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View Full Version : Buffy 8.21 "Harmonic Divergence" Spoiler Discussion Thread



KingofCretins
07-01-09, 09:32 PM
I'm not sure.

Harmony as a media sensation I get. Vampires as part of the popular culture, even, I get (helped in part by "True Blood"). Slayers as figures of suspicion, I get. But...

I'm not sure.

It's funny, which is important. I loved Harmony and Clem, I liked Andrew doing the recruiting thing. I liked Buffy's trite speech over the phone... she's supposed to be the closer but must be kind of lazy.

The Slayer character was fascinating, and I *thought* I knew where the issue was going -- she was going to kill Harmony on TV and make Slayers instant public enemies. Instead, she's killed and drained on TV and... Slayers are still public enemies. Hmmm.

Of course, the media can spin anything and create anything, but that still seems pretty hard to buy. And I get that the big fascist Slayer notion comes right out of the "Brownskirts" essay (which I actually didn't agree with much). But... I'm not sure.

One of my biggest concerns from 8.01 was that Joss was going to just bail on any "Buffyness" to Season 8 and make it a weak, politicized war on terror allegory in which the "terrorists" are the sympathetic figures and the culture and state that reject and pursue them are the close-minded etc etc you get the idea. This issue brings all that right back up again, and it's just as crappy an idea now as it was then.

This new direction could be exquisitely fun and a commentary on media, on the cult of personality, on the importance of having good press over having reality on your side. I certainly hope that any attempt at "Buffy" as social commentary is confined along those lines.

As to the characters, I liked the little Scooby stuff, like the unicorn taking interest in Dawn. I liked all of their genuine concern and discomfort about Harmony being on Anderson Cooper. Personally, I hope they answer back in kind -- get Buffy or Xander or Kennedy on Greta Van Susteren or something and fire back. Harmony has *killed people*. Vampires have wiped out towns, Angelus tried to destroy the world, all that stuff. And, honestly, aside from that -- keep Slaying. Don't back down. If it were me, I would ignore the media blitz and put the hit out on Harmony. She killed a Slayer. She doesn't walk away from that. Eff the cameras.

Emmie
07-01-09, 09:34 PM
My review of Buffy Season 8 #21 Harmonic Divergence. It's definitely meaty fare after the lighter mindtrip of #20 After These Messages.

So after Buffy's messages of 'we're still the same, just like the high school years' and 'we've got a world to save', we're right back to the main themes of Season 8: connection, power, perception and the subjectivity of reality. Harmonic Divergence does a great job of building on After These Messages by showing how out of touch Buffy is with the outside world ("Right? They can tell who's wearing the white hats") which goes to show that our mindtrip last issue with Buffy was one of self-delusion. Things are just the same as they've always been according to our titular slayer. Well, no. They really aren't, Buffy. Harmonic Divergence blows those messages out of the water.

Buffy changed the world and now it's all different. There's no longer one, but thousands. And unfortunately the ones in charge of recruiting aren't getting the job done. A Hispanic slayer comes into her power, the power that enables her to escape her gang ties and "changes stuff". Plus side. Downside? Andrew and Buffy bungle recruiting her. Actually, it's Buffy who bungles it. The new slayer is "in" after Andrew's speech about destiny and protecting the weak. Then comes the phone call to Buffy with the "crappy connection" (*cough*connection*cough*) where Buffy gives her spiel about "togetherness! unity! sisterhood!" and the new slayer doesn't want to drink the kool-aid. She's heard "those words" before when she joined the Las Cuchillas gang. Buffy's spiel, bad connection notwithstanding, probably didn't ring true for the Senorita Slayer because Buffy's admittedly having trouble feeling that connection herself ("Connection. Why can't I feel it?" - A Beautiful Sunset). How can she explain something empowering and enlightening that she's not a part of?

The consequences of the Chosen spell crystallize in this one slayer's origin tale. She comes into her power but slips the leash of Buffy's Slayer army. Goes rogue from the establishment. No mentors, no allies, no understanding of her duty beyond this: slayer + stake = dead vampire. The danger of power without understanding its gravity. Not realizing that the fight is conducted in the shadows, not in front of camera crews - all to keep humanity out of the crossfire and not on Anderson Cooper. A PR nightmare waiting to happen when the noob slayer attacks in front of the whole world, outting the slayers and making them "the enemy". The Slayer power is out of control and dividing the protectors (slayers) from those they would protect (humanity). Slayers are "the best villains since Nazis" and the equivalent of an LA gang. The allusions to fascism in The Chain are coming back to haunt us.

Espenson also clarifies one of the ways that potentials post-Chosen who come of age become slayers. Senorita Slayer turns sixteen in this issue and feels the fighty, glowy power. One week later, Andrew comes to recruit her and calls Buffy. This is, at minimum, a year and a half after Chosen and who knows how long into Season 8 but Dawn is a centaur when Buffy tries to welcome Senorita to her 'gang'. So we have a potential who wasn't a slayer til she turned sixteen. This means that there's something about age that matters and that "every girl who could have the power, will have the power" once she comes of age. Buffy became a slayer at 15 so perhaps it's more the case of when the girl is ready, when she's matured to the point of being ready for the power.

We also get our first glimpse of a non-Hell-A in this issue. Harmony's on a roll and the Hollywood system seems untouched in its superficial glory. There's also a none too subtle mocking of reality TV shows - they're all slaves to their impulses, mindless drones to Harmony's bite only looking to capitalize on the cache of her vampire stardom. No greater philosophical interest in good and evil beyond how they can spin it and make it sell. Reality TV star Harmony is sucking the life out of her fans and they foolishly clamor for more - it makes them "feel weaker, but...that's okay". So clearly, Hollywood is still the same. So what does this mean for the consequences of After the Fall? Has Harmony been in LA the entire time and only Angel's gang were sent to an alternate LA dimension? Is that why the one outside glimpse of LA by the Asylum crew showed it as being business as usual?

Coming back to Harmony, she appears to have been continuing her 'don't kill' policy learned at W&H. Although she's modified it to limiting herself to drinking human blood straight from the source, but from willing victims. As Giles' categorized it in Into the Woods, it's "ambiguous evil" that doesn't require a slayer's full focus. Bigger fish to fry, less ambiguous evil to slay. But Senorita Slayer doesn't know about the gray morality of the underworld. And she's the one who gets caught in the crossfire. Buffy handed her a weapon she wasn't prepared to use and it ended tragically. Hello consequences.

sueworld
07-01-09, 09:54 PM
As I said on lj nice review love. It sounds like an interesting issue. I shall look forward to getting hold of my copy at some point.


"So what does this mean for the consequences of After the Fall?"

I think it means what I've suspected all along, that two publishing companies aren't going to have storylines that fit with each other, because basically they don't have too. Well I should say Darkhorse doesn't have to.


If it were me, I would ignore the media blitz and put the hit out on Harmony. She killed a Slayer. She doesn't walk away from that. Eff the cameras.

:lol:

vampmogs
07-01-09, 10:46 PM
I think it means what I've suspected all along, that two publishing companies aren't going to have storylines that fit with each other, because basically they don't have too. Well I should say Darkhorse doesn't have to.

Without getting into another pissing contest concerning Darkhorse and IDW and letting it ruin a thread that's not related; I don't see that happening. The companies are irrelevant, what is relevant is that Joss was involved with both stories and it wouldn't make sense for him to choose one over the other. Emmie's explanation works fine.

Nice review Emmie, can't wait to get my hands on the issue. :)

Nina
07-01-09, 10:57 PM
I know that this thread is not about ATF; but I wanted to point out that we saw too many people in hell who had nothing to do with Angel and his team for a while (Kate, Groo and Gwen) or who never had anything to do with Angel before (the streetprophet and the girl from the cinema and also Beta George). The option that only Angel's team is sent to hell is not high on my list. Although nothing is impossible.

