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Once is Never Enough...Which is Why We do Re-Reads!

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  • Once is Never Enough...Which is Why We do Re-Reads!

    I just did a grand re-read of the entire series, and wrote down the thoughts, impressions, questions, and theories that resulted. For anyone who hasn't, re-reading (even without the note-taking) is a vital part of appreciating the story as a whole and it also just plain fun. I invite everyone to do so, and to post any thoughts, etc. We'll all see things differently and focus on different things. What jumped out most at me were shipping concerns (Buffy/Xander) and that which concerns Andrew because that's just what I'm most interested in. Others will see deep threads that I entirely missed.

    Most of what I wrote has to do with the first arc, both because the subtle threads in that arc are easier to distinguish because they're finally coming to a head in present comics and also because the initial arc of a maxi-series like this can sometimes be a microcosm of what will span the entire run. After the first five issues my thoughts get more shallow and taper off, both because the arcs start being more about entertainment and less about introduction and because we have less hindsight for whatever subtle clues were laid therein.

    My structure is mostly in the vein of not. Stream of consciousness, inane comments, personal quirks, crazy rants, crazy shippiness, etc. If it frustrates and angers, throw soft things please!

  • #2
    The Great Goddamn Re-Read

    The Long Way Home

    Issue 1:
    - Ah, internal monologue, how I miss thee. How I wish Joss wasn’t so frightened of revealing what his characters were thinking.
    - Medusa, Queen of the Inhumans…sorry, Leah
    Rowena
    Satsu
    Renee
    - 2nd Faux!Buffy is ‘supposedly’ dating the Immortal. Is this part of the story for the public but not actually true, or is it just something she’s heard but doesn’t know first-hand?
    - “Their first victims”? How green are these girls? If this is their first real mission then Buffy giving Tokyo to Satsu is even more suspect. If it’s not, then what kind of missions have they been doing?
    - I wonder if this incident with the demons and the force field will mean something more later? What were they doing? Who were the demons, especially since Giles conferences with them later on?
    - Xander takes issue with being called a Watcher. Whyfor?
    - Buffy and Dawn’s sibling rivalry is starting to resurface in a big way. Now that Dawn’s an adult and Buffy doesn’t have to fulfill the ‘Mother’ role quite so much they can start acting more like sisters again. A change in the dynamic, of course, is that they’re both adult women now and so they have new things to fight over. I think this will lead to… --> Bander v. Dander.

    Issue 2:
    - Giles appears to have his own Slayers…is he under Buffy? In NFFY he remarks that for all intents he is the Watcher’s Council…is this supposed to be read in opposition w/Buffy and Xander’s organization, especially since in his only other scene he laments the loss/transformation of the WC and the status quo. Does this connect with Xander’s dislike of being called Watcher?
    - I find it awesome that Andrew’s teaching methods are feature alongside Buffy’s and Giles’.
    - First appearance of Simone sets everything up on her front.
    - Dawn/Xander foundation laid down here; interesting how little was thought of Xander/Bathing!Dawn scene at the time, but this scene shows a pretty huge change in the paradigm of their relationship already.
    - Buffy’s Dream
    *What does it mean, if anything? <Buffy struggles with her attraction for X>
    *The dialogue between Buffy and Xander, the fact that in her dream she knows about Xander’s conversation with Dawn, makes me think that up to ‘Just tell me’ is a word-for-word of a conversation they had just prior to Buffy going to sleep. In real life she used tiredness as an excuse to exit the conversation, now her dream is going over what she wishes she could’ve said and why she’s afraid to make that move. Then ‘Oh balls’ is the last line of her natural dream before it’s hijacked.
    * “We both know…horrible mistake” makes me think that they’ve slept together in the past, then decided to call it off to avoid complications. Buff thinks Xander is having an easier time of returning to normal than she is, wonders why that is, why they made that silly decision to remain friends in the first place, etc.
    *”I’m afraid of the dark”; since this line has been revisited it has a deeper meaning I think. Afraid of herself? Afraid of her feelings for Spike( who I connect with the phrase ‘the dark)? No idea, but worth discussion.
    *Fear of Dark and Fear of Falling both dealt with here, both have been revisited. What do they mean? My first reaction when I hear “fear of falling” is falling in love.
    - I love Amy, have since ‘The Witch’, love that she’s been given her power back, love that she’s so badass, and love that she’s hooked up with Warren, who I also love.
    - Kiss of True Love re: Xander’s reaction to it. It’s very interesting that Xander doesn’t think he’s qualified, especially once it’s revealed that it can be unrequited love. I mean, c’mon, he won’t even give it a try? There’s absolutely no latent feelings? Hints at a pretty huge shift in dynamic. Hints at the idea that he’s considered himself completely over Buffy for quite some time. If they did sleep together, probably while in mourning and before he ended up at Dracula’s, Xander might have seen it as a betrayal of Anya.
    - Hinting at Spike at the end also highlights the lack of Spike anywhere else. His influence is felt all over the place, but he’s nowhere in her mind. Denial, anyone?
    - Xander’s at a loss, has no orders to give, is bailed out by Willow. This might show up again later on, unfortunately.
    - Satsu and Xander actually seem to have a close relationship. She’s the only one directly linked to Xander from what I can tell, and in the conclusion she and Xander have devised a plan of attack against Amy. Xander even has a nickname for her…Pina Colada. This combined with the fact that Xander admits to her starring in at least one of his fantasies makes me think that Satsu might be Xander’s soon to happen hook up! I kid, I kid…kinda.

