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Discussion of Buffy 10.09 "Return to Sunnydale, Part II" - Released 11/19/14 (Dark Horse)

Buffy Summers

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Writer: Christos Gage
Penciller: Rebekah Isaacs

The Sunnydale homecoming becomes less than fun as Buffy, Spike, and Willow realize that Andrew is in over his head with the Vampyr rules book and a terrible plan, and the demon they’re up against has a grudge against Slayers and a penchant for eating souls . . .

Source: Wikipedia
 

thetopher

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Read it, and although some of it was pretty good a lot of it was teeth-drillingly awful (specifically the Spuffy stuff)- I'll do a more indepth review tomorrow when I've read through it again and had more time to absorb it.
 
janas
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I'm waiting :P

janas

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The protagonist of this issue was Willow, to me. She shone bright light and I loved her very much for what her said on her, never forgotten, love for Tara. She said things that I wanted to hear by a long time and her choice, though painful, was the right choice. Tara must rest in peace.

On the rest of the issue, I would lay a merciful veil of silence, except for...
the mention to Hank Summers, that although he wasn't a good father, never ever I can believe that Buffy thinks her dad is worse than soulless Spike.

...and all those finals hugs were so false and meaningless as to appear ridiculous. Andrew was and still is a complete idiot.
 
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thetopher
thetopher
So agree with you on Andrew, and a lot of what Buffy said was just...terrible. :(

NothingVentured

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Am I the only one who thought Andrew's desire to resurrect Tara came out of nowhere? In the issue, he seems to assume blame for it. What we did, what we did to you. Andrew was not in on the plan to kill Buffy with a gun that got Tara killed. I don't recall him ever doing anything to Willow. From a character standpoint, it would have made more sense to resurrect Katrina, but I suppose it wouldn't have the same impact as resurrecting Tara.

I have to agree that the hugging was schmaltzy.
 

Silverspike

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Read it now. Gotta say I thought it was an easy read. Not wonderful, but not terrible either. A little bit cheesy at times, especially at the ending with all that hugging, but imo it didn't bother me that much. I mean the whole thing had action and a bit of shippyness thrown in, so it was a simple tale but imo better then some of the confusing daftness that was season 8 ended up being. :)
 

thetopher

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Okay, after my re-read I should clarify, its not the Spuffy stuff that's awful. Just almost everything Buffy and Andrew said was so utterly stupid and/or morally confused it made me grind my teeth.
Buffy came across as a horrible hypocrite and Andrew...I really just want him to die already.

A lot of the issue was good though, or at least it was a satifying conclusion to the first part of the story.
- The Soul Glutton was okay, nice to get a demon who can rant and rave a little bit so Buffy can quip at them (I mean her quips were pretty terrible- I've seen a lot better written if fan-fic, but still)
The fighting/action was okay but I do hope we see an end to 'Buffy fighting giant monsters' this season, because its already getting a little old. Plus the way the demon died ('I'll suddenly commit suicide and try and take you with me!') was a weak climax.

- Willow was easily my favourite character here, firstly using her brain to logic out where Andrew would be and then her heartfelt confession that she always thinks about using some new spell or other to bring Tara back was entirely in character. I hope this may signal her intentions to finally move on from Tara- the girl was clearly the love of her life but enough time has passed (3 or 4 years rather than 8 months...) so that she can find love elsewhere.

- Giles is still the exposition king of the Scoobie gang and I dug his dinosaur dressing gown. Did somebody buy that for him? In fact, where does Giles get his 'old fashioned school boy/Harry Poter' clothes from in California. London I could understand, but in San Francisco?

- Spike's self-analysis of his pre-soul motivations I found to be pretty spot on. Pre-soul Spike's love wasn't true love but maybe an echo of true love, like something he remembers or wished to have from his human days. His love for his Mum, and his love for Drusila were obsessive and unhealthy, just like his love for Buffy was self-destructive (and destructive to her to a degree). Nice to see the character is finally evolving, at least in one direction.
Plus I like that this has made all that IDW nonsense finally and firmly non-canon (where Spike briefly lost his soul and was still 'good' but felt hollow :rolleyes:)

- Buffy saying that 'souless Spike wasn't so bad' is just...insultingly stupid to her character. He slaughtered half of Europe Buffy, he tried to kill you a bunch of times, he tried to rape you. He was very bad, and it makes you sound brain-dead to claim otherwise.

