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Full spoilers below the cut.  Read at your own risk.

There's a recap up at Whedonesque,reposted by [ profile] sueworld2003 .  I will take up the points in the order they are raised by the issue.

1.  Angel's story.  It was both a shoutout to LOST -- the plane Angel saves is an Oceanic airline --, and I'm guessing Superman (he uses "ma'am and is told that comes with the superpowers).  I suppose I'll have to do some superman wiki at some point.  In any case, the voice behind the dog becomes a voice behind a passenger, and she tells Angel that the superpowers he has just landed are a reward, one that makes Shanshu look like a sack o' crap.  Passenger-dog gives Angel big thanks, and not for saving the plane.

The thanks and the 'reward' read to me like they come right out of Lilah's playbook from Home.  The aspect of Shanshu that's a 'reward' is becoming a real boy; and Angel is now further away from that than ever.  And since the world ends up destroyed as a result of Angel's powers whoever is happy about it can't be one of the good guys.

It's still hard to see how this keys into Buffy's own power-up.  We've gotten such a jumble of explanations for what's going on.  Giles and Willow seemed to think it was to do with Buffy.  This is to do with Angel.   So in the cosmic scheme of things, what exactly was the first domino here? 

2.  Spike comes in through a dimensional hole similar to the one Angle came in through.  Instead of super-powers, Spike has a super ship, and is glorious leader to a bunch of space bugs.  Looks like he was in the middle of some kind of fight before he got pulled to the dimension.  And his first task back 'home' is to find out what's been going on.  That puts paid to the speculation that Spike's a bad vampire for having known all along about the world upside down and not having done anything about it.   He tracks down info and comes to help as quickly as he can.  The other good news is that as Spike reads about Buffy-the-terrorist, he doesn't seem all emotionally fraught.  This is a good thing given what follows.  Spike's established a life for himself and has moved on a bit.

3.  Having crashed in, Spike gets folks boarding his ship while Angel and Buffy fight demons.  And here we get a 100% validation of Bangel.  Buffy says she doesn't trust Angel, but he has her heart.  Angel is worried that Buffy might wish Spike had shown up before the space boink, but Buffy seems perfectly happy that he didn't.  She's had the bestest wierdest best day of her life.  She can't describe our pronounce what he's done for her.  He gave her perfection and gave it up -- he's not just the love of her life, he's the guy she wants to spend her life with.  Too bad about the timing, he's going to have to go.  But Angel says he'll find Buffy soon, and Buffy says he'd better.  Cookies baked.

So that's the text.  I could do my usual riff about how OTT this is, but who knows.   I don't think we're going to go with glow juice or anything else whacked out like that.  I think this is Buffy.  And she's not the Buffy I really want to know.  It's an interesting move to reunite the epic true love lovers in a way that makes them both look so terrible.  They've destroyed the world, and it's Buffy's best day ever.  Can we put that on her tombstone beneath "she saved the world a lot"?  I'll have to think more about what I think about Buffy in all of this, or what Joss is going for.  Is it just a simple story of personal happiness is 100% at odds with what's good for the world?  There's something skew about that.  Or will it get upended going forward?  At present I find myself not caring all that much because of the next point

4. Buffy has known all along that Spike is back.  She hasn't contacted him.  It's not for the Spuffy-fic staple line about her being hurt or mad.  She was just too busy.  She thanks him for being crazy studly saving them from the uber vamps and interrupts him before he even has a chance to spit out a you're welcome, going on to the need to know what's going on now.

Well we could get wrinkles on this, I suppose.  But pretty much this Buffy is why I call myself post-Spuffy.  To be a bit personal about my own emotional investment in this story, my Spuffiness wore away the last few years because I just couldn't quite believe that Buffy really meant it in the hellmouth.  If we take this as written, with no layers hidden away underneath, she obviously didn't mean it.  This is the first time Buffy has clapped eyes on Spike since Chosen and she immediately whisked off to fight demons with Angel and tell him her cookies were baked.  In my emotional zone this leads to stories in my head where Spike moves on or has moved on, and Buffy gets together with Angel, destroys the world and is pretty much miserable.  Spike even gets in my line on this about how it wouldn't be Buffy if she weren't boinking the bad guy.  It's an emotional place where Spike doesn't get what he wants but lives pretty well, and Buffy gets what she wants and is pretty miserable.  The only difference is that this Buffy doesn't have the moral depth to be even emotionally conflicted -- she's destroyed the world with Angel and it's the best day of her life.  That makes it even easier to say sayonara to Spuffy.

