarket, but this seemed to only be a temporary thing -she had to actually be near the Mutari Generator. Illyria's power from inside the Mutari Generator was used to resurrect another ancient demon, Baticus who was a former slave of Illyria's. Illyria battled him with all her old powers at her disposal -enhanced strength, teleportation, time freezing and so forth because being near Baticaus allowed her access to her old powers. Baticus eventually burned up because Illyria's power which was used to resurrect him proved to be too much for him to handle, Illyria basically had to wait for him to wear himself out and then she finished him off. Once she was out of his vicinity, and he was dead her powers were once again at their post-Timebomb level. It's unknown what happened to the Mutari Generator after this.

      In the "Fallen Angel" crossover (it's a completely different title, so the canon here is doubtful even by IDW standards) it's mentioned that some of Illyria's power was contained in her two scythes and her helmet. If she were able to retrieve all three items together, she could return to her original form and have all of her old powers back. She came close to collecting all three items, but she was transported to apocalyptic future where Illyria (in her Old One form) was the last being left alive in a wasteland New York. Upon seeing and speaking to her younger self, Illyria (Old One) kills herself with one of the scythes, leaving the helmet to Illyria (Fred form). She decides that she doesn't want this apocalyptic future to come about so she reluctantly crushes the helmet. The "Fallen Angel" crossover is more than likely non-canon, but it was an awesome story nonetheless.

      Then, IDW did an Illyria miniseries called "Haunted". Illyria wants to find her place in the world and she's feeling kind of lost and lonely and she keeps having weird dreams about Fred and Wesley being together (I think Illyria needs to sleep for an hour every fortnight or so). Spike suggests she goes back to the Deeper Well and investigate her past, so she goes there. When she can't find any information that satisfies her, she throws a tantrum that releases another Old One, Arsgomor who was a rival of Illyria's. On the wall where her sarcophagus used to be, Illyria finds a gemstone and she feels compelled to touch it (this is like a callback to how Fred touched the gemstone on Illyria's sarcophagus). When she touches the gemstone, her eyes turn green instead of blue, and her hair turns completely blue instead of brown with blue streaks. Her personality changes too, she says that she's now found purpose and she becomes more thoughtful and less violent than she used to be. She also gets all her old powers back without the risk of her exploding. She then uses her plant manipulation powers to stop Arsgomor from rampaging all over England and she uses her time-manipulation powers to de-age him back into a foetus. (So yeah, if Illyria has decided to freeze Buffy's body here and not her head, it's still not the most outrageous thing writers have used Illyria's time manipulation for). It's never directly stated what the gemstone did to Illyria when she touched it, but she said something along the lines of feeling complete and filled with purpose now. The writers have also said that they don't want to explicitly spell out what the gemstone did to her, that they would like the reader to be able to decide their own interpretation. It's possible that the gemstone gave her a soul or even merged Fred's soul into Illyria making them one being.

      Then in the Angel ongoing book, W&H dragged Angel into a future timeline where the big bads of the IDW Angel ongoing, James and his sister Rowant have taken over the world. W&H doesn't want this to happen, they want Angel to fix things back in his timeline. Angel meets up with Illyria, who after the "Haunted" miniseries, has her full powers back, altered appearance (green eyes and completely blue hair) and a gentler personality. She gives Angel a mystical stone that can be used to defeat James and she battles Rowant in the future while she uses her time-powers to send Angel back to the present timeline so that he can beat James before the apocalyptic future can come to pass.


      In a Q&A session, I asked Geoges Jeanty if Illyria's appearance would be her "classic" AtS season 5 look, or her newer look from IDW's "Haunted". Jeanty said that he would go with the "classic" look, and he wasn't sure how "Haunted" would fit into continuity, if at all. Although it is worth noting that Illyria does seem to have her full range of powers back. I suppose it's possible that Dark Horse might choose to keep some aspects of that story intact while choosing to go back to Illyria's "classic" appearance. Christos Gage emailed Brian Lynch because he wanted to keep Gunn's eye consistent with how he last appeared in the IDW book, so the same thing might be happening here with Illyria's power level.

