Review, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #16 (Welcome to the Team, part 1)

12 12 2012

Writer: Andrew Chambliss
Penciller: Georges Jeanty
Inker: Dexter Vines
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Cover Artist: Phil Noto

Publication Date: December 12, 2012
Format: FC, 32 Pages
Price: $2.99
http://digital.darkhorse.com/profile/2542.buffy-the-vampire-slayer-season-9-16-phil-noto-cover/?page=23

I am going to start with a quick recap of what has happened so far before going to the review itself. Buffy throws a party. Andrew roofies her. Transfers her mind into to a robot. Buffy meets Dowling (SFPD detective), Koh (imprisoned demon who escaped and owes Buffy a debt) Severin (human with the powers of a Siphon). Severin betrays Buffy, out of the picture for the moment. Willow leaves the comic. Buffy thinks she’s pregnant. It’s a robot miss-functioning. Spike admits he’s still in love with her. Simone is back. Buffy gets back her body. No idea what has happened to the robot and the AI. Simone is out of the picture for the moment. Spike leaves the comic. Buffy accepts a job offer as a bodyguard from Kennedy. Protects a rich guy from W&H, Koh betrays Buffy, Buffy gets paid well for the job well done but goes back to slaying. We meet Billy. A 16 years old wanna.be.called.slayer gay. No superpowers. Was bullied a lot. Moved to SF with his boyfriend, Devon.the.wannabe.watcher.

Now, lets go back to the review.

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So, this issue is the beginning of a new arc called “Welcome to the Team”. And almost right from the beginning it welcomes Billy and Dowling to the Scoobie Team. Because yes, those 2 people are now Buffy’s team. Not only helping her while she’s patrolling, but also doing research and reading. Something that Buffy has always had problems with. Besides, she’s inherited a Vampyr Book from Giles that she still hasn’t bothered to check it. Besides that one time that she managed to read a couple of pages before falling asleep on it.

And what has the ex-Scoobie team been doing so far?
Willow is in her Wonderland dimension. She managed to get a quick look of what was going on with her friends back on Earth in her #2 last week, before the portal closed for good.
Spike is at the Easter Island, somewhere in the Pacific. Does he even count as an ex-Scoobie? Some people will say yes, some won’t. It’s up to you, but I’m mentioning him.
As for Dawn and Xander? They are living their normal life, away from slaying, as a couple. And they are totally in love. But everything comes with a price in the Whedonverse, we all know that. And it seems that the couple won’t stay happy for long. There is something wrong. I won’t spoil it, but whoever read Willow’s #2 knows that there is something going on. But it’s way more serious than what I thought last week. And we even learn that Dawn is allergic to peanut butter, lets hope that nobody will forget that. But wasn’t Dawn making peanut-butter-and-banana quesadillas back in Wrecked, S6? Or eating salami with peanut butter in Tough Love, S5?

Anyway, lets continue. Season 4 is back again, only this time the match-maker is not Willow, but Dawn and Xander. Why can’t Buffy just for once decide what is best for her, without having other people pointing it to her? Lets hope that this time Riley, sorry I meant Dowling, won’t get bitten by a prostitute vampire. Or any kind of vampire.

And I promise, I won’t read any more advanced reviews by people who haven’t been following the story. I’ll spoil it, since it has already been spoiled by the editor in his latest Q&A. Buffy is not living with Xander and Dawn. She is back with her roommates. And that “friend of Dawn’s who is just innocently digging around Buffy’s clothes searching for something to wear for a night out clubbing” is actually her roommate, Anaheed. God, if I was offered the privilege of having advanced issues for reviews days before, I would make sure to read all of the past issues, no matter how many they would be. So no more reading reviews from that site for me. It’s not worth it.

