Sunday, October 07, 2007

My Review of Buffy The Vampire Slayer's 8x07: "No Future For You Part 2"

Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Artwork by Georges Jeanty

Faith (to gargoyles): “Yo rock. Meet hard place!”

With such a mind blowing start to this arc, the second issue could only continue to excel and starting off with a flashback from “Graduation Day Part 1” when Buffy and Faith’s rooftop fight led to the latter being comatose for eight months is a good way of kicking things off.

Symbolism or not, Faith’s musings about her relationship with Buffy going from great to rotten to passable in five years is a nice way of reminding viewers that things are never really resolved easily in the Buffy verse. You can redeem yourself or be redeemed but your past never goes the heck away, does it?

It also harkens Faith’s desire of flying solo when she comes to the deduction that maybe her and Buffy would’ve been better off if they never had met each other. In some ways it makes Faith sound a bit self-pitying but that isolation thing is probably the only thing I would ever have in common with Faith. I know what it’s like to feel a bit excluded from others.

Looking stunning in her green dress and tightly pinned up hair, Faith makes her to Genevieve’s place as Giles reminds her to get in there and kill the girl without hesitation. Giles isn’t particularly sensitive about the idea of Faith having to kill a human. Perhaps seven years in Sunnydale really has desensitised him.

Unfortunately because Faith is in something of a weird headspace, her response is getting rid of the communication device which means that not only is Giles unable to help her but she might have also shafted herself when she does eventually run into trouble. It’s obvious that Faith will have hiccups with this mission and she really did pick the worst time to refuse help. Don’t go all Season Six Buffy on us dear.

Blagging herself into Genevieve’s birthday party is the easiest thing in the world given that all she has to do is sound like some posh bitch from Emmerdale and the imbecile of a security guard lets her in without much protest. Damn, no wonder Genevieve has to fear for her life. With staff as incompetent as this, Giles could’ve sent in an entire army of slayers without the fancy attire to nuke the girl.

Still Faith isn’t as five by five with the idea of killing Genevieve and although she rationalises what she’s about to do, the fact that Faith is proof that this girl has changed. For all her bravado and apathy, even the idea of killing someone for a good reason isn’t enough for Faith. Luckily the dialogue doesn’t make Faith sound like a total sap. You sympathise with her and understand her moral dilemma.

Amusingly Genevieve is oblivious to the fact that someone wants her dead so it’s up to her rather creepy mentor Roden to get the Wiggins about Faith. Faith might be able to fool a crowd of posh twats and Gigi but Roden not only doesn’t find her suspicious but is quick to order his little gargoyles to kill her if she acts out of character. And I though that Gigi made for an obnoxious host!

Getting away from Faith and high tailing back to Scotland, there’s a rather fun conversation between Dawn and Willow when the latter tries to find out more about how Dawn became a giant and naturally Dawn isn’t so enthusiastic to tell Willow about her sexual exploits.

I hate to admit that this plot is really beginning to grate a little bit. Dawn spent most of “The Long Way Home” refusing to talk to Buffy about what happened between her and Kenny because she felt more connected with Willow and now that Willow is back, Dawn still won’t talk. You almost think she wants to remain a giant, which wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that I don’t want to wait several months to see a plot I don’t really care about that much to be resolved.

There’s a time and place for Dawn to be private about what she gets up into the bedroom but given that she’s a freaking giant she might as well tell Willow the details so this plot can end and Dawn can get one that actually sees her contributing to the series overall.

Dawn’s issues with men are tapped upon nicely though and Willow has her own unique way of attempting to make the girl feel better. I like Willow and Dawn’s rapport and it’s annoying that just as Dawn was about to tell us something about how she became the way she is that Renee had to interrupt.

Renee’s brief scene was trivial enough, though she gets points for reminding Willow about being a techno geek as well as super Wiccan. Willow’s attitude on Voll being another threat to them is slightly disconcerting.