      But I suppose if Dark Horse wanted to completely ignore the "Haunted" miniseries, they could explain that Illyria got her powers back some other way. I wouldn't like it if they just go with their usual "it happened because the Seed was broken, just accept it". Although it would perhaps add a sense of urgency to restoring magic if Illyria's body is still unstable and in danger of exploding all over again. They would need magic back so that they can siphon Illyria's excess power back into that pocket dimension so that she wouldn't explode and wipe out the entire coast.

      Now that I think about it, if she exploded on a huge scale, that would cause massive damage to America and would completely change the world in general. This could perhaps lead to the desolate, horrible future that Whistler saw? Perhaps this future even includes the mass zompire sirings that Buffy saw in her dream? That all ties together kind of nicely and is a better reason for restoring magic than crappy rainbows or people lacking imagination (whatever that means).

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Athanos View Post
        The only slayer with a red strip in her hair is Nisha who is part of Simone's rogue slayer crew. She was in the Predators and Prey issue of season 8 (#23). She was the one that fell in the ragna demon web trap set by Andrew. At the end of the issue Buffy pointed a gun at her, so its possible she would recognize her, when she glared at her this issue.
        I'd never even noticed the red stripe. It won't mean anything other than it being a zomp'd slayer then if it is her, I feel no loss.

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        • #34
          Is it just me or the dialogue is even more wooden than usual? "When has a little interorganizational romance stopped you before"? "Deja Buffy, postfight mortem, next day plan-making, all-a-bit-yawny"? "You're holding your arm as if someone just tore it off"? Those lines sound like a fanfic and not a very good one.

          I am kind of sick of saying "Xander and Dawn" as if they don't exist independently as characters. There is good romance and there is characters being joined at the hip because that's more convenient for the writer and I think this falls firmly into the second category.

          So there is a task force, there is a very strong zompire along with quite a few others hiding in a warehouse but the FauxScoobies attack all on their own instead of, I don't know, calling said task force? With every issue it becomes more and more clear that the vampires in public plot was a huge mistake because it only brings plot holes like that, the activities of the protagonists are almost always the same vigilante actions they have always done.

          So Buffy is confident enough in Billy and Dowling's skills that she let them fight ten zompires alone while she was fighting the UberZomp? Wait, what am I saying Billy Stu would have killed those ten all by himself if need be. So long for the idea that we would get a flashback of his (incredibly contrived) integration into the Scooby gang. Where is his "Watcher", by the way?

          Illyria is as boring as ever, I knew i could count on her.

          Goodness gracious, they might really be going with the idiotic "fading memories" plot for Dawn. I wonder they will bother to remember that Dawn's own pre-S5 memories are just as fake as everybody else's. Probably not.

          Every big bad after the Mayor required some variation of "lol, let's use a spell that the audience has only heard of just now" often combined with "lol, let's use this item that only became important just now." I know this seems like a pretty minor thing, but I really love the simplicity and inventiveness of that rope. It reminds me of the early scooby days.
          I applaud the idea but the execution wasn't very good, IMO. Why would a holy water soaked rope stop a zompire from escaping? It will hurt like hell when she tears it off but that's about it. Holy water doesn't make the rope strong enough to resist superstrength. Plus, I am confused as to what they intended to do with the captured zomp. Run tests on samples of her flesh? Interrogate her by growling in response to her growling? What?
          Xander: "Willow, you are the best human ever! I adore you! Well, that's the cookies talking, but you rock!"

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Jack Shaftoe View Post
            Is it just me or the dialogue is even more wooden than usual? "When has a little interorganizational romance stopped you before"? "Deja Buffy, postfight mortem, next day plan-making, all-a-bit-yawny"? "You're holding your arm as if someone just tore it off"? Those lines sound like a fanfic and not a very good one.