Back to the issue, as Buffy and her Scoobie team 2 go to fight the zompires. Good team, working all together, but there is someone out there who has new plans for Buffy. And for which fight is more important to deal with first. We’ve seen the future covers, we’ve read the upcoming solicitations, Illyria is back! And all powered up like she used to before the Mutari Generator was used on her. I think that she got all her powers back in Hell-A, but she was stripped again after time reversion by Wolfram & Hart. Well, she’s all back again. I don’t know if it’s a mistake or a retcon or it has to do with the broken Seed. But what I do know, is that Illyria can go all Charmed Piper with the ability now of Molecular Immobilization. Could she do that before? I don’t think so.

Anyway, it was a good issue. A big improvement from the last five ones. Dawn and Xander were back, I enjoyed that, I have missed them a lot. Buffy is back, and her story seems to be back on track to get our interest going. And believe me, there are much more going on in this issue than what I’ve spoiled. But I don’t want to say more and spoil all the surprise. I still don’t care about Billy. And this issue didn’t make me like him any much more. Illyria is in the game so I’m looking forward to the next issue. I don’t want to comment on the art, since I’m not a fan of this particular style. I will only comment on the story, and I am glad that Buffy is back on action. And it was the first time ever since #10 that I want to read NOW what’s coming up next. Not because of Dowling, certainly not because of Billy. Or of characters like Kennedy or Andrew or Theo. But because of Buffy, because of Dawn, because of Xander, because of Illyria.

Georgia

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19 responses

12 12 2012
Veiriti

Nice review! I’ve just read the issue and loved it! And I do agree with you – the issue is a big improvement after Billy’s two issue disappointment arc. And I still don’t like Billy, btw, I’d wish him to being bitten and to turn into a zompire instead Dowling. I’m 100% Spuffy fan, but I like Dowling – I’m sure Buffy is having only friendly feelings to him, so does and Dowling to her. I think him, Buffy and Spike would make a really good team. I miss Spike around Buffy. I miss and Willow! I hope they will join the team soon! I’m not a fan of Xander, but it would be better Xander to join the night patrol with Buffy than Billy.
I absolutely LOVED Illyria’s appearance in the end! She is one of my most favorite characters and I can’t wait for the next issue!
p.s. The art was the only one thing that I really disliked in this issue…

12 12 2012
Light_Watcher

Thanks, Veiriti.
I won’t start commenting on the art…I promise I won’t comment on the art..I promise I won’t….please, don’t let me start talking about that “art”.

14 12 2012
Veiriti

Don’t make such promises! LOL I’d like to see your art analysis and for the next issue! 😀

12 12 2012
Stoney

I wasn’t keen on the issue, it was still better than the last arc sure, but I found it disappointing and the art this time was truly terrible. Dowling was so inconsistent and Buffy looked plain ugly at times.

I also still don’t care about Billy and I hope at some point we get some explanation as to how and why he ended up in SF. Have to say that I really loved that they linked with Willow2.

I have to say I think we are supposed to read Buffy as wanting Dowling to be interested to be honest Veiriti. It was all a bit hit and miss and the writing wasn’t great. She didn’t look convinced when originally talking to Xander and Dawn about whether or not she was happy. But then she looked distinctly unhappy when he said it was a terrible rumour and she seemed low as she picked at her stake saying ‘Oh. Good. So we’re clear. We’re not dating’. So I think they will start seeing each other when she gets back, or at least they are intending to at this point. I have massive issues with Dowling saying he usually has breakfast with the girls he dates. It is undoubtedly a joke but it puts the question of sex there before they have even gone out anywhere together. Whilst I am sure it was just a bad writing set up to him asking her out for breakfast it really made me dislike him unfortunately.

Dawn’s illness is odd, her change in tastes of food being discussed as if it had always been that way, because I’m pretty sure, without having checked, you’re right and Dawn was a peanut butter fan in the show. I was a bit disappointed with how little we saw of Xander/Dawn.

I wasn’t delighted either about Buffy actually being back with Anaheed and Tumble because I didn’t take to them particularly before. This could change, I was suspicious of what Anaheed was looking for so maybe they will get interesting. Again, got to agree that it is ridiculous that the advanced review got wrong who Buffy was living with, particularly when she even says it out loud in the issue.

