Review, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #24 (The Core, part 4)

14 08 2013

In a last-ditch effort to save Dawn, the heroic trio of Buffy, Willow, and Xander must split up and tackle their own demons, real and imagined. As the season’s Big Bads—Severin and Simone—threaten to turn back time, the mystical council partner with Koh and Illyria to prevent a tragic tear in the fabric of time!
Writer: Andrew Chambliss
Artist: Georges Jeanty
Inker: Karl Story
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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And here we are just 1 issue before the end of the season (finally…). I didn’t review last month’s issue, I was not in a mood to review this month’s either. It’s been almost a day that I got the comic and I just can’t find any interest to talk about it.

But let me explain what I actually mean. I don’t know who are the actual readers of this story. It seems to me that DH writes this story for comic book readers, when the people who follow Buffy in the comics are actually TV viewers who only read Buffyverse’s titles. Or so I believe, at least according to the online fandom who talks about the comics. The ones that haven’t dropped them yet.. And the problem is that while, we, the TV viewers, are waiting to read a graphic novel, or kind of, a continuation of the 7 seasons, what we get is a just a comic. I hope you get the difference here, what I’m trying to say. The comics have managed to make me lose my interest in talking about Buffy. And I am not the only one. Take a look at Slayalive or Buffyforums, the two Buffyverse sites that talk the most about the comics. Just a couple of years ago, there were hundreds of posts every day, from people who were reading the comics and were talking about them. Now, we’re lucky if there are more than 5 posts every day. 20 of them when it’s the day that the comic comes out.

If their intention was to alienate people, it has been a job well done this season. But let’s talk about the issue itself. So, Simone becomes a vampire, because as she says, it was something that she chose to do, she wasn’t chosen to do it. And now she’s the most powerful creature on Earth, and she’s ready to do what she wanted ever since she first became a slayer: to kill Buffy Summers.

Let’s talk about that for a while. Simone has to be the most muahahaha villain I have ever read or watched or heard of. It was obvious, right from the beginning, that Simone would either die from the hands of an ensouled vampire (Spike or Angel) or that she would turn. No way to send her to jail, been there done that with Faith, besides she would probably be the Queen in a jail, doing whatever she wanted, not seeking redemption. And no way that Buffy would ever kill a fellow slayer. So, they just turn her into a vampire, in order to give an end to her story in the following issue. But let’s return to Simone herself. She wants to kill Buffy. She’s been using guns ever since we met her, but it has been really hard for her to use a gun to kill Buffy, right…. She is a slayer, she is one of the most powerful beings on Earth, but she wants more power I guess, so she wants to become a slayer/vampire. But that comes with a price, no sun, no daylight, and gives Buffy a reason to kill Her. Think about it a little bit more. She wanted to become a vampire, but she did nothing about it while the seed was not broken. The easier thing for her would be to capture a vampire, drain its blood, dust it, then start draining herself from her blood and just before she dies, drink its blood and become a vampire herself. But no, she didn’t do that while the seed was untouched. And now, with the seed broken, she was 100% sure that 1) she wouldn’t herself become a zompire, even after getting turned by an Old One, 2) that the Old One would actually turn her, and not just kill her. Great plan, like I said, muahaha villain.

As for the explanation why she became a vampire and not a zompire? It was the blood, the Old One’s blood, which was stronger, not like the regular vampires on zompires. But, haven’t we been told at the beginning of the season, that we have zompires now because the demon can’t come from another dimension, so it’s a remote control thing? So, we have zompires, not vampires? Then where and how and when did a demon come through an Old One’s blood to control Simone? So, is it the blood and magic, or remote control and a demon coming from another dimension? I guess Simone is more clever than Willow here, since Simone was actually right. She became a vampire. Although, according to the drawings, she looks like a zompire. It’s confusing, I know, blame the art, not me. And another question I have here, if Simone is not Simore but a demon occupying her body, wouldn’t she, as a slayer, know about that? That if she becomes a vampire, she would actually die and not be her? And why don’t we have a Buffy laughing at her in this issue, telling her “you’re a fool, you’re not Simone, you’re just a random demon who thinks it’s Simone, Simone was killed by the Old One”, like she told Severin at the beginning of the season. Have your cake and eat it too. Can’t work both ways, DH creators, decide which way you’ll follow, or you’ll lose the rest of your Buffyverse readership.

