ladydorotea (ladydorotea) wrote,

BtVS Season 9 #16

Thoughts on BtVS S9 #16

After issue 16 I am unfortunately forced to admit that Buffy book of S9 is likely unsalvageable.
And the main reason I think that the writer was not able to get ' in
character' with the titular character by the 2/3 of the season. Overall,
the plot of this arc was done not badly - it is a complex enough mix of
different elements that are supposed to converge into the whole picture
by the end of an 'episode'. We see many different aspects of Buffy's
'new normal' in SF from many different angles, and at the same time are
being introduced to quite a few new mysteries and get development of
some old ones - like the situation with Xander and Dawn. Unfortunately,
all the supposed symphonic complexity of the story gets blown out of
the window by simple fact of Chambliss being unable to grasp Buffy as a
character - or if that is not the case - by him deliberately making her
look so immature, impractical, and plain dull, that she becomes
seriously unlikeable.

When did we ever saw Buffy in front of the tv looking like she is about
to drip saliva over some stupid reality show? (And that is happening
at the same time that the 16 year old kid she adopted officially as her
new teammate would be studying Vampire lore .) When was it that Buffy
would bring Dawn junk food treats ? When was it that she would lose her
smarts so completely as to stop doing minimal planning for her patrols?
What was the point of giving Anaheed a 6 months in advance rent - then
drop the silly line about student loans if not to show that Buffy is so
afraid of spending all that money on a shopping spree that she wants to
give it away instantly? And it is just silly things like that, coupled
with Billy the kid's official 'young responsible adult who wants to make
change in the world' status that is being pushed on the reader with all
the subtlety of steamy asphalt roller (and that by the way make one
roll one's eyes every time Billy enters the panel space) that make me
dislike the execution of the first issue of this new arc so completely.

There are a few good moments nevertheless - like almost everything (
aside from ginger ale, saltines and peanut butter part) related to Dawn
and Xander plot. I did not even mind the un-flushed toilet humor. The
smoothness of Willow's mini crossover was impressive. Gravity of the
situation with Dawn being exacerbated by us the audience being
sufficiently scared with Wilow's faceless vision. Also impressed with
the whole 'new normal' being the personal little Hell of Buffy's life
in SF as a routine Slayer - with nobody to care for ( if we don't
count Billy), and nobody caring for her in return (except for another
new guy - with whom she 'slays every night'). Up to the point when
Buffy is ready to be convinced that 'she is happy' because Xander and
Dawn so want her to be happy ( and continue to keep her troubles out of
their own normal life) that she dares not to disappoint them by denying
it. Buffy goes as far as to actually trying to convince herself that
dating a normal guy is what she should do - because 'they' like him, and
so should she. And Dowling is actually a very good imitation of Riley -
with additional benefit of looking almost like Angel , and an extra
cherry on top of having a sense of humor. I am almost shipping them -
except for the fact that Dowling is about to be 'fridged' to bring more
gloom to the arc finale, and the fact that we almost always referred to
him by his last name.

Aside from these little good things there is the whole mystery with
'Nisha' (?) Simone's former second in command possibly being the feral
zompire on a siring spree. And of course final appearance of Illyria -
who thanks goodness is snappy and rude , and is nowhere close to the
travesty that unofficial IDW series made out of her character. It is
still bad that Joss cannot write her himself as he promised - and I am
not overly hyped with the execution of her first appearance. She
definitely should not have had the teleporting powers - it is yet
another magic McGuffin in a none-magical world - but at least she is
not discussing 'true love' with little elves and prancing around with
extra blue streaks in her hair and a cute pair of octopi.

Also, the art is not that great in this issue, and that is very
disturbing, because Guarded arc was already pushing it. The best part is
the views of the city of SF, and that's about all I can say on the
positive note. Oh, and I actually thought that Dawn's Rudolf nose was
cute. And there was at least one panel where Buffy is literally walking
on zompires' heads , while somersaulting over them. That was good. And
the night view of Los Angeles reminded me of issue 36 of S8, and it was a
good memory.
Tags: buffy comics, buffy s9, season 9, season 9 comic

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