The teleportation to Illyria was exactly what I was expecting. I’m looking forward to the Illyria/Koh/Severin stuff, but then I was looking forward to this and it was a let down.

12 12 2012
Light_Watcher

I am annoyed with that Duffy ship (LoL, my work is done here, I’ve named the Dowling/Buffy relationship!) because we haven’t witnessed it building up. How am I supposed to get to know those two and like them together when they just serve them on my plate demanding of me to accept them? The way they have demanded of me to accept Billy is great, Billy is part of the team now?

12 12 2012
Veiriti

There is no a Duffy ship (LOOL)! Dowling is mostly her co-worker and friend. He is not her Riley 2, his feelings to her are only friendly. Besides he probably is a goner. I think that bite will infect him. I hope someone to bite and Billy! Please, let some zompire to bite Billy!!!!

12 12 2012
Elena

Interesting issue. After two boring issues we’ve got a really interesting story with a lot of unanswered questions.

Who is that zompire that Buffy seemed to recognize? Simone? Kennedy?

Are all the other people’s memories about Dawn fading away, as she becomes less and less real?

The synchronization with “Willow #2” is flawless. Good job!

And, finally, Illyria!!!!

12 12 2012
Light_Watcher

The hair is different color and not short, so it is not Simone. It’d better be Kennedy, not because I want her to die, but because I want that zompire to be someone I knew, just like Buffy, and not just some random slayer that I don’t care whether she lives or not.

12 12 2012
orchardist

Georgia-
I’m so with you on that other site’s advance review clearly indicating they don’t really keep up with the series. Grrrrrr.

I FORGOT about the peanut butter cooking fiascos. I presumed it was Buffy forgetting – I’ve been reading with the impression that the pre-Key-to-Dawn transformation memories were gone (like Connor’s family lost theirs). But we did see her with peanut butter so … hmmm.

Of course we also had Jane Epenson let a zompire in without an invitation in the Billy issue. So it could be error or it could be a plot point. Based on the letters, I think we don’t get back to Xander and Dawn until Issue #19 or #20. Buffy is off finding out what a mess she made (I presume) with Ilyria and Koh. Then there’s a Severin issue. So, the “slow boil” is going to continue to cook in the background. I’m more worried about Dawn now than Xander’s depression.

I think Billy as a character is okay (and I was happy he read the VAMPYR book), but his introduction was SOOOO PSA and he’s no substitute for Xander and Dawn.

Nice review.

12 12 2012
Light_Watcher

Thanks! 🙂

That reviewer not only hasn’t read any issue that hasn’t been sent to him to review, but also hasn’t even payed attention to this issue. Why would Buffy give a check to a Dawn’s friend to cover the rent of 6 months? Unless that friend is living with Buffy and she is her roommate, not Dawn’s friend.

Based on the letter column, I think that Scott Allie said that we’ll get all the answers about Xander in this arc, which ends in #19, and there will be some more in #20.

The reason why I hate Bily so much is because they want me to like him. They didn’t MAKE me like him through the story, but they served him to me and they ASKED me to like him. Thanks but no thanks, I will only like him when the story makes me like him.

12 12 2012
Light_Watcher

Now that the issue is out and others have read itI will comment on it better.
First the art, please, CHANGE THAT ARTIST. Everyone looks like 12 years old, Jeanty even managed to make Illyria look like she’s 12. Everyone but Billy, who amazingly looks like his age.

We have spent 3 issues in a story about W&H which could have been told in 1, and 2 issues on a background story about Billy. And now we are just supposed to accept that at sometime Buffy met Billy, got to know him, trusted him enough to let him sleep in her room, talked to and gained the trust of his grandmother, spent nights patrolling with Dowling and going from ‘sb I know and met a couple of nights’ to ‘sb I meet with every night and it seems like dating’. I really don’t know who to blame here.

