Review: Buffy Season 9, #8 - Apart (of me), Pt. 1

FROM THE PUBLISHER

There is something seriously wrong with Buffy! She and Spike discover that the one person who can help her is actually...Andrew? Buffy's situation becomes even more dire as she discovers that Simone, the Slayer with an enormous grudge, has been targeting her.

140-WORD RECAP Breezing through the issue, so you don't have to

RoboBuffy and Spike show up uninvited and angry at Andrew’s place. He covers all the bases on how a robot tested positive for pregnancy, missed her period and was “barfy”. Buffy wants to know why she’s a robot. Andrew says Spike roofied her at the party and he used tech stolen from Warren’s lair to do the switch. He did it to protect Buffy, whose real body is in suburbia. Dowling confirms his partner’s death at the morgue, then shows up to talk to Xander and Dawn about it. While he does, she rises. Andrew, RoboBuffy, Spike and the bugs all take the ship to suburbia to recover Famous Original Buffy Body, but an alarm at the house is triggered before they can get there. It’s rogue slayer Simone (from the cover, duh) there to kidnap the Betty Crocker-ized slayer.

140-CHARACTER REVIEW Twitter-friendly summary of my thoughts
"Issue 8 gives us a lot of answers about the hows of Buffy's transformation into a robot, but the whys are left unsaid. Ends w/ a cliffhanger."

REVIEW COUNTDOWN

FOUR: Things I liked

- The return of Cliff Richards on pencilling duties (more on that shortly)
- If you've been asking for answers from this series, like I have, then this issue definitely provided plenty of them. Whether they were GOOD answers or not... well...
- The simple mundane-ness of Xander not being able to find his eye patch. When you've got RoboBuffy fighting Zompires while displaced from her real body, well, sometimes it's nice to get some simple domestic problems. Also, his misplaced anger there seems to hint at something larger to come with him.
- Phil Noto's primary cover, which just looks really cool. Obviously the prominent placement of Simone suggested a larger role than the issue actually contained, but that's standard fare for comics, so I'm fine with it. It looked too cool to go all nit-picky on it.

THREE: Things to know about Cliff Richards
- While those who came to the comics in Season 8 think of Georges Jeanty as THE artist of record for Buffy, that title really belongs to Richards. He did 48 issues of the original (non-canon) Dark Horse series, on top of
five one-shots and a couple mini-series. He did two issues in Season 8 (#10 and #24) and this is his first in Season 9.
- Richards' art style is more true to the likenesses of the characters from the TV show than Jeanty's. If one of the reasons you've avoided the comics is that Buffy doesn't look like the Buffy you know, then you'll be pleased with this issue.
- His Dawn looks more mature than the Dawn we're used to seeing, which takes some of the lingering ick factor out of the Xander-Dawn relationship.

TWO: Small things I didn't like

- The cop's partner getting turned into a zompire gets kind of lost with the bigger stuff going on in this issue. I wish that had gotten more attention.
- I miss Willow.

ONE: Lingering concern

OK, so we now know that Buffy was switched into Buffybot 10.0 during the party, which means everything that came afterwards -- the pregnancy, the "who's the dad" speculation, the abortion decision -- didn't really matter. And by that I mean it was consquence free. Which makes me wonder what exactly we're supposed to take from the first seven issues of Season 9.

Because of this revelation, we're in a way rebooting this season a third of the way through. Obviously this was the plan all along, but it feels cheap, like we've wasted our emotional investment in the previous issues. This is also starting to get back into the fantastical things that couldn't be done on TV that were the backbone of Season 8. For those that didn't like Season 8, that was the most frequent non-Angel, non-Giles complaint.

This also seems like a big step backwards for Andrew in terms of character development. His motivations for swapping Buffy and the Buffybot are SUPER unclear, and don't seem to be in line with the Andrew that developed during Angel Season 5 and Buffy Season 8.

Still, I'm sticking with this, because I have faith in the creative team that this is all building to something good.

Overall score: 3.5

Comments

  1. You hit the nail on the head here. I'm really not sure what direction they're taking this, as they appear to have rebooted the season, making everything came before it seem utterly pointless. If they can tie in our emotional investments in some way, then they'll have done something really special, but I'm worried that they won't be able to.

    I actually thought the "Buffy's Pregnant" twist was a great step in the right direction. To have it suddenly undone was really odd, but I guess that was the plan all along. It's a shame that Robo-Buffy doesn't seem to care as much about the pregnancy as I did.

    The unspoken thing in this issue is that Real Buffy must have belatedly consented to Andrew's plan. What other reason could she have for suddenly leaving all her belongings behind in an apartment, as well as her job.

    And who's paying for the new apartment? I thought Buffy was broke? Hmmm...

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