I also noticed how she said 'He...you' when she was telling Spike about the good. So she can distinguish between Good and Bad Spike when it comes to all the evil deeds (from last issue- 'you're not the same person...') but doesn't distinguish when it comes to all the good deeds?
Which is it? Because at best that's a weak, confused argument (that I've heard MANY times before) and at worst its utterly hypocritical. If this is how truly confused the writers are about how to treat Spike and Buffy no wonder the fans can't stop arguing. ;)

But Buffy gets worse- she compares her selfish, absentee Dad to souless Spike. Her Dad, who presumably DID help raise and provide for her until she was sisteen, is unfavourably compared to a mass-murdering demon.
An incredibly harsh and distorted view of her Dad imo. Or does she really hate him that much now. Does she really have such a rose-tinted view off souless Spike? Urgh. :mad:

'There was always good in you Spike. So strong that it didn't need a soul to come out.' I mean, what can I say to something so blinkeredly stupid?

Spike got a chip, a severe behavioural modification device in his brain that curbed his murderous impulses with pain. Add to that a couple of years of trial and error morality in which he did some pretty terrible things (betraying the Scoobies to Adam, putting Riley's life at risk to get the chip out, threatening to feed Buffy to Dru, trafficking in demons of mass-destruction. Does Buffy remember none of this? :confused:) and during that time he started to show some good qualities. (Because he loved Buffy- even after her death- he protected those that were important to her, like her friends and Dawn . Though that did stop when he started shagging Buffy)
Buffy seems to cofuse an evil demon who is capable of doing good/noble things, with somebody who has intrinsic good in them.

Anyway, that's enough of Buffy's...unique world view. The other problem with this issue is Andrew.

I was puzzled as to why Andrew thought of himself responsible for Tara's death. Katrina's? Sure, I'd buy that. Jonathan's? hell yes fifty times over. But Tara- but it became clear what his motivation really was.
Btw- the scene where Andrew 'reasoned' as he wrote in the book was...his wording of the spell was awful and had the potential for so much horrible abuse and magical problems in the future. ('I'll ressurect Hitler to full health! Wow, that was easy.) Idiot.

Willow explaining clearly, and with conviction, why bringing Tara back would hurt Tara. Andrew's response? 'You can't stop me.' Selfish. Little. Turd.

Because it wasn't about Tara, it was about Andrew. While he was whining about 'feeling alone' and how 'he feels left out' it became obvious its not about doing good for anybody apart from himself.

It could be argued that Buffy being back in the world was good for the world and although Willow was being partly selfish in her motivations she was trying to bring back the slayer. She didn't know better (she thought Buffy was in some hell dimension and all the others agreed)
Giles' soul was in the clutches of Eyghon, which Angel figured out from reading his journals, and so decided to ressurect him. There was also a selfish element but rescuing Giles from a demon because of a youthful mistake the watcher made was basically noble. More importantly it was not a quick fix, it took time, planning, effort and Faith's help to complete.

Andrew's solution is absolutely a quick fix, and his motivations are entirely ill-thoughtout and selfish (he doesn't know Tara at all- did they even meet? No.) and his plan is illconcieved and dangerous. Even if the soul-glutton hadn't been there it still would've been a disaster to attempt.

And then we get to the ending- where Willow apologises for making him feel bad. I mean, c'mon!

And Buffy's forgiveness speech entirely misses the point. (plus it's far far too neat and simplistic. Simply knowing that you did wrong has never been enough for Buffy)

Forgiveness isn't about just 'fixing' something, it's about hard work to win back trust, making an effort and fighting not because it will make you feel better, but because it's right.
(This btw is being perfectly illustrated in the Faith part of A&F arc without needing to be spoonfed to the reader.)
Forgiveness has to be earned, to a degree, but it also takes time. It also should never be garrateed as much as Andrew obviously wants it to be.