He might not be a gigantic demon like Yamanh but given that he’s killed Ethan Rayne, steered both Amy and Warren in the Scoobies direction and is connected to this whole Twilight mystery, I don’t think he can be easily dismissed either. Plus his violent hatred for Buffy is worrying in of it’s right too.

Willow does then wonder what happens when Voll will attack again to which Dawn and Renee both mention doing what they have to. Faith might not be the only who’ll have to take a human life in order to save the world. Then again it’s most like the Scoobies haven’t killed humans before either.

Speaking of which Faith takes a break from pretending to be posh to have a smoke and get her shit together until Gigi pops out and meets Faith. Her would’ve been a great opportunity for Faith to have actually killed the misguided slayer and get out of there but instead, they end sharing cigarettes and bonding over music. Hey girls are girls and even Genevieve can’t tolerate her own kind.

It’s perhaps a bit too obvious that Vaughan would try and have the girls bond over something trivial yet at the same time throw in the obvious hints that both Faith and Gigi are more alike than you would’ve imagined. Both girls have absentee fathers and drunken mums and neither likes to be bullshitted by other people, which they seem to be despite their determination not to.
Faith is clever enough to go by another name and it really does appear that she has little to do in earning Genevieve’s trust. Heck Genevieve is even happy to jest at the possibility of them being blood related which slightly kills the subtext between these two women.

If Gigi actually survives this arc, then Faith will have a shadow self in the same way she was shadowing Buffy back in Seasons Three and Four. There could be a lot of good potential there too. Anything is better than General Voll. At least Gigi seems like she could either way – we still don’t know whether she’s being used or is evil to the core. Voll is a righteous bore doing evil acts.

However Faith must’ve been acting a bit too shallow because Roden’s gargoyles are quick to pounce on her and even Genevieve’s protests for them to leave her alone does little to make an impact. Damn Roden really can’t be fooled. Too bad, Faith did actually appear convincing.

Still each issue needs an awesome fight sequence and whether it’s Buffy versus a gnarly lizard in a church, Willow and Amy taking to the skies or the Buffy Decoy getting annihilated by Yamanh, this issue has the spectacular pleasure of Faith being hauled in the air by two gargoyles and getting bitten by one before she uses one of her knives to stab one of them in the eye.

Something like this would be pretty expensive for a TV budget so in comic world, you get to go all out Faith is smart enough to get on top of one of those gargoyles and cover its eyes which then forced it to crash down in the garden.

Already nearly ripped to pieces, punching a gargoyle proves useless for Faith. You’d think after fighting The Beast in Angel Season Four, she’d know that but at least Faith is coming up with some neater ideas and there’s nothing more fun than watching Faith wisecrack as she gets both of her oppressors to literally crash into the other and explode.

Faith was never going to be physically strong to actually destroy these things together so having her use her ingenuity to get them to nuke each other is the best thing she could’ve done. Plus it impressed the hell out of Genevieve even if Faith took her victory by passing out. I could imagine how Eliza Dushku or her stunt double would feel if they actually had to film something like that when the show was on the air.

That being said if Roden didn’t have his suspicions of Faith beforehand, her little performance with the gargoyles certainly roused that magic wand of his and to be honest, even though he’s the bad guy, I did feel a bit bad for him during the last moment.

It’s his job to manipulate and protect Genevieve and it’s a bit hard to do that when the girl shows rebellion by defending Faith left, right and centre. Roden made the point that because Faith is another slayer, she’s also a threat but Genevieve is too busy thinking how useful Faith could be on her side to consider that.

Faith is probably the first person in quite a while to actually talk to Gigi like she’s a normal person and because of it, Gigi thinks they are alike. We already know that Genevieve is a mirror of what Faith used to be and you can’t help but wonder whether or not Faith might make an attempt to appeal to her better nature instead of trying to kill her.