            I am kind of sick of saying "Xander and Dawn" as if they don't exist independently as characters. There is good romance and there is characters being joined at the hip because that's more convenient for the writer and I think this falls firmly into the second category.

            So there is a task force, there is a very strong zompire along with quite a few others hiding in a warehouse but the FauxScoobies attack all on their own instead of, I don't know, calling said task force? With every issue it becomes more and more clear that the vampires in public plot was a huge mistake because it only brings plot holes like that, the activities of the protagonists are almost always the same vigilante actions they have always done.

            So Buffy is confident enough in Billy and Dowling's skills that she let them fight ten zompires alone while she was fighting the UberZomp? Wait, what am I saying Billy Stu would have killed those ten all by himself if need be. So long for the idea that we would get a flashback of his (incredibly contrived) integration into the Scooby gang. Where is his "Watcher", by the way?

            Illyria is as boring as ever, I knew i could count on her.

            Goodness gracious, they might really be going with the idiotic "fading memories" plot for Dawn. I wonder they will bother to remember that Dawn's own pre-S5 memories are just as fake as everybody else's. Probably not.



            I applaud the idea but the execution wasn't very good, IMO. Why would a holy water soaked rope stop a zompire from escaping? It will hurt like hell when she tears it off but that's about it. Holy water doesn't make the rope strong enough to resist superstrength. Plus, I am confused as to what they intended to do with the captured zomp. Run tests on samples of her flesh? Interrogate her by growling in response to her growling? What?
            How about calling them *Xawnder*? I'm still of the opinion the zompire might be Kennedy because once Willow comes back and assuming Willow returns with her powers it'll be curious to see her reaction to this development. About Dawn I'm not sure how her problem is exactly magic related because if Willow does succeed in restoring magic...how does this affect Dawn? It's only if Willow doesn't succeed in restoring magic that Dawn's issues will become serious for the last arc.
            Last edited by DorothyFan1; 12-12-12, 08:10 PM.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Maggie View Post
              I'd say we're meant to explicitly deconstruct that narrative.

              For example, Xander and Dawn say they like Dowling because Buffy is happy. That's the romantic trope. But I don't think Buffy is happy because she's into Dowling. I think she's considering being into Dowling because she's happy. The issue ticks off the ducks in Buffy's row: she's back into a rhythm with slaying and her new sort-of Scoobies. She's back in with her roomies. She can afford her rent x six months {...} She's in a good place with Xander and Dawn. Free fall is over. So she's happy. So she's now open to something. {...} If Dowling dies, the point isn't the heartbreaking loss of a guy she loves. The point would be that this path of normalcy-as-a-slayer got destroyed by the overhang of Buffy's large unfinished business -- the consequences of smashing the seed that she has resolutely refused to deal with.

              My guess is that the coming whatever-is-wrong-with-Dawn is part of that as well.
              Good points all.

              And I guess it's a 'which came first' thing with Spike/Spuffy (she's happy so he's banished, he's banished so she's happy). Broken down that way --

              A) Of course she's 'happy' right now. The dark has been banished, or at least unacknowledged, shipped off, and 'forgotten'

              B) Of course she doesn't think of Spike. If she's in denial, well of course the dark thing is one the things she won't think about.

              Spike is her 'dark place' (how many times have they dropped this anvil on our heads?) If she's happy and/or in denial, then as per the metaphor foisted on Spike ("dark place"), she doesn't think about him or doesn't want to think about him and he will only appear again once things have gone to hell in a handbasket.