Then we have Willow, who gives birth to a new seed and saves the world. Or at least that’s what the seed tells her (I think it’s the seed talking there). And she’s left without magic. And as she’s told, magic will come back, but in millenia. But since Dawn doesn’t have that much time, she takes the petite seed to Severin, who’s about to go all Chernobyl, in order to gather the power that he’s been gathering into the new seed. I know, how convenient. Another muahaha wanna-be villain of this season, that they still haven’t explained to us how is it possible in a magicless world for a person to become such a powerful being and from where he got his powers.

As for Xander and his story, that they had promised us months ago it would be worth waiting for and we would want to read more about it? Besides falling and getting his head crashed, nothing else. He tried to help Buffy, only to get beaten by Simone. Then he tried to help again, mad when he heard that Simone fooled him and that she never intended to turn back the time, only to get himself thrown into the vast. But although he’s falling from a height of hundreds of meters, if not miles, and he falls on Koh, neither he, nor Koh get any harm. And let’s accept that Koh is a demon, so he might be able to survive that, but Xander? Isn’t he a human? If somebody falls from the third floor on me, I won’t save him, we will probably both die. But no, Xander gets up and starts helping the council and Koh against the Old One. Whatever. I guess there won’t be any more story about him in the following issue, and if there is, who cares? His S9 story has been disappointing ever since it started, I doubt they can save it in the last issue.

As for Koh? His story and how he got imprisoned, and who was responsible about it, forgotten. Like it never happened, like they’ve never told us, repeatedly, in the first half of the season. All we care is that he happened to be in the right place at the right time, so that Xander could fall on him so that he wouldn’t die.

Let’s come to Illyria. I hope she’ll stay away from the Buffy title next season. She is an Angel character, not a Buffy one. She talks to Severin, makes him realize his mistake, tries to help him, she doesn’t care if she dies in the process. Sure, it was nice of her, but I couldn’t hear Illyria talking there. We also have a panel, a flashback of the moment that Wesley died in her arms, it was nice. Although it kind of confused me at first, since I was distracted for a moment and when I went back to reading the comic, I thought it was a Dawn with black hair and Downling there, not Illyria with Wesley. Don’t blame me, blame the artist, Wesley looks exactly like Dowling (another forgotten plot/character of the season).

Last, but not least, Spike, who is on the main cover of the issue. Yes, he was in the issue, and he talked, for the huge space of one panel dedicated to him. A way to boost the sales? With that kind of a story, I doubt. If you’re aiming at Spike’s fans, give Spike a story, give some Spuffy, real one not a “unrequited love is fun to write”, been there, done that for years in the show. That is boring, that won’t make Spike’s fans purchase your comics.

As for the art? Much better than the mess that Jeanty has got us used this season. There is a very beautiful panel of Illyria, who looks almost exactly like Amy Acker. Not the rest of her panels though. Nice drawn details, but again when characters go on the background, they look ridiculous. But one good issue won’t save the rest that Jeanty has drawn. I just can’t wait to see the work of the artist who will replace him in S10, hopefully.

So, so many fronts, and so many unfinished plots, so many underused characters, so many questions, things that don’t many any sense even in a story with supernatural elements, and just 22 pages to explain those. Or to leave them unexplained in order for S10 to do that, or even better, hoping they’ll be forgotten. If you’re a maniac about gathering things and want to have everything from the beginning to the end, purchase the issue. If not, just read the reviews. I am so sorry to say that, but I just can’t take this story seriously anymore. I am really hoping that things will improve next season, but I don’t know, maybe I have a different definition of the word “improvement” than the one that DH has, since we had been promised that the final arc of the season would win us back. I am not sure about you, but for sure they haven’t won me back. Yet. Will they do it in the final issue? I doubt.





14 responses

14 08 2013

I quite enjoyed the issue compared to others but I do agree with you the background vampire/zompire/demon mythology is a huge mess.

15 08 2013

I tend to see the story as a whole. And since things rush in the very last 4 issues, it’s obvious the poor plan of the season they’ve had. During the first months of the season, Andrew Chambliss said that they would give us more info about the vampires. Where is that? Unless they meant the Old One, but still, no info about the vampires themselves. We’ve already known that a demon created the first vampire, so now we know it was an Old One. Great, now I can go to bed and sleep in peace…..

