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8.05 The Chain

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  • 8.05 The Chain

    Hi,

    Well following Jenny Lou's suggestion- one that should have been very obvious to us This is basically where we can discuss Issue #5 of season eight, which to the surprise of so many of us, came out a few days early.

    So have fun talking about Issue 5!

    Vampmogs

    ~ Banner by Nina ~

  • #2
    My first reaction, on zero reflection...this is my fave issue so far. Reminiscent of a Doctor-lite Who ep, it got to the heart of the Buffyverse with hardly any "screen" time (panel time?) for any of the major players. Just a wee cameo from Giles, and even then his speech was obscured, plus Andrew (and Willow?)'s informertial (which I LOVED).

    The issue of "is it fair/a good idea to slayerize all those girls without asking" is one that came up a lot in discussions post-chosen (and in the Ats ep Damage) and I'm glad they dealt with it head-on here. Perhaps inevitably, the narrative's conclusion was...yes. Or at least, if it wasn't fair, it was A Good Idea, or valuable in some way.

    I found this tale of an unknown soldier touching, and the new characters came to life eevn if you don't have much time to get to know them. The banter between the school kids was v funny, and I liked the intercutting which, in comics, doesn't come off as flashbacks exactly - more giving an idea of the "chain" of our life, in which all the moments are connected. We may be living one moment, but we are informed by all the other moments and choices we've made in the past.

    The idea that "there is no truth", except the truth we create and experience was a nice angle: being the slayer feels true, and feeling is at the heart of being a slayer, as well as acting. You feel part of something, you feel worht something, you feel connected to people as you help them. It's like Buffy's journey in season 5...slaying is a gift you give to others, from the heart. As well as all the stakes through others' hearts, obviously.

    I like the way it deals with idea of sharing power, creating a consensus of truth rather than imposing a single truth (like the WAtcher's council tried to do in reducing the Slayer to an instrument, and simplifying her role to one of Watcher instructs, Slayer obeys)...but something a little sneaky is going on in terms of justifying the slayerisation spell...somehow the story is implying that the chain is an inevitable, natural thing, when actually, it was created by various impositions, by someone imposing an obligation on someone else: whether it was the watcher's council way back when, or Buffy etc in Chosen.

    The Andrew informertial (I'm trying to work out how that fits in...how real it is...did Andrew really show it on some local cable network? Or just a private project?) gives an ironic spin on the idea of being a slayer. It's a disease, an affliction (a curse, perhaps...which now makes me think of periods, and ties into the slayer-as-metaphor-for-female-adolescent).

    I'm going to have to think about this more...is the slayer in this a victim? A hero? How free was she to choose her destiny? Did the scoobs have the right to put her in that position?

    To all the above for now I say one big hmmmm...

    General comments...

    - The fairy laying its eggs in "Buffy"'s ears...random. But somehow charming.

    - Loved the panel linking the faux Buffy's slayerisation to all the other slayers in the line.


    -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

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    • #3
      Well, it's actually my least fave issue so far. But I blame that on the general absence of major characters. After such a long wait I miss them. :/ Not that all was lost with the issue. I also found the infomercial silly and fun. My fave part was when the decoy was debating whether she was sent down because she was strong enough to handle it or because she weak and therefore expendable.
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      • #4
        I also found the infomercial silly and fun.
        My current take on that is that it's just a fake advert (coming right after another ad in the comic, as it does. Breaking the fourth wall - though in comics, perhaps that's the third wall? How many walls does a comic have...?

        Now my brain hurts. Having it as a TV ad since this isn't actually TV is a little confusing.


        -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
          My current take on that is that it's just a fake advert (coming right after another ad in the comic, as it does. Breaking the fourth wall - though in comics, perhaps that's the third wall? How many walls does a comic have...?

          Now my brain hurts. Having it as a TV ad since this isn't actually TV is a little confusing.
          I actually took it as if it were an educational video made as a informercial for the new slayer recruits. So it's only the slayer "cells" that see them; it wasn't on actual tv or anything. I didn't see it as a third/fourth wall break.

          Just goes to show how much subjectivity there can be in comics...
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Jenni Lou View Post
            I actually took it as if it were an educational video made as a informercial for the new slayer recruits.
            That was what I assumed at first...then I thought it might be for our benefit...but I'm not sure really. Need to read it again.


            Just goes to show how much subjectivity there can be in comics...
            Yes - it's definitely a medium that requires the reader to do "work" to come up with an interpretation...it's less "complete" than TV...not that tv isn't open to interpretation of course.


