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Extreme Makeover -- Comic Edition

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  • Extreme Makeover -- Comic Edition

    On the thread about whether Season 8 is living up to the televised seasons, I saw a major theme -- that a lot of people are unsure what they'll think about this season until it's done. What I'd like to do here is, then, take three different approaches.

    If you're someone who is unsure of what to think of the season until you see how something unfolds, particularly Twilight, take us through what you would like to see (not what you expect) for the season to be a success to you.

    If you're someone who doesn't enjoy this season, take us through why -- fix it, basically, by either A) revising what's going on or B) throwing it out and pitching your own season 8.

    If you're someone who is enjoying the season, take us through what needs to be avoided in order to keep the season from getting ruined for you. What about it works, and what would screw it up.

    For myself, I'm in that third group -- I enjoy Season 8. I think it's going pretty well and is currently in the upper half of the series. The biggest thing that I think Joss needs to avoid to keep it from being bad at this point is to not gratuitously kill off any of his main characters, and not to turn any of them evil just because he thinks it would make it extra painful. We had Angelus and we had Faith going bad and we had Dark Willow. Riley is an ancillary enough character that that's workable, especially since he can still make Riley's turn something better than just Riley being a "bad guy". But wasting the villain on some cheap attempt to make Giles a villain or Xander a villain or Dawn a villain would screw up what is a pretty riveting season so far.
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  • #2
    I'm a huge fan of the comic. I've had to cut back on my comic reading a whole bunch in the last year or so, going from reading 50+ each month to 40 to 25 to 15 and now to almost none, Buffy is one that I always have to have. Joss Whedon is an amazing writer, and I'll read/watch pretty much anything he puts out. His material is always above average.

    As I wrote in the other thread, the comic is layered, complex, tightly written, tightly paced, and fun as hell.

    My personal preferences for the rest of the season would be Hank Summers as Twilight, a lead-in to or beginning of a Buffy/Xander relationship, some expansion of the mythology surrounding The Key, for Giles to stay with Faith and for both of them to be off doing their own thing, a look at the second decoy!Buffy in Rome, some more Andrew, for Willow to finally learn her lesson when it comes to power and magic, for Kennedy and Willow to stay together, some other stuff.

    But if not a single one of those things happen, I'll still enjoy the rest of the season. The idea that an artist should look to his audience/fans as a barometer of what he should or should not do is a perversion of what art is about. The more an artist caters to his fans, the less artful the product becomes. The more an artist stays true to his vision, does unexpected things, pushes his characters to change, etc. the more I enjoy what he's doing. Season 8 is great precisely because of how different it's been from the rest of the seasons, how far Joss has been willing to push the envelope. Season 8 started a year and half after Buffy and Co. fundamentally altered the status quo of the entire universe...if things weren't different, then the series would have been ridiculous and not enjoyable.
    Last edited by XavierZane; 02-01-09, 12:10 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
      On the thread about whether Season 8 is living up to the televised seasons, I saw a major theme -- that a lot of people are unsure what they'll think about this season until it's done. What I'd like to do here is, then, take three different approaches.

      If you're someone who is unsure of what to think of the season until you see how something unfolds, particularly Twilight, take us through what you would like to see (not what you expect) for the season to be a success to you.
      I'm that group. Or possibly a mix of that group and the third. There are some things I'm looking for, but also some things that would undermine the season for me. And it's that I'm waiting to have confirmed or denied - how it all ends is integral to my valuation of the season as a whole, as it's the structure that I'm wondering about - will it all add up? Will the pace work as a whole? It can sometimes feel piecemeal and choppy, so I'm interested to see whether the season has a coherence in the end.

      I'll be turned off a bit (though it won't take away all my enjoyment, which I've had much of already...some very funny stuff for example, and interesting character stuff, plus also interesting exploration of ideas, eg in the ep with the mad woman guarding the crazy space) the plot strands aren't well woven together, if things are left hanging, or if parts of the season feel like fat, not bone and muscle. But if it all ties together, and a greater unity of the whole is revealed, I'll be happy.

