Review, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #22 (The Core, part 2)

12 06 2013

Buffy, Xander, and Willow must fight against all odds to get past the mystical council and gain entry to a magical hotspot—the Deeper Well! New allies are born while old enemies bring the heat. Grave dangers await our heroes at the center of the earth!

Writer: Andrew Chambliss
Artist: Georges Jeanty
Inker: Dexter Vines
Colorist: Michelle Madsen

Buffy, Willow, and Xander are reunited and prepared for battle at the heart of the Deeper Well – the tomb of the earth’s greatest evils. Their goal? To prevent Dawn from disappearing, they will jump-start magic in a world that sorely needs it.

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So, this time I decided to wait for the digital issue to come out before posting the review for various reasons, mostly because of real life deals and well, too bored to do that yesterday actually. Not that excited when I read the issue itself, and I will explain myself why.

To start with, so many panels, or should I say pages, wasted on fights. Buffy fights demons, a couple of words, Willow fights demons, a couple of words, Buffy fights demons and shows her teeth to scare them and plus a few words, another demon fighting, a couple of words, oh did I mention the demon fighting? Around 8 pages are wasted on demon fighting and useless dialogues that have nothing to do with the story. If you’re expecting any dialogue for laughing at those panels, you’ll be disappointed, sorry.

Then we have Spike, whose interaction with Dawn was pretty, cute and sweet. Big problem though is that most of his dialogue is to remind Dawn, and to us, how they both found out that she was the key back in Season 5, so more panels wasted there in information we’ve known alreay. Only thing we find out is that Spike has started forgetting Dawn as well, and he asks from Andrew a tape recorder in order to tape himself saying Dawn’s story, just in case he forgets.

Some more panels wasted on Billy and his uncute boyfriend, after a Skype call, informing us that his hometown is full of zompires that eat people, zompires that don’t need an invitation to enter. Who cares, really? And Anaheed agrees that he must go back, and decides to go with him. So let me get this straight….Buffy, Willow and Xander went to England, leaving Dawn to be taken care by Anaheed and Billie, But Billie and Anaheed decide to leave Dawn behind and go on their own mission. Nice move Buffy, you found the right people to trust your sister with! Yes I know that Spike and Andrew are also there, but we know that Buffy doesn’t trust Andrew, she said it herself a couple of issues back. As for Spike, Anaheed and Billie have no idea whether Buffy trusts Dawn with Spike, so no justifications there either. What I’m trying to say here….I don’t blame the story, I blame the writers and whoever thought of that story. The only interesting thing that happens in the San Francisco pages is that Anaheed and Billie ask Spike to tell Buffy something about Simone, because they can’t reach her on the phone. We’ll know what in the following issue I guess.

Back to the Deeper Well and fighting panels. I am not a religious person, actually I consider myself an atheist. But I find it pretty annoying that they have a demon that looks like Buddha. Sure there are people who believe in him, don’t they find it insulting? I was raised as a Christian Orthodox, some years ago I would have found it very insulting if Buffy was shown fighting a demon who looked like Jesus Christ. Whose idea was a Budda demon? The writer’s or the artist’s? Anyway, more about the art later on.

Illyria and Koh arrive, or at least that has to be Illyria according to what she says, because according to how she looks I’ve no idea who the heck that character is supposed to be. Looks like they came to help the Council to protect the entrance to the Deeper Well. They’re surprised to see that Buffy is the attacker. But no worries, in just a couple of seconds they decide to betray the council and work on Buffy’s side. Plus we learn why Koh had been imprisoned for years. He was accused of killing his family, but since he seems to have learnt his lesson off screen, he promises not to betray Buffy again. He can’t bring back his family, but he can help Buffy save hers, save Dawn. And just like that, Buffy trusts him again. Which would have been an interesting story, I don’t know, if for example we haven’t wasted 2 issues on Billie and have those dedicated to the characters we’ve already known. How am I supposed to feel for Koh and understand his actions? How am I supposed to trust and like Koh? And more importantly, why Buffy just believes his words and trusts his after what he did to her? Build up the story, in order to make us, and Buffy, able to trust Koh’s words, not just count on some off screen actions and characters reassuring us, leaving us with the impression that not only has the world lost its magic, but Buffy has also lost her brain in this season. But no, we had to dedicate 44 pages and 2 issues to Billie, and now we’re running out of pages, I forgot.

