Writer:Christos Gage and Nicholas BrendonPenciller:Rebekah Isaacs
As Spike and Xander bond -- while also seriously getting on each other's nerves -- they are tempted to start writing some rules of their own in the book of magical laws... concerning Buffy and Dawn!
Finished reading this. Nothing especially interesting, not for me, even though the cliffhanger was something I wasn't expecting. This makes things interesting, but even helps to render turbid the canon and I'm not sure that this is what we need, but let me to smile imagining the possible implications on the continuum of story.
Okay, for me this issue was the worst of the season so far, by a long ways . It sucked.
There were a few good bits, mainly the start where the group are ironing out their living arraingments/job sitches- it felt a bit 'info-dump'-y but it was still good to have the answers.
Buffy, Dawn and Willow living in one big apartment, Spike/Xander living in another, and Giles living in a third (I'm not sure how any of that makes sense- they have three bedrooms and give a whole one to child-Giles? Odd. )
We saw a little of D'Hoffryn and the negotiations with his council, seems to suggest how the overall 'Book plot' will tick along away in the background.
Also the inclusion of Anya was nice, she seemed fairly vital, coming to Xander's aid again like that.
But then we get to the...plot.
Take a fairly boring monster of the week, add in some really bad tin-ear Xander/Spike dialogue (Spike didn't really sound like Spike at all) and oh, throw in some Spander exploitation (a half-naked pillow fight? Really!?)
I mean, if we had any other pairing acting this way it would just be pandering now wouldn't it?
*Sigh* Whatever, I'm sure the Spander fans got a kick out of it, the rest of us should just wait for the next issue if we want a decent story.
Oh, and joy- they've included Dylan from Spike- 'Into The Light', weaving that into 'official' canon now are they? Jeez, how are they gonna tap-dance around that crap.
Are we going to have to put up with Buffy reacting all jealous to a Spike-love interest?
I think that's we're their going with that, unless Dylan turns out to have an agenda for tracking Spike down all these years later. (If ITL was post or pre- S7 that's still about 3/4 years after their meeting right?)
I kind of enjoyed it - seeing Spike and Xander move from mutual dislike to something like a friendship, was a positive development for both characters. It was entertaining and the pillow fight really made me laugh. Sometimes, I find that the way that everyone constantly lays bare their emotions so we know what they are thinking lacks subtlety, but on the other hand you are not left in any doubt what is going on.
The cliffhanger was a bit problematical. I enjoyed 'Into the Light' as a bit of James fan fiction and a chance for him to tell a story, but you really can't imho and shouldn't change the continuity of the TV season unless this is something that Joss has directed to be so.
I continue to really enjoy Anya's part in the story and wish she would stick around, so she probably won't.
Best issue so far! Xander and Spike make a hell of a team. The pillow fight was actually the best part. It was so funny.
However, I do think we needed to see more issues of them together before they get this comfortable with each other. Some lines like Spike's "You're stronger than that" and Xander's "Will you help me get her back?" came completely out of the blue and something I don't see both characters saying to each other at this stage. Mind you, I disagree completely with those who refuse to believe that a Xander/Spike friendship is possible, but it's too early for it to happen without a few more issues of them sorting their differences out and growing to care and respect the other. My favorite panel of the issue was the one at the bottom of the first page with Xander and Spike glaring at each other because it's where their relationship really is at this stage. They can be roommates but they'r not happy about it.
The season does have a new mushy-feely relationship between the gang. To quote Buffy, they do act more like Friends the show than the Scoobies. They feel too comfortable around each other than believable.
The hugging between Buffy and Giles did come out of the blue in the flow of the scene, but overall, I thought their scene was okay. I was a little taken aback by Buffy kissing Xander - and they did remind me of Rachel and Chandler in the early seasons when she used to hug and touch him tenderly more often than not.
It just seems that we can't have it both ways - either that members of the gang never share a panel (Xander/Willow) or they become their own version of Full House. I do think it's a shame that the complexity of the Xander/Spike relationship was swept under a rug to have an easy bonding.
That's exactly what this issue feels like. Bad Spander fan fic.
I get why Xander/Spike fans would like this, there's just very little here for anyone else.
Clunky, unconvincing, out-of-character dialogue, a really poor mind-control plot all so we can get to the 'humoreous' mind control exploitation of two men pillow fighting.
But because it's two men, it's a 'jolly romp' and not at all lazy, derivitive and actually kind of sexist.
That's just sad.
Actually I wonder what people's reactions would've been if they'd substitited Willow and Buffy for Xander and Spike?
Answer: It would've been lazy titilation, no question about it.
Wow, you have to go all the way back to two pages in Season 8...
At least 'No Future For You' had a decent plot (actually an excellent plot, one of the best of the Season) to fall back on, not this rubbish. Plus, Genevieve Savidge was a simple throwaway character, ie- nobody of consequence.
So its not the same at all. The Spike/Xander thing had actually dialogue pandering to match the other rubbish.
(But I do remember the outcry when Buffy slept with Satsu- proof of a double standard here as far as I'm concerned.)
It's actually funny, because the 'naked pillow fight' is hardly the worst thing about this issue- it's just really dull/ uninteresting.
The Xander/Spike dialogue was fluffed greatly. These two characters haven't seriously interacted since the actually show- Season 6 in fact, and they're spouting things like 'You're stronger that that', and acting all pally? Since when?
