Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Review: The Long Way Home, Part 1

Last Wednesday I think I doubled my life-time total of geek points. It went something like this:

1. I bought a single issue comic book
2. that I'd pre-ordered,
3. from a comic book store,
4. on the first day it was released.
5. I had a conversation with the guy in the store about the quality of the book
6. that ended with me saying "of course it's good it's written by Joss Whedon."

I am now the proud owner of the first issue of Buffy: Season 8. I even have it in my hands, which is rare - it's been lent out to various people pretty constantly since I bought it.

I've never tried to review a comic book before, and it seems to be quite a difficult exercise. I've only got a very small part of the story. It's like reviewing a TV show at the end of the first Act

I'll start with the art-work - it's not as bad as I'd thought it would be. The preview art showed the most obvious distortions of women who already have a body-type. It helps that I like the cover, while the proportions are annoying, the basic image is of Buffy strong and confident. Or maybe I'm getting desensitised already

As for the words (far more important to me, since they were the bits done by Joss), I'm excited. There's not much there, and I'm nitpicking all over the place. But it's definitely worth reading, and I'm excited about what's going to happen next.

Now the problems:

  • Xander the general of the slayer army - it's not OK to have only one man in an organisation and have him in a leadership position. I'm fairly sure that goes against the message of at least two season finales (3 and 7).

  • Amy? Really? That really disappoints me, and makes it clear that Joss's thinking of her more as an object than a character - hey she's someone we can bring back - people have heard of her so they'll be excited. In the high school episodes Amy was a great character, and The Witch is one of the most successful metaphors they ever put together. I don't see why they had to do this to the girl who was so excited about eating brownies. I'm aware that this is actually an objection to Season Six - so I'll add, I didn't actually need to be reminded of the Magic!Crack plot-line - I'm doing a good job of blocking that out - just like I block out Spike's existence post Seeing Red.

  • I trust Joss enough to believe that Dawn didn't actually become a giant by having sex with a thricewise, because we really don't need to go there again.

So those are my gripes. I love the dialogue (of course I love the dialogue, Joss wrote it). I'm very excited that the US military are treating Buffy like a terrorist cell - definitely a plot with a lot of potential.* I like where Buffy is emotionally, it seems quite realistic to me - the thing about changing the world is that when you do it the world's all different. Sounds like a good starting point.

* Although hopefully less annoying than the actual potentials.


  1. Anonymous9:58 pm

    ARGGGGH! The spoilers my eyes!

  2. I've never understood how anyone could do a spoiler free review. What's the point?

    Of course this is probably one of the reasons I'm not a film reviewer

  3. Anonymous5:16 am

    There weren't enought spoilers for me! Since I probably won't be able to read the comic for ages, thou I'm sure I can find a detailed writeup online.

    But what do you mean, Xander is the only man in the organisation? Isn't Giles still around? And how organised is the whole Slayer Army anyway?

    Also, yes. Very excited about the Buffy is a terrorist plot. Getting gleeful just thinking about it.

  4. Anonymous4:46 pm

    Finally got round to buying it, reading it, and reading your review. I've only read the first one, so some of these points may have been made invalid by later issues.

    I'm not too upset about Zander being one of very few men (I don't think he's the only one) and becoming leader of the army. It makes sense that if you have non slayers in the army - who are likely to be disproportionately men - then it makes sense for them to be given non on the ground positions that don't require slayer level strength.

    To me, the bigger question is: Why Zander? For all his good points, he just doesn't seem to have the qualities necessary - leadership? strategic thinking? He's displayed them on occasion, but they wouldn't be ones I'd associate particularly with him.

    I think it's a similar problem to what happened to the TV series post-Sunnydale High, the conflict between keeping the same characters, but also having a different set of circumstances. Sometimes they just don't fit together.

    And I know Buffy isn't social realism (duh), and I certainly wouldn't want it to be, but as someone who has paid some attention to employment issues (not nearly enough, but relative to a lot of TV) I'd have liked to see pay a little attention to the employment/financial consequences of acquiring a disability, rather than him appearing to just walk into a new, better job (which may not have been how it happened, but there's nothing to say otherwise).

    I too like the terrorist angle, but Want. More. Willow. :)