            -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

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            • #7
              I got a copy so I've read it, and overall I like it. It was very sad, of course, to see this young woman stand and then fall and never hear her name. The very idea of namelessness that she embraced seems so tragically similar to the mass delusion of Project Mayhem ("Fight Club").

              I think the narrow usage of Giles, Andrew, Rona, and Vi was appropriate, since this had a very "Below Decks" feel to it. Can I be a Vi/Andrew shipper now?

              Loved the insight into Slayer recruitment and training.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                I think the narrow usage of Giles, Andrew, Rona, and Vi was appropriate, since this had a very "Below Decks" feel to it.
                Yeah, I liked that. Reminds me of an (albeit awful) episode of Babylon 5 where you see the main characters through the filter of a couple of randoms.

                Can I be a Vi/Andrew shipper now?
                Only if it's unrequited love on her part. His big gay heart cannot return her affection. And it's been a bloody long time since I thought about that Evan Dando song...

                Loved the insight into Slayer recruitment and training.
                I did feel like I wanted to see more...how she was approached etc...but in a way the tangental approach worked. As the girl says "you've probably heard this. It's pretty standard stuff."....we've seen Buffy be approached by her watcher, we know the drill.

                I do wonder whether those women were watchers, whether they're using the watcher system...rather hope they're not. I like the idea of a properly new world order.


                -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

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                • #9
                  My interpretation (which I've used at least tangentially in fic) is that the Slayer teams are set up as something like coops or dormitories. Or sororities, if you'd rather, where the community service requirements are more substantial in general than at others As such, I've figured each team has a nominal authority figure, maybe a recycled Watcher or other Scooby, and probably has a point of contact at the BHC, but that other than that, the girls run their own lives.

                  Clearly Rona had at least some significance wherever the Fallen Slayer was recruited, since she's the one that made the pitch to her.

                  On a dirty-minded note, I thought it was funny that Rona thought she would have to *enhance* her bust to be as big as Buffy/SMG. Heh.

                  The "Below Decks" thing is a cool device. There is a "Without A Trace" episode that is told from the point of view of a missing child's parents.

                  I'm still not convinced of Andrew's unwavering homosexuality, but that would again be its own thread. He is more or less asexual to me, and seems to be stimulated only by that which appeals to his narrative senses (see his equal lust for Buffy, Spike, Anya, and Xander in "Storyteller", but complete ambivalence to Willow and Kennedy).

                  We do need more Vi, though. The brief appearance only reminded me of why she was the best Potential.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                    I'm still not convinced of Andrew's unwavering homosexuality, but that would again be its own thread. He is more or less asexual to me, and seems to be stimulated only by that which appeals to his narrative senses (see his equal lust for Buffy, Spike, Anya, and Xander in "Storyteller", but complete ambivalence to Willow and Kennedy).
                    I like your thinking on that. He definitely straddles a line in sexuality, albeit not a direct line. He could go either way but really goes neither. I suppose only time will tell and that's only if a love interest is formally introduced. In any case, I just adore his character and always liked an Andrew/Anya pairing; their scenes together were just too cute and fun!
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                    • #11
                      Can't talk too much as I'm out of town for a wedding. Finding this issue in this tiny little comic shop in New Hampshire made my day. I wasn't expecting it out early. I have to say on initial reading, while it was good, I was kinda hoping for a little more. It went pretty much as predicted, and I felt that there may have been too much story for a one shot. I think it would have been better as a slightly bigger TPB, but I guess the realities didn't allow for that.

                      The art was great though. I like Lee much better than Jeanty.

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                      • #12
                        Yeah- weird early arrival. What was that about?
                        Anyway-I too had mixed feelings. It was good-definitely hit me in a big emotional way-but I really want to see our main characters. I am really only struggling to deal with the change of format in order to follow the progression of the story. Thus any issue that doesn't progress the story is bound to be a bit of a disappointment to me.
                        That said, I liked the infomercial.
                        Giles looked specifically unGiles-like in the issue. Like suddenly he is kinda giant. I prefer the art of him in earlier issues.
                        "All I ask is that... that you try to see me."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dorian's Kitten View Post
                          Giles looked specifically unGiles-like in the issue. Like suddenly he is kinda giant. I prefer the art of him in earlier issues.
                          Yeah. I did a double take on the frames with him in it because it didn't quite look like him and he did appear especially large. Although I'm sure that was an aesthetic choice on part of the artist who wanted to make Giles look commanding.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
                            My first reaction, on zero reflection...this is my fave issue so far. Reminiscent of a Doctor-lite Who ep, it got to the heart of the Buffyverse with hardly any "screen" time (panel time?) for any of the major players. Just a wee cameo from Giles, and even then his speech was obscured, plus Andrew (and Willow?)'s informertial (which I LOVED).
                            I think the informertial was between Vi and Andrew, well that is what I am assuming. I found it a little odd Joss didn't bother to name both Rona and Vi, especially after all the talk about making her Violet instead of Vi because it looked like roman numerals in the comics. I didn't think either were drawn particularly well, at least Giles was semi recongisable. But perhaps this was to fit in with the story, about the importance of names?