              Sucks to be Spike in this scenario.
              Last edited by shipperx; 12-12-12, 08:20 PM.
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              • #37
                I'm going to leave the assumption that we are not in the "When Harry Met Spuffy" plot it feels to me like we are getting telegraphed down to the desire to feel at least marginally surprised when he comes back, what happens. Nobody would be happier to be wrong on a subject than me I don't think. But it's obvious Dowling isn't the antidote I was hoping he might be when introduced because of how facile their approach has been. And it's further obvious at this point that there is almost no chance that they haven't completely wished away everything romantic with Buffy's arc between 8.01 and 8.33 (and in all fairness that includes Satsu getting thrown under the bus forever right along with Buffy openly pitching for Xander to walk away from her sister to be with her). I mean, it's order of elimination --

                1. They have no serious interest in an original character for a romance.
                2. They have no interest in fundamentally redefining her relationship with an existing character along those lines.
                3. Angel is in another book and recently tried to destroy all reality.

                Unless we're leaving married men in the mix, it's Spike or nothing.

                Originally posted by Vampire in Rug View Post
                It looks like the writers did drop the ball by having Dawn be allergic to peanut butter. I can't blame them too much, I mean Dawn eating peanut butter on the show once or twice is a tiny, tiny detail and I can understand how something like that can be missed. Still it does annoy me a bit and a kind of wish the writers had done more research, even if it is such a tiny detail. Surely someone could have done a bit of googling, just to be sure? Maybe they can change the allergy to something else in the trade-paperback.
                My epic fanwank fixed it

                I'd say it's a pretty safe bet to say that people's memories of Dawn are disappearing. We've already seen that happen to Connor, and their stories are remarkably similar. Xander has already forgotten Dawn's birthday, we know there's something that Xander and Buffy are hiding from Dawn, Willow saw that vision of Dawn with no face and now Buffy has forgotten about Dawn being allergic to peanut butter. I wonder if Dawn's flu is an actual flu, or if its a symptom of Dawn disappearing like her body is failing or something. I could have lived without seeing that panel where we see Dawn's orange vomit in the toilet bowl...
                I'm going to go with it's a sign of her body breaking down, literally. Look at her actual words -- "I feel like my insides are melting". Fridge Horror is... they are. Slowly, incrementally.

                Now, if you want to really create a horrible thing, you'd hit a crisis if people forgot Dawn's nature altogether and therefore weren't even able to recognize the possible connection and what's happening to her.

                Holy crap it was nice to see Xander and Dawn again.
                Right?

                I thought the idea of a rope soaked in holy water to be pretty interesting. Does the rope have to still be wet to burn the vampire, or has the rope itself now become "holy"? I prefer the idea of the rope becoming holy because the rope didn't look wet. It's a cool new weapon against vampires. It's simple and basic and makes me nostalgic for the good old days when the scoobies used makeshift weapons against the monsters rather than fanciful McGuffin's like the scythe or the amulet or Glory's orbs or whatever other ancient prophecized weapon or item washed up in Sunnydale. To me, a bit of rope soaked in holy water is way cooler than any of this other stuff. It's not a contrivance or an ass-pull to make the good guys win. It's a creative use of items that can be easily obtained. It's inventive and logical and I wish the writers would do more stuff like this rather than come up with one new mystical McGuffin after another. The last big bad that was defeated by non magical means was the Mayor. The first three big bads had to be defeated using resourcefulness, fighting ability, quick thinking and teamwork. Every big bad after the Mayor required some variation of "lol, let's use a spell that the audience has only heard of just now" often combined with "lol, let's use this item that only became important just now." I know this seems like a pretty minor thing, but I really love the simplicity and inventiveness of that rope. It reminds me of the early scooby days.
                Well, I'll be blunt, the whole thing is a straight lift from "The Vampire Diaries". In that show, there is an herb, vervain, that is toxic to vampires, can injure and incapacitate in much the way holy water does in this mythology. In one episode, a vampire is held captive in ropes steeped in a vervain solution. Andrew Chambliss is not the credited writer on that episode, but it was while he was on the show.

                If you aren't into that show, you probably should be, as it is pretty reliable at improvised vampire weaponry over introducing Sword(s) of a Thousand Truths.