14 08 2013

I’ve just read the issue and I liked it, the story was interesting and the art wasn’t as terrible as usual, you’re right about Illyria/Amy’s panel – it was really good. I loved and the panel with Wesley dying… well it’s hard to say that the man looked like Wesley, but Illyria was ok! But I still wish to have a new artist for the new Buffy season. (pssstt… Paul Lee, paul lee…)
I’m a bit disappointed of the lack of Spike in this issue, but I hope we’ll get more of him in the next and the last issue – it would be a coda after all! I hope we will see Buffy and Spike together, just like in the end of Once More With A Feeling episode! 😉

15 08 2013

There is no coda this season. And the issue will end with Buffy and Willow looking surprised at something, wondering what to do. So it will end in a cliffhanger. I seriously doubt that Buffy and Spike will meet again this season.

14 08 2013

* It seems to me that Simone is a zompire. She somehow still has at least some of her intelligence.

* For all we know, Xander fell from less than a couple dozen feet up. It makes sense that he could survive that.

* Spike isn’t missed in this Issue. But you’re right. He’s in a tiny panel and he shares it with Andrew.

It seems Spike was mainly off BtVS S9 because Scott Allie convinced Joss to let Dark Horse do a Spike miniseries and then at some point it was decided that Spike would come back to San Francisco and then not even bother calling Buffy. Overall sales for the Buffyverse actually likely would have been higher had Spike remained in BtVS S9.

His stay in A&F made about no sense. Willow only begins to ‘get past’ what Angel did in BtVS S8 because Angel was pivotal in her getting her magical powers back. Angel did nothing for Spike other than try to belittle Spike’s relationship with Buffy. Then even though Spike was in London, there was zero Spike/Drusilla interaction. And the only way it would make any sense for Spike to come back to BtVS S9 and not want to be around Buffy is if he actually had gotten with Morgan and was still with Morgan.

Plus, we still don’t know what – if anything – is canon from IDW. We still don’t know how and when Buffy found out Spike was alive.

15 08 2013

Simone is a vampire. She has intelligence. She identifies herself as one, that what she wanted to become, even before the seed was broken as she says, not a zompire. And most importantly, Buffy calls her a vampire, not a zompire.

If you look at Xander’s panel when he fells, we see no fight of the Old One with the Council, Illyria and Koh. It is obvious that the fight happens very far away from where Buffy and Simone are.

As for Spike, I seriously doubt that Joss knew about the miniseries. I believe he first heard about it during last year’s SDCC (around 1-2 months before Spike’s #1, not when they first decided and planned about it). I have that feeling

14 08 2013

Hello Georgia, I want to say thank you for keep the reading and the review,you really work hard for it,I want to thank you. I have to agree with you, Buffy comics are getting very meaningless and boring. First because this dont keep the evolution of the characters. Season 8 and 9 must be the continuation of series..and this isnt! The most of the comics was written for people that never saw the series, so this made A LOT MISTAKES. Also Dark Horse never apologize or change all the mistakes they did, it makes that people leave the comics.. Season 8..was very dissapointed..season 9 start weird then we have some awesome moments between Spike and Buffy but they break it putting Spike away..(Im not talking about Spikes characterization in Angel&Faith because is the most horrible and disrespectful thing that DH made to the spike/spuffy fans) so again we are very bored..and now Spike is back but they put him in just one panel..yes I believe they put Spike on the cover just for sell the comics. Season 9 started like a very human season, Buffy pregnant ,Spike wanting be the father, Buffy confused, Spike supporting, I was pleased to read adult topic on the comics, this was so interesing and deep..but then we end the season with vampires and..zombies? but the most sad to see is the Buffy character we love arent they anymore..the most of time is like writers dont know what they are doing..after read it fo more than 2 years the only good things was Spike and Buffy together.

15 08 2013

You forgot to mention Billy and 2 issues dedicated to characters we’ve never heard of before….