What has Andrew done to earn his place with the Scoobies? Jack-shit is the answer, and he's screwed up badly as recently as the year before by violating Buffy and putting her life in danger for very flimsy reasons.

Man, I hope Andrew gets brutally murdered by robot-Jonathan. What an utterly pointless character.
 

Kaleidoscope

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I liked this issue as well. We've not seen too much Willow this series, so this was her opportunity to show just how far she has come. I found her decision regarding Tara to be very touching and powerful. We also see how much growth Spike has had as a character and what a clear perspective he has on his soullessness and his appreciation that without one, he would be a risky proposition. Returning to Sunnydale has been the catalyst for these two characters to show how far they have come.

As for Andrew, I thought the point of his part of the story was to show that change comes more slowly for him and that perhaps, he may never gain the maturity and perspective of Willow and Spike. He may always be a loose cannon.

I don't mind the hugging - It's very trademark Chrisots Gage and doesn't really spoil my enjoyment of the issue. I expect there will be more to come.
 

NothingVentured

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Man, I hope Andrew gets brutally murdered by robot-Jonathan. What an utterly pointless character.
RoboJonathan will be their Ultron? I could see it.

I'd agree about just about everything Buffy says in this, but she hasn't sounded like herself to me for a long, long time.
 

EVIL UU

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Read it. It sucked. It pains me to say because I like the art and the whole thing does feel like BtVS but sorry, it still sucks.

First of all - season 10? Look, this is season 7 material, OK? Early season 8 at best. Season 6 was like 5 years ago, why are the characters still fussing over all that bullshit? I mean, I understand that season 8/9 sucked, and I understand that at this point if you want, like, anybody to read this comic you need to anchor it in the show and pretend that previous comic seasons kinda don't exist ( About that - why does Willow visit Warren's grave? Why does he even have a grave anyway? His body was never buried, certainly not in Sunnydale - it dissolved on a street in Istanbul. Sloppy! ) but still, the way it's done here feels out of place to me. Willow's still all Tara, Tara, Tara. We had multiple scenes that were meant to bring closure to Tara's death in season 7, 8 and 9. Please, just bury the witch already! One of Willow's character traits is her dynamism, her ability to reinvent herself. Nerd, hacker, witch, lesbian, boss of us, psycho, ultimate evil, Willow the white or whatever. I don't see it here and no, a new haircut does not cut it. Same with Buffy's and Spike's conversation - it reads like missing season 7 stuff. Why now?

Buffy. So...Buffy's lines in this issue not only directly contradict what she says in the show, what's worse, they also prove that she's completely delusional when it comes to Spike and the issue of soul. I hope it bites her in the ass the way reality tends to. It's kinda sad, regardless of how many times Buffy says it, she has not grown nor changed. I mean, those daddy issues alone...Jesus. Spike on the other hand, OK, this is some growth. Also, from now on whenever some enraged Spike/Buffy fan claims that Spike loved ( *vomits* ) Buffy in season 6 I can just point them to this comic, say "...but it's canon!" and proceed to laugh in their faces. Thanks!

Andrew. I don't understand what the writers are trying to do with this character. Are we supposed to like this guy? He compares himself to Willow and Buffy, there's just one problem here - Andrew is alone because he murdered his best friend, he's not a victim who lost their loved ones like Buffy and Willow, he's the perpetrator. What's the deal here? Also, patriarchy of stuffy old wizards? Remember when this guy was a misogynist trying to kill the symbol of female empowerment? Should I laugh out loud here?

One more thing. Willow's line bugs me - hurting the one I'm supposed to love. Supposed to love? What does that even mean? You love or you do not love, end of story. Bullshit. Oh and the Aztec slayer - journeyed to its native hell and killed it along with all of its kind. Holy shit, that's some Doomguy-level action. Rip and tear!

Why can't Buffy be this cool?
 