5.  Happily Spike doesn't get all emo about any of this.  He makes the one snark about Buffy stinking and boinking bad guys, but then he's right down to business. 

6.  Spike's news?  More plotty mcplot bizarreness.  This is all coming from some seed, back in the helllmouth.  The seed of wonder.  Sunnydale is the heart of all magic.  It's built over a house of worship that got swallowed up by the earth.  They are heading for the heart to get the seed from which all this comes, but which can some how stop all this.  Maybe I'll get some thoughts about this going forward.

7.  Willow briefly turns Angel into a frog, and the reason Buffy sends Angel away is because he'd be too distracting to everyone.  Buffy does see that Angel has done a lot of damage and that people have good reason to be pissed at him.  Still, it's her best day ever.

So for me the big question that has kept me invested in the comics is pretty much answered.  Buffy didn't love Spike, at least not in any way that cashes out in actual behavior that could be called loving.  I think now I can kick back and just read the rest as a more disinterested party.  Unless Buffy's character is somehow salvaged here, Angel is more than welcome to her.

ETA:  The blurb refers to Spike as a former vampire.  This may be a misprint -- but I thought it was worth mentioning.  We see him in space -- so if he's a former vampire, it may have happened on re-entry the way that Angel's powers did.  But I'm still more incined to call it a misprint.  Stay tuned for further developments....

ETA2:  Further development -- it was a misprint.  Spike's still a vampire.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-03 01:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I just got the issue tonight (no comic book store where I was staying, and couldn't get to one!) and it was torture to avoid reading the reviews. I haven't read Emmie or hayes' takes yet so this is pure me (so far):

I wrote a long review (kind of long-winded). I'm agnostic on the subject of Buffy. Buffy seemed very, very harsh to Spike on a first read, but on a reread it read differently. It's possible--just possible--that Buffy is post-Spuffy too; that she is trying to disengage emotionally from Spike because she knows she's already made her choice. So the curtness is Buffy-logic for protecting Spike. We saw how kind Buffy was to Riley a few issues ago, and we know she doesn't love him. So the difference is either because of super powers, or because she thinks (wrongly) that Spike is still in love with her.

Spike ramming into Big Ben made me pretty uncomfortable. (It reminds me of Willow: "Did I mention the random destruction of property? The Magic Box is not so much a box now.") But I guess the point is: Spike rams into Big Ben, does a lot of obvious damage, but no one gets hurt and it's just a building anyway; Angel and Buffy are being superheroes who are super and think of themselves as heroes and they are nearly destroying the world. I still say that Spike shouldn't have killed Big Ben though. (Also: Spike/Giles parallel! Both kill Bens!)

Note also that the bugs refer to Spike as royalty ("Your Majesty"), so he might be "the prince." Whereas Angel is not the prince; Willow turns him into a frog (he looks like the prince, but is actually a frog--reversal of the fairy tale).

All that said, I don't blame you for being disengaged. Buffy looks really bad in this issue. She looks so bad that it's absolutely deliberate; no one besides Buffy thinks that Angel is in any way okay. Why Buffy is being trashed so hard I'm not sure. Angel--he's always being trashed, here just more than usual. So dunno.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-03 01:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
ETA: if Buffy was trying to spare Spike's feelings by being a bitca, this is more evidence that she's screwed up in all emotional interactions, not that she's validated. But I can actually kind of imagine Buffy thinking that way.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-09-03 03:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's making all kinds of sense to me right now. See my next post. Can I tell you again that you wrote the best review ever?

Oh -- as other flist-y's have pointed out to me: Big Ben is a shout-out to Dr. Who. I'm gonna go with it's just a joke.

Bug 1, Bug 3. How many ways do I love your review of this issue? I can't even count them.


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