But that doesn't mean that it can't fit together. If ATF happens in a couple of months and the same time happens in the real world, Hell-LA will return before season 8 starts and that it's rebuild before issue #21 happens. I think as well that Joss won't let this two stories contradict eachother, I'm more worried about Aftermath because Joss has no time to help with that one.


And I really want to read this issue as well, it sounds interesting and fun.

vampmogs
07-01-09, 11:01 PM
I agree with you Nina that it appears everyone who was in LA at the time was probably sent there, which I guess leaves us with wondering wether or not Harmony could have got out of LA fast enough? We can pin point the change happening at some point during the alley way fight, which could be at least a good hour or so after Harmony hightails it out of there, perhaps even longer. There was never any real indication of how long the fights went on between Angel/Hamilton ect. Perhaps Harmony managed to get out of the limits of the spell then returned later? During LA's glamour?

Or the more likely scenario, given how season eight takes place after 'After the Fall' began, LA's already back out of Hell.

Nina
07-01-09, 11:08 PM
She is in LA right now, and as far as we know LA isn't there around the time of ATF. They would notice it if the city was there but the people in it aren't. So I guess that we can assume that LA returns some time before issue 21. About Harmony leaving LA before it went to hell; I can't see how. Why would she run away from LA and not go to her house after what happened? And I'm not sure if there was enough time to get out the city, she was in downtown LA when Angel and Hamilton started to fight. I think that there is a bigger chance that she was/is in LA but didn't show herself.

Emmie
07-01-09, 11:49 PM
My supposition about Harmony being separate from Hell-A was just because there's no remaining trauma for the town or Harmony. Hollywood is still just Hollywood. So either it's a reset or where Angel and Co. are is apart from where Harmony is now. An alternate dimension where certain individuals were sent (no limit on who really). But Harmony and LA aren't showing the wear and tear of the Hell-A experience. And there's also the scene where the Asylum crew switch on the TV to look at LA and it's normal.

XavierZane
07-01-09, 11:51 PM
WOW!

Again…Wow!

This might be my favorite issue. If the rest of this arc is near as good as this one, this will be my favorite arc easily.


Harmony: Harmony plays a big part, I think, in why the public becomes so sympathetic towards vampires. At the beginning of the issue the secret of vampires is out (the big question is how did this happen) and people are curious about them, but I got the impression that Harmony was the first vampire the wider public was exposed to. Harmony is the most human vampire in the Buffyverse, and actually became a better person due to being vamped. Even now, a year after not working for Angel, she doesn’t seem to have gone back to killing humans. She doesn’t want to murder, steal, destroy towns, or the world – she just wants to be famous. The cameras follow her around, but “nothing much ever happens.” It makes sense that her audience wouldn’t really understand a super powered chick trying to kill her.


Sweet Sixteen Slayer: What a loss! :cutecry: This girl not only had the guts and resolve to stand up to a gang and say, “I want out”, but the drive to go after the first vampire she sees. She genuinely wanted to protect people from themselves and those that would victimize them. She was just, you know, sixteen. If she had trained even a little bit (even on her own) before going out, she would have made a hell of a Slayer.

Buffy and Company: What’s kind of tragic about this is that Buffy seems to have taken her lesson from issue 20 to heart. From the little we saw of the Scooby gang, they’re closer than they’ve been in years. Every time we see them they’re together, and they’re in real person clothes! Seeing Willow in overalls and Xander in jeans made me happier than I would have expected, considering I’ve never been one to complain about their clothes this season. But the Scoobs are hanging out together in the country, and they’re watching TV together, and Dawn is completely included. Seeing Willow and Xander braiding Dawn’s tail was hilarious. As was them saving her from the unicorn! Buffy finally seems to have her personal world in some kind of working order…meanwhile everything else has gone to hell.

Andrew: Andrew was really fantastic this issue. Although, to be fair, he’s always fantastic. :D First of all, it was his commercial (which I’m more and more sure was his idea) that again gave a slayer an inkling of what was happening to her. Second, either he himself figured out that another Slayer had been called and where she was, or he was specifically chosen to go recruit her. Either way it makes sense, because his recruitment is pitch perfect. He starts off with the basic, generic line that probably wins over the vast majority of Slayers “no conscience, no empathy, soulless, etc”. But the SSS, isn’t impressed (“Uh-huh.”) and is probably thinking, “Yeah, that sounds like a lot of the people I grew up around. Where were you guys when I had to join a gang I hated just to make sure I could survive to sixteen?” Andrew, seeing this, instantly changes his pitch, and picks the perfect words to hook this Slayer in. It’s almost a little scary how well he manipulated the situation to his advantage, which I’ll get to in a second. After he has her raring to go, Buffy unfortunately ruins everything. Should have just stuck with “Welcome!”, Buff. Unfortunately, Andrew did too good a job, and the SSS was still raring to go and absolutely convinced that vampires needed to be destroyed, even if she's going it alone. Then, at the end, it’s Buffy and Andrew having a little powwow about the latest revelation. Overall, with the amazing light they’re casting on Andrew, I don’t see how anyone can keep on with the assertions that he’s incompetent or bumbling or just a joke. Which is why I believe that he’s going to be turned evil soon. He’s either Twilight’s man inside Buffy’s operation, or he might even be Twilight himself (though he’s far down my list). Joss rarely makes anyone look good without turning around and making them look really, really bad.

vampmogs
07-01-09, 11:54 PM
And there's also the scene where the Asylum crew switch on the TV to look at LA and it's normal.

That's what I was thinking. It's possible that people have visited LA and it appears normal to them, as if Hell A is a world below. Which would mean that if Harmony had got out of town she could have returned to this pleasant glamour of LA and no one would be the wiser. Of course it still poses questions like Nina said; could she really have gotten out of town that fast? Why would she leave town and return home? I think we can fanwank the leaving town bit, it's not that ridiculous to suggest she'd do it, she did it in 'Disharmony' when she'd betrayed the good guys, nothing to suggest she wouldn't hightail it out of there again.. but getting out in time, well I'm just not sure she'd have succeeded in the time frame given.

sueworld
07-01-09, 11:59 PM
I don't see that happening.

I gotta say I do.


The option that only Angel's team is sent to hell is not high on my list. Although nothing is impossible.

Mine neither I'm afraid.

The only thing that I'm dreading about this issue is having to see more Andrew. I still can't get a grip on his character being so trusted by Buffy and co.

Nina
08-01-09, 12:00 AM
And there's also the scene where the Asylum crew switch on the TV to look at LA and it's normal.

It could be a spell, W&H are powerful enough to do spells like that to cover up the loss of a whole city. Maybe LA is missing but nobody is seeing or noticing it because of the spell. I think that it was KoC who had a great theory; he suggested that there is some spell that makes people be not interested in LA. It was also weird that Beck was so easy with calling George crazy to go on with being bored. And can you imagine that Nina's sister returns from Mexico and can't find her sister and friends? Or what if she tries to call Nina? The only way too keep it a secret is too make sure nobody contacts or goes to LA.

vampmogs
08-01-09, 12:10 AM
Buffy and Company: What’s kind of tragic about this is that Buffy seems to have taken her lesson from issue 20 to heart. From the little we saw of the Scooby gang, they’re closer than they’ve been in years. Every time we see them they’re together, and they’re in real person clothes! Seeing Willow in overalls and Xander in jeans made me happier than I would have expected, considering I’ve never been one to complain about their clothes this season. But the Scoobs are hanging out together in the country, and they’re watching TV together, and Dawn is completely included. Seeing Willow and Xander braiding Dawn’s tail was hilarious. As was them saving her from the unicorn! Buffy finally seems to have her personal world in some kind of working order…meanwhile everything else has gone to hell.

