Thursday, August 02, 2007

Review: The Chain, Buffy Season 8 SPOILERS


This was what I was waiting for. This is a story of scope and shape that you couldn't tell on TV, and it's a story worth telling.

The Chain is the story of the slayer who is working as a Buffy decoy underground. We see her becoming, learning and doing and dying.

She tells her story in fragments, as she's dying. We get moments out of place, people we don't know asking her questions, and there are huge gaps in the story. She's trying to convey her experience and she doesn't have time to tell her life.

She's trying to convey one idea with her story - the importance of working collectively. She learns with the slayers, she learns what it means to work together, that it's actually amazing. Then she goes underground, and they build something together: her, the fairies, the slugs, the ravenclan and the thing that looks like a leaf-blower. We don't know the details, but we know that she forms relationships that matters. We see some of the joy that comes from working together.

Regular readers of my blog will understand that this would have been enough to make me absurdly happy and forgive the art.* But Joss gets to explore an idea that he could never explore with Buffy the character.

Because in reality it's not about individuals, even great leaders. It's not about Buffy, (or Che Guevara, Sylvia Pankhurst, Jock Barnes, Rosa Parks...) - "there's millions of people go into making a name. People facing things they couldn't imagine they would." It's the workers who go on strike, not the leaders whose work matters. In every movement the people who you've never heard of are as important as those whose faces get on T-shirts.

Then at the end, is the bit that made me cry:

The real questions run deeper. Can I fight? Did I help? Did I do for my sisters? My Comrades, Children, slimy slug-clan... There is a chain between each and every one of us. And like the man said, you either feel its tug or you ignore it. I tried to feel it. I tried to face the darkness like a woman and I don't need any more than that. You don't have to remember me
When I've been killed by an underground demon who is holding by body above his head (which I hope won't happen for many years yet) that's how I will judge my life.

* I loved the comic so much that my usual complaint about drawing is relegated to a footnote. Could we have one comic where a female character doesn't get naked for no reason? I also thought the slayers looked too generic, the one punk girl the exception which emphasises the similarities.

Then there was the line that this slayer needed her breasts padded to imitate Buffy. It was unnecessary, but also completely ridiculous. We can see the slayer's breasts right there in the panel, we know what comic book and SMG Buffy look like; she didn't need padding.

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