Wednesday, July 07, 2010

My Review of Buffy The Vampire Slayer's 8x35: "Twilight Part 4"

Written by Brad Meltzer
Artwork by Georges Jeanty

Angel: “No. You’re wrong, Buffy. The orcs aren’t coming.”
Buffy: “But – that’s not – the orcs always come.”
Angel: “Until the day they don’t.”

I could give you reasons as long as my arm as to why it’s taken two months on my part to actually get round to reviewing this issue but I’ll go with one – this comic is horrible. I’ve been one of the biggest defenders of this Season Eight comic story but even I’m now convinced that Joss Whedon and company are pulling this out of their arses.

This was one of the reasons why I ditched the Angel comics last year because it was blatantly clear that nothing was actually happening and it’s why I’ve been lax with these last few issues. I never used to believe that one issue alone would be enough to turn me off these comics but the second Angