Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Review: No Future For You Part 1 (SPOILERS)

I'm in.

I was undecided about whether the comic book was 'Buffy'. I accepted it was cannon, Joss says goes. But I just wasn't sure whether I was going to treat it like Buffy. I'm not a comic book person, and a month is a long wait. To treat it like I treated the show I needed it to be like the show was when it was good, not the last few seasons with flashes of brilliance within miles of boring.

Someone actually commented on one of these posts that it must be a new season of Buffy because everyone's complaining about how the quality has gone downhill. There's definitely some truth in that. While I have a lot of affection for all the Joss-penned opening episodes, beginnings are not Joss's forte. They always feel a little like a reintroduction. #5 was, of course, the best comic ever written, with a two page spread which is up there with the end of Becoming II or that bit in Chosen. But I wasn't convinced it wasn't a sign of things to come.

If 'No Future For You' is a sign of things to come, then I'm sold.

I don't have particularly strong feelings about Faith - I don't dislike her, but she's not one of my favourite characters. This story is good, and that's what matters. The opening is brilliant, really capturing the horror and aloneness of Faith's life.* The scene between Giles and Faith captures both their characters spot on (plus Giles was wearing a Yellow Submarine Jersey)**

I'm loving the plot. As the title of my blog suggests, I'm generally pretty pro-Buffy plots where the ruling-classes are the bad. As a metaphor it works for me. Pygmalion is a tad over-done, but going undercover as upper class to kill them, rather than to show your worth works for me (plus there are a few more nice moments of undercutting).

Just over 20 pages a month is still woefully unsatisfying. But I can't wait to see where we go next.

There are still some issues of course. The dialogue was trying a little bit too hard. Faith never just said anything without turning it into a Faithism. It was almost like Buffy fanfic where every second sentence from Giles contains the word 'wanker'.*** I think it's probably justified in this episode from a character point of view, because it's a sign Faith is on her guard with Giles, she's thinking before she speaks and acting defensively, but if it continues it'll get old really fast.

You notice how I haven't mentioned the drawing yet? I'm putting it off. Actually this was the first comic strip where I felt the art added much to the script. There were a couple of frames where the expression on Faith's face really captured something about her character and conveyed the complexities of her feelings (I'm thinking 'So, who is this evil bitch, anyway?').

But, and there's always a but, women's breasts are not balls. They are not round like balls and they're not solid like balls. While I do appreciate that there was no random female nudity this episode and two characters wore an outfit that wasn't a crop top (which is some kind of record), the breasts on the cover and the last page bug me. I wonder what it's about, why comic book artists think that that's what men would most like to see? Why would men like to see that. I don't see that it can be a sexual fantasy thing in any real sense. Isn't the way breasts move a large part of the fun? Obviously it's partly about turning women into objects, in a very real sense, the less comic book girls look like people, the easier it is to dehumanise them, and then in turn dehumanise actual women.

I'm not saying that this is necessarily going to Geroges Jeanty's mind when he draws the script (and I choose to believe it dosn't go through Joss's mind when he approves it). Just that comic book art must have developed this way for a reason, and I don't get it. Anyone else got theories.

* Except the fact that Robin Wood is also running a team of slayers. I find it more than a little bit problematic that every male character who survived the season finale is running a team of slayers (even Andrew!). While we have yet to see a female character do so, except Buffy (unless the black dreadlocked slayer from last issue was supposed to be Rona, even so she didn't appear to be running it alone).

** Although only the second coolest top in the issue - gotta love Xander's Sunnydale swim team t-shirt.

***Not that I've read that much Buffy fanfic. Honest. If we were talking X-files fanfic I would be lying when I said I hadn't read much. But Buffy fanfic never worked for me. Possibly because every second sentence from Giles contained the word wanker.


  1. Anonymous10:26 pm

    Shouldn't Dawn be running a team by now? She must be, what, 18 or so? So not a kid anymore. There was some development of the idea that she was a kind of apprentice Watcher in season 7. Did it go anywhere? (Have been holding off, but may be about to allow myself to be sucked into the comic book vortex.)

  2. Anonymous11:58 pm

    I personally have no problem with men running the slayer groups. Wood for sure is equipped to do so, he has more experience than the newly turned slayers and is in a position to lead. Male or female it shouldn't matter and I don't think anyone could complain about this given the preachy women and power line from Issue 4, Joss most certainly hasn't strayed.

    I love the comics, I loved the first arc I really don't understand why some people had problems with it, I thought it was excellent. I think everything has been gold thus far and it is a lot better than season seven.