    Issue 3:
    - God I wish Ethan were still alive.
    - Find it interesting that Buffy feels the need to justify her threesome dream and seems embarrassed by it.
    - Dreamspace…will this come up again? I hope so. ‘Tis interesting. I can see a return of Ethan and a return of Dreamspace if Ethan is somehow surviving in a disembodied form in the Dreamspace.
    - Amy v. Willow = the awesome
    - Wonderful example of the subtlety of a comic series: Buffy ‘always’ has the dream/nightmare of returning to high school, asks for it to be deleted, and is soon going to be living it for real.
    - At the first real resistance Willow flashes Dark…and we’re surprised by her actions of late?
    - “It’s been a long year, and you’ve been where?” The dynamic between B/X/W from word one is off, and while it’s easy to fall back into old roles it doesn’t mean they’re still really there. A Scooby Schism has been hinted at since that line from Xander to Willow. Also the ‘Long Year’ needs to be touched on (and might have been already).
    - Think Xander is calling all the squads? Interesting that Andrew knows about the symbol already.
    - Lots and lots of avoidance from Willow about certain issues and people.

    Issue 4:
    - “last two words of my human life” pretty much sums up the argument against the ‘retcon’
    - Buffy was considering bringing Xander? There’s faith, but then there’s stupid. But still it’s pretty awesome, because hints at just how much their relationship has changed.
    - The land of the Elementals; at least Willow hasn’t only been dealing with Saga Vasuki. Who are these five beings? Are they related to Saga in any way? Are they just aspects of Willow?
    - “Humans go for the wound unless they get stupid.” “We tried to be nice but some of these men are dying.” Why were we surprised, exactly, with Buffy’s ‘Big Picture’ thing again?
    - “A part of her is with me.”  This seems like an important statement about the current relationship between Buffy and Willow, because it looks to be literally true. That’s some interesting mojo right there, and suddenly puts all of Buffy’s resentment towards Willow concerning Dawn, her suspicion of her in Anywhere But Here, and the phrase “closest, most unexpected” in a new light.

    Issue 5:
    -Yamanh and his underground demon army are pretty big noise. It’s interesting that it hasn’t gotten any mention by the above ground peeps.
    - Who is that woman with Giles and who talks to Chain? She seems pretty high-up, but this is her only appearance. She actually seems, at that point, to be in charge of the squad instead of Rona. She’s also the only thing that makes me think that there’s an authority above Buffy and Xander, or that there was…The more I think about it the more likely it seems that Buffy and Xander are the head of Operation 2.0 and that they left because of something pretty huge. This is our only look so far this season of the year and a half between Chosen and Issue #1, so I think we need to pay close attention to it.
    - Slayer Commercial – goddamn I love Andrew.
    -Simone comes off as charismatic, confident, and capable. She takes down a vampire with a sword armed only with a stake and with five other vamps in the fracas. She and Chain!Buffy are the stars of that particular brawl – Simone gains the respect of her peers and Chain catches the eye of her superiors, leading to her selection as a Faux. Or it could be because she got a neck wound.
    - How independently does Rona act in her choosing and training of Chain?
    -Um…is it supposed to be a coincidence that as soon as Chain is activated she gets hit by a semi?
    - The Underground
    *Faerie
    *Slimefolk
    *Ravenclan
    *’thank thing that looks like a leaf-blower’
    *Yamanh and his clan
    *Yamanh’s various allies
    Last edited by XavierZane; 30-09-08, 09:43 PM.

