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Angel and Faith #1

Buffy - in desert
So I finally got a copy of Angel and Faith #1. I won't rehash the plot, because you've probably already read some reviews that include a recap, but if you need one, moscow_watcher has a short one here, while stormwreath's got a long one here.

My thoughts:

Overall, it was an excellent beginning to a new series. The cast was introduced (Angel, Faith, Nadira and Giles as a flashback), the premise was set (Faith and Angel go through Giles' journals and settle anything he left unfinished while fighting demons in London), and it ended on a cliffhanger (hint: Angel comes up with a boneheaded scheme). It felt more like a television pilot than anything, and more television-y than anything that came out of Season 8. And that's what has me worried: when Angel and Faith are working on such gravitas storylines such as dealing with life and death and the legacy of Rupert Giles, how is Buffy dancing on tables supposed to compare? I want to see emotional consequences to what happened in Season 8, not Buffy in her freewheeling twenties getting drunk. Speculation on the boards revolves around whether or not Buffy had a one-night stand after the party, and doesn't that feel juvenile in comparison to what we've seen of Angel and Faith? Supposedly AtS was always the more mature series (I disagree), but shouldn't the writers be dealing with a Buffy who made the biggest mistake of her life, not a Buffy discussing the finer points of hackey-sac? I had a lot of hope after Season 8 issue #40 that Buffy would be emotionally affected by Season 8, but it seems the storytellers don't want to explore that. I guess we'll have to wait and see if Chambliss and company are going to allow Buffy to emotionally mature or not.

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
coalitiongirl
Sep. 2nd, 2011 12:21 am (UTC)
I see S9 completely differently (and the comics aren't even out yet! New record! :D). To me, it seems like a foray into adulthood for Buffy, the twenties as they should be- Buffy finding her place and direction from everything that's come before. And the beginning we've seen functions well in that regard, because that third preview page and the naked!Buffy panel both seem to imply a level of hopelessness just beneath the surface, that why am I here? that I'm hoping for this season. Buffy's coming from generalhood back to a normal [slayer] life, and it's time for her to step back and take stock of what she has and who she is in this suddenly all-too-real world.

It makes sense that they'd give us the fun pages first, because many of the complaints with S8 were about how relatable it isn't; meanwhile, the A&F spoilers were all about Angel's misdeeds, because I don't think that anyone was satisfied with the explanations and hand-waving that we got with Angel last season. But I'm sure that there's much more content incoming with S9, just like there was much more plot in A&F #1 than spoilers indicated. :)
eilowyn
Sep. 2nd, 2011 12:39 am (UTC)
(Is LJ offering anyone else dozens of options for sign-in on their comments, or is it just me?)

Anyway, I hope you're right and I'm just being paranoid about them ignoring or handwaving Buffy's emotional growth in favor of having her be a party girl. I still am smarting by how much they ignored the season 7 relationship Spike and Buffy had in season 8 (what I needed emotionally as a fan was some evidence that Buffy mourned Spike when she thought he had died, and I never got more than a "wicked studly" fly-by reunion), so I have a hard time trusting the PTB's to treat Buffy as I feel she should be treated. Or maybe it's because I had such a bizarre experience for my mid-twenties myself that I can't relate to Buffy as it is. I don't know, but I'm worried. Season 9 won't be as good as Embers, that's for sure!
coalitiongirl
Sep. 2nd, 2011 12:48 am (UTC)
Oh, you. *blushes* And nope, no sign-in options for me right now...

I may just be an incurable optimist, but Buffy's reaction to Spike in S8 seems a little too snarky not to be hiding some hurt. Then again, it doesn't seem like that's going to be addressed in full anytime soon, since Spike/Buffy won't be the sole focal point of the season. The first issue seems to feature Buffy, Spike, and Willow having a confrontation with some demon, anyway, so we're definitely going to get something from those two...

I'm still early twenties myself, so I may be completely off when it comes to these things, too, but S9 has a much, much better setup than S8 for all these reasons, so I'm hopeful. :)
shipperx
Sep. 2nd, 2011 01:29 am (UTC)
I see S9 completely differently (and the comics aren't even out yet! New record! :D). To me, it seems like a foray into adulthood for Buffy, the twenties as they should be- Buffy finding her place and direction from everything that's come before.

I can't help but think that the would've been a good follow-up to Season 7. So why did we need the mess of Season 8 if they weren't going to deal with the mess they made? What purpose did 8 then serve for Buffy (other than an unflattering character portrayal).

Edited at 2011-09-02 01:30 am (UTC)
coalitiongirl
Sep. 2nd, 2011 01:46 am (UTC)
Agreed. Though in a sense, Buffy really did have a role in S8, one that she botched up- adding to the potential of the whole identity crisis that we may be getting this season. Although I doubt they're going to go too deeply into that, or they'll never move forward into new ground.

So why did we need the mess of Season 8 if they weren't going to deal with the mess they made? What purpose did 8 then serve for Buffy (other than an unflattering character portrayal).