                Illyria. I'm pretty thrilled to see her. I don't think she was drawn very well though. The artwork in this issue wasn't very good in general I guess. I've got no problem seeing her as part of a council. She may not be a "we" person, but she will play with others if it suits her interests and this situation with the council presumably does. Plus, we don't really know what experiences have shaped her in the years we haven't seen her for.
                Even at that, her nature is too proud for her to actually refer to a 'we'. At least IMO.

                Regarding Illyria freezing Buffy in the air, I don't think it's supposed to be a "new power", I think it's just an alternative use of her time-slowing/stopping powers. Maybe from Illyria's perspective, Buffy's speech is coming out super slow. Or maybe Illyria can selectively choose to freeze time around Buffy's body but not her head. Either way, I don't think this is a "new power" that needs exploring, I think its just Illyria's trademark time-travel powers being used differently.
                Exactly, that's the impression I get is that none of that was meant to be a plot point. Or if there's a plot point, it's that Illyria has her powers back *at all* (for non-IDW readers' benefit, remember), not that she has new and novel powers. Plus, Rule of Cool and Rule of Funny both cover a frozen, helpless Buffy in mid-air.

                Would anyone care to post a side by side picture of this zompire girl and the Slayer from Simone's squad who we think she is? I don't remember the girl. If that's the case, it will be interesting to see her cross paths with Simone and how Simone reacts to her former friend/team-mate. BTW, is it Simone or Severin who is supposed to be the big bad?
                Well, neither, since the "end of magic" as an existential threat seems to be the real "Big Bad", but I think Severin is being set up to be the more serious villain. It's a nice flip back, where you have a bad who thinks she's able to run him but quickly and painfully learns she can't. Dollars to donuts, Severin's return will be capped with him draining Simone into paste after her trying to run him.
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                • #38
                  I think the peanut butter thing is intentional and illustrative that things are changing somehow with Dawn. But it may just be me, my mental capacity appears to be at a minus level today and will go down as stupid-theory-wednesday#3 in the chronicles of my life under my most idiotic moments. It has just been one of those days on sooo many levels.

                  Xander forgetting Dawn's birthday really, really irritates me because I can't see how it makes any sense. He has actually, in reality rather than fake memories, known what her birthday is for the past 7ish years, why would that knowledge vanish? I really am hoping that whatever they do with the Dawn thing they do manage to explain it and we don't get another robot!Buffy level of storytelling.

                  I see your point ViR about the guy staying stable, but they did say he's not a vampire rather than zompire, why would he have been a vamp, he can't have been.

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                  • #39
                    Well, in fairness, almost any memory of Dawn that they have also established in discussion since Season 5 would fall under that same problem, Stoney -- they wouldn't be allowed to forget almost anything about her under that standard, and that defeats the plot.

                    As for saying he's not a vampire, I would put it down to just being non-specific, and residual definition of the whole class of creatures as vampires... if any of these people besides Buffy had residue. I mean, it wouldn't make me blink to see Xander not bother with the distinction, even though he coined it, because he is used to thinking "vampire". But Billy and Dowling barely heard of vampires, real ones, before zompires became the order of the day. So not really an excuse there, unless (and PERISH THE THOUGHT) the writers are giving them an artificial sense of experience and familiarity with the world of the supernatural in order to sell them as the New (Coke)Scoobies.
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                    • #40
                      I liked that Xander has a Dalek and Avengers action figures.

                      Something else I haven't seen mentioned: what on earth was Buffy's housemate snooping around her room for? She was looking for something and then she got all suspicions when Buffy walked in. Cameo from Mr. Gordo. So did Buffy take Mr. Gordo on the schoobus with her for some reason when they went to fight the ubervamps under Sunnydale High? None of them had any idea the town would collapse, I don't see any reason why Buffy should still have Mr. Gordo instead of him being buried under the rubble of her house.

