Wow, Dark Horse sure was not messing around with that teaser for Issue #34 in the last issue. This was indeed the issue where Buffy and Angel f#@ked. NICE! More than that, it was the issue where writer Brad Meltzer (with some direction from Joss Whedon, I'd assume) filled in some of the back story that's been driving Season 8.
Once again, the Jeanty cover is an homage, this time to an old Superman cover (which is interesting, because it puts Angel in the Superman position, while Buffy was the one with the Superman-esque powers in the last issue). It's also the one that broke open the floodgates on the spoilers a few months backs. Chen's cover is a beautifully painted Buffy and Angel image, that looks pulled right out of Season 2 or 3. I love both covers, but the Chen one really stands out in this issue.
THE ART STUFF
I know I normally put "the write stuff" first, but I needed to address the art in this issue, because the scenes of Buffy and Angel fucking are pretty graphic. Yes, all the naughty bits are covered up by foreground trees or well-positioned hands and legs, but you can tell exactly what they're doing, and it's pretty hardcore. I had no idea Buffy was into anal.
Apparently this issue caught a lot of people off guard (at least, that's what Scott Allie said on Twitter), and, well, I'd say it's at least PG-13, if not 18+. In the last panel on Page 5, it's pretty clear Angel is sucking Buffy's breast. Page 8 would definitely be featured on the Peter Griffin Side Boob Hour. Angel appears to be going down on Buffy on Page 9. We get Buffy's outer space O-face on Page 20. It's all there, minus nipples and penises, and, yeah... this is pretty much why I could never be an artist (well, that and my complete lack of talent).
OK, enough sex talk (for this section). The way Georges draws Buffy and Angel together, you can really tell that they're two characters that at one point were madly in love with each other and probably still are. He also does a great job conveying Buffy's vacillation between ecstasy and disgust through her facial expressions.
As for the non Buffy/Angel characters, I like how Georges seems to draw Giles kind of set away from the rest of the group, particularly on Page 3, when he's literally in the shadows. Also, major props to Georges for remembering Angel has a tattoo, and doing a nice job drawing it.
THE WRITE STUFF
Ya know, with all the fucking going on and the near nudity and the fucking (did I mention the fucking), the first time through, I kind of missed the actual STORY, which was kind of important. So, um, sorry Brad Meltzer.
But when I read it the second time, things really made sense. Giles's explanation of what is happening with Buffy and Angel, with the historical aspect to the Slayer/Demon dynamic, really fit in well with Season 8, as well as with the previous Buffy canon.
Just like in the last issue, there were plenty of nerd references thrown in by Meltzer, including a nice reference to Joe Simon (the co-creator of Captain America) to settle an argument between Andrew and Warren over Andrew's use of Captain America's shield. My favorite line of the entire issue came on Page 3, when the gang finds out that Twilight is Angel. In the first panel, Willow asks confused, "Twilight is Angel". Xander echoes her confusion in the next panel, and Dawn chimes in with "Ben is Glory?". I have to admit, I lol'd at that one.
Also, I noticed there were particular panels that made reference to events slightly in the past ("3 DAYS AGO") or slightly in the future -- a panel labeled "SOON" with Buffy and Spike facing off against a huge demon, at least judging by the shadow on the ground. There was even one panel with Fray, which I think was incredibly important, because this ongoing story, where Buffy and Angel bring about "Twilight", seems to lead to the future we saw in Fray.
WHAT IS TWILIGHT
For the longest time, the question in Season 8 was "Who is Twilight?". But it turns out it's more than a who, it's a what. When Buffy and Angel fucked, the end result wasn't Angel losing his soul (at least, it doesn't seem that way). Instead, the wall between our world and another dimension broke down, and that's where Buffy and Angel ended up at the end of the issue. As Giles explains, the whole demon/slayer dynamic was about balance, which is how the whole world works. When Buffy (and Willow, really) cast the spell to give all the Slayer potentials their powers, it threw off the balance of the world. When the gang notices a whole bunch of weird climatic issues across the world, Giles explains:
"This isn't just the Earth's reaction. It's how the Earth gives birth to a new reality."
Twilight is that new reality (and no, it's not a reality where vampires sparkle, at least, not that we've seen, so shut the fuck up "Twilight" lovers). The powers Buffy and Angel have been given are designed to protect them from that reality shift, as Earth becomes Twilight, at least as far as I can tell. How Buffy deals with will likely be the focus of the next few issues, and lay the groundwork for the final arc of Season 8.
Oh, and one last note: Buffy and Angel fucking in space = awesome.
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