That's something I can't wait to see for myself! It's good to know that Buffy's taken some of what she learnt in 'After These Messages' and has actually grown from it, far too often she's had epiphanies which she never follows through with, it's good to see, for now at least, it seems to have stuck. I think it’s a great point you’ve brought up about concerning their clothes. Like yourself I’ve had no qualms with how any of the characters have dressed this season, I think Xander’s attire is appropriate seeing as how he’s actually *at work* and Buffy’s battle gear practical, she’s running an army and she has the money to make it well protected- why wouldn’t she make armour for herself and her girls? But it’s a great point that when the Scoobies appear to be so at comfort and close to one another, their clothing changes to how we are used to seeing them, it symbolises when the characters are at ease with themselves. Great to hear that Dawn’s included with the gang as well!

Great review :)

KingofCretins
08-01-09, 01:07 AM
Sweet Sixteen Slayer: What a loss! :cutecry: This girl not only had the guts and resolve to stand up to a gang and say, “I want out”, but the drive to go after the first vampire she sees. She genuinely wanted to protect people from themselves and those that would victimize them. She was just, you know, sixteen. If she had trained even a little bit (even on her own) before going out, she would have made a hell of a Slayer.

I liked her -- and her position was no more inappropriate than Buffy's, Angel's, and the Scoobies' in "Lie To Me". Harmony was going to do harm to them, if nothing else, she was getting them to ignore the danger vampires pose and arguably going to kill some (turn them) herself. She was completely right to try to take out Harmony.


Buffy and Company: What’s kind of tragic about this is that Buffy seems to have taken her lesson from issue 20 to heart. From the little we saw of the Scooby gang, they’re closer than they’ve been in years. Every time we see them they’re together, and they’re in real person clothes! Seeing Willow in overalls and Xander in jeans made me happier than I would have expected, considering I’ve never been one to complain about their clothes this season. But the Scoobs are hanging out together in the country, and they’re watching TV together, and Dawn is completely included. Seeing Willow and Xander braiding Dawn’s tail was hilarious. As was them saving her from the unicorn! Buffy finally seems to have her personal world in some kind of working order…meanwhile everything else has gone to hell.

Loved the Scooby stuff. Especially the unicorn gag -- that's "Spike and Buffy in 'Him'" quality.


That's what I was thinking. It's possible that people have visited LA and it appears normal to them, as if Hell A is a world below. Which would mean that if Harmony had got out of town she could have returned to this pleasant glamour of LA and no one would be the wiser. Of course it still poses questions like Nina said; could she really have gotten out of town that fast? Why would she leave town and return home? I think we can fanwank the leaving town bit, it's not that ridiculous to suggest she'd do it, she did it in 'Disharmony' when she'd betrayed the good guys, nothing to suggest she wouldn't hightail it out of there again.. but getting out in time, well I'm just not sure she'd have succeeded in the time frame given.

Without any other information, we can only assume A) Harmony got out beforehand or B) the events of "Angel: After the Fall" conclude with LA out of hell and that Season 8 takes place later.


I gotta say I do.

It's the least likely explanation of all. Joss isn't going to promote both books as canon continuations and then make them completely discontinuous.

Saro49
08-01-09, 07:09 AM
Well we know that Aftermath is going to reference this whole development so I think it's safe to say there is an explanation in store. Also this isn't the first time Angel and Buffy haven't synced up. Season Four of ATS and Season Seven of BTVS were connected but the real time of the show vs. the release timing meant that there was no way the shows could continue the canon in complete synchronization.

vampmogs
08-01-09, 07:18 AM
Well we know that Aftermath is going to reference this whole development so I think it's safe to say there is an explanation in store. Also this isn't the first time Angel and Buffy haven't synced up. Season Four of ATS and Season Seven of BTVS were connected but the real time of the show vs. the release timing meant that there was no way the shows could continue the canon in complete synchronization.

I hate that! If you're doing a marathon of both series and begin Ats at the same time Btvs s4 starts everything works rosy, until season seven/season four.. where everything goes to hell and it takes some effort to put them in line so anything works right. :lol:

ThePoet's<3
08-01-09, 07:27 AM
I wonder if Harmony "siding" with W&H has anything to do with her not being in the AU Hell-A? Perhaps her allegiance there at the end of "Not Fade Away" was rewarded with her not having to be with Angel Inc.

The issue was interesting - nice little "Whedonverse Mythbuster" about Vampires not having to kill people when they drink blood. Really? Good! ;)

Emmie - Great Review! Loved this part:


Buffy changed the world and now it's all different. There's no longer one, but thousands. And unfortunately the ones in charge of recruiting aren't getting the job done. A Hispanic slayer comes into her power, the power that enables her to escape her gang ties and "changes stuff". Plus side. Downside? Andrew and Buffy bungle recruiting her. Actually, it's Buffy who bungles it. The new slayer is "in" after Andrew's speech about destiny and protecting the weak. Then comes the phone call to Buffy with the "crappy connection" (*cough*connection*cough*) where Buffy gives her spiel about "togetherness! unity! sisterhood!" and the new slayer doesn't want to drink the kool-aid. She's heard "those words" before when she joined the Las Cuchillas gang. Buffy's spiel, bad connection notwithstanding, probably didn't ring true for the Senorita Slayer because Buffy's admittedly having trouble feeling that connection herself ("Connection. Why can't I feel it?" - A Beautiful Sunset). How can she explain something empowering and enlightening that she's not a part of?

Absolutely! Which to me emphasizes that Andrew - being new to "good" (1/3 Troikin ;) ) still "Believes" in what they are doing. It can't be all coincidence that Warren (Troikin deux) is working with Twilight.

Andrew is awesome - and perhaps this is why he and Buffy will be paired up for this assignment in Rome. Maybe he will give her some insight into "Why We Fight".

I am still waiting for the Pomeranians to turn into vamps... :D

sueworld
08-01-09, 01:00 PM
Well we know that Aftermath is going to reference this whole development so I think it's safe to say there is an explanation in store.

We do? Thats a new one on me. Where did they say that then?

Enisy
08-01-09, 01:04 PM
I think Saro is assuming that because of the cover featuring Angel and what looks like demon paparazzi...

sueworld
08-01-09, 01:24 PM
Well I don't think they should get their hopes up. As you well know covers can be terribly misleading.

Brain said as much on IDW, so we'll have to see what he means when it's released.

KingofCretins
08-01-09, 02:54 PM
What we do have is actual confirmation that Season 8 and "Angel: After the Fall"/"Angel: Aftermath" do share a single continuity and canon. Scott Allie answered (as best as he could) about the connection between the two --


"The exact relationship between Season Eight and After the Fall won't be apparent for quite a while yet. Sorry, I can't say more than that."

The relationship exists and is understood by the staff, but is spoilerish so they can't talk about it.

hayes62
08-01-09, 03:51 PM
My thoughts on the issue:

The world has changed in more ways than one. Now vampires are the new cake. Get them on prescription if you know the right Dr. Roberts. Harmony stumbles into the big picture like an airbrushed, pumped up Buffy. Blonder hair, bluer eyes, smoother skin and superstrength with a buzz. Can you even get high off a Slayer?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the tracks a girl is called. She wants to do the right thing but doesn’t buy the message Buffy tries to sell. It was a bad time to call. The girl’s been going it alone herself lately and is currently distracted from the big picture by the effort of not telling Willow and trying to help Dawn.