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RomanticSoul

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Buffy. So...Buffy's lines in this issue not only directly contradict what she says in the show, what's worse, they also prove that she's completely delusional when it comes to Spike and the issue of soul. I hope it bites her in the ass the way reality tends to. It's kinda sad, regardless of how many times Buffy says it, she has not grown nor changed. I mean, those daddy issues alone...Jesus. Spike on the other hand, OK, this is some growth. Also, from now on whenever some enraged Spike/Buffy fan claims that Spike loved ( *vomits* ) Buffy in season 6 I can just point them to this comic, say "...but it's canon!" and proceed to laugh in their faces. Thanks!
You know I've been wondering since S7 why Buffy never approached Willow and asked: 'Willow when you brought me back from the dead why did you leave my brain in the ground as worm food?'

Willow forgetting to bring that part of Buffy back seems like the only explanation for this garbage. So 120 years of murder, rape, torture, pillaging and who knows what else equals fluffy puppy? Apparently several attempts to kill her and her friends, teaming up with their enemies, attempted rape on Buffy and Willow, chaining someone to a wall...that makes for a swell guy who really isn't so bad? Oy. There isn't enough walls for me to bash against for this nonsense.

As to her comparing Hank to Spike...so child neglect (via character assasination) is now on par than eating them? Bet the kids in the oprhanage felt differently.
 

white avenger

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I haven't read this issue yet, but it sounds like Buffy is referring specifically and exclusively to the time from about mid Season 5 to mid Season 6, when she and Spike were actually friends. If not, I have to agree, the girl is delusional.

Or maybe she's just blinded by love.
 

NothingVentured

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She says asinine things, but nothing more stupid than anything else she's uttered since the comics started. The only reason this is provoking so much butthurt is it's regarding Spike.
 

Kaleidoscope

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Buffy's dialogue makes sense to me, because i kind of think that the thought of staking Spike has thrown her through a loop. To me, panic in this situation is justifiable, because she is trying to convince herself and him, that things would be OK if he did lose his soul, whilst he knows the difference between how he was without a soul and how he is now - and he knows he would be a risk. On some level, she knows that as well, but the waters are muddied because much as she would like to think he is a different person with a soul (although she did have some feelings for him when soulless), she knows that although he's not precisely the same, he's not precisely different either. Hence she slips between 'He' and 'You.' The trauma of killing someone you love is something she's been through before - It nearly killed her. Hence panic and wordiness.
 

thetopher

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I haven't read this issue yet, but it sounds like Buffy is referring specifically and exclusively to the time from about mid Season 5 to mid Season 6, when she and Spike were actually friends.
Then she should've clarified because it sounds like the reasoning of a five yr old, not an adult. Plus, even if she was referring to that specific time it still isn't morally black and white. A lot of Spike's actions during that time were terrible.
Last issue Buffy just got through a speech about how awful her S6 relationship with Spike was- and then she says 'that's not you anymore, that was him.'

Which is it? Apparently the writers don't know.

She says asinine things, but nothing more stupid than anything else she's uttered since the comics started.
S9? Sure, it was full of such things from Buffy.
But this is the first truly terrible piece of Buffy-reasoning since S10 started. Her internal monologue at the start of the season was meant to show (and for the most part succeeded in showing) a relatively mature, sensible, clear-sighted slayer.

After A&F where CG was able to pretty-much nail the complex personalities (and past actions) of both Angel and Faith by using internal monlogues and compelling storylines I really had high hopes that things would improve in the Buffy comics.

I should've known better.

The only reason this is provoking so much butthurt is it's regarding Spike.
Oh, please. This isn't just Spike, but her Dad, Andrew, the nature of forgiveness. This whole issue Buffy spouted little but simplistic, assine crap. This isn't Spike hate (Spike was actually okay in this issue) this is pure Buffy-exasperation.

Most readers have no delusions about how bad Spike was before and how far he's come in his behaviour- shouldn't the main bloody character be thinking clearly as well? :(

God, if this is what we can look forward to in the up-coming (and apparently inevitable) Spuffy arc then its going to destroy Buffy's character for good.
 

janas

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She says asinine things, but nothing more stupid than anything else she's uttered since the comics started. The only reason this is provoking so much butthurt is it's regarding Spike.
It's not about Spike, who here shows a kind of growth. He seems to have come to a new awareness that previously he didn't have and this actually it's okay, I'm okay with that. Here we talking about what said Buffy and I agree with what others have said.