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    • #3
      No Future For You

      - mother was a drunk, sometimes read Faith Dr. Suess
      - she hasn’t seen Giles at all since Sunnydale? Seems odd…
      - Is it possible that Giles came to Faith because he was afraid of Buffy’s reaction to the idea of killing a Slayer for any reason?
      - Interesting that it’s Faith who’s dying to get out of the Life and Buffy who lives and breathes being a Slayer. Quite the reversal
      - Xander/Buffy Bag taunting scene…it may just be me, but Buffy looks really appreciative of her view.
      - I can’t make heads or tails of Buffy’s dream, but it’s ominous as hell
      - I’m totally still picking up on a Faith/Giles vibe. If they show up in their standalone totally making out I would jump for joy.
      - “The first of the last”  Roden’s Twilight book – What’s in it? Is it ancient, as GiGi claims, or futuristic?
      - The fact that Buffy’s so obviously ready to kill GiGi makes Giles decision to keep Buffy out of the loop even more confusing and foreboding.
      - God, poor GiGi. Most tragic character this season.
      - Jesus, Buffy, get over yourself. You’ve basically got a cult (courtesy of Willow), Xander is STILL bending over backwards for you and supporting you in everything, and you’re still with the “oh, I’m so alone!”
      - Why so important to remove Giles and Faith? It’s one of the only incidents we know was specifically orchestrated by Twilight.

      Anywhere But Here

      - Can I just say: Wow, Buffy is hot!!!
      - Biggest question of the issue: When, exactly, does this take place? The Giles line throws everything off balance.
      - Actually, the biggest question is: Who’s the Prince?
      - If issue #10 is big for Willow/Buffy, I wonder if issue 20 will focus on Xander/Buffy? Or Giles/Buffy. Or Dawn/Buffy.
      - Tichajt, one of the demon elite. I love the mythology building.
      - The Death of Magic. Willow is not pleased.
      - “It’s only money” is true. The idea that money is some glorious thing that has to be respected shows just how skewed most people are on the topic. It’s alright to hack into sealed files, steal from the army, to blow up a school, to destroy a military base, to steal cars for getaways, to destroy an entire town even, but taking some money is beyond the pale. When this issue came out I heard a very impassioned argument as to why Buffy was no longer a hero for robbing the bank and why it most definitely wasn’t a ‘victimless crime’ because it would cause people’s insurance payments to go up! Throughout the series we’ve seen the things that Buffy’s mission trumps increase in scale. In the early seasons it started with normal parent/child relations, family values, then moved on to school rules, then town/community rules, then higher education and the government, and finally God/gods themselves. Now Joss is writing Buffy’s mission as above two sacred cows that most people rarely think about objectively: their national security/nationalism and their economic system. The idea that Buffy would go to war with America/humanity or, worse, not respect private property and our assets, is throwing people for a loop, both those in the ‘verse and the readers. But, while Joss may have Buffy soften her stance a bit and tone down the Us vs. Them mentality, I doubt at any point will the taking of money or the fighting the government ever be apologized for or cast as something she should not have done or would not do again. Buffy is here to save humanity, and, from what I can tell, Joss believes that all human institutions are trumped by Buffy’s mission to do so.
      - What more has Dawnie to tell? And did she tell Xander anything more than what is show to us?
      - Who’s the betrayer? Actually, that’s the biggest question of this issue.

      A Beautiful Sunset

      - Simone, charismatic and driven Simone, could only persuade one other of Andrew’s Slayers to abandon ship. And people wonder why Buffy didn’t get angry at Andrew.
      - Every issue should have an intimate, soft-lit scene between Buffy and Xander where she defends Andrew. Just sayin’…
      - Ugh…my least favorite thing about Buffy is her self-pitying and her ‘lonliness’. I hate how little she values her friends and family.
      - Who is Twilight? My number one pick is Hank Summers.