The rest is tragedy. La Cuchilla meets the vampire crack issue head on, she isn’t fooled like the other kids hoping to get lucky. She tries to save them by taking out the pusher but gets unlucky and all her sacrifice saves is the ratings.

Check out the bright young things at MTV, all with their neck bandages. They probably think Nazis were evil for having bad hair. I’ve no idea who Anderson Cooper is but he reads as if Twilight were writing his cue cards. Probably behind the new bloodsucking buzz as well. Way to get Hollywood on your side. Devious very devious.

sueworld
08-01-09, 04:29 PM
What we do have is actual confirmation that Season 8 and "Angel: After the Fall"/"Angel: Aftermath" do share a single continuity and canon. Scott Allie answered (as best as he could) about the connection between the two --



The relationship exists and is understood by the staff, but is spoilerish so they can't talk about it.

Well thats good to know, depending on what happens of course. Was that only stated recently then?

KingofCretins
08-01-09, 04:39 PM
His current SlayAlive Q&A, I think. I came across it on the DH Buffy/Angel thread.

Anderson Cooper is an American news anchor/host for CNN. As such, he definitely reads off agenda-based cue cards, but probably not Twilight's :)

Hayes, there is more subtext to how the Slayer (la Cuchilla, as you call her -- "the knife", in Spanish), reacts to Buffy's pitch. To her, it's the same pitch she got to join the gang, about someone having your back, getting respect. It turns her off. Buffy nor Andrew could have really anticipated that, so it's not really their fault.

hayes62
08-01-09, 06:06 PM
To her, it's the same pitch she got to join the gang, about someone having your back, getting respect. It turns her off.

I got that part but the connection failure is also about Buffy not paying enough attention to how the person on the end of the line was responding to change tack as Andrew did. Interestingly, his successful pitch about people who turn towards power could well be drawn from his version of his recruitment to the trio but neither he nor Buffy would be likely to realise the associations talk of honour and sisterhood might have for someone with the latina gang girl's background. Which I think is in turn indicative of how narrow-based and parochial Buffy's connection with humanity has always been. So while I think that Buffy retreating back into her scoobie bunker is understandable given the Dawn and Willow issues she must have, I'm not sure it's supposed to be a good thing in the longer term. I think it's not enough - she needs to get her head out of the bunker and start looking at the big picture. Where do Slayers fit in this brave new world?

vampmogs
09-01-09, 12:26 AM
Ok so I got my hands on 'Harmonic Divergence' and it was a great issue, I loved it. The only thing I'm not so sure about is the death of the slayer and how everybody responded to that; but I'll get to that in a moment.

I'll start by basically saying that I could totally see Harmony doing this. It's right up her alley. Harmony's a gal who'll get sucked into anything for some attention, she's been starved for it ever since High school and as a vampire, it's a personally trait that's certainly been adopted. We saw this in 'Harms Way' and we're seeing it now. What is interesting is that Harmony's basically the biggest thing now since Dracula, and unlike Spike she doesn't care about the possible negatives of such a thing; the more people get to know vampires the more they see their flaws, "suddenly everybody knows how to kill us- the mirror bit?" and it's so very likely Harmony to not give a damn. What's particular interesting is how we're seeing a more modern response to the vampire in comparison to when Dracula came out, it's so very like our culture today to make a reality show out of it, to make it accessible to a larger audience. And that's the scary truth, it's easy to manipulate a vampire into something cool and edgy and innocent, even if it's totally not.

I enjoyed Harmony in this issue, and once again she raises interesting issues about vampires. She's unique in the sense that she's not killing for ulterior motives, much as King points out, like the vampires who were feasting off people for money back in Sunnydale. But here's a vamp who's managed to more or less restrain herself without the need of any chip. Which proves to me at least, that such a thing is possible, and proves to me even more that soulless vampires certainly do need to die. They don't have to kill, they do it because they enjoy it. But WOW, Harmony crossed a line in this issue, not only does killing a vampire slayer technically make her "one of us" as Angel put it in 'Darla' but it makes her someone who needs to be dusted. We can now add Harmony to an increasing list of vamps who have taken out slayers, Spike, Dru, Gunn.. Harmony.

The Scooby stuff was great in this issue, it was minimal and more show than dialogue but it's surprising how much that can bring to the table. Buffy really has seemed to learn some of her lessons since 'After These Messages' and it's great to see the Scoobies taking a bit of a break, hanging out and watching TV together. And as others have pointed out, I'm very thankful Dawn is being shown as part of the group here. I'd hate to think of her being in a barn somewhere by herself, as it appeared she was being pushed away in her giant form. I really loved seeing the Scoobies so together; though it's very interesting that Kennedy still really isn't part of the group. Even Angel seemed to interact and be a part of the inner circle more so than her, it's the first real time either Willow's partner hasn't been an inclusion. Perhaps because of reasons Willow explained in 'Anywhere But Here' but I thought that after 'Time of Your Life' things might have changed a little.

It's interesting that Buffy couldn't muster the support of the slayer to join her group. Though, I'm not entirely sure that's all Buffy's fault. I do think Buffy was being far to preachy and I think it does kind of show she's having trouble relating to insides and is becoming a little to fixated on her slayer circle, but it was also due to circumstance. Buffy had no idea that the slayer had been part of this gang, she was also breaking up which generally speaking makes people rather irritated and flighty when they are trying to have a conversation on the phone with someone. But yes, I'll give props to Andrew, he struck a better chord with the girl than Buffy managed to. Buffy's "I want you to be strong" and "sisterhood" talk really doesn't help matters, it's beginning to sound more like a cult. I think it brings us back to the parallels between Buffy’s organisation and that of the Watcher’s Council. She seemed to concentrate more on the mission and the war than the actual person herself, which Andrew managed to as did his television commercials.

Loved the slayer by the way- really wished she didn't have to die, and it's interesting to see another slayer from a different background.

But that really brings me to my only real dilemna with this issue. I'm not sure if I can buy how the audience reacted to Harmony stabbing then draining her on television. I dunno, perhaps I'm not cynical enough and given how the world's shaping up to be at the moment, perhaps I really should be. The idea that people would victimise Harmony in this issue and not be freaked out about her killing this slayer didn't sit with me well. Though, the more I look at it the more it does appear the girl could easily be twisted to be the villian and Harmony, acting in self defence. And really I suppose it's not all that surprising that it would get a lot of viewers, it's exactly the kind of thing you'd expect our culture to watch these days. It's the horrible truth of it all, but it is.

I did enjoy the talk show host's opening dialogue about the slayers, that's something I could totally buy. We fear what we do not understand, government organisations like factions of the US military would fear an organisation that builds up a super powered army without any involvement of the UN, it's all something that's very real in today's society. I don't really share King's concern about it becoming all a bit too political and a commentary on today's world, I think it needs to be in issues such as these to make the story believable and work, but at the heart of it, it still very much feels like a story about Buffy with the good vs evil battle formula we're accustomed to. It doesn’t feel any worse to me than the messages given to us in season four.

Overall, a solid issue.