As for Xander? Well, I will admit that in the previous issue I was very harsh on him. Actually when I calmed down a little bit and read again my review, I realized that I shouldn’t have. Some personal issues, and I blamed it all to Xander I guess, my bad. The problem is that in this issue, it seems that I was right. If you just didn’t like Xander in the last issue, you’ll hate him here. Most of his panels he spent them away from the fight, pretty much away actually, texting Simone and trying to buy both Simone and Severin time. Of course he suddenly regrets it, when it’s almost too late because he realizes that in order to have Willow get the magic, Buffy might die in the process fighting. But he had no problem hiding himself and letting Buffy and Willow do all the fight and risk their lives while he was too busy texting Simone, just some minutes before. Huh? So at the end he accidentally spills out the words and reveals his betrayal. And Buffy is mad, because she doesn’t have to just save Dawn, now thanks to him she has to save the world as well. But no worries there I guess, Xander will have Buffy’s trust in the following issue, not because he will explain himself, not because he’ll earn again her trust, but just because that Buffy will just forgive and forget as she does often in this season.

And let’s talk about the art, do I really have to write any words on that “art”? Buffy with a penis on her head? I mean, really? Who does her hair like that? And why did the editorial team approve that “art” when they saw Buffy with that hair? Did they see the pages at all before approving? I mentioned it in the previous issue, but I was hoping that they would have corrected it, or maybe have that penis from all that fighting falling and having Buffy return to a ponytail. And if you don’t believe me, here are some of Buffy’s panels..

And there are even more inside the issue, believe me.
As for the rest, a mess. Xander looks awful. Illyria looks like a fool. Dawn terrible. Spike stupid. Cute-Billie’s-boyfriend totally uncute. Willow I have no words for. Even Koh who was drawn very well in previous issues, here is anything but. At this point, the only thing I know for sure is that I’m done with those comics if Jeanty returns as the title’s artist next season. This has gone beyond being just ridiculous already. I am sure he’s just laughing at us, seriously a Buffy with a penis on her head?
I have many problems with the way the A&F’s story has gone. I hate the idea that they brought back Giles from the dead, and according to Gage’s latest interview I have to give credit to the editor, Scott Allie, who didn’t want to bring Giles back. Unfortunately, Gage and Whedon both had a different opinion. I also hated the way that Spike was used as a comic relief character there, ignoring all his past character evolving, plus the fact that in an issue written by Whedon himself, Spike described Harmony as a fool and wanted nothing to do with her anymore. And then, suddenly, A&F#20 comes and they inform us that Spike and Harmony are now friends, and actually friends with benefits. I also hate the fact that every character is actually there to be mad at Angel, only to forgive him at the end of the arc. But if there is a 2nd season of A&F, written by Gage and drawn by Isaaks I will keep on purchasing that. You read that story, and although you find plot holes and things you don’t agree with, at least the story seems to have been well programmed and planed before. You see the panels and you see an amazing artist at her best. Yes, I hated Rebekah’s version of Spike, but who cares when the rest of the characters look amazing? When the details are so vivid? When Faith fights and she’s not flying, unlike Buffy who when drawn by Jeanty, prefers to fly in the air before attacking? As if as flying is one of Buffy’s powers..

So, I think I have to finish this. If you summarize the issue’s story in a few words to someone, it seems interesting. Unfortunately the way it’s actually written proves the opposite, and I explained myself why. And the artist does his best to make things even worse. And the way things will probably go, Buffy will have to do a lot of more fighting inside the Deeper Well, so more panels of a flying Buffy with a penis on her head attacking her enemies. Also, next week is the 1st part of 3 of Billie’s story. I won’t review that, I’m sure I won’t even read it, especially when I think that there will be 3 issues (only a few pages each) for that story, which means more than 10 dollars to spend. I think I will wait for someone to review it. Or even not, I really don’t care at all if I never find out.

To make a long story short…Is it September already? Are we done with this season so we can move on to hopefully a better story? One better planned, better written, and especially better drawn by a different artist? Could we have Paul Lee as S10’s regular artist, please? And Victor as the main Buffy writer?





10 responses

12 06 2013

Our thoughts on this issue run pretty side by side. Paul Lee and Victor G as the main Buffy team would be my dream, but I am not putting much hope in it.

Any ideas why Spike would say that Dawn didn’t like him much around when she found out she was the key? I know I haven’t rewatched BtVS in ages but I thought Dawn was pretty much in a default of ‘Spike’s cool’ until the AR.

12 06 2013

Do I have to see that awful “art” again in order to read what those panels say? No, I won’t do that!!

From what I remember, Spike says that Dawn didn’t like him much, but that changed the night he took her to the magic shop. I don’t think they had any interaction before that, had they?