      Wolves at the Gate

      - No problem with Buffy/Satsu, never had one. If anything it’s a step in the right direction. Buffy isn’t gay, or even bi really, Satsu’s just a hot friend who wants to **** her. What’s been Buffy’s main reason for not doing anything with Xander? “You don’t do that sort of thing with friends. I think it ruins friendships.” It looks like she’s gotten past that.
      - Andrew! And Willow! I love it!
      - How has it not hit Willow (or Buffy) that Kumiko and her droogs know about the Scythe and the spell through Saga Vasuki?
      - The Antique/Andrew thing is still fishy. They go out of their way to include Antique in Season 8, the only outside canon other than Fray that they do such a thing with. But Antique isn’t really a story. It’s a snapshot ending of a much longer tale. How did Xander get to Dracula’s castle? Why? How long was he really there? Why did Buffy take so long to rescue him? All those questions are purposefully left up in the air in Antique and in Season 8. The only attempt to answer them comes from Andrew, who spins a vague bit of nothing. What further obfuscates things is that, in my opinion, Andrew’s story was set up knowing that he would be disbelieved. Everybody and their dog (myself included and I’m a huge Andrew fan) decried Andrew a liar after Wolves, but I think that was the point. So we still have burning questions about Xander’s year and a half and all we know is what didn’t happen i.e. we know that Andrew’s version of the story (and maybe even Antique itself, since that story is put in Andrew’s mouth) is not true, maybe even down to when Xander left for Dracula’s. I’ve got no answers; just a lot of questions and even more confusion, which I think is the state that the writers want us in concerning Xander’s past between Chosen and Issue 1. On the plus side, unless I’m just reading far far far too much into this, I think it indicates a pretty big storyline in store for Xander in the second half of the season.
      - Is there significances to the word ‘Ascension’? Is Willow trying to become a Goddess? Does that explain Kennedy’s behavior in this last issue – maybe Kennedy is in actual fact a disciple of Willow’s?
      - Is Dawn’s moment of confidence and resolve in rallying the Slayers impetus for the beginning of her second transformation?
      - “One of the Ancient relics, bound with demon spirit – like your scythe.” – important? What other such items are there, and how powerful are they?
      - Drac is such a badass.

      Time Of Your Life

      - “I’m dealing with it. By myself.” Is this good or bad? I have a pet theory that I’m nursing that the lapses of Willow and Buffy have resulted from the fact that Xander has, for the first time since they all came together, started focusing on himself and his problems first and is dealing with them without asking for help. They’ve lost their heart, so maybe they’ve lost their way.
      - Karl Moline’s Leah is awesome. Much better than usual. Same with his Kennedy.
      - I love Warren. He may be working with him and Twilight might be awesomely powerful, but Warren doesn’t care. “Look, Copperhead,”
      - Ah, I wish Xander had been able to come to New York. He totally would’ve appreciated Buffy’s antics. He would’ve been up there with her, instead of sitting in the back acting all cool.
      - “I’m undercover!”  To borrow a line, “You’re not under much.” It begs the question of what she’s doing? She says she’s meeting someone, then says she’s undercover. That seemingly eliminates meeting someone for funding or even meeting an old friend…
      - Buffy-->Fray-->Firefly. The word ‘rutting’ has shown up a couple of times, and Joss seems to be actively shaping the Frayspeak to more resemble the English speech of Firefly. We might be seeing an official grand unification!
      - This arc is big on villain duos:
      o Warren and Twilight
      o Harth and FDW
      o Harth v. Gunther
      o FDW and Buffy?
      o Willow and Saga Vasuki?
      -“ turn offs include smokers, insensitive men, and vampires” vs. “most important men in both of your lives are vampires” --- We’ve got two conflicting versions of what’s important to Buffy here…which one do you think is accurate?
      Last edited by XavierZane; 30-09-08, 01:22 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by XavierZane View Post
        The Great Goddamn Re-Read

        A Long Way Home

        Issue 2:
        - Satsu and Xander actually seem to have a close relationship. She’s the only one directly linked to Xander from what I can tell, and in the conclusion she and Xander have devised a plan of attack against Amy. Xander even has a nickname for her…Pina Colada.
        Don't really have time for anything else this morning, but this just caught my eye. "Pina Colada": A drink made with coconut and...? "Pineapple" - a long-time nickname for a US Army hand grenade, which used to vaguely resemble one. So, Xander's "Pina Colada" is a code word for the move, not a nickname for Satsu.
        "Occasionally, I'm callous and strange..." - Willow Rosenberg, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

        Comment


        • #5
          I considered that something like that might be the case. Makes me sad to have it confirmed.

          Comment


          • #6
            Interesting thread, and some great thoughts on the storyline.

            Originally posted by XavierZane View Post
            If this is their first real mission then Buffy giving Tokyo to Satsu is even more suspect. If it's not, then what kind of missions have they been doing?
            Well, I assume they've been out killing demons and vampires already, but this is the first time they've been confronted face-to-face with the actual corpses of innocent humans.

            And Satsu has exactly as much experience as every other living Slayer except Buffy herself and Faith. Given that she was also a member of Buffy's crack HQ squad, chosen for the most dangerous missions and training directly under Buffy herself (innuendo not intended) it's fair to say she's more qualified for the job than most other Slayers.


            I wonder if this incident with the demons and the force field will mean something more later? What were they doing? Who were the demons, especially since Giles conferences with them later on?