Rowan Hawthorn
09-01-09, 01:57 AM
The Scooby stuff was great in this issue, it was minimal and more show than dialogue but it's surprising how much that can bring to the table. Buffy really has seemed to learn some of her lessons since 'After These Messages' and it's great to see the Scoobies taking a bit of a break, hanging out and watching TV together. And as others have pointed out, I'm very thankful Dawn is being shown as part of the group here. I'd hate to think of her being in a barn somewhere by herself, as it appeared she was being pushed away in her giant form. I really loved seeing the Scoobies so together; though it's very interesting that Kennedy still really isn't part of the group. Even Angel seemed to interact and be a part of the inner circle more so than her, it's the first real time either Willow's partner hasn't been an inclusion. Perhaps because of reasons Willow explained in 'Anywhere But Here' but I thought that after 'Time of Your Life' things might have changed a little.
Time of Your Life seemed to hint that Kennedy is heading up her own squad, so she's probably busy. But a thought just occurred to me: wonder if these next issues (the character-focus stand-alones) are all supposed to be occurring more or less at the same time, like the multi-issue arcs do? Or is there going to be the Real-time spacing in the comic's timeline as well? Just a thought.

vampmogs
09-01-09, 07:21 AM
Time of Your Life seemed to hint that Kennedy is heading up her own squad, so she's probably busy. But a thought just occurred to me: wonder if these next issues (the character-focus stand-alones) are all supposed to be occurring more or less at the same time, like the multi-issue arcs do? Or is there going to be the Real-time spacing in the comic's timeline as well? Just a thought.

Mmm interesting thought, I personally haven't heard anything, perhaps someone else has? I think it's more likely than not that the issues will all take place shortly around the same time as one another. I think each issue will somewhat be dealing with the slayers becoming public enemy as it's still fresh an unfolds.

Spot on about Kennedy though, didn't think of that :)

XavierZane
09-01-09, 07:28 AM
But that really brings me to my only real dilemna with this issue. I'm not sure if I can buy how the audience reacted to Harmony stabbing then draining her on television. I dunno, perhaps I'm not cynical enough and given how the world's shaping up to be at the moment, perhaps I really should be. The idea that people would victimise Harmony in this issue and not be freaked out about her killing this slayer didn't sit with me well. Though, the more I look at it the more it does appear the girl could easily be twisted to be the villian and Harmony, acting in self defence. And really I suppose it's not all that surprising that it would get a lot of viewers, it's exactly the kind of thing you'd expect our culture to watch these days. It's the horrible truth of it all, but it is.


Oh yeah, I had no problem with that at all. This week alone: the Israeli Invasion of Gaza is being broadcast live, with the number of dead children being reported like a box score, the media is eating up the death of John Travolta's sixteen year old son, and there's many a video of someone being murdered available for your viewing pleasure on the internet. There's nothing the American public won't watch. It would be made even easier because the audience of Harmony's show could excuse their rapt interest by rationalizing that Harmony and the Slayer are supernatural creatures; not really human, not really real.

vampmogs
09-01-09, 07:37 AM
Oh yeah, I had no problem with that at all. This week alone: the Israeli Invasion of Gaza is being broadcast live, with the number of dead children being reported like a box score, the media is eating up the death of John Travolta's sixteen year old son, and there's many a video of someone being murdered available for your viewing pleasure on the internet. There's nothing the American public won't watch. It would be made even easier because the audience of Harmony's show could excuse their rapt interest by rationalizing that Harmony and the Slayer are supernatural creatures; not really human, not really real.

I'd rep you for that, if I didn't have to share it around some more ;) Brilliantly said, and great examples used. You've certainly helped me come to terms with it more, and yes I agree completely now, it is very believable such a thing could happen.

The more I think about this and back to the Scoobie’s reaction to seeing it unfold on television, I actually wouldn’t blame Buffy for hating on the human race at this particular moment. I mean it’s wrong and it’s not like everyone sat back and would have watched that with indifference but in her eyes Harmony just got away with murdering a young slayer on television and became famous for it. I can really see the resentment building up there, and it’s one time where I could see where Buffy is coming from. Kind of like her pissed reaction to Voll in ‘The Long Way Home’ during his ignorant spiel about how he supports a genocide of the slayers even though they do help people. Buffy must feel like the world she's risked her life for so many times, hates her guts, and I wouldn't blame her for hating them back a little.

XavierZane
09-01-09, 08:01 AM
Scott Allie confirmed in his Q&A over at Slayalive that it was Harmony biting Andy Dick that made vamps go public. That wasn't my impression upon the initial reading, because it didn't hit me how spread out this issue was. Harmony biting Andy Dick happened awhile ago in the past. Maybe three months, maybe six, maybe more. How long does it take to get an agent, pitch a show, get it greenlit, put up some billboards, and get several episodes produced and on the air? After Harmony's extended prologue we meet Soledad being called, then a week later she meets Andrew and talks to Buffy. An indeterminable time after that she crosses paths with Harmony and her camera crew and tries to kill her. This episode is aired (that night? Are all (are any?) reality shows aired live? I don't watch them...), and enough time passes for it to become a downloading sensation, then we have Harmony's interview with Anderson Cooper.

I'd estimate six to eight months being covered. Any other estimates?

Nina
09-01-09, 09:48 AM
Very good issue, I also have some problems with the easy acception of vampires. It's just weird, but it also shows how scared people are for the slayers. Buffy and her team really need to do something for good publicity, because when a blood sucking vampire is seen as the white hat, it's bad. Still, humanity is too easy with vampires. (on the other side, we saw many people have almost no problems with Angel; the actress in Eternity, Nina, Gwen, memoryless Connor ... all people who were not scared for him.)


It was interesting to see how recruiting a slayer went wrong. I really wanted to see how recruiting happened and was already confused about the amount of girls who were in. I don't think that Buffy's speech went wrong because she has no connection with the slayer-army, but more because it wasn't personal. She gives her regular welcome speech but had no idea to who. And in this case it went wrong because this girl needed to hear something else. And if Buffy knew more about her, she would probably know that. 500 slayers in 10 squads is just not the way to be very personal with every slayer, and this is one of the downsides of that.

Harmony was funny for one issue.

dinamo
09-01-09, 01:16 PM
I think to an audience ignorant of vampires like Darla and Angelus, Harmony probably makes vampires seem relatively non threatening. She's feeding off people who allow it, gave up human blood before that with ease at W&H, has never really had a huge interest in killing and siring. She has always seemed more human since she became a vampire. So to an audience who only knows about vampires through Harmony it did seem as if she was just attacked for no reason. Plus despite the martial arts skilled she aquired at W&H she didn't actually kill the slayer on purpose it was more of an accident as she held the makeshift stake out whilst covering her eyes.

To an audience of people uneducated about the true nature of vampires it probably looked like an unprovoked attack and harmony was just defending herself so I can understand how slayers could become the enemy from that.

However this does create huge problems for the slayers when other nastier vampires come out of the woodwork and normal everyday people think they are just like Harmony, that can't end well. Although maybe it needs to happen for people to realise that slayers are there to protect them and not harm the innocent.

sueworld
09-01-09, 03:35 PM
Well I've read the issue now, and I rather liked it. In fact I found it the most enjoyable, and most 'Buffy like' out of all the issue so far, but then I've always enjoyed Jane's take on this verse and this wasn't an exception. I loved the last shot with overlapping dialog which was very Buffy with it's double edged meaning. :D

I do agree with dinamo's take on the Harmony killing scene and subsequent audience response.

All in all I very much enjoyed this, and found it a breath of fresh air after Joss's incredibly dry Fray arc which quite frankly bored the arse off of me. So I do hope that Jane writes more for this series, as I could do with more of her input in this especially as she's a woman writer, which I think is reflected in her writing both in this and the parent show.

Nina
09-01-09, 03:43 PM
Isn't Jane coming back for 26-30?

Or whatever issues cover the Oz arc.

sueworld
09-01-09, 04:24 PM
Ah, yes, you're right. I'd forgotten about that.

Good 0! :D

Emmie
09-01-09, 04:34 PM
Plus despite the martial arts skilled she aquired at W&H she didn't actually kill the slayer on purpose it was more of an accident as she held the makeshift stake out whilst covering her eyes.

