Saturday, March 17, 2012

Review: Buffy Season 9, #7 - On Your Own, Pt. 2

RECAP

Let's try to make this as quick as possible to get to the big moment at the end... (oh, and spoilers, obviously)

Buffy's roommates vote to let her stay in the apartment, but her stuff is already boxed up and she's moving into Spike's spaceship. She still wants a normal life -- despite Spike and his spaceship being as far from normal as possible.

Dowling comes across a nest of zompires and calls Spike for help, before locking himself behind a door to stay safe (temporarily). Spike keeps Buffy out of the fight to protect her, and jumps from the ship to the fight. He takes out a bunch of them. Dowling is in a tower, and the zompires climb to get to him, which motivates Buffy to enter the fray.

While they're fighting the zompires, they banter, and Dowling says its obvious that Spike still loves Buffy. Buffy gets Dowling safely on the ship, then jumps down to continue the fight. She takes out the nest, then asks Spike if he's still in love with her. He does, and he wants more than what they have -- he wants a normal life with Buffy. While he's making this confession, a stray zompire rips off Buffy's right arm. Spike stakes it and picks up the arm, which is mechanical, as is Buffy's shoulder socket. Buffy is confused, because she thinks she's her (not a Buffybot), and slowly comes to the realization that she's "a f$£@ing robot!"

REVIEW

Story

First, this feels appropriate here:






OK, now with that out of the way... WHAT THE FUCK?!


The first question (of many) this raises for me is how long, exactly, has Buffy been a robot? I can't imagine a robot, even one in the Buffyverse, is capable of producing a positive pregnancy test. So I'd have to believe that some time between the end of issue 7 and this issue, the robot stepped in. But there's nothing in issue 5 and 6 that indicate this is a Buffybot (personality wise, that is), so is this Buffy's consciousness "in" a robot? And if so, how? And why? And, again, WHAT THE FUCK?!

This is a twist so far out of left field, that I can't reasonably consider the lead up to and ramifications of it without seeing what comes next. This kind of thing is frustrating enough in the confines of a weekly TV show, but in a monthly comic that frustration is ramped up. I can't even judge whether this "Buffy is a robot" thing is a good or bad thing until I have more information, and that information may not come for months.

My recap kind of glosses over a lot of solid character moments, particularly between Buffy and Spike. Those are some of the better moments of the issue, but they do get totally overwhelmed by the shock ending -- and this is the THIRD consecutive issue you could say that about. It almost makes me long for the slow build of the 20s of Season 8.

Art

One of the things I did really like about the whole "Buffy is a robot" thing is that thanks to the art, we got an entire page of "holy crap is that a robot arm?" speculation before the characters got to jump in on it. Jeanty's detail work on the arm and Buffy's shoulder socket made it VERY clear that this wasn't your typical arm grabbing (though I do have to question why a zompire would be trying to bite into the robotic arm? Couldn't they tell by smell that it was  robot and not human? Crap... more questions. Is it next month yet?).


Buffy's facial expressions on the last two panels of the last page are great, and probably mirror a lot of the fandom upon reading this issue. Oh, and so I don't focus on the last two pages again, let me just say that the detail work on the staked zompire on Page 15 is probably the best I've season from this series since the start of Season 8. It's really incredible, as is the follow up on the top of Page 16.

One thing that bugged me about this issue's art (ironically enough, not the bugs) was Buffy's top. I'm no fashionista, but I just didn't like it, and it didn't feel very "Buffy".

Covers

Phil Noto once again returns for primary cover work, and his cover is "normal" Buffy and Spike, living a "normal" home life. Buffy's doing a crossword puzzle, Spike's watching TV with a glass of... well, it could be wine, it could be blood, but it looks normal enough. The whole scene is just sweet, and you can see why it's what Buffy and Spike want, or at least think they want.

Jeanty gets the big action scene cover, and I adore Buffy's pouty facial expression. She clearly doesn't want to be left out of the action, much less be told she CAN'T be part of it.

Overall

Score: 3.5 out of 5. I was tempted just to give this an "incomplete", based on the cliffhanger. My overall opinion of this issue could change for the better or worse pending the outcome of "Buffybot 2: Electric Slayaloo."

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