      Also, if Twilight is a new face (at least to us, not necessarily to the characters), or someone who doesn't require a massive character shift/long backstory to make sense. If I have to sit through a mwah ha ha speech from, eg, Hank Summers about why his almost entirely off screen life led him to fight against magic.... I will tear up said mwah ha ha speech into little bitty pieces and shower them through the air like confetti.

      Unless, that is, the speech is the funniest, cleverest one ever. Even so, it would all feel too cheap and by-the-by. I want development on screen (or in panel), not off.


      -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

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      • #4
        Great thread!

        Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
        If you're someone who is enjoying the season, take us through what needs to be avoided in order to keep the season from getting ruined for you. What about it works, and what would screw it up.
        So I'm greatly enjoying this season, but there are a few things I'd like to be sure of and a few things I'd like to see less of in later issues.

        1) Twilight. His revealed identity and his real plan need to be huge (I think he's not being straightforward when he talks to his minions). It's been teased for so long that if it's not mind-boggling, it's going to be a huge letdown.

        2) Payoff for Buffy's morally questionable behavior (which I'm expecting to happen) and some kind of epiphany on her part that her friends are her strength and she needs to open up to them more. To help her feel "a little bit less lonely."

        3) Less gimmicky characters like the Forest People from ToYL. It's okay to have diverse mystical folk in BUFFY, but that scene just felt like a huge LoTR rip-off. And not a rip-off worthy of BUFFY where they take these elements and re-invent them. The best way I can articulate this is to point at how BUFFY ripped off Dracula. In Buffy vs. Dracula, Dracula was a cheesy imitation of his pop culture self. In Wolves at the Gate, Dracula became Vlad the turned Impaler. The show's was a cheesy attempt for laughs and it wasn't executed wisely. The comics' use of Dracula gave him depth and real character while still keeping him funny as hell. S8 Dracula > BtVS Dracula. So back to the Forest People - what purpose did they serve than to offer Dawn and Xander a few dirty jokes about root systems and to conveniently join in on the mystical battle which would have been so much cooler if it had just been Xander and Dawn being rescued by his squad? The Forest People took up space and detracted from the story.

        4) I don't want to see major character deaths. Buffy's already died twice.
        Spoiler:
        Willow has already died in this season (in the future).
        Dawn dying would hurt the brilliance of The Gift and feel slightly derivative considering
        Spoiler:
        Angel just lost his son, Connor, in AtF. To have Buffy lose Dawn (her daughter, essentially) would just be too much.
        In ANGEL, the main theme of the series is about tragedy and living through it to continue making a difference so all the character deaths don't detract from the main message. But BUFFY has always been about living through the trials by having your friends stand by you and helping you. Any of the core Scoobies dying (Buffy, Willow or Xander) would hurt the message of the series. Dawn dying would make light of Buffy's sacrifice and be another mortal wound to her dying hope for the future. Giles...I'd hate dying, but I can see it happening and be okay with it. He's lived a long life, though sadly I'd like to see him get the chance to get married (the one thing he's never had was a permanent partner, I consider Buffy to be his daughter and the Scoobies are his family).

        5) An answer about the Spike mystery and development for Buffy's romantic emotional issues. Does Buffy still think he's dead? AtS Season 5 was about keeping that secret from her. Some fans say Andrew was incapable of keeping a secret but he was secretive enough to listen to First!Warren and kill Jonathan. Warren meant enough to him that he kept his silence. Spike means enough to him (hello, hero worship) to respect his wishes and not tell Buffy that Spike's alive. In A Beautiful Sunset, Buffy emotionally breaks down to Satsu saying,

        People who love me tend to...oh, die...maybe go to a hell dimension, or burn up, or they start letting vamps suck on 'em and they leave, they all leave, even my friends, sooner or later everybody realizes there's something wrong...something wrong with me. Or around me, or...[sobs into her hand] Wow, did not intend to go there.
        Spike is just another lover who Buffy thinks she killed (not literally, but she blames herself - he chose his course she still handed him the amulet that led to his death) as a price of the mission. I think it's important for her to know that he's alive and her learning about it secondhand from Andrew really isn't ideal. It's not good storytelling for her to learn about this from Andrew and for us to never see her have this realization. Because it's clearly a big emotional issue for her. Coinciding with Buffy's romantic emotional issues,

        Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
        I want development on screen (or in panel), not off.
        What if we *are* seeing the development for Twilight
        Spoiler:
        in After the Fall with Angel? I know people aren't enjoying the thought of Angel as Twilight for a few reasons. But the one thing it does do is show us *how* Twilight originates. I'm having trouble entertaining any other candidate because of the fact that if we're supposed to know this character who is Twilight, then we're not going to see how he came into being. Unless it's Angel and we're witnessing it right now in AtF.
        Last edited by Emmie; 04-01-09, 05:56 PM.
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        • #5
          I'm going to agree with Emmie's first point. There are all sorts of things about Twilight's plan that don't make sense if taken at face value.

          I would also like some of the story of how they got to where they are, and why is Buffy acting the way she is? It had better be something more than simply 'corrupted by power' if I'm going to buy such a great change in personallity after Chosen over such a short space of time.

          It would be nice to know what made Riley decide to join Twilight (preferably something more than simply a desire to wage war on slayers like pretty much everyone else among Twilight's followers).

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Emmie View Post
            G
            What if we *are* seeing the development for Twilight
            Spoiler:
            in After the Fall with Angel? I know people aren't enjoying the thought of Angel as Twilight for a few reasons. But the one thing it does do is show us *how* Twilight originates. I'm having trouble entertaining any other candidate because of the fact that if we're supposed to know this character who is Twilight, then we're not going to see how he came into being. Unless it's Angel and we're witnessing it right now in AtF.
            Spoiler:
            Gosh, that would be cold! Interesting though... but I can't quite picture it. Haven't read all of AtF, what is it that makes him seem Twilight-y?


            This isn't spoilery so quoting here:
            I'm having trouble entertaining any other candidate because of the fact that if we're supposed to know this character who is Twilight, then we're not going to see how he came into being.
            But I don't think we're necessarily supposed to know the character are we? Other than him being Twilight. It's just the mask that makes people assume that he's a known quantity.

            I'm guessing he probably is a known character... but still hoping he isn't. Give me surprise, Joss, give me something...please...give me something to sing about.


            -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

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            • #7
              Spoiler:
              Angel just lost Connor and that in combination with Gunn, Wesley, Fred, Cordelia, Groo, Gwen, Doyle, Darla and Illyria who all died because of the supernatural, there could be reason to end magic and demons. Only the hate towards slayers wouldn't make sense because Angel has nothing against slayers or Buffy. In the last issue he gave Buffy a compliment because she trained the slayers well, and the three slayers are right now in his team.

              And if the Angel comics should show why and how Angel becomes Twilight, I would expect that Joss spend some extra time with the Angel comics. From what I heard is he too buzy to help Kelley with Aftermath so I doubt that the Angel comics are having some kind of connection with season 8.
              Last edited by Nina; 02-01-09, 01:35 PM.

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              • #8
                For my part I am enjoying most of what I'm reading so far but a lot, and I mean a LOT, is going to depend on the payoffs to a couple of the ongoing storylines. So I guess I need to offer the things I want to see and the things that I want to be avoided.

                Things I want to see.

                1) The Dawn transformations to have a satisfying payoff. The Kenny story and the transformations seem like a light hearted B story but I would really like this to tie right into the overall story arc in some way. How I'm not sure but I want it to become important, nay vital, to the overall story.

                2) Twilight: The mask, the mystery; this is perhaps the most tantalising part of season 8, but again the payoff on this needs to be huge. Like Emmie I'm not sure that Twilight's stated ends necessarily equate to his actual aims. I would prefer it if his actual end was the total and utter ruination of Buffy herself, not her death (Cos he could have done that.) but the tearing down of everything she holds dear and everything she stands for. As for his identity I have a wild theory that is almost certainly wrong but: (spoilers for anyone that hasn't read after the fall

                Spoiler:
                As Angel has become human, the Angelus vampire spirit has to have gone somewhere (if the writers want to bring back Angelus at any point they can't just have destroyed it). What if it has somehow become embodied in some way in Twilight? It would make for a nice personal vedetta against Buffy, explain the mask, and fit Twilight's manipulative style. I've stopped following ATF so I'm not sure this still flies but it would be interesting.