                      Originally posted by Jack Shaftoe
                      So Buffy is confident enough in Billy and Dowling's skills that she let them fight ten zompires alone while she was fighting the UberZomp? Wait, what am I saying Billy Stu would have killed those ten all by himself if need be.
                      I count eleven sets of eyes when they first enter the werehouse. Then ten zompires step forward. Maybe one of them was shy. Kidding, that's not a fault in the story, the eleventh zompire could have moved in from another direction. Then, on the next page, Billy and Dowling rush at thirteen zompires while Buffy vaults over them and goes after the boss-zompire.

                      When have we seen Xander, Spike or Angel take on *thirteen* vampires at once? Angel killed a werehouse full of demons, but he had superpowers, a bag full of weapons, he was completely exhausted and demoralized afterwards and I don't think we got to see exactly how many demons there were in the werehouse. Gunn took on an office full of vampires, but again, I don't think we got to see how many there were and Gunn was mortally wounded afterwards. Plus, Gunn is far more experienced than Dowling or Billy.

                      Zompires are supposed to be stronger and more aggressive than regular vampires. Their weakness, and what makes them manageable for human task forces is that they are supposedly very stupid and therefore they should be easy to lure into traps or to hide from or to confuse them. I can buy regular humans taking down zompires by being stealthy or using traps, projectiles, smoke bombs etc. But I don't think rushing at thirteen zompires head on is a smart way of dealing with them. It makes Buffy, Dowling and Billy all look like morons. It would be far more interesting if they took down the zompires by using smarts instead of just rushing in like that. It also makes the supposedly tough zompires look pretty weak when two novices -one of them a skinny teenager can just mow through them like that. Where's cute Devon? Why is Billy researching the Vampyr book, isn't that Devon's cute job?

                      I am kind of sick of saying "Xander and Dawn" as if they don't exist independently as characters.
                      Oh yeah, I hear you.

                      I applaud the idea but the execution wasn't very good, IMO. Why would a holy water soaked rope stop a zompire from escaping? It will hurt like hell when she tears it off but that's about it. Holy water doesn't make the rope strong enough to resist superstrength.
                      Meh, I'm just happy to see the inventiveness. I think a holy water soaked rope is really cool. I'm pretty sure that regular ropes have held vampires before. Sometimes the vampire is able to break the rope, sometimes the vampire is able to be held. Soaking the rope in holy water will only improve the chances of holding the vampire I guess. Rope will be more difficult to break through if it's burning the vamp. I mean, in order to break the rope, the vampire will actually have to push against the rope, thereby temporarily increasing the pain inflicted on it. Not sure if a zompire would be smart enough to do that instead of writhing around trying stupidly to somehow move "away" from the rope that's surrounding it. Also, it's quite possible that the rope was only a temporary measure and that once the zomp was lasso'd, Dowling was going to handcuff it. Or who knows, maybe there's a ritual where soaking a rope in holy water does make it unbreakable. I'm gonna be pretty generous when it comes to the rope because I'd rather see the scoobies using a cobbled together home-made weapon than some magical artefact that conveniently turned up.

                      Plus, I am confused as to what they intended to do with the captured zomp. Run tests on samples of her flesh? Interrogate her by growling in response to her growling? What?
                      To be honest, I don't think Buffy has even thought that far ahead. She knows this one is stronger than usual and wants to test it. I think they were gonna lock it up in a police cell and figure out the how's later. Maybe Buffy could fight her a few more times, then fight a regular zompire to test out if there really is a big difference or if the first time was a fluke. Maybe research into the zompire's past, find out who she was, whether she had any powers or skills before she was a zomp. Maybe Buffy could stage a fight between this new zomp and a regular zomp or a vamp or a demon. Test exposure to crosses, holy water and sunlight compared to other zomps and vamps. I imagine there's lots of things they could do if they got this zomp contained.

