Friday, 15 March 2013

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 Volume 2: On Your Own by Joss Whedon / Andrew Chambliss / Georges Jeanty etc

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 Volume 2: On Your Own 
(On Your Own Parts 1 & 2, Apart (Of Me) Parts 1, 2 & 3) (2012) (Dark Horse)

Andrew Chambliss (script), Scott Allie (script), Georges Jeanty (pencils), Cliff Richards (pencils), Karl Story (inks), Andy Owens (inks), Dexter Vines (inks), Jo Chen (cover art), Joss Whedon (creator) etc
Grade: B
Genre: Buffy / graphic novel
Source: NetGalley / own
Buffy Season 9: (1) Freefall, (2) On Your Own, (3) Guarded

So, do I reveal the spoiler or not? My initial reaction was ‘yes, of course,’ but that’s my gut reaction to everything: just blurt out whatever’s running through my head. Reviews can get across the message of a book without any spoiler-ing at all, and since that was my frame of mind when I started typing this review, that’s what I’m going with – just to make y’all buy and read the book for yourself. I mean sure, you can probably find the spoiler with the help of our good friend Google without much effort, but I’m just going to be mean and refuse to state it. This is quite possibly my most deliberate spoiler-free review ever.

So at the end of Buffy Season 9 Volume One, Buffy had something of a problem on her hands. It wasn’t something she had ever had a problem with before, or even something she had ever considered. The life of a Slayer is usually too unnaturally short for this to ever become a non-issue, let alone an issue, and so Buffy is completely lost for what to do. Willow is still pissed at her for the whole destroying-magic thing and Dawn is happily settled into life with Xander, and so she turns to her go-to guy when things start getting tough: Spike.

Besides being a little annoyed that he’s the guy that Buffy turns to in situations like this, Spike’s jumping head over heels to give Buffy a helping hand. Once he’s got over his initial shock at the curve ball that life’s thrown her, he’s happy to do whatever Buffy needs him to do and in those respects, I love Spike.

But the story doesn’t stop there. It turns out Buffy has an even bigger problem and even more problematic is that Andrew is involved in the bigger problem and the source of the initial problem itself. Have any problem following all that? There’s a huge underlying message at hand and as Buffy gets a glimpse into life as it could have been had she not destined to be the Chosen One, she’s got a big choice to make …

This was a bit of a confusing arc, mostly because what you see happening before your eyes is all part of a bigger picture, and so when you find out that bigger picture, everything you had already seen is completely turned on its head – and then everything is shaken up all over again when the humungous picture is revealed. Mind-boggling stuff that is really very cleverly done.

And so the big feminist issue that I had thought Buffy would be facing (the other half of the thing that I had been spoilered on) just became a non-issue. To be honest, I’m not too happy with that. I mean, the whole thing was hugely controversial in itself and to have Buffy carry through with it would have resulted in an explosion both in the fandom and outside it with, I imagine, it being make-or-break point for some fans. I understand why this path was chosen to illustrate Buffy’s power of choice and to align her with the modern woman, but shouldn’t this have then been carried through? Ultimately, the decision to make it a non-issue was the right one in terms of the future of the season and the reputation of Buffy herself as a character and in terms of what Buffy represents, but that doesn’t mean that I’m completely happy with it.

The feminist in me wants to know whether or not Buffy would have gone through with it had it not become a non-issue. I would have respected her choice either way, but I can’t help but feel that in removing that choice from her by going down the non-issue route, that was the cowardly way out and represented female male domination over woman. Buffy is all about female empowerment and when the television show first aired, was a pioneer in the industry. She was a huge role model for so many people (and still is) and while yes, her choice in itself was empowering, the path that the plot took illustrated again why feminism is still an issue in all parts of the world. Again, like I said above, I understand why it was done, but I would have liked to see what impact it would have had. Yes, it would have introduced some dastardly predictability in some areas, but is that necessarily such a bad thing?

This was a sad issue, in so many ways. I’m not a Buffy-Spike shipper, but I did feel very sorry for him in this episode. I don’t think it’s a spoiler if I say that he’s still desperately in love with Buffy, and she just doesn’t feel the same way. He’s her go-to guy when she needs a messy problem sorting out or wants to bring a house down and to make it sadder, Spike knows it yet will take whatever interaction he can get. As a result of the goings-on and ending in this arc, Spike has acquired his own story and I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Quick mention to Buffy Season 9 Volume 3: Guarded, just because I seem to have done this for all the other Buffy and Angel & Faith reviews so far. The cover is gorgeous and so Jo Chen, let’s please not have any more close-ups of character’s faces ever again. Please. Kennedy is back and she looks like she’s ready to kick ass on the cover, which is always exciting. I’m not sure exactly how Buffy is going to take using her powers for commercial gain but it’s sure going to be interesting. And a little mention about the covers that I’ve only just noted: Buffy Season 9 and Angel & Faith have got a parallel cover-art thing going on which I am LOVING. The three volumes of each of these respective seasons (i.e. not Buffy Season 8) are rocking a black and white (mostly the latter) images on the front cover somewhere. It’s subtle and half the time I have no idea what’s going on, but considering that this is Joss Whedon, these pictures are bound to tell some story by the end (comparison for kicks below). Expectations now set high!

Image courtesy of Book Depository: On Your Own, Spike: A Dark Place and Guarded
For other pictures, see other respective review-pages.

No comments:

Post a Comment