Thursday, November 08, 2007

Buffy Season 8 #8

Writer: Brian K Vaughan

Artist: Georges Jeanty

Producer: Joss Whedon

Dark Horse Comics

Things heat up as our slayers take to the water in the wettest Buffy adventure in history!

The story so far: renegade Slayer and socialite Gigi has declared open season on slayers, forcing Giles' hand, who sends former slayer Delinquent Faith in undercover to hunt the huntress. Little does he know Faith will find a kindred soul in the neglected and misunderstood sociopath, forging a ... friendship? It's time to move Buffy into play.

Scene by scene:

The issue opens up with some girl-on-girl-in-bathtub action bonding, as Faith and Gigi grow closer together, and Gigi is bearing out her 'Kill Buffy' masterplan. Vaughan bears out his X-geek in this sequence, unsubtly casting Gigi as Magneto to Buffy's Xavier, in the 'slayers as Mutants' parallel (without all the ear and hatred); Buffy is seeking and training the new slayers to serve and protect the world, while Gigi wants to replace Buffy as 'Queen Slayer' and lead the girls to rule the world.

Vaughan is knitting a very complicated power play in the girls' dialogue. Faith is trying to warn Gigi about the wrong influence of older father-type figures like new baddie ginger Roden, by referring to her past dealings with Mayor Wilkins from Buffy Season 3; in the flow of the conversation though, this backfires and reminds Faith of the way Giles, another father-figure, is using her now against Gigi. Gigi thinks she's in control of the situation, pretending to be a pawn to instead control her controller, reminding Faith again of her own past (and present?) naivette.

Things take a sharp turn, when Gigi reveals the action plan: they're not taking the fight to Buffy, they're instead bringing Buffy to their location. 'Pot-sickness aside, Buffy is not a happy girl when she arrives at the mansion and meets Gigi. Cuts, kicks and smart quips ensue in a well-choreographed fight, reminiscent of the TV series.

In yet another sharp turn, Faith jumps in right before the final judgment is passed, leading to a spectacular long dive into the third act of the issue; the rematch that's been brewing for years materialises as actual girl-on-girl-in-pool action, as the frienemies finally come to blows. This time we have the benefit of Faith's viewpoint and her finally dealing with her inner demons in the resolution of the issue.

Water plays a significant role in the interactions between the girls in this story. In the start of the issue, it acts as the medium to bring gigi and Faith closer together as the bear their souls (and other bodyparts) bare to each other and come closer. In the climax of the issue water again brings Buffy and Faith together, this time as enemies, as they both again bare out their true feelings, thoughts nd grudges against each other. I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts further into this through the comments feature.

Another amazing issue, as Vaughan further earns his props as a Buffy writer! Georges Jeanty raises to the occasion and the tricky action shots demanded this issue. I just wonder if SMG and Eliza feel envious of the scripts that are developed in these comics, wishing they could still act them out as their TV counterparts. I certainly would be, in their shoes.

Grade: 8/10

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