That's debatable. While the impromptu stake was used in self-defense to stab Soledad as she was attacking Harmony (Soledad essentially falls on it), Harmony then goes in for the kill by drinking her. My impression was the Soledad would then die from her blood being drained by a vampire, not the piece of wood in her left shoulder/upper left chest.

If Harmony had just backed away and not gone in to feed, then yes she would have been an even better martyr in this situation.


So I do hope that Jane writes more for this series, as I could do with more of her input in this especially as she's a woman writer, which I think is reflected in her writing both in this and the parent show.

That's an interesting point. How do you see Jane being a woman as affecting this issue and what do you hope for more of in future issues penned by her (besides the obvious humor)?

sueworld
09-01-09, 04:54 PM
Well in a 'mans world' such as the comics industry I think just having a female writer alone makes some kind of difference. In the show it's hard to describe but I found she had a better understanding and sympathy for her characters then some writers, and she genuinely seemed to love what she helped create.

Having someone not afraid to be emotionally invested in their favorite characters and voice that goes a long way with me. Having met the women and talked with her I was very impressed with both her as a person (she's so self effacing It's just not true) and as a writer.

The live commentary she did for 'Pangs' at the Halloween JM event a few years ago really showed how much attention to detail she brings to her writing, and how sympathetic she is of her characters.

Charles
09-01-09, 09:20 PM
well....

This issue seemed to be right on the rails.

As in Joss's MO, "Moment of self-discovery for Buffy, (false) moment of empowerment for (insert any character), now lets turn around and use it to torture Buffy in the name of drama/angst/ratings".

The Scoobie group moments were nice though I still cringe at the idea of Andrew being involved. Speaking of which where's Robin? Isn't he due to show up at some point now?

Killing another slayer? Eh, That's what 5 now off the top of my head? Kind of losing its impact since everyone's doing it seemingly.

For me the only really interesting part of the issue is the timeline/continuity problem that others have commented on. I would say that the events occur within about a week at most I would say. That's about the length of time with a 24 news cycle before something else more interesting comes along.

sueworld
09-01-09, 10:33 PM
Thought this would fit in here nicely.

Jane Espenson Interview about her Season 8 work and this issue in particular..

http://www.newsarama.com/comics/010909-Espenson1.html

Quote:
Jane Espenson: Buffy, Harmony and...Anderson Cooper?

By Matt Brady
posted: 09 January 2009

This week’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer #21 (preview here) saw two returns: the return of Harmony to the “Season Eight” Buffyverse, as well as the return of writer Jane Espenson, one of the original writers on the Buffy television series (not to mention Producer on Battlestar Galactica and writer on Joss Whedon’s new series Dollhouse). But them together, and what did you get? Harmony Bites - an MTV reality series about the self-obsessed vampire. Well, at least a story about Harmony landing a reality series on MTV.

Although, that’s selling the issue a little short – gently, there was a huge change in the issue for the entire series and world that the Slayers live in. We spoke with Espenson about the issue, her goals with Harmony’s story, a new Slayer, and...Anderson Cooper?

Yeah – Anderson Cooper.

Newsarama: Jane, we’ve spoken with Joss a couple of times about the comic series, and he described these single-issue story issues set prior for the coming big arc as a chance for him to bring in his friends to write stories about the stuff that they like. Is that how it worked out with you?

Jane Espenson: Well, I was given the choice of what I wanted to write – either a longer arc, or something more limited, and I had other things going on, and find comic book writing very hard – very challenging and very time consuming, so I asked for a one-shot. But the story was very much picked for me by Joss, but picked with an awareness of what I like to write – it’s exactly what I would’ve requested. Harmony gets a reality show? Holy crap! That’s for me.

So it’s hard to remember that I didn’t pick that story, because it’s so exactly what I would have picked.

NRAMA: You’ve worked with Harmony before, during your time on Buffy, right?

JE: Yes. Harmony was featured a lot in an episode I wrote called “Harsh Light of Day,” where we revealed that Harmony was Spike’s new girlfriend - so yeah, I’ve gotten to write her before, and she’s a favorite of mine.

NRAMA: What’s the appeal of the character for you? Obviously – putting her into a reality show fits perfectly – she’s that type of character that you tend to see on MTV’s reality series, but what’s the appeal to you as a creator to play with her?

JE: Extreme characters are fun, and they’re always fun to write, and Harmony was always an extreme character. As portrayed by Mercedes [McNab], she had this wonderful and unexpected poignancy where you feel for her instinctively, and you realize that a lot what you first perceived as arrogance from her is sheltering some insecurity, and she becomes more and more interesting. So I already saw that in her, and then, the idea of a character who gets their validation from public opinion – that’s wonderful, hilarious, sad...it’s got all those great layers of emotion just built all into it right from the very beginning.

I consciously picked that first image of her trying to get into a nightclub – it’s a goal that’s hard to praise. It’s hard to praise someone who’s desperate wish in that moment is to get into a nightclub. But – it’s also a desperate wish. As much as it’s not the highest calling possible, you start out with a character that wants something – that wants to fit into that Hollywood world, and is a hard enough worker and good enough thinker that she finds a way in. That interests me. It’s like a quest – it’s a modest quest, but quests are always interesting. It’s actually more interesting if it’s a goal that’s a little harder to identify. We’re seeing someone strive to reach what they want, which is always interesting, and the fact that we don’t agree with what they want works against that in a really neat way.

NRAMA: When you said that you only had the time to commit to one issue, and Joss then had the story for you, how did that come across? Was it more of a throwback to your shared TV days, where the ideas came top-down-ish?

JE: It was a little like the TV show in that you were often assigned a story that way: “this week you’re writing the next one, and it’s about this.” That was often how the shows were assigned, but the shows was broken as a group, with Joss leading it. So often, every important beat in the story came from Joss’ brain and was dictated specifically, which is what gave that show that beautiful uniformity of vision.

But the comics – I was given a lot more individual freedom. I was told: Harmony has a reality show, the point of this issue is that we see public opinion about Slayers and demons turn. It’s the start of a turn where humanity no longer sees Slayers as necessarily the good guys and vampires as the bad guys. That’s pretty much what I was given, and I was very much given the freedom to come up with all the details to come up with the details of Harmony’s life, her show, how it would all lay out – very much on my own. I think if I had done stuff Joss didn’t like, he would have stepped in and given more explicit notes, but he really never did – this was very much out of my head, other than the main concept, and I’m really, really proud of it because of that. There are a lot of choices in there that I got to make on my own that I think turned out well.

NRAMA: Was the new Slayer in the issue your creation as well?

JE: Yes – the idea of picking a specific Slayer and her background, that was form me.

NRAMA: I thought it was interesting to see in the story that you were “selling” the idea that the Slayers weren’t necessarily the good guys, because from the new Slayer’s point of view, this group wanted to control her in much the same way her former gang did...

JE: Yeah – I like when both sides have a valid case. It’s always struck me that the point of slaying is to even the balance between the dark and the light – it’s not to wipe out the darkness. So you already – given that, you have justification for some ambivalence about the role of the Slayers. Then if you start going into “how dark is the darkness?” – I was happy to bring back Clem, because he was a demon that we met before, and we know that he’s not evil, although you could probably make a case that the eating kittens thing is a little bit evil. Maybe that’s all he digests though...but how evil is evil? Does it mean that you’re evil if you just genetically happen to be a demon? That’s never been established as true – there are demons who are not so evil. And this organization that’s taken it upon themselves to decide what’s best for humanity...

You can see how a case could be made that the Slayer organization is shady and shadowy and suspect, and could easily be up to no good. And I like that – it’s not that humanity’s being duped. There are arguments to be had.