My take? Not very much. (Well, not the last couple of arcs, anyway.) *shrugs* The writers screwed up, they know that, and they're thankfully not going to spend an entire season trying to repair what can't necessarily be repaired. If we look at it from a holistic perspective, S8's whole purpose can be a cautionary tale about power for Buffy, I guess...
infinitewhale
Sep. 2nd, 2011 12:50 am (UTC)

From what I've read, the writers have said they're not really going to be dealing with S8 other than breaking the Seed.

If you want a cynical take on why they'd do that, I'd say it's because they don't really have any kind of explanation to why she was acting as she was in S8. To go from it, they'd have to acknowledge it and that derails everything. You can't really mature a character from OOC actions.

Series!Buffy was a strong, mature, competent woman. Comic!Buffy is a moron. One of them has to be ignored for the story to continue.
eowyn_315
Sep. 2nd, 2011 03:25 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this is exactly the problem I have with the comics now. I became extremely negative about S8, but before all that mess happened, I was really excited to have (what I thought would be) a continuation of BtVS. And part of me wants to like S9, because it seems like it'll be closer to the show I know and love. But another part of me feels like that's letting Joss off the hook, and that pisses me off, that he ruined my favorite show (to the point that I've pretty much lost my interest in the whole series and can't stand fandom half the time) and I'm just supposed to keep giving him my money and pretend it never happened? No matter how good S9 might be, I'm not sure he deserves it. And then a third part of me says I've been burned one too many times by Joss to even take the chance and I'm better off pretending the whole thing doesn't exist.
infinitewhale
Sep. 2nd, 2011 04:40 pm (UTC)

But another part of me feels like that's letting Joss off the hook,

For me, it's too late for Joss. It's not because S8 was bad, it's because of why it was bad. He just didn't care what he was doing. He made up this ridiculous storyline that didn't make sense in the 'verse--didn't make sense period--and then blamed the fans for not liking it. None of it helped by Allie trying to claim that everyone criticizing it was a Spike fan, a shipper, a hater or a homophobe.

I've seen some people claim that S9 will be better because the writers are aware they screwed up, but...no. Joss has said that very same crap since 1999. Joss doesn't think he screwed up, he thinks fans are too stupid to get it. Even if he did, how does it change anything? The characters are still absolute jokes. I guess for me, Joss is in the same boat as Angel. He's not sorry he shit all over the story, characters and fans, he's sorry that this time they called him on it. Even if he were sorry, everything is still dead.
eowyn_315
Sep. 3rd, 2011 08:05 pm (UTC)
It's not because S8 was bad, it's because of why it was bad. He just didn't care what he was doing. He made up this ridiculous storyline that didn't make sense in the 'verse--didn't make sense period--and then blamed the fans for not liking it.

Ugh. Yes. Joss has pretty much lost my respect at this point. And no matter what he says about knowing he screwed up, I still don't trust him. Kinda wish I had my Charlie Brown/football icon uploaded on LJ...
shipperx
Sep. 2nd, 2011 01:27 am (UTC)
And that's what has me worried: when Angel and Faith are working on such gravitas storylines such as dealing with life and death and the legacy of Rupert Giles, how is Buffy dancing on tables supposed to compare? I want to see emotional consequences to what happened in Season 8, not Buffy in her freewheeling twenties getting drunk. Speculation on the boards revolves around whether or not Buffy had a one-night stand after the party, and doesn't that feel juvenile in comparison

Yes. This.

I just don't know that they aren't going to skip over a lot of the questionable Buffy in 8 to scoot over to easier questions of "What does Buffy do in her mid-twenties when she's not being told what to do?"

And the thing is, "What does Buffy do in her mid-twenties when she's not being told what to do?" would've been a great follow-up to Season 7! Why didn't they tell that one then instead of 8? It would've worked. But as a follow-up of 8? I really hope they have more in them than that. We shall see.
infinitewhale
Sep. 2nd, 2011 02:25 am (UTC)

I just don't know that they aren't going to skip over a lot of the questionable Buffy in 8 to scoot over to easier questions of "What does Buffy do in her mid-twenties when she's not being told what to do?"

I'm sure that's the plan. A few months ago Jane gave that interview where they never even acknowledged any of the other stuff. Chambliss said something similar, I believe. Jane was still on the 'Buffy has a mandate to lead' kick.

I totally see them doing a similar thing like they're doing with Angel with the control or influence that appears and disappears. There isn't much else they can do.

Duel perspectives are not Joss's thing. So they'll downplay all the ridiculous OOC stuff and focus on the only defensible action she did in S8: Breaking the Seed. Make the other characters stupid by having them argue the whole world dead is better than no magic and along the way people forget that you've ruined your character.
vamp_mogs
Sep. 2nd, 2011 01:56 am (UTC)
I’m glad you liked A&F! I really enjoyed it as well and the reaction seems to be very positive which is a refreshing change! It’s interesting you bring this up because I’ve actually been thinking about it too.