                      EDIT:
                      Originally posted by Stoney
                      I see your point ViR about the guy staying stable, but they did say he's not a vampire rather than zompire, why would he have been a vamp, he can't have been.
                      Zompires are vampires though. They're a subclass of vampires, sure, but they are still technically vampires. The Turok-Han are another subclass of vampires. Calling a Turok-Han or a zompire a vampire is not incorrect. I would guess that the word "zompire" is still kind of an informal nickname that's catching on. "Vampire" is a broad term that covers regular vamps, zompires, Turok-Han and even the Van-Tal demon of Pylea.

                      The term "demon" is an even broader term that includes vampires of every flavor, Scourgers, Brachen, Gentlemen, Fyarl, Bringers, Hellhounds, Old Ones and Smile Time puppets. Holtz often called Angel "demon" even though "vampire" would have been the more accurate term and "vampire with soul" would have been even more accurate still. I don't have a problem at all with other characters occasionally referring to the zompires as vampires.

                      King, Dowling and Billy would have known about vampires for around a year or so when they were (and still are) celebrities.
                      Last edited by Vampire in Rug; 12-12-12, 09:12 PM.

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                      • #41
                        They abandoned "zompires are stronger but dumber" or any pretense once they ran with Billy being good at killing them. Normal vampires are superior in every way, frankly. You are totally right about how preposterous it is that Billy and Dowling were up to holding up their end of this plan, though -- somewhere between ten and a baker's dozen of zompires vs. two guys with no powers, almost no experience, and only one of them with any remotely believable training of any kind.

                        My answer for Mr. Gordo is the same as my answer for Xander's Sunnydale High Swim Team shirt -- replacement. It is manifestly implausible for any of them to have any of their personal effects other than what was on them when they went to the high school. Most of them probably thought they would die, sure, but nobody had any reason at all to think in terms of surviving but the city being destroyed. So Xander had the shirt made, and Buffy found a Gordo on eBay.
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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                          I'm going to leave the assumption that we are not in the "When Harry Met Spuffy" plot it feels to me like we are getting telegraphed down to the desire to feel at least marginally surprised when he comes back, what happens.
                          The point of When Harry Met Sally is that Harry and Sally get together. The story isn't about anything else. To say this is NOT a romance story is to say it's a mistake to read this story as being "Who does Buffy end up with". They did not introduce Dowling in order to create some tension in the Spuffy story line. We know this because (a) as you yourself acknowledge, they didn't bother to set up the Dowling-Buffy "romance" and (b) because Buffy's story is not a story about who she ends up with. She may well end up with someone along the way (but see below), but the story is about other things. I offered an explanation for what Dowling represents. He's the figure that fits into her normal-as-slayer life (which you yourself said -- he's the ideal type for the life you think Buffy should have). The problem is that Buffy doesn't get normal-as-slayer. Not now, not on these terms. She's still in denial land. That will bite her in the arse. That is what the story is about.

                          Notice Spike doesn't fit in there. When we get to the next chapter of Buffy's life -- dealing with the stuff she's trying not to deal with -- then maybe Spike will have a role. It's hard to say because we don't yet know what that next chapter is. Key point is that the next chapter's purpose won't be to get Buffy to Spike. It will be to get Buffy to her next chapter. If Spike fits with that story then he'll be the Dowling of that next chapter, the guy who fits where Buffy is. If not, she'll be with someone else, or (a more likely option) nobody.

                          Unless we're leaving married men in the mix, it's Spike or nothing.
                          Did you really learn nothing from the life of Julia? Nothing is a huge and very likely option. Joss is all about the Zeitgeist (as in captured by it far more completely than he can imagine).

                          I'm going to go with it's a sign of her body breaking down, literally. Look at her actual words -- "I feel like my insides are melting". Fridge Horror is... they are. Slowly, incrementally.
                          Meep!

                          Dawn was Buffy's normalcy. Take magic away and you take away normalcy. That sounds like a paradoxical something Joss might be up for exploring.