NRAMA: There are arguments to be had, but at the same time, and I’m guessing that this came from you in the story as well, that you did get a couple of pointed commentaries about the media in there, about how, on issues such as this, the media can manipulate us, and raise questions when there may not be any, ultimately. Especially, you showed Anderson Cooper leading the questioning charge against the Slayers...I’m not sure if he’s going to be as big a fan of yours anymore...

JE: Well, I don’t have any reason to think that Anderson Cooper is currently a fan of mine...[laughs]

NRAMA: Hey, he has watched Living Lohan...

JE: Yeah – he is a fan of reality TV, so I would like to think that someone might point this issue out to him. [laughs] I think he might enjoy Harmony Bites, but I have no reason to think that he’s a fan of my shows, but who knows...many people are.

But I actually picked Anderson Cooper because he is believable. He is credible, and if you hear Anderson Coooper saying, “What is this shadowy organization?” it’s not Rush Limbaugh saying it. Anderson Cooper is someone we tend to think of as credible and reasonable. So I picked him as a sign of reasonability, not of gullibility. I want us to say, “Oh, smart people are saying, ‘What’s up with these Slayers?’” So Anderson, you can take it as a compliment.

NRAMA: Given that you work with Joss a lot, and have to get set up on this comic – in your view, how big was this issue in terms of the larger storyline? It did have the feel of one of those old Buffy episodes where everything you know was turned on its ear, and now, the good guys are wearing the black hats and the bad guys are wearing the white hats...

JE: Yeah – well, the second part to the story of how I told Joss how I only wanted to write a one-issue story was that he called me later on and asked me to write this five issue Oz arc and I agreed to do that, and have turned in the first of the five issues. So I do know where things are going, primarily because I ended up getting more involved in it than I had intended to, and I’m really glad I did.

So I know what’s coming up, and I know how big this development will turn out to be in the scheme of things. Yes, it was pivotal, and I like how, as you said, it’s deceptively pivotal. It plays like it’s not a big deal, and then you realize, “Oh wait – that’s kind of huge. That’s all of humanity starting to shift around and say, ‘Wait – who have we been rooting for?’” I really like that it was not done with a big thunderclap, but the way life really turns – one day, say a given President has a really high approval ratings, and then, you hit critical mass and public opinion almost overnight, turns, and the world changes. It happens so subtly and quickly, and you tend not to take it seriously, but all of a sudden, you notice that the world has turned.

NRAMA: The story does leave you with the feeling, after you close the issue of “Wait a minute...what just happened here?”

JE: I’m so glad you think it played that way. That was totally what I wanted – I wanted the feel of, “It’s fun and games, it’s fun and games...wait a minute...”

NRAMA: Finally – you said that you’re writing the Oz arc coming up, but still, you’re involved with so many comic book-able properties, with your time at Battlestar Galactica and now back with Joss at Dollhouse...beyond this Buffy arc have you thought about doing more? Perhaps in Dollhouse and explore some new directions?

JE: I’m very busy with all of the other stuff, but if Joss decides that there are comic books to be done in the Dollhouse world, sign me up. The experience of writing the Harmony comic followed up by the first of the Oz ones that I’ve done has really own me over to comic books in a way that my earlier experience didn’t. I’m finally gaining a little bit of confidence in the medium. It’s so hard to do, and it’s so much like directing, and I always thought that it didn’t play to my strengths – that I’m much more about eh words and the dialogue. Comic books – boy, I love ‘em, but it’s hard to get a lot of dialogue in there. You just don’t have that much room - literally.

I always felt very hindered by that, and I’m finally feeling like I’m getting the rhythm of that and an instinct of how much fits on a page, and I’m trying to figure out how to fit physical humor on to the page, which I was always really hesitant to do – I was always unsure what could be captured in a drawing and what couldn’t. A simple gesture that you know would be comedic say - it’s a gesture...you start to think that’s not something that would be captured in the “snapshot” of a panel...or would it? I’m starting to feel a lot more like I know what I’m doing, so I would jump into any comic book project that Joss wanted me to tackle, I’m there. I hope I get to do more comics – I’m having fun with it in a way that I haven’t before.

Charles
09-01-09, 10:43 PM
:roll::roll::roll::roll:

@ Anderson Cooper being credible.

Only Keith Olberman would have been funnier.

vampmogs
10-01-09, 12:22 AM
I was actually a little worried about Jane to be honest. I loved her episodes in the televised seasons but I was unsure if she'd be able to translate that into the comic medium. I'd seen some of her other comics, such as 'Reunion' and I got to admit, I wasn't very impressed at all, I couldn't believe she wrote it. But she did pull it off. I don’t think she’s the best writer we’ve had, I think there was still some moments I had to figure out what was going on, but she was in no way bad or anything like that, she was very good indeed, just not my favourite so far.

stormwreath
10-01-09, 12:20 PM
AS Jane says herself in the interview, she prefers writing dialogue for live-action shows and has a few problems condensing it down to the size that fits into a comic. There were a few times in this issue that I thought it was unclear exactly what was happening... but the underlying ideas and the different layers were great.

I don't know if this was Jane, Georges or both, but I also loved all the little easter eggs in the background that weren't referred to by the dialogue or narration - like the choice of tattoos in the parlour, or Xander and Willow braiding Dawn's tail.

Rowan Hawthorn
10-01-09, 02:48 PM
I don't know if this was Jane, Georges or both, but I also loved all the little easter eggs in the background that weren't referred to by the dialogue or narration - like the choice of tattoos in the parlour, or Xander and Willow braiding Dawn's tail.

Speaking of which, the amorous unicorn was hilarious - and does anyone else suspect that Willow may have accidentally called it up? Looked like she was trying a spell to undo Dawn's horseness.

daryth
11-01-09, 06:25 AM
I enjoyed this issue, although I think I expected more comedy from Jane. Still, Harmony was hilarious, and the only thing I really disliked was her likeness (which isn't that big of a deal) and the fact Buffy and co. only had about 6 panels, total. But, I think the next 4 issues will make up for it, and that we will (hopefully!) find out who twilight is in issue 25.

Btw, did anyone notice how when Buffy is first speaking to Soledad on the phone, in between the crappy connection, she says "evil candy?"
I love that Jane referenced one of her best episodes (and her first!) so its come full circle. Maybe thats why Soledad got over joining the Slayers, because of the EVIL CANDY!! haha. Or maybe she's afraid of snakes. (Richard Wilkins, anyone?)

vampmogs
11-01-09, 07:58 AM
I don't know if this was Jane, Georges or both, but I also loved all the little easter eggs in the background that weren't referred to by the dialogue or narration - like the choice of tattoos in the parlour, or Xander and Willow braiding Dawn's tail.

I believe Jeanty said in his recent interview that he included in the different tattoos by himself and that it wasn't on the script, which is very cool and a great touch. :) We had Faith and Angel's tatoo, as well as the "B" sign, which is just cool.

NileQT87
11-01-09, 11:53 AM
He forgot Eyghon! But it was cool seeing Faith's and Angel's.

And yeah. I think those of us who lean right got an extra snicker at which news channel is supporting Harmony. Best handout to us since the "undead Americans" line, Spike's Julius Caesar speech and Jasmine's "world peace" arc.

Overall, I enjoyed the issue (and the mini-issue!) a lot. First off, Andy Dick is dead! Second, amorous unicorn! Thirdly, I'm so glad they showed a Slayer who is turned off by Buffy's inclusivity speech.

It definitely seems like they are going there with showing Buffy being in the wrong with her decision in season 7--or at least deep in the gray area.