I don't think it's a healthy thing, start a new relationship, forgetting who and what was really the person in front of you. Buffy is, once again, creating an emotional barrier, she blaming only herself for what happened in season 6 and this message is disturbing.

Here the writers say, and not even so covertly, that is the fault of Buffy if Spike tried to rape her, since he did not need a soul to be good. So it's all Buffy's fault? Buffy here is opting for a kind of removal (I think unconscious) and these aren't the basis for a healthy relationship, these are the basics that bring straight to disaster.

The right attitude here would recognize the true essence of the beloved one and yet love he/her anyway. What Buffy said to Angel in Amends, was very much different. She was aware that Angel has hurt her, (I know everything that you did, because you did it to me.) But even so, she can’t stop loving him. Here instead Buffy has forgotten whom was Spike. William the Bloody. He’s a vampire. One of the worst recorded. Second only to Angelus.
 
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NothingVentured

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I like the sudden lack of reading comprehension. What she says REGARDING Spike. It doesn't have anything to do with Spike, but what she says. Everything is on par with her comic self, cheerfully joking about the death of a HS friend, galloping around declaring the day she caused thousands of deaths the best day ever, telling Billy it's selfish to have a slaying partner who's a romantic interest, telling Andrew she 'gets' why he did the bodyswap to begin with. All stupid, illogical, hypocritical, completely OOC things... but all of a sudden she's talking about Spike and it's a character-smasher.

You can hear Cage clacking his keyboard with every word said, just as you could last year with Chambliss. You're not dealing with a character at all, certainly not Buffy Anne Summers, but a mouthpiece for the writer. They're clearly setting her up to walk into a door, most likely the same door as S2 or S3 because they don't have any other ideas.
 

RomanticSoul

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Buffy-exasperation.
You bet.

God, if this is what we can look forward to in the up-coming (and apparently inevitable) Spuffy arc then its going to destroy Buffy's character for good.
Mmm I thought that already happened S6 and beyond. Spuffy killed my Buffy love. Or in another way this need for some writers/producers to push a secondary character front and center ( ruining mythology, characters and relationships to achieve it) and how that was to the detriment of not only Buffy but the whole show is what made me hate this storyline.

All stupid, illogical, hypocritical, completely OOC things... but all of a sudden she's talking about Spike and it's a character-smasher.
Actually the OOC thing goes as far back as S5. Hell when you get down to it actually S4. The whole Scoobie gang being made into brain dead idiots when Spike got the immunity chip shoved into is head is something I will never understand. The Giles who lost Jenny, the Xander who lead the 'lets kill souled Angel parade' and the Buffy who was chained up by her stalker not doing anything to get rid of this threat? Gimme a break. That right there is blatant OOC-ness. And that's only the beginning of the problem...
 

EVIL UU

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You're not dealing with a character at all
You know what, I cannot disagree with this. I think that it started in the show though.

Hence she slips between 'He' and 'You.'
This is what gets me the most. I mean, it's not season 2 for goodness' sake and Buffy's not a confused teenager any more! She's been hunting vampires for almost fifteen years, she was bitten by vampires, was with vampires, she even was a vampire! She knows more about vamps than just about anybody else. And she still contradicts herself with the he and you nonsense. That's brainless to an unbelievable degree. Buffy's many things but she's not...well, OK, she's not that stupid.

To me, panic in this situation is justifiable
It's not to me because for Buffy, this is just another Tuesday. At this point, she's a pro, she doesn't get to panic.
 

NothingVentured

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That goes all the way back to S2 when they should have just burned the factory/mansion down while the sun was up. They weren't exactly hiding out. Spike and Drusilla always wore some heavy plot armor.

As I said, though, no, what Buffy says makes no sense. It's a direct contradiction to what she said on the show referring to his soulless 'love': in his own sick soulless way he did care for me. That's what Spike iterates here. And I'm not sure he shows growth in acknowledging that, either, since he more or less said as much in S7. But it's not the first time, you know? There's no reason to get bent out of shape over it. Spuffy, should they go that way, will go down in flames. The 'love' arc is two issues, then another begins. Like Willow suddenly being all upset over Tara when we saw her refuse to have her brought back in S8, it's just there to create discussions like these.
 
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