Shouldn't we have, oh I don't know, a building of a relationship where by the end of the issue the two of them have worked out their issues?
Where was the personality conflict/clash we were promised? Beyond the first couple of pages there was nothing. (Xander's anger was about his personal situation and not about Spike exactlty, so that doesn't count)
Nah, just have them fart about, be all chummy and then move on to the 'plot'.
Wasted opportunity to advance both their characters and their relationship.
Saying all comics are exploitative is not only untrue (if you were into comics you'd realise this) but also a very weak defence imo. This is Buffy we're talking about, it was very good television- it should be a very good comic.
And I also disagree with your other assertion. For the male gaze we often had Buffy, Cordelia, Faith, Anya, Willow- all at one point or another wearing very flattering/sexy clothing.
I agree with naked Spike though. Lazy, shallow pandering wuhich some people ate up all too readily.
I do agree that there needed to be a build up. But I think it's the problem of S10 in general and not just issue 7. All the characters are friends now, it's been like that since issue 1. Other than Xander/Dawn, all the complexities and misunderstandings between characters have been swept under a rug to make the Scoobies likable again after years of mistrust and hostility.
"Saying all comics are exploitative is not only untrue (if you were into comics you'd realise this)"
Well does being a comic collector for 25 years not count then, cos thats what I am.
In the past the comics industry as a whole has been notoriously sexiest and even today still is with certain titles. Buffy was a great TV show, but sadly imo has not made a good comic most of the time, with writing on the whole thats been very sub par compared to what we saw going on in the series.
And I hardly think two grown men having a silly pillow fight constitutes some great slight to men. For a a start they were wearing boxers not some kind of silly skimpy underwear, or completely nude. God many female super heroes have been seen to wear less.
"And I also disagree with your other assertion. For the male gaze we often had Buffy, Cordelia, Faith, Anya, Willow- all at one point or another wearing very flattering/sexy clothing."
Well don't begrudge us this then.
"Lazy, shallow pandering wuhich some people ate up all too readily." Thank, thank you very much.
So you're not ignorant of the facts, just plain wrong. Good for you.
Comics have come a long way in fact. There are far more (talented) female writers than ever before and that's always a good thing. Gail Simome amongst other is extremely talented.
Still doesn't excuse bad story telling though.
Saying things are bad one way and so its alright to do it the opposite wayisn't a strong argument. Both ways are wrong.
And I didn't say that the pillow fight was some 'great slight against men' I only said that it was 1) Lazy pandering and 2) Would never happen in this comic with two female characters without a subsequent outcry. Instead its all 'giggle, nudge/wink'
It's the double-standard I object to.
And by the way, its not about what they're wearing, (comics are a visual format after all) its about what they're doing/acting like. Mind-controlled love-slaves/food?
Everyone wants to look at the body beautiful, comic book characters are an embodiment of that. Both male and female superheroes should act in an empowered way, it doesn't matter what they're wearing. That's a shallow argument a lot of the time.
All in all I find it puzzling (given what you've just said about the Buffy comics and what you think of their quality) that you'd rush to defend this particular issue as some sort of example of good writing.
Could it be something to do with the subject matter perhaps?
Whatever. I've said my peace.
This is the biggest let-down of the Season so far and I hope for better plot/characterisation to come next month.
"Saying things are bad one way and so its alright to do it the opposite wayisn't a strong argument. Both ways are wrong"
It does If you're comparing this pathetic little bit of 'pandering' done in a light hearted manner against years and years worth of over sexualized depictions of women in both the comics industry and the media in general.
"All in all I find it puzzling (given what you've just said about the Buffy comics and what you think of their quality) that you'd rush to defend this particular issue as some sort of example of good writing."
Because it was alight hearted romp which imo made a change and because as along standing Spander shipper it hit me where I live so to speak. Okay?
*eta* I know I have a knacked old computer but trying to type this on the new forum is like wading through mud it's so slow.
But I'm not comparing this to any other comic.
I never said that. I am however, comparing it to anything I've seen on the Buffy/Angel television shows or in those comics.
That's why its so jarring. It doesn't fit at all with anything I've seen before. That's why it's obvious pandering.
But you're right, it was pathetic.
I'm not going to get into the wider sexualisation of women in comics issue (which may actually be relevent to this discussion) and will just say that either way is wrong, all phony justifications aside.
Like I said If you love Spander- you'll love this issue. Not much here for the rest of us. 'Light-hearted romp' notwithstanding, they could've (and should've) done a hell of a lot better with the characters.
Not overly impressed with this issue I have to say. The page where they're talking about the magic book and then Spike chats about exposition, is that supposed to be a funny comic in joke? I don't want the characters giving a nudge and a wink to the audience, I want to be engrossed in the story. I think the dialogue here just seemed clunky and forced most of the way through. It was amusing in places though and it was nice to see a small conversation with Buffy and Giles. I'm hoping for an issue to focus on that relationship soon, fingers crossed.
As for the pillow fight, it was a bit daft. I don't have a problem with it but not a big fan either. Can just imagine how ridculous that seen would have looked on TV instead. Onwards and upwards hopefully.
Didn't Xander have a fantasy about the potentials having a pillow fight in their undies in Season 7 ? I think it was in 'Dirty Girls.' Maybe this scene was a call back to that. As for the quality of the writing, I think it's Christos's style to not be all that subtle about the character's emotions. Angel and Faith last season was sort of the same in places.