If Faith is considering that option then she better act fast. She might have Gigi slightly wrapped around her finger but Roden doesn’t trust her and Genevieve is quick to point out that she intends to kill Buffy so she can lead the slayers into greatness. It’s also amusing that Genevieve is under the assumption that Faith isn’t aware of her slayer prowess too.

Also in “No Future For You Part 2”

Covers this issue included a dressed up Faith and pensive Giles or Buffy, Genevieve and Faith at a staircase. Pity Giles didn’t factor as much in this issue as I thought he would’ve.

Faith (to herself): “Anyway live and learn. Almost die and learn way more.”

Faith putting her knives in her hair looked like something that could’ve came out of Alias. The security barely even checked her out.

Faith: “Let me inside before I have you sent back to whichever stable house detail your superiors mistakenly pulled you out of.”
Security Guard: “You’re one of them alright. Give her worshipfulness my love.”

Roden (to his gargoyles): “Girl is making my wand tingle and not in the good way. If she so much as curtseys too shallow, turn her bones into dust.”

Diamond wise Faith is wearing green, Roden red, Genevieve white and Willow also green. Any significance behind this?

Willow: “And speaking of clothes, have you been wearing the same outfit ever since you … blossomed?”
Dawn: “What, did my proportionate stench tip you off? ‘Cause unless Lane Bryant redefines ‘plus size’ in a hurry it’s only gonna get worse.”

Dawn: “You don’t understand, he was the only guy on campus who treated me like a friend, not a walking pair of boobs.”
Willow: “Oh sweetie, don’t talk like that. Boys are into you because of your legs not those itty bitty things.”

Isn’t it a bit weird that Willow hasn’t talked about Warren being alive? That’s got to have some emotional impact on her and it’s annoying that the writers aren’t talking about it.

Willow (re General Voll): “What are we supposed to do when they actually get here?”
Renee: “Whatever we have to.”
Dawn: “All’s fair.”

Genevieve: “Mind if I bum a fag?”
Faith: “What do I care? You can bum whoever you … oh.”

It turns out that both Faith and Gigi are fans of Amy Winehouse. Which is interesting because there’s someone with even more issues than Faith.

Genevieve: “I just had to get away from the vast sea of idiots in there. They’re all hopelessly fake they make me want to slit my wrists.”
Faith: “I know what you mean.”

Faith: “Dad may as well be a ghost and Mum is a filthy drunk.”
Genevieve: “You sure we’re not sisters?”
Faith: “Maybe in a different -”

Faith uses the pseudonym of Hope Lyonne to gain Gigi’s trust. It’s as close to Faith Lehane as you can get.

Faith (to herself): “I wish I had Giles for this, at least to say goodbye. But I just had to throw him away. Why am I such a dick to every guy who’s the least bit nice to me?”

Faith (to gargoyle 1): “Just try to grope me frat boy. I’ve made bigger bruisers like you cry little -”

I just noticed that although Faith’s dress in the comic is green, the cover has her in a purple one. Also Roden was the one spying on Buffy in Issue 1.

Roden (re Faith): “Not a threat? Are you mad? She turned my boys to rubble.”
Genevieve: “After they attacked her unprovoked and she was brilliant. I could use someone like her at my side.”

Faith: “Um, duh?”
Genevieve: “I’m not talking about nobility, I’m talking about an ancient force that you and I and a lot of other girls have tapped into.”

The next issue is out on November 7th according to Dark Horse but the latter page says November 11th.

Faith: “You want to kill Elizabeth.”
Genevieve (pointing to pictures of Buffy): “No Hope, not Elizabeth.”

Chronology: Given the Doctor Who reference in the previous issue and Amy Winehouse, I’m willing to say 2006.

This is definitely shaping up to be quite the page turner as “No Future For You Part 2” builds on the success of the previous issue and has Faith in a right pickle. Genevieve is turning out to be quite the interesting little adversary.

Rating: 9 out of 10.