14 08 2013

Thanks for doing the review especially as how it seems to be such a chore now for you. One thing that is so obvious and which you mention is that Simone having this obsession to kill Buffy. It’s friggin obvious that Simone could have easily killed Buffy with her guns. And as for as this great and powerful demon Severin/Siphon – this is perhaps the most weak and nonsensical villain ever in the Buffyverse. To end up with the premise that Severin/Siphon did all this to get back his girlfriend is so lame. We have yet to have any meaningful explanation for this character and why all these other powerful demons were so fearful of him and this prophecy. For it to have come down to I need my girlfriend back – I can’t imagine how DH and presumably Joss Whedon thought this was going to work for their readers.

Regarding the fall of Xander – my impression is that if Illyria is using cable to reach Severin we are not dealing with great heights. One other thing is that Buffy has indeed already made the choice to kill a slayer when she planned to feeding her to Angel. Also, Buffy also told the Slayer channeling Spike’s voice from the Robin Wood attack – that she would defend herself against Slayers who attack her. Spike was clear that he would kill Robin Wood if he had to. Don’t know what the writer’s intent was with this referenced to earlier history applied to Buffy – maybe it means nothing but it was certainly connected Spike and Buffy from the TV Era and this new story in SF.

Agree with you – So Many Questions still unanswered. In my opinion one of the primary problems with this entire series.

16 08 2013

* If Simone’s a vampire, she shouldn’t have been drawn looking like a zompire. And where would the demon come from? Did Maloker give her some of his ‘demon essence’?

* It does seem that Xander’s fall was probably over 100 feet. So, it seems Xander should have at least been ‘winded’ and more than likely have some broken bones.

* It’s highly doubtful that Scott Allie could make the decision to do a Spike miniseries without Joss’s agreeing to it.

16 08 2013

Read my review again to see what problems exist with Simone and whatever she’s become. I have already explained the plot holes in my review.

Of course he could, all he needs Joss Whedon for, at this point, is his name as the producer. DH has the license, not Joss Whedon. Four months before Spike’s #1, the writer, Victor Gischler, had no idea whether Joss Whedon would appear on the cover as the executive producer or not. That means that the writer was talking to the editor(s), not Whedon himself. It also means that DH didn’t believe it was important to inform the writer about it (guess yourself why).
Also, go and find Joss Whedon’s video from last year’s CC, there are clues there that he was just been informed. Or so I read it.

16 08 2013

Georgia, I am so sorry that you are disappointed. But these comics are all we have . They are that waht left for the show. I still don’t have time to read the issue, but I am going to read it. I want see Illirya looking like Amy Aker. And also Spike. I also wander – what is going to happen with detective Dowling ? At fist I even was thinking that he’s going to be the new Buffy’s love . Not that I wanted to.

Thanks for the nice review.

16 08 2013

Dowling? He’s forgotten. Left in a hospital. Who cares, really? Obviously he’s not important to be included in the final arc, and he’s not important enough to even get mentioned.

I am already moving forward, away from him (wish I could do the same with Billy, but something tells me they’ll waste many panels on him in S10).

20 08 2013

I stopped reading comic long ago – sometime around end of “Welcome to the team”arc – and I see that I’m not missing much. You said that Severin is muahaha wanna-be villain. It’s ironic but authors of season 9 were really proud of this character, and they said that he is most human out of all Buffy’s villains. Personally I think that Billy Fordham – boy who was just afraid of dying from cancer – was much more human than Severin and was more sympathetic villain. But what’s really sad is that Severin’s story could really work. I recently watched anime mini series called “Magica madoka” where one of the characters is time traveler who want to save loved one from dying in tragic event. It’s critical look at predestination vs. free will, and aforementioned time traveler is a tragic figure, akin to mythical Sisyphus. I say no more because I don’t want to spoil Madoka series for people who didn’t seen it and they may want to, but I say this: key difference between time traveler from “Magica madoka” and Severin is that we have opportunity to know time traveler from Madoka. We know who this person is, what’s she gone through, who is this person she want to save. In case of Severin we didn’t spend any time with him, we don’t know him or his dead girlfriend and to make matters worse every time we see him Jeanty draw him with maniacal smile, like he was son of the Joker or something. Why we should care about this person?

And I think this is the main problem with season 9 – some good ideas but very bad execution. If you want to have tragic villain, then make as care about him. Don’t make empty shell of the person and expect us to care

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