                3) Thereferences. One of the things I'm loving in this season is the sly little meta references and guest appearances. We've had everything from Fray being read, to Buffy wearing a Hong Kong Phooey shirt, to the Doctor showing up so far and for me this adds a richness to the comics. It's something that would probably have been hard to pull off in other media and it gives me a good excuse to really examine every panel and obsess over details (Not that I need an excuse.)
                Things to avoid.

                1) Major Character death. The thing about shockinjg deaths is that if you have too many then they stop becoming shocking. I'm thinking of Spooks 'at least one death a season' meme which means that you start to expect someone to go and become almost blase when it happens. There's been plenty of shocks in Buffy so far a major character death now would probably be too far A major character death and resurrection would almost certainly be too far.

                2) Piling on the mystery with no resolutions. I'm thinking of Lost here. Mysteries are great; I love trying to work things out and coming up with mad theories. There comes a point though, especially in something that's so long running, where we need to start seeing some answers, even if it's only to the smaller questions. Some things necessarily need to be held back but an occaisional bone being tossed would be a good thing.

                That's all I can think of for now.
                JUST ENOUGH KILL

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                • #9
                  i am enjoying the season so far! Its great to have Buffy back! I would have liked a live action continuation in the form of a spin off or something, but the comic suffices.

                  I hope they reveal Twilight sooner than later. I LOVED when it looked like he was about to take off his mask then just scratched his chin! I was like "damn all ready!' then "Oh" and literally laughed out loud! But yeah like was said before, keeping the mystery TOO long (like "lost") can get irritating. And just because the audience knows his identity doesn't mean the scoobies need to know as soon as the audience.

                  i also wanna see more amy and warren! and OZ needs to come back somehow! Maybe Oz and Nina should hook up. Either on Angel or somehow on Buffy.
                  "Screw you, dawn! Hope that doesn't get taken out of context."

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                  • #10
                    I was disappointed with the season at first, but after finishing it, I'm quite happy with it. For the most part.

                    1. Twilight...what Emmie said. When we find out who it is, it better be a big honkin' shuddergasp! moment.
                    Spoiler:
                    I do not think Angel can be Twilight. Tangent, what do you mean by the 'Angelus spirit'...isn't Angelus just Angel, without a soul? I mean, I don't think Spike has a separate 'bad soul' floating around...Anyway, Angel as Twilight does not make sense to me because of the anti-Slayerness of Twilight.


                    2. Buffy finds out about Spike. Big make-or-break thing for me with this season. WAY to huge to let it get brushed aside.

                    3. Dawn's transformations better have some meaning beyond comic relief. I want to see her character fleshed out more by the end of the season.

                    4. More hints as to how Willow goes back to being Dark Willow. Especially with the amount of sadness and near self-loathing going on in the future, I want to know what lead to that.

                    5. As Emmie mentioned, through the seasons of BtVS, the theme has been to lean on your friends through tough times. I want to see some more leaning going on between Scoobies. Buffy seems very alone this season...she has seemed alone since season 5. I would like to see a bit of a resolution there. (Though I don't expect her to feel normal ever)

                    EDIT: 6. I may as well be honest. Though there is no way that I expect/need this to actually happen, there is one more thing that I would just love to see. If Oz is going to be on for an arc, if there could just be some wee little sparks with Willow, perhaps? Yes, yes, she loves Kennedy blah blah BLAH *shakes fist at Kennedy*, but I would just implode with happiness if there was still something between them. I can't help but remember what Willow told him the last time they spoke...maybe she should dye her hair blue and visit Istanbul.

                    That is all for now!
                    Last edited by BloodyHell; 30-01-09, 01:39 AM.
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