Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Review of Buffy The Vampire Slayer's 8x27: "Retreat Part 2"

Written by Jane Espenson
Artwork by Georges Jeanty

Twilight (to Amy): “Your bowl is lying. I know Buffy too well … to believe she’ll be silent when she dies.”

To quote Warren in this issue – he knows Buffy? Well, that more or less continues to give weight to the suggestion that Twilight is in fact someone from Buffy’s past but who it is remains the mystery. There’s at least three people who I very much don’t want Twilight to be – Oz, Giles and Xander.

Also one person we can rule out as well happens to be Riley. Given that he’s more or less a minion for Twilight anyway, there’s no reason to believe that Riley could be Twilight but that’s been more or less known since “Time Of Your Life Part 4”.

The one thing I do hate about this comic season is having to wait ages for decent answers or seeing characters come back, even ones who aren’t as fan loved as Riley. This issue gives no indication as to why Riley and Twilight are actually working together at all.

Amy and Warren are more or less driven by greed and revenge against the Scoobies but what is Riley’s motives for helping Twilights – grief, anger, a feeling that Buffy changing the slayer line has caused more harm than good? Explanations would be good. However there’s also the chance that Riley’s not as he seems.

A lot of his scenes in this issue saw him as a bit off. With that unfortunate bloke trying to directly pinpoint the Scoobies location, I did wonder if Riley was deliberately attempting to sabotage the man’s efforts. Every time the guy seemed to have gotten a clue, Riley seems to put him off.

The guy in question, who even had the common sense to question why magic is being used by Amy when Twilight is seemingly so against it naturally met a sticky ending in this episode. The funny part was that it was Amy who screwed up with the location of the Scoobies but just because Twilight didn’t find them this issue, it doesn’t mean the Scoobies are any safer.

One of the things that Oz said was that Buffy and the gang showing up made his home a target. Even if you’ve never read any of the leading issues, I think that is just stating the blinking obvious. Yes, Oz, Buffy and the Scoobies have made your place a danger zone but for this issue, there was more things to be discussed at great length.

From the gang’s perspective, it’s at least a good five or six years since Oz has last been seen so a lot has happened since then. One notable thing that has clearly occurred is Oz having a partner called Bayarmaa and a child called Kelden. Oz has managed to achieve what none of the Scoobies have done by settling down with a person he loves.

The gang’s reaction to Oz being happy are interesting, especially Willow. You could almost think her jealousy might have stemmed from a hidden desire for her ex but later in the issue she express that Oz had a kind of life that she didn’t have. Is Willow feeling eager to start a family or does she think that she and Kennedy actually don’t have a future?

I know there would be a lot of pleased viewers out there if Willow and Kennedy essentially went their separate ways. Of course, Oz’s domestic bliss isn’t really the reason for his appearance in this story, though it did add another layer on the plot as well as to some of the Scoobies themselves.

Through flashbacks we learned a lot more about Oz overcoming the wolf within him. We knew in “New Moon Rising” that he mostly had it under control but there were moments where it came out again. Like his incident with Tara and the fact that Willow chose the Wiccan over her.

Some of the flashbacks with the monks showed some interesting moments. Not only did we see Oz’s developing relationship with Bay but we also saw how Oz now gets the wolf to pass through him without it completely taking over him. It’s just a pity for Oz and Bay that their former friend Monroe wasn’t able to do the same as them.

However the one thing I’m curious to know is how this is going to help the slayers themselves. Wouldn’t the suppressing of the spell Willow used on them be dangerous? It might stop them temporarily I assume being detected by Twilight and his mad gang but wouldn’t it weaken them as well? I can’t see how that would be a great thing in battle.

Also it didn’t seem that many of the slayers were all that enthused either during Oz and Bay’s speeches about suppressing power. Faith herself even looked a little bored. Buffy better hope that a coup isn’t on the way as well. With Twilight baying for her, it’s the last thing she would need.

Also in “Retreat Part 2”

Interesting that we had Xander and Dawn drinking butter tea on the submarine with a few yaks in the background.

Warren: “We’ll find them. It might just take time.”
Amy: “It’s like looking for specific flea on an infested dog.”
Twilight: “Find them before I decide it’s easier to search a dead dog.”

Twilight contemplating genocide just proves that he really is no better than the slayer faction he’s contributing to turning the world against.

Oz: “Slayers aren’t very popular right now. We see it everywhere.”
Bay: “We have a satellite dish. You should hear the women on The View talk about slayers.”

Oz (to Scoobies, re monks): “They gave me herbs and charms and chants to push the wolf down deep inside. I slipped once or twice but I was getting better. I thought I could go back. I wasn’t so much right.”

Much as I love the inclusion of that Oz/Tara scene from “New Moon Rising”, the drawing for the scene wasn’t that good.

Amy: “You wasted our resources, you know. Going in there to play games with your little pet.”
Warren: “You rushed me! You didn’t let it play out.”

Man: “It’s a spike.”
Twilight: “Spike?”
Man: “See? Like something just burst into existence in Central Asia.”
Riley: “It’s an artefact. It’s not real.”

The poking of Spike’s name by Riley and Twilight was amusing. I wonder if he ever will appear in this comic season.

Giles: “Surely that’s not all there is to it. Pet a yak and be a river.”
Dawn: “Will, can you be a river?”

Bay: “More butter tea?”
Giles: “More butter than I’m used to in tea.”

Good comic reactions from Xander, Giles and Dawn when they realised that the butter came from the yaks. Xander and Dawn continue to be kind of couply in this issue as well.

Oz: “We’re not okay, are we?”
Willow: “We will be. It’s not, it’s not what you think. Later.”

Dawn: “Really, so suspenseful.”
Oz: “Not really. Throat. Right here.”

Some ads in this issue for Predator and the Dragon Con convention as well.

Buffy: “Twilight is tracking us. We need to learn to not be magical.”
Bay: “Really? Because not teleporting submarines is a good first step.”

Twilight: “This isn’t it. They’re probably not even in Mongolia.”
Warren: “Ha! I’m not the only screw up.”
Amy: “Shut up.”
Riley: “I told you. There’s interference. There’s just not enough data to be this precise.”

There’s a really cool picture of Georges Jeanty with actors Dichen Lachman (who Bay is supposed to be based on), Felicia Day and Jonathan Woodward in the letters page this issue.

Twilight: “They can’t help what they are. They’ll make a mistake. We’ll watch and we’ll wait and we’ll be ready. Kill the man who found this spike. This battle doesn’t end with Buffy laying down her sword. It ends with her turning that sword against herself.”

The next issue, “Retreat Part 3” is out on September 2nd.

“Retreat Part 2” continues the good work from the previous issue and builds up on things. It’s nice to finally see this Twilight actually progress as well as catching up on Oz’s current predicament. Even the lacks of Faith, Andrew (who were seen with no dialogue) and Satsu and Kennedy (who didn’t appear at all) didn’t deter things.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"or does she think that she and Kennedy actually don’t have a future?"

She probably considers the odds of them living happily ever after to be low, with their lives.

Twilight ordering the execution of one of his guys for making a mistake shows he's less than ambiguously bad, huh?