Monday, January 04, 2010

My Review of Buffy The Vampire Slayer's: "Willow: Goddesses And Monsters"

Written by Joss Whedon
Artwork by Karl Moline

Sagi Vasuki: “You’re putting yourself in my hands?”
Willow: “I expect it will come to that. I’ll know if you lie.”
Sagi Vasuki: “I always lie.”
Willow: “That’s how I’ll know. So how do we start?”

Well, this was one of the weirdest issues I’ve read and I apologise for the delay but Christmas does have a tendency of catching up on you. More importantly, was this worth it? I’m not sure actually. It was better than “The Thrill” but that’s hardly an achievement. Maybe I should look hard into its merits.

First of all, the issue finally gave some much needed focus on Willow’s association with snake lady Sagi Vasuki. The woman’s been slithering around in a couple of issues and she hasn’t exactly seemed to be the most trustworthy of creatures that Willow could’ve gotten herself involved with.

The issue started off on a mad note with Willow looking like she had just appeared in a bad Harry Potter parody. You’ve even got the first member of Sagi’s team, a wheelchair bound young girl moaning on about wizard schools being all the rage nowadays. Willow’s feeling of derivativeness are all too apt in that moment.

Then comes the analysis of Willow’s psyche. The wheelchair girl wasted no time in noting that Willow’s sort of square for a girl who tried to incinerate the world back in 2002 but then we’re looking at fields with some weird allusions to Willow’s sexuality. Did we really need a part of this issue that blathered on about fields being a certain way, regardless of orientation? Joss, you’re better than this.

It’s not that I find it offensive, it’s more than it comes across as rather naff in a way and there’s just some scenes in this issue that are whacky for the sake of it. We’ve had a few issues in Season Eight that have delved into Buffy’s dream space in a far more interesting light than this one is attempting to.

Of course with Muffitt thankfully taking a hike, Sagi Vasuki makes the effort to give Willow a real guide as opposed to the smoke and mirrors that she’s been seeing. Only thing is that Sagi Vasuki really does live up to her untrustworthy reputation in this comic.

Setting Willow with obstacles was one thing but there’s the moment where Willow realised that she was being strung along and still ended up selecting Sagi Vasuki as her guide by the end of the issue. Oh, Willow.

The real creatures out to help were those powerful women we met back in “The Long Way Home” and thanks to them, we got a brief appearance of Tara. I love seeing Tara in any capacity but I’ve longed resigned myself to the fact that Joss Whedon has no desire to resurrect the character. At this point in the series history, it’s both wise and too late to do anyways.

Besides Willow’s moment of growth in this issue was when she elected not to choose Tara as her guide because she realised it wasn’t right for Tara. It’s a deliberate reversal of the same Willow who flouted magical law into raising Buffy but it also meant that by rejecting Tara, Willow might have put herself in harm’s way with Sagi Vasuki as her guide.

Sagi’s made no bones about being trusted and judging by the way she scolded her team, there’s definitely a motivation behind her attempts to corrupt Willow. The more and more we’ve delved into this season, the more we’ve seen that Willow’s powers aren’t helping her anymore, which makes me miss the times when Willow using magic had good connotations behind it.

Then there’s Kennedy. Willow was told to forget about her on her vision and Kennedy herself wasn’t best pleased with Willow taking off either. That’s another thorny issue for me as well. I didn’t actually mind Willow and Kennedy all that much as a couple in Season Seven but in the comics, I’ve found them less endearing. I just don’t think it’s a two-sided thing.

Plus, it’s also rather hilarious that as Kennedy has seemingly come to grips with monogamy, Willow herself has been seen to have had sex with Sagi Vasuki on a few occasions. In reality, I’m wondering if by the end of the eighth season if both Willow and Kennedy will actually still be together. I’m not banking on it.

Also in “Willow: Goddesses And Monsters”

The cover is pretty femslash worthy with both a naked Willow and Sagi Vasuki close together.

Muffitt: “Wow, are you ever a dyke.”
Willow: “That term is offensive. Or maybe it’s empowering – I can’t always keep up. How’d you know?”

According to Muffitt, gay wiccans get a field with the opening petals and straight wiccans; they get a forest with tall, thrusting trees.

Kennedy: “No pet names while I’m pouting.”
Willow: “I have crazy power.”
Kennedy: “See above, re: goddess.”
Willow: “Power is not knowledge. In a way, it’s almost the opposite.”

Kennedy (to Willow): “Man, I just mastered monogamy, now I have to practice not-getting-any-at-allagamy. You’re a harsh mistress. Just don’t forget about me.”

One of the letters in this issue praised the comics for having Buffy sleep with Satsu and another wanted Andrew to get a boyfriend or to introduce a non stereotypical gay male to the comics.

Sagi Vasuki (re wound): “You have a part of it.”
Willow: “So clarity not the catch of the day, huh?”
Sagi Vasuki: “Relax.”

Sagi Vasuki: “Your panic has passed and you met your first challenge. I didn’t put a spell on him, by the way. He just had trouble with his feelings.”
Willow: “Yeah, well ... love is a battlefield.”

Willow does a fair share of reference some popular songs in this issue. It’s one of the funniest exchanges in the issue as well.

Willow (to Sagi Vasuki): “That’s not my journey. You all keep telling me to get beyond the surface. Then you toss clichés at me. The black knight, the sea voyage ... this isn’t my path and you’re not my guide.”

Willow (re Tara): “I said I wanted to understand my power and I do. But under that, I wanted to know my fate. Darkness? Enlightenment? Was I a good witch? I feel on the pull of each. That was my secret motive ... but it’s not. Under the under, I just wanted her. She was my light. She was my order. She was my journey.”

Tara had no dialogue at all and was wearing the same outfit from “Once More With Feeling”. Sagi Vasuki’s real name was also revealed as Aluwyn.

Willow (to Sagi Vasuki): “They say you’re no good. That you run in circles, the snake that eats its tail. I’ve got a bit of a rep myself.”

The next issue, “Turbulence” is released on January 6th 2010.

While it’s better than the last standalone issue that didn’t go under a production number, “Willow: Goddesses And Monsters” is also not one of those issues that I can see myself re-reading in a major hurry either. Disappointing.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

1 comment:

Nat said...

They should probably concentrate on the main series of comics, the stand alones just seem a bit random. Mind you the Angel ones are even more so.

Have you read the latest comic spoilers?? I won't spoil it for you if not, but they're very intriguing to say the least.