That zompire’d better be somebody we know and not just a random slayer without any background story again. I don’t want it to be Kennedy, I don’t like her character but I don’t hate her that much to have her dead. But still I hope it is her and not just a random slayer that I won’t care that she has died and has become a zompire.

Illyria’s new Charmed power. They’d better explain this. I’ll be totally harsh if they won’t. And especially why doesn’t she go all BOOM! like she was supposed to in Time Bomb, when Wesley stripped off her powers.

I am sure that Anaheed wasn’t looking for something to wear. I guess will find out about that in a future issue.

Dawn’s allergy to peanut. Again no background story, they’d better explain this in one of the upcoming issues.

So we even learn that Buffy doesn’t reply to Spike’s texts. Since we haven’t seen him texting her in his mini, but only checking on his bars, I guess that should synchronize with his #5 that was supposed to come out next week, before getting a new release date. So Spike will text Buffy in his final issue but Buffy won’t answer back. What a b1tch! Why do they make Buffy look so bad? Unless it is again a background story that we haven’t read and we’re now supposed to take their words on it, that at some point Spike was texting Buffy and she wasn’t answering back.

The issue was indeed an improvement, as I said, compared to the previous 5 ones, but I can’t say that it was as good as A&F’s 2 last issues, or Spike’s mini, or Willow’s mini. The writing is much better there than in the Buffy title.

12 12 2012
Stoney

Veiriti, I really think because of Buffy’s goofy grin when talking about X/D thinking they are dating and then her dejected response to his reply we are supposed to think she wants to date him. The writing around those scenes is so jumbled up but the art implies she felt disappointed when it seemed he wasn’t interested.

12 12 2012
Veiriti

Well, it wasn’t serious, I believe! Anyway – I think the guy will turn into a zompire in the next issue and probably Buffy will be forced to stake him. I would sorry for Dowling… I like him.

12 12 2012
Stoney

The writing was so clunky around those scenes I would have taken it all for friendly banter if it hadn’t have been for Buffy’s expressions. Anyway, it doesn’t matter if Dowling gets zomp’d or killed. I thought he looked interesting at first and then he went all squeal-y when Cheung was attacked and I thought he was pretty boring after that, still preferred him to Billy tho!!

12 12 2012
Light_Watcher

What just keeps on striking me is that they rounded the whole season into Buffy wants normal, Buffy needs normal, Buffy has a crappy life and no money, and the minute she finds a job and gets a nice paycheck out of it, she’s all about only slaying and watching TV on her free time.
So for how long is this paycheck going to last? 1 month? 6 months? A year? Eventually she’ll run out and discover that she’s back to point zero.

Since she was teleported in LA, there is no way that they’re going to develop this scenario in this arc, leaving the last arc of the season with dealing with the bring back magic stuff, dealing with Simone, so at the end of the season Buffy will be where she’s started. Maybe have some more from that check, that will end up soon.

I am not saying that they can’t just out of the blue have Buffy getting a job somewhere, it’s just that it will be underdeveloped or background story. They have really done a lousy job programming the season, and the Billy arc was totally unnecessary and shouldn’t have existed in the main book. Also the pregnancy arc. And the robot thing. And the Internet guy, that story could have been told in an issue, not 3, the action was minimum and the character development was zero, having Buffy realizing that she’s THE slayer, something that she had realized at the end of Season 8.

Too bad, my favorite book getting this treatment, while A&F and the miniseries are doing so much better than this.

12 12 2012
Stoney

BtVS is weak, no doubt. I’m just hoping the final arc will pull a bit of continuity through it that will make me happier in hindsight. The Spike mini has been the highlight of the season so far for me (no great surprise there!!) but I would still prefer him back in the main book.

12 12 2012
Light_Watcher

I’m losing my faith in the main title. I give it up to the end of this arc, if it doesn’t I prove by then, it never will. At least not in this season.

12 12 2012
Stoney

I’m so childishly pleased sometimes, I love the way the dates show alongside the comments here!! 🙂

12 12 2012
Light_Watcher

Haha, that was my choice :p

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