From what we’ve seen so far I think the preview pages are very true to the tone of BtVS. On the surface, I can see why Angel’s story would appear to have more depth but I think Buffy’s journey will be a little more grounded and relatable. A&F will be dealing with very gravitas themes and I can see why dancing on tables and getting drunk at parties may seem underwhelming in comparison, but S6 would seem quite ‘mundane’ in comparison to AtS S3 too (at least on the surface) and look how riveting that was. I think this has always been true to BtVS/AtS in general. For example, when Buffy suffered from depression they had her working at the Doublemeat Palace and standing in kitchens of dirty dishes etc. None of that seems particularly exciting but her arc was amazing. Whereas, when Angel suffered through his depressive episode they had him lock the lawyers in with W&H and eventually sleep with Darla cumulating in a very dramatic scene where we think he’s lost his soul. On the surface his story would sound far more riveting but I think Buffy’s story had far more impact and was ultimately more relatable. A lot of people really appreciate Angel’s arc in S2 but I don’t think they really relate to it or, for that matter, even really acknowledge it as depression. It was epic and exciting but you do have to hold it at an arm’s length.

I think the same will be true of the comics. I loved Issue #1 and I think it’s going to be an amazing new series but there wasn’t a single moment where I thought “Yeah, I know exactly what that feels like.” It’s all very interesting and I think I’m going to enjoy it immensely but I don’t relate to it the way I do Buffy’s stories. I think seeing Buffy kind of floundering will ultimately be something I can connect to far more, even if it seems more flakey than the topics A&F will be exploring.

I hope I’ve explained myself well? I’m not sure any of that makes any sense?

I’m pretty optimistic about S9. Not only because I enjoyed S8 but because I absolutely loved #40 and it basically seemed like a pilot for this season anyway. And as great as I think Gage was I still think Whedon’s writing is more layered (for example, “Are you going to make me beg?” “Not this year” was just such a loaded exchange) so I think I’ll find it a bit more satisfying. I think they’re just going to have two very different styles and hopefully I’ll enjoy both for different reasons.


Edited at 2011-09-02 01:58 am (UTC)
norwie2010
Sep. 2nd, 2011 11:38 am (UTC)
I think you hit the nail on the head. It is easy to get excited for A&F and i hope the high quality holds up - but it is also a bit more escapism than "Buffy" - and your examples of AtS S2 and BtVS S6 really show that.
boot_the_grime
Sep. 3rd, 2011 11:33 pm (UTC)
Word to all of that.

I am very excited for Angel & Faith and #1 was great and delivered all that I expected. But I'm still a lot more excited for Buffy season 9.

AtS always has this dark, adult, serious look - it's a noir, as Joss put it. And A&F is great in that straightforwardly deals with its themes.

But BtVS, which on the surface is funnier and more mundane and a "musical", is not just more relatable, it's also got more depths and layers.

The preview pages of Buffy partying are a perfect example - acting like that in a party, trying just a bit too much to have a good time while you're kind of lost and feel so much despair underneath - that is all perfectly relatable. We've all been there at some time or other.

And that hack circle panel is brilliant in that it says so much with so little. Behind Buffy, Spike is making out with a random girl, just a meter away from her; and further in the background, Dawn and Xander are kissing, Willow is kissing a girl, there are other couples... It's not a coincidence that it feels like everyone is paired off in that panel but her. Buffy is sitting on the table, hugging her knees, with a miserable expression (if you take a better look at her face) but trying to occupy herself talking to the guy from the cafe. But she's obviously not really listening to a word he said. He talks about the spirit of connection and giving in the circle, and she says "I could so win at that". And in addition, she's not really feeling the spirit of connection, she feels clearly disconnected and at a distance from the people close to her, and can't connect to the people she's talking to, either.
tennyo_elf
Sep. 2nd, 2011 03:17 am (UTC)
I can see where you're coming from and I was hoping they would explore more of Buffy's mistakes from season 8 (and at least re-develop the relationship Spike and Buffy had in 7). However it does seem that Buffy will be more about the here and now, and that does seem doable even if it isn't preferable to some fans (kind of like the TV show, always moving forward...even though I wanted more exploration on some thing back then too).

I think the only thing we can do is wait and see. I'm back on the fence! Go fence!
eilowyn
Sep. 2nd, 2011 08:55 pm (UTC)
Angel & Faith looks like a step in the right direction, but I'm still on the fence myself. I'll bring us popcorn.
tennyo_elf
Sep. 2nd, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC)
I'll bring the drinks, this is gonna be a show! ^_~
moscow_watcher
Sep. 2nd, 2011 01:52 pm (UTC)
And that's what has me worried: when Angel and Faith are working on such gravitas storylines such as dealing with life and death and the legacy of Rupert Giles, how is Buffy dancing on tables supposed to compare?

Hopefully there will be more for Buffy than dancing on the tables. We have only seen three pages out of 22.
lusciousxander
Sep. 3rd, 2011 08:22 pm (UTC)
Angel and Faith #1 was awesome and, honestly, had the tone of AtS. I have high hopes for S9 and I do believe, from the previews, that it looks very BtVS. BtVS has always been a brighter show than AtS, I'm saying that figuratively and literally, but underneath all those bright colors lie dark themes that are relatable and adult. I find myself drawn to BtVS more than AtS, and I know I'll be more interested in S9 than A&F.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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