                            The issue of "is it fair/a good idea to slayerize all those girls without asking" is one that came up a lot in discussions post-chosen (and in the Ats ep Damage) and I'm glad they dealt with it head-on here. Perhaps inevitably, the narrative's conclusion was...yes. Or at least, if it wasn't fair, it was A Good Idea, or valuable in some way.
                            It was interesting, I've only read my friends copy as I am still waiting for mine to arrive in the mail but I definitily need to read over it again. I am still finding it a little unclear, I had a hard time reading through this one.

                            I found this tale of an unknown soldier touching, and the new characters came to life eevn if you don't have much time to get to know them. The banter between the school kids was v funny, and I liked the intercutting which, in comics, doesn't come off as flashbacks exactly - more giving an idea of the "chain" of our life, in which all the moments are connected. We may be living one moment, but we are informed by all the other moments and choices we've made in the past.
                            It was very Lost

                            The idea that "there is no truth", except the truth we create and experience was a nice angle: being the slayer feels true, and feeling is at the heart of being a slayer, as well as acting. You feel part of something, you feel worht something, you feel connected to people as you help them. It's like Buffy's journey in season 5...slaying is a gift you give to others, from the heart. As well as all the stakes through others' hearts, obviously.
                            And like Buffy, this slayer lay down her own life for her mission and her duties. I felt so sorry for her as the demon held up her body to his army. He held her like a trophy, a peice of meat and as he shouts that he has killed Buffy Summers it made me realise at the same time how awful it would be if Buffy's life was taken like this- if her body had been parraded around for all to see. It irked me a lot, and I guess that was Joss' intention.

                            The Andrew informertial (I'm trying to work out how that fits in...how real it is...did Andrew really show it on some local cable network? Or just a private project?) gives an ironic spin on the idea of being a slayer. It's a disease, an affliction (a curse, perhaps...which now makes me think of periods, and ties into the slayer-as-metaphor-for-female-adolescent).
                            I agree with those who believe it was shown to the recruits of new slayers or perhaps it was on cable TV. Since they never mention vampires or slayers it was rather ambigious but said enough to draw these girls in. I know if I had watched it I would think it was a little odd but would never give it to much thought.

                            I'm going to have to think about this more...is the slayer in this a victim? A hero? How free was she to choose her destiny? Did the scoobs have the right to put her in that position?
                            Can she be both? A victim and a hero? I'm not sure but I really can't decide either. A part of me thinks she can, she is a victim of her own herosim, her own destiny.

                            - The fairy laying its eggs in "Buffy"'s ears...random. But somehow charming.
                            I wasn't a fan of the fairy, I mean what was the point? Am I missing something here?

                            - Loved the panel linking the faux Buffy's slayerisation to all the other slayers in the line.
                            That was great And did anyone notice that the spanish slayer who was on the Hellmouth before the Mayor colonised Sunnydale was one of the slayers in the chain? The story is written by Joss in Tales of The Slayers and it is nice to see he is connecting canon from the comics and the show together.

                            Originally posted by Jenni Lou View Post
                            Well, it's actually my least fave issue so far. But I blame that on the general absence of major characters. After such a long wait I miss them. :/ Not that all was lost with the issue. I also found the infomercial silly and fun. My fave part was when the decoy was debating whether she was sent down because she was strong enough to handle it or because she weak and therefore expendable.
                            I agree. I knew I wouldn't like it as much without our main characters because they are who I'm more interested in right now. I also found the art not as good as Jeanty's. This issue was very irksome, there was something off about it and slightly chilling. I really don't know what to make of it.