12 06 2013

Ha, I won’t subject you to the art. He says… You snuck out of the house–quite skillfully I might add–but had the unfortunate luck of running into me. Didn’t seem to like me much back then. But that’s changed. We broke into the magic box together. You found Giles’ diary and that’s where you learned the truth. That you were the key. Which is how we come to be in this mess today.

It is in Blood Ties, ep13 when they go to the magic box. But he looks after Joyce and Dawn in the episode before, Checkpoint so it isn’t like Dawn has never been around him before. I just don’t think there is anything for Spike to have based that comment on, it just seemed an odd thing to have had him say.

12 06 2013

I don’t know, she did that ewww when Spike offered them blood from the fridge. And seemed annoyed when Joyce went to start watching Passions with him.

Who knows what Chambliss had in mind when he was writing those dialogues. Actually all of the dialogues in the issue don’t make sense if you think a little bit.

Wake me up when the season is over….

12 06 2013

I certainly agree the hair on Buffy is horrible and all I can think is Jeanty was trying to show something other than the typical pony tail and that it was swinging around. But really, AWFUL.

IA that Xander comes off HORRIBLE in this issue. Allie even pseudo-acknowledges it in the “letters” section. I don’t agree that he accidentally told Buffy. I think his “click” when he cut off Simone meant he decided to abandon his “help the baddies” plan and tell Buffy. In short, confess rather than get her killed. But of course that is completely stupid because at this point, they are “in it” and nothing is going to stop Buffy. So yeah, I’m way disappointed in the Xander writing here. I hope they are going to go for some redemption but at this point I think the point of Xander being an idiot is for more the drama of Buffy saying she doesn’t trust him and now because of him she has to save the world again. Oooohh…not.

Still, I think regardless of how they bend the character around, those who hate Xander will see this as just another reason to continue to do so. Those who like Xander will hope he redeems himself. In short, they are going to keep yanking about fan sentiment to stir up dialog. Allie’s comment seem to reinforce they are waiting to see the “buzz”.

I hate plots that are designed to just get fans arguing. They had a good thread going (Xander’s PTSD). Now in this issue it’s back to “Xander the idiot, Buffy the bossy, and Willow the wicca who says NOTHING about people issues”. Really disappointed.

I will say this… it’s clearly the bottom of Act II. Everything has gone TERRIBLY. So yes, we’ll rebound with Act III (broken into 2 issues I’m guessing). And once again, our plucky heroine will save the world….

12 06 2013

It looks like writers have a story for one issue, but they need to drag it for three issues – so they’re spreading the actual plot as thin as possible.

Xander’s revelation is pretty anti-climactic.

Spike and Dawn’s scene is touching, but one short scene can’t save the issue about fights, fights and more fights.

13 06 2013

Fights and more fights – pretty much a waste of page space – since they don’t really add much to the story. And flying Buffy in battle, I don’t get this at all – perhaps Mr. Jeanty intended a shout out to all those years ago of the start of the comic books when we first see Buffy in this flying mode.

I agree with you about Eldre Koh – this was, IMO, a big missed opportunity to get his back history. I was not at all surprised that his imprisonment was connected to something personal like his family or that he had been accused of a dishonorable deed. I’ve been waiting all this time to get the history of Eldre Koh and I am totally disappointed with this treatment.

Good points on the Billy and Anaheed and how they just take off – guess they know all about Spike and trust him based on off page conversations with who? I’ve become such a cynic because I think the only reason Billy and Anaheed are part of this final phase is so that they can entice readers to buy the anthology issue.

I liked the Spike-Dawn elements and I primarily see this issue as the final transition into the finale. The Xander betrayal, if this is the resolution, IMO, was very weak as was the Little Red Balloon girl as defender. Interesting new misty power for Severin.

13 06 2013

Good review, Gigi! 🙂 I’ve read the issue and I liked only the moments with Spike. And why the hell they keep waste pages with that stupid, uninteresting and pointless character Billy?! Well, the story wasn’t good, but still was decent, unlike the “art” – I have no words, just look at Buffy’s freak haircut… nuff said! Season 10 definitely needs a new artist. And better storyteller! I’m team Victor Gischler & Paul Lee!

14 06 2013

Georgia, very nice review ! Like Veirirti said, I also like only the moments with Spike. It was very nostalgic when he tells Down story in S 5. I can’t belive that Spike going to forget Dawn, too. But unfortunately, the scene with Spike and Dawn was very short. I want he and Buffy to meet soon and to see their interaction.

17 06 2013
‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 #22′ Review: Curse Your Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal! » Whedonopolis

[…] Fan reaction for this issue has been mostly negative, as many seemed to feel the big moments didn’t have the weight they ought to. The book also got a harsh review from Light_Watcher. […]

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