Twilight is actually the closest villain I think in the Jossverse that I've come close to rooting for, because he's almost being written to the point where you can't help but agree with him about what Buffy's doing (although I also disagree with wanting to kick magic and demons out--I have a hard time reconciling that with what we've seen and come to love on AtS--too many characters over there qualify).

Probably the best move season 8 made was knocking Buffy off her feminist girl power high-horse and bringing it down to the reality of her being against humanity--and of course, that she's kind of forgetting about trying to be a human being. I'm so glad they went with that theme because it was something that was troubling the character for several seasons (since Buffy vs. Dracula, in fact--the start of Buffy's loss-of-humanity arc).

Emmie
11-01-09, 11:02 PM
I believe Jeanty said in his recent interview that he included in the different tattoos by himself and that it wasn't on the script, which is very cool and a great touch. :) We had Faith and Angel's tatoo, as well as the "B" sign, which is just cool.

Which is really funny and a bit sad considering that Angel's tattoo is gone in After the Fall.

Wolfie Gilmore
12-01-09, 12:38 PM
This issue isn't one of the best, but it was enjoyable. What let it down, for me, was that we hardly got to see any of the Scooby reactions to vampires being made public. They were (in a blanket, somewhat unfair summary) more or less a Greek chorus of "OMG, Harmony!"

I think this issue would've been much better if it'd been Buffy or Xander or Willow-centric, with Harmony as antagonist rather than protagonist. While I love Harmony, and her stuff was funny, given the limited space in each issue, and the bombshell that this one drops, I would've liked to get more inside the heads of the people affected by this.

I liked the refusenik slayer story - Buffy misjuging her audience, assuming too much, literally phoning it in - but the gang element felt a bit too...worthy, maybe? A little like 21 Jump Street - dealing with Big Important Social Issues For Teens. I'm not sure the Buffyverse deals with those things very well. I'm getting flashbacks to Beauty and the Beasts or the awful homeless kids montage from Anne. I'd rather watch The Wire for gritty social realism - Buffy's better at larger-than life or metaphorical explorations of these things, imo.

However, the idea that Buffy is struggling to recruit girls, that the spell didn't in any way mean the slayers were going to choose her team, is an intresting one. How easy it is to become The Man (a very short, annoying, Man) - to dole out platitudes when someone needs a real connection, to be distant from the people you're ostensibly trying to help, to control them in ways that suit you, but don't suit them. To become like the Council, in the end, perhaps? Or to risk becoming something worse?

These are dangerous times for Buffy and co. Not just because the hunter's becoming the hunted - but, as much of the discussion of this season has explored, because Buffy risks becoming what Team Twilight accuse her of: a danger.

I don't think that Buffy has gone dark, I don't think she's a wacky dictator. I just think she's in a position where things could go either way, and where she hasn't quite realised the enormity of her situation.

While more focus on the Scoobies was something I (and most people) wanted after season 7, I think Buffy's personal insularity proves a danger to a degree. She longs for connection to others, for intimacy - but that can make her inward looking and parochial. I think what Buffy should be seeking now isn't connection, it isn't being more touchy-feely, but actually asking herself: "what are we doing? What is the mission now? How can I help these girls whose lives I've radically altered to fulfil their potential? How can I guide them?"

I don't think a failure to connect is really the problem for Buffy. It's seeing connection as the most important thing, at the expense of genuinely empowering others to be powerful individuals and powerful teams. To work together, you don't have to mind-meld, you just have to have shared principles and be fighting together to create something.

Xander gave some good advice about that - that perhaps the connection is what she has to sacrifice in order to lead? I don't mean that she can't have satisfying personal relationships, but by trying to view the slayers as extensions of herself, she's not doing them or herself justice.

The media parodies in the issue weren't terribly successful, imo, as they're about five years out of date. It's not news that reality TV is manipulative and vacuous, and that celebrity turns us into sheep. The positioning of slayers as the enemy was good, but I just felt this was old ground in the wider context of satire and sci fi.

Perhaps it just wasn't subtle enough? I think they should've got Chris Morris and Stephen Colbert to help write this one. :) But I think the main problem lay in the fact that Buffy and co were more or less spectators. If Buffy had been jumped by the paps and forced to answer questions, that would've felt punchier (perhaps literally - I can imagine Buffy taking a swing at a photogrpher who was getting too cheeky) somehow.

So perhaps the problem isn't so much the treatment of the subject matter, as the treatment of the subjects - making this into the harmony show made it feel more like a spin-off and didn't feel dynamic enough, as we just have the Scoobies watching as we're watching, and not becoming part of the reality tv themselves.

I think I would've liked to see Twilight involved in the outing of the slayers somehow - I want the villain to have a comprehensive plan, that will hold together in the end. How his smaller forays fit into the elimination of magic is something I want to see falling into place. But if he can just use it to his advantage, that would be good also.

This outing of the slayers, following hot on the heels of all the time travel malarky does all feel a little hectic - as if new elements and questions are being introduced, Lost-style, without the time to explore the existing tensions and questions. But hopefully this new wrinkle can be used to explore the big questions and the emotionally significant questions of the season. Which, as they stand for me now, are:

- How is Buffy dealing with her changed world, and has she changed the world for the better?

- What does it mean to be one slayer among many, and are these powers a gift or a curse for the newbies?

- How and why does Twilight want to end magic? And is he just a little bit justified in his desires?

- What will happen to the old gang and the old guard in this new world: what will happen with Buffy and Giles? What about Willow, given Buffy's future-slaying of her? What about Faith?

- Also, Dawn: what's up with that? How will that be resolved? Where the fck is Kenny? Was it actually him that did it? Will she play a role in the endgame?

- Is Riley actually on Twilight's side or is Buffy in on it/is he working undercover/double agenting?

blue_peroxide
18-01-09, 02:46 PM
Is Riley actually on Twilight's side or is Buffy in on it/is he working undercover/double agenting?
I actually really think he's working as double agent for Buffy. For some reason I just cant picture Riley going "I tell her I’m her inside man. Her ever faithful. She’s so stuck in the past, man… when we had our secret meeting in New York… she even got dressed up." It doesn't seem very Riley-ish. (Or maybe he's under some kind of spell?) Anyhow, the idea of Riley as Twilight's lackey isn't very good anyway. I would have bought it if Riley himself was Twilight, but lackey... nah, don't think so.

Wolfie Gilmore
19-01-09, 09:45 AM
I actually really think he's working as double agent for Buffy. For some reason I just cant picture Riley going "I tell her I’m her inside man. Her ever faithful. She’s so stuck in the past, man… when we had our secret meeting in New York… she even got dressed up." It doesn't seem very Riley-ish. (Or maybe he's under some kind of spell?) Anyhow, the idea of Riley as Twilight's lackey isn't very good anyway. I would have bought it if Riley himself was Twilight, but lackey... nah, don't think so.

Yeah, I think it's most likely that he's a double agent. I think I'd be quite disappointed with the other thing, unless the reveal of why he's working with Twilight is really nifty. But if its, "Sam was ded by a demon magicks lol woes!" then I'll be less impressed.

Buffyfest
19-01-09, 07:10 PM
Hi everyone! I wanted to let you know that we just had an interview with Mercedes McNab. She was so great in the interview and we wanted to share with our fellow Buffy fans.

http://buffyfest.blogspot.com/2009/01/mercedes-bites-exclusive-interview-with.html

Thanks,
Michelle
buffyfest.blogspot.com

Koos
22-01-09, 10:59 PM
This issue was better than I had expected. Amazing, Harmony in a pivotal role.
I had some trouble with people accepting a murder on TV. But there's a core of truthness in it. I wonder what the effects of this will be on the Slayer-group.