Thursday, May 10, 2007

Review: The Long Way Home III SPOILERS

The pace has certainly picked up in this third issue of the Buffy Season 8 Comic book. We have plot, relationships, and many unanswered questions. This of course gives me even more to pick at. Since I'm about to rip it to shreds, I should make it clear that I enjoy the Buffy comic and would recommend it.

I've already written about the awfulness of Part III's cover.

Even worse than the cover was the Andrew sequence. There are non-drawing problems with that sequences. I am not OK that in a world where there are heaps of women coming together to fight, men are acting as the leaders. I can't stand the 'heh Andrew's gay' jokes, which are lacking in the funny and try to compensate with the offensiveness. It's even worse when the 'joke' is basically a set-up to have pictures of women in their underwear (because Andrew doesn't find naked women interesting, isn't that just the funniest thing you ever heard). The artist 'just happened' to have the woman with the most exaggerated hourglass figure front and centre in that panel (although my friend Rowan thought one of the slayers had a strap-on - which would have made for a much more interesting reading of the comic - unfortunately it is probably just underpants with a teddy bear on them).

The art is getting worse - women's bodies are objectified more each week. There is no reason at all why Rowena is recovering in a sports bra and skin tight pants, except that in a comic her body isn't created for her, but as a signal to readers of the position of women.

I guess I should be grateful that inside the book they've gone for the hideous witch look of OMWF for Willow.

Because I suspect someone will ask, there is an important difference between the way women's bodies are portrayed throughout this issue, and how Angel and Spike were portrayed in the (hilarious) dream panel. In the three issues so far women's bodies have been casually objectified and posed for the male gaze no matter what they're doing. Fighting, healing, sleeping, standing, whatever - it's been for men. If, in that context, there'd been a similar dream from Xander's perspective, it wouldn't have meant anything - just a continuation of the rest of the art. The only reason that panel stands out from the rest of the comic is because the artist isn't randomly objectifying men.

There's obviously a lot more to a comic than the art (particularly to someone as non-visual as me). For me, the most satisfying part of the comic were the dream sequences, which were pretty much perfect. I've always liked Joss's dream sequences and this worked particularly well. I liked the idea of dreamspace - and like every other geek who owns this comic I've spent considerable time identifying who's in the cubes (definitely Joss by the way).

I thought the battle between Willow and Amy was pretty fantastic as well. I still think that Amy's reappearance had more to do with a whole in the plot, than the character she had been, which sucks. But the fight was well done, I loved both the Zombie ball, and Giant Dawn.

I thought not telling us who kissed her was a bit of cheap tension. I hope they resolve the kiss soon, and not in a Chosen - whatever you want to happen that was what happened - kind of a way.*

I'm worried that Warren, like Amy, has been chosen for convenience rather than character (I don't even care that there's no way he could have survived). Unless the rest of Warren's plotline involves intense Misogyny, then he was the wrong person to bring back.

But the big hole in the issue for me is Willow. Call me over-invested in these characters, but Willow, Xander and Buffy are friends. Now we're landed in a situation where Willow hasn't contacted Xander and Buffy for a long time. This is in a world with cell phones, and psychic communication. I'm not saying that it can't work, but I think this is the wrong place in the story to bring us in.

I'm not saying that it can't work, but I'm not sure this dynamic will hold my interest long enough for Joss to explain what's going on. A month is a long time between issues, and the comics cost $8 each here.

Although while I'm being over-invested, enough with the retconning Willow's sexuality. Willow was straight in high school, she totally ran with the stubbly crowd, from that badly dressed vampire in the first episode, to the stupid robot episode, to sex at graduation. Am I the only person who remember Oz?**

* I want Spike not to have been in Chosen at all and since I have a fan's selective memory (Magic!Crack? I don't know what you're talking about) that's relatively easy to achieve.

** Hey, maybe they'll bring Oz back, that would be extremely awesome.

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, I loved Oz. In fact, I kind of had a crush on him way back in 1999.