Friday, January 22, 2010

My Review of Buffy The Vampire Slayer's 8x31: "Turbulence"

Written by Joss Whedon
Artwork by Georges Jeanty

Kennedy (re seeing Buffy fly): “That’s actually hot.”
Xander: “I ... don’t agree.”
Dawn: “Gape.”

After the deathly dull, “Willow: Goddesses And Monsters”, this one was a bloody improvement. I’m not sure if it’s enough to sate fans moods after the online reveal of Twilight that surfaced this month but it’s definitely one of the most enjoyable issues that we’ve had in a while.

First off all, let’s take power into the matter. “Retreat” ended on the clanger of Buffy being able to fly. It’s not much of a shock that she decided to conceal her newfound powers in this issue, in spite of the fact that you get a scene where it appeared to be that she was enjoying being so much more powerful than usual.

Of course with the way things have turned out with the goddesses, Buffy also had to reveal her abilities a lot quicker than she normally would’ve done. Maybe sometimes having dangerous goddesses on the loose can be a good thing if it means that Buffy’s hand is forced into a bout of honesty.

But it wasn’t just Buffy who got her powers back either. Willow was beginning to apologise to Oz when she was suddenly hit back with all her magic and the indication was that once the goddesses were put back in the Earth, everyone else would be restored as well. Except that Willow’s magic was no use against the goddesses but Buffy’s super strength was.

It’s a hilarious moment seeing Buffy using her strength to put the goddesses back into the ground when Willow’s attempts were virtually ineffective. But it also raised a serious question about Buffy as well. Willow was convinced that she was something else. Well, last time I checked slayers don’t usually fly so I’m intrigued as to finding out what exactly Buffy can be.

It was also worth noting that Willow herself was different too – more powerful but without going dark. Maybe this season is finally going to show us the good side of Willow having so much power. It would make a nice change to all the doom and gloom we’ve had to deal with when it comes to her magic but I doubt it.

In terms of their lost battle, I guess things are bad. Twilight didn’t exactly waste time in revealing that he had managed to capture Giles, Faith and Andrew but at the same time, Buffy also had one of his soldiers. That could’ve been a neat chance for her to get some decent intelligence on Twilight if the soldier in question hadn’t kicked the bucket almost too quickly into this issue.

Still at least there was some good news. The goddesses are back into the Earth which means the other slayers powers will hopefully return without any further delay and surprisingly enough, Bayaarma actually managed to survive in this issue as did Riley. What’s that – Joss Whedon managed not to kill off fairly important characters? Who’d thought it!

That being said as much as I’m happy with both of them being alive, Bayaarma doesn’t actually appear in this episode and Riley’s undercover stint with Twilight seems to have been all for nothing. You’d think he would’ve gathered something that Buffy could’ve put into use against Twilight but he didn’t.

On the plus side while this issue doesn’t give Buffy any information on Twilight, it is laced with some absolutely brilliant conversations worthy of the series itself. Willow and Oz’s lovely little moment before she got her powers back set the tone nicely for some of the other significant ones here.

For instance Riley didn’t exactly hold in telling Buffy that he was proud of her, which was sweet. People can hate Riley all they want but you can’t fault him in this issue, though it would be nice in the next arc to get some more back story on how he came to be Buffy’s man on the inside.

The best stuff from this issue (or the stuff guaranteed to be discussed the most on fan forums) was Buffy having it out with Xander over Dawn. I didn’t find her paedophile joke funny and I’m pretty glad that Xander didn’t take it lying down either. Because it definitely needs to be emphasised but Dawn is an adult in this comics and there’s only a five or six year age gap between her and Xander, which isn’t that bad when you think about it.

Also Xander was pretty open in admitting that there was some weirdness with the fact that he’s known Dawn since a young age but what I did love was that he didn’t ask for Buffy’s approval at all. He was also right to a certain degree when he refused to believe that Buffy had feelings for him.

That whole conversation did cover a lot for Xander. If this had happened in an early televised season of the series, then Buffy and Xander probably would’ve been a short lived couple. Xander’s a hell of a guy but I think he and Buffy are better off as mates and I’m not saying that in support of him and Dawn but it is a fair observation.

Also in “Turbulence”

Another gorgeous cover from Jo Chen with Willow trying to use magic against one of the Goddesses.

Buffy (to herself, re flying): “Doing it with Willow was scary. Doing it alone ... weird. And scary.”

This issue got delayed by a week as it came out on the 13th of January instead of the 6th.

Willow (to Oz): “You always know what to say, when you bother to talk. Any thoughts on how to get magic back real fast?”

Dawn: “Andrew has sisters?”
Xander: “Female trio. Destiny’s Child, Shonen Knife ... Dixie Chicks!”
Dawn: “You know, you can just say the thing you mean.”

Willow mentioned a cataclysmic event that hasn’t happened yet. Similarly Twilight also talked about the truth manifesting as well.

Riley: “I’m proud of you.”
Buffy: “Did they give you the most morphine?”
Riley: “Plus a few shots of Jack but I think I’m good to drive.”

Twilight (to himself): “Things will start to happen very quickly. The truth. At long last, the manifest truth. Buffy will finally see ... if she is able to see at all.”

Some of the coven seemed to have gotten their powers back as well given that they were trying to help Willow with the goddesses.

Buffy: “No, it’s fine. Dawn’s a grown woman and you’re a disgusting paedophile.”
Xander: “Whoa!”
Buffy: “Cradle-robber?”

Buffy: “And do I still get to make cradle-robber jokes?”
Xander: “Just used up your last.”

If you really desperate to learn Twilight’s identity, your best bet is to try the Slay Alive forums or Whedonesque, where the story originally broke. Be sure to also try and look for Joss Whedon’s comments on the leak as well.

Xander: “Please don’t tell me this doesn’t involve artillery.”
Buffy: “It does not. It involves something I don’t really understand. That, honestly, freaks me out, and I was hoping not to mention.”
Kennedy: “You’re a dyke.”
Xander: “It’s a nuke.”
Dawn: “You sacrifice a ‘key’.”
Buffy: “Thanks for the vote of no confidence and shut your mouths and look. Up in the sky.”

Buffy: “Xander and Dawn are in love.”
Willow: “Gah! I thought they’d never figure that out.”

The next issue (assuming there are no further delays) is “Twilight Part 1” and it’s released on February 3rd.

“Turbulence” is definitely one of the better issues we’ve had in the last few months but now that we’ve got two arcs left and a reveal that’s angered many a fan, here’s hoping that this can actually end in a way that makes sense.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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