                          Should be interesting.
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                          • #43
                            They abandoned "zompires are stronger but dumber" or any pretense once they ran with Billy being good at killing them.
                            Did they? Buffy says in this issue "But that zompire was all kinds of strong. Even for the post-seed variety". I am not sure if this means "zompires are normally kind of weak, this one wasn't" or "zompires are usually stronger than vampires but this one was stronger yet". But in any event, even if zompires's superpowers aren't that super and they are dumb as bricks thirteen against two should have been an overwhelming zompire win. It's not like regular run of the mill vampires fight smart anyway, so I don't see what difference does it make that zompires fight like animals.

                            It would be far more interesting if they took down the zompires by using smarts instead of just rushing in like that.
                            Yes, for all the talk of zompires being dumb, the people who fight against them don't use tactics more advanced than "this is the pointy end of the stake, use it when you think it's time".
                            Last edited by Jack Shaftoe; 12-12-12, 09:31 PM.
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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Maggie View Post
                              The point of When Harry Met Sally is that Harry and Sally get together. The story isn't about anything else. To say this is NOT a romance story is to say it's a mistake to read this story as being "Who does Buffy end up with". They did not introduce Dowling in order to create some tension in the Spuffy story line. We know this because (a) as you yourself acknowledge, they didn't bother to set up the Dowling-Buffy "romance" and (b) because Buffy's story is not a story about who she ends up with. She may well end up with someone along the way (but see below), but the story is about other things. I offered an explanation for what Dowling represents. He's the figure that fits into her normal-as-slayer life (which you yourself said -- he's the ideal type for the life you think Buffy should have). The problem is that Buffy doesn't get normal-as-slayer. Not now, not on these terms. She's still in denial land. That will bite her in the arse. That is what the story is about.
                              To be honest, I don't think this story is about much else. If it is, it oughtta get started at some point. I don't want the story to be about it at all, but it's what I see. The only place this can end up that even seems worth bothering with -- when the whole second arc was basically about establishing "here are the Spuffy obstacles" and then you fly them apart to work through their respective shit, where else to even bother going, as utterly tired as it would be to me?

                              Incidentally, he's the ideal type for the life that Buffy, whenever anybody bothers to ask her, thinks she should have, which is the only function by which it's the life I would want her to have. But he's not the answer any writers would have cared about or they wouldn't have hotboxed the entire storyline in between issues and now very possibly killed him off. His middle name is Ballard right now.

                              Did you really learn nothing from the life of Julia? Nothing is a huge and very likely option. Joss is all about the Zeitgeist (as in captured by it far more completely than he can imagine).
                              Honestly, I'm not sure what you are asking. That phrase means nothing to me other than a reference to the rather revolting dependency agitprop from the spring, but that doesn't seem to signify here. Or if it does, it doesn't apply unless Buffy manages to download a couple of unaborted, paternally-uninvolved children. But I digress.

                              Meep!
                              It is pretty horrible, but I think it's first and foremost a crisis vis a vis Dawn -- at least under the pretense that these characters matter at all other than as symbolic fodder for Buffy's soul (Normal Again, a writer meta on the value of the other characters?)
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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Stoney View Post
                                I think the peanut butter thing is intentional and illustrative that things are changing somehow with Dawn. But it may just be me, my mental capacity appears to be at a minus level today and will go down as stupid-theory-wednesday#3 in the chronicles of my life under my most idiotic moments. It has just been one of those days on sooo many levels.

                                Xander forgetting Dawn's birthday really, really irritates me because I can't see how it makes any sense. He has actually, in reality rather than fake memories, known what her birthday is for the past 7ish years, why would that knowledge vanish? I really am hoping that whatever they do with the Dawn thing they do manage to explain it and we don't get another robot!Buffy level of storytelling.

                                I see your point ViR about the guy staying stable, but they did say he's not a vampire rather than zompire, why would he have been a vamp, he can't have been.
                                Xander would forget about it, when Dawn would slowly disappear to the point she'd never have existed. At all. A bit Doctor Who like stuff. Because memories of Dawn are partly magical and partly real, it would take time. How this all works out with the destruction of the seed would need some explanation though.

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