            Personally I'm not expecting to see them back again. The scene with Giles more or less explains it: the soldiers were members of Twilight's organisation who were set up, ordered to summon some demons which then killed them. This then provoked Buffy to launch an attack on the ruined church, allowing Twilight to spy on her from above and learn more about her operations and methods of working.

            It also helped to stir up enmity between the Slayers and this clan of demons, which also fits Twilight's modus operandi as shown in 'No Future For You': divide and rule.


            Giles appears to have his own Slayers?is he under Buffy? In NFFY he remarks that for all intents he is the Watcher's Council?is this supposed to be read in opposition w/Buffy and Xander's organization, especially since in his only other scene he laments the loss/transformation of the WC and the status quo. Does this connect with Xander's dislike of being called Watcher?

            Interesting speculation; I don't think we know the answer yet. I don't think Giles is supposed to be in opposition to Buffy, although there are hints they're not on good terms even before NFFY. But I do think Giles might see himself as continuing the old traditions of the Watchers' Council even as Buffy sees herself as creating something new and different, and that has brought them into conflict before.


            *Fear of Dark and Fear of Falling both dealt with here, both have been revisited. What do they mean? My first reaction when I hear "fear of falling" is falling in love.

            Really? My first reaction is fear of falling into darkness and evil, of the Fall in the Bible (or Milton). That seems to fit Buffy's story arc even better as it develops...


            Satsu and Xander actually seem to have a close relationship. She's the only one directly linked to Xander from what I can tell, and in the conclusion she and Xander have devised a plan of attack against Amy.

            I see it less as a relationship in the romantic or even friendship sense, and more that she's one of the elite squad and so gets personal training attention from Xander.

            Xander seems to be shying away form any close involvement with the Slayers - he has to be pushed into dating Renee by Buffy, for example.


            Um?is it supposed to be a coincidence that as soon as Chain is activated she gets hit by a semi?

            Well, it is fairly symbolic. There's also another hint that the Slayer Spirit Chooses women who are in the best position to avert some great threat or danger.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by stormwreath View Post
              Personally I'm not expecting to see them back again. The scene with Giles more or less explains it: the soldiers were members of Twilight's organisation who were set up, ordered to summon some demons which then killed them. This then provoked Buffy to launch an attack on the ruined church, allowing Twilight to spy on her from above and learn more about her operations and methods of working.

              It also helped to stir up enmity between the Slayers and this clan of demons, which also fits Twilight's modus operandi as shown in 'No Future For You': divide and rule.
              Yes, but why these demons? Who are they, and why do they have a shaky truce with the WC/Slayers? The fact that there is such a prior relationship, especially when we've seen our guys take out an underground army and an army of vampires this season, suggests they are pretty important and that they were chosen specifically by Twilight. That you mention NFFY is pertinent because this and NFFY are two of the only scenarios we know that Twilight definitely organized. NFFY worked beautifully, with Roden and GiGi eliminated and with Faith and Giles out of the picture. This, however, resulted only in Twilight's symbol being discovered and the realization that there's a new force in play. What was the purpose?



              Interesting speculation; I don't think we know the answer yet. I don't think Giles is supposed to be in opposition to Buffy, although there are hints they're not on good terms even before NFFY. But I do think Giles might see himself as continuing the old traditions of the Watchers' Council even as Buffy sees herself as creating something new and different, and that has brought them into conflict before.
              I didn't mean in opposition in a negative sense, exactly. At least not in the sense of 'working against'. I meant it more in the sixth definition sense "6. the act of opposing, or the state of being opposed by way of comparison or contrast."

              I think there was once a larger organization, right after Sunnydale, where Buffy, Giles, Xander, Willow, and others all worked in harmony. Then something happened, and either Giles was pushed out or Xander and Buffy split, and what we see now is Operation 2.0.


              Really? My first reaction is fear of falling into darkness and evil, of the Fall in the Bible (or Milton). That seems to fit Buffy's story arc even better as it develops...
              That definitely does fit the arc, although it's arguable because from what we've seen so far the idea that she's wandering off of the righteous path hadn't occurred to Buffy at all until issue 10, and it still hasn't really sunk in as of issue 18. The fear of falling in love idea, though, has been part of Buffy's story arc since Angelus. I think (hope) that it's going to finally be resolved.


              Xander seems to be shying away form any close involvement with the Slayers - he has to be pushed into dating Renee by Buffy, for example.
              That hadn't occurred to me, but looking back it's pretty true. Whereas Buffy has been all about working with and bonding with her Slayer Sisters. Or at least attempting to bond. That's a pretty big reversal, and it actually works in favor of my pet theory about Xander. That he's the one who has changed the most, and Buffy and Willow have lost their way in consequence.

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