                            Originally posted by Jenni Lou View Post
                            I actually took it as if it were an educational video made as a informercial for the new slayer recruits. So it's only the slayer "cells" that see them; it wasn't on actual tv or anything. I didn't see it as a third/fourth wall break.
                            I agree

                            Originally posted by Dorian's Kitten View Post
                            Yeah- weird early arrival. What was that about?
                            Anyway-I too had mixed feelings. It was good-definitely hit me in a big emotional way-but I really want to see our main characters. I am really only struggling to deal with the change of format in order to follow the progression of the story. Thus any issue that doesn't progress the story is bound to be a bit of a disappointment to me.
                            That said, I liked the infomercial.
                            Giles looked specifically unGiles-like in the issue. Like suddenly he is kinda giant. I prefer the art of him in earlier issues.
                            Yeah I wasn't a fan of how Giles was drawn. I much prefer him in The Long Way Home. He looked like our Giles in that arc, in this standalone he didn't look like Giles.

                            ~ Banner by Nina ~

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
                              I think the informertial was between Vi and Andrew, well that is what I am assuming.
                              It was the stuff (letters? Numbers?) at the bottom of the "screens" that made me wonder?looks like it's actually airing on a cable network. Which I'm assuming they wouldn't?would they? Which made me go to the fourth wall place Still not sure though. Hmm?I scratch my chin and say hmmm once more.


                              I agree with those who believe it was shown to the recruits of new slayers or perhaps it was on cable TV. Since they never mention vampires or slayers it was rather ambigious but said enough to draw these girls in. I know if I had watched it I would think it was a little odd but would never give it to much thought.
                              Right?yeah, I can just about imagine this happening?Andrew begging to make the informertial and Buffy going ok whatever, just shut up about it?and you have to come up with the budget. And there are definitely weirder adverts!


                              I found it a little odd Joss didn't bother to name both Rona and Vi, especially after all the talk about making her Violet instead of Vi because it looked like roman numerals in the comics. I didn't think either were drawn particularly well, at least Giles was semi recongisable. But perhaps this was to fit in with the story, about the importance of names?
                              Oops, I thought it was Willow! But unlikely she'd be playing Andrew's glamorous assistant so?Vi makes more sense. I think they are going for the anon approach throughout, yes, paralleling the slayer's namelessness. Giles isn't Giles here: he's a celeb, he's a Name without having a name. He represents something rather than appearing as a thinking, feeling character. Being famous takes away your self to a degree, because you belong to other people. While this girl being Buffy is only "famous" underground, and not for being herself. She dies knowing who she is when even the people who "love" her (the fairy) think she's Buffy. Buffy never had a secret identity really (as Dawn complains in season 5, she doesn't wear a mask to protect her loved ones ) but this girl does. Secret and famous at once.

                              It was very Lost
                              And hey, it was just a little bit confusing so?yeah!


                              Can she be both? A victim and a hero? I'm not sure but I really can't decide either. A part of me thinks she can, she is a victim of her own herosim, her own destiny.
                              I find it uncomfortable, but interesting. I like the cut to where the girl is talking about fascism?a jokey exaggeration of my fear that Buffy etc didn't have the right to do something to these girls, effectively by force (especially in the cases of the girls being knocked off their feet by the power), without their consent. Though it reminds me of Willow's warning to buffy that she can't "jokey rhyme" her way out of a moral quandary.

                              I wasn't a fan of the fairy, I mean what was the point? Am I missing something here?
                              I just liked the bit about laying her eggs in "Buffy"'s ear. It was one of those throwaway fun things. No point, just a silly sidekick.


                              That was great And did anyone notice that the spanish slayer who was on the Hellmouth before the Mayor colonised Sunnydale was one of the slayers in the chain? The story is written by Joss in Tales of The Slayers and it is nice to see he is connecting canon from the comics and the show together.
                              Nice to link to Tales of the Slayers, which is one of the better comics, too. Loved the Jane Austeny slayer too?I think she was in the chain as well.

                              Oh, and I love the Jo Chen cover. Perfect summing up of the issue.


                              -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

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                              • #16
                                Just got this today
                                First time i read it, it confused the crap out of me. So i read it again, and it was still confusing. So i came on here and read through some posts, and now i get it haha

                                Its a fairly good issue, though not one of my favourites. Although i do like how they ventured away from Buffy and the main characters, and had a little story of its own The end was a bit sad though.

                                Next issue is Faith omgoshh yay ^_^

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
                                  It was the stuff (letters? Numbers?) at the bottom of the "screens" that made me wonder?looks like it's actually airing on a cable network. Which I'm assuming they wouldn't?would they? Which made me go to the fourth wall place Still not sure though. Hmm?I scratch my chin and say hmmm once more.
                                  Hmm well it could be a forth wall place, to some extent they do this in OMWF with the characters on occasion facing us as the viewers and speaking directly to us. However, I get the impression it was supposed to be aired on TV as a way to reach newly turned slayers they didn't find.


                                  Right?yeah, I can just about imagine this happening?Andrew begging to make the informertial and Buffy going ok whatever, just shut up about it?and you have to come up with the budget. And there are definitely weirder adverts!
                                  I could image that to, and yeah there most certainly are. I would see this and think to myself "that is strange" but by the next advertisement it wouldn't enter my head again. I don't think it would raise too many suspicions.

                                  Oops, I thought it was Willow! But unlikely she'd be playing Andrew's glamorous assistant so?Vi makes more sense. I think they are going for the anon approach throughout, yes, paralleling the slayer's namelessness. Giles isn't Giles here: he's a celeb, he's a Name without having a name. He represents something rather than appearing as a thinking, feeling character. Being famous takes away your self to a degree, because you belong to other people. While this girl being Buffy is only "famous" underground, and not for being herself. She dies knowing who she is when even the people who "love" her (the fairy) think she's Buffy. Buffy never had a secret identity really (as Dawn complains in season 5, she doesn't wear a mask to protect her loved ones ) but this girl does. Secret and famous at once.
                                  She most certainly wasn't very reconginsable, I must say I like Jeanty's art better. I basically came to this assumption because it was stated she was supposed to be in this Issue as well as Rona.

                                  I agree about what you have said with Giles. He looks very slick and even cold- he doesn't have any quirks like we've seen him drawn other times. He isn't supposed to be a character here, just a symbol of the change and what this girl hs to face.

                                  I find it uncomfortable, but interesting. I like the cut to where the girl is talking about fascism?a jokey exaggeration of my fear that Buffy etc didn't have the right to do something to these girls, effectively by force (especially in the cases of the girls being knocked off their feet by the power), without their consent. Though it reminds me of Willow's warning to buffy that she can't "jokey rhyme" her way out of a moral quandary.
                                  I'm not certain Buffy did the wrong thing. As far as we know she has never made any of the newly turned slayers perform their duties if they don't want to. It was a time or ergency and she really couldn't do much else, but there most certainly will be negetive aspects. I think it is one of those things were basically if we think hard enough there are always going to be negetives but IMO the positives far out weight the negetives.

                                  I just liked the bit about laying her eggs in "Buffy"'s ear. It was one of those throwaway fun things. No point, just a silly sidekick.
                                  I didn't get this?

                                  Nice to link to Tales of the Slayers, which is one of the better comics, too. Loved the Jane Austeny slayer too?I think she was in the chain as well.
                                  Yup I think there was two of the slayers we have seen.

                                  Oh, and I love the Jo Chen cover. Perfect summing up of the issue.
                                  I think it is the best cover so far, it is amazing and even more amazing after you've read the issue.

                                  This issue was incredibly sad and creepy- it left me feeling very uneasy. I suspect that's what Joss hoped to achieve. Seeing the demon hold her body up like a trophy made me extremely uncomfortable.

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                                  • #18
                                    I thought Vi was very recognizable. I could very easily see Tom Lenk and Felicia Day acting that out.

                                    I am kind of curious where this story fits into the chronology -- was this Slayer killed after the events of "The Long Way Home", or was Buffy, as I had originally thought, referring to her death in Issue #1? It was awesome to see the fairies and slug creatures rallying to her, even if she got killed, and seeing Alpha Team and others coming down their lines to deliver painful death to Yamanh and his buddies was a little gratifying.
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                                    • #19
                                      I concur; I also found Vi quite recognizable.

                                      Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
                                      This issue was incredibly sad and creepy- it left me feeling very uneasy. I suspect that's what Joss hoped to achieve.
                                      Yes. Yes, me too. Perhaps that was the success of it, as well. It may be one of those things that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth but you end up liking the taste anyway. I suspect I may com to like this issue more a bit down the road after I gain some distance from it and the story progresses.
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                                      • #20
                                        Yes. Yes, me too. Perhaps that was the success of it, as well. It may be one of those things that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth but you end up liking the taste anyway. I suspect I may com to like this issue more a bit down the road after I gain some distance from it and the story progresses.
                                        Like those bitter strawberry lace sweeties.

                                        Now I've had that story, though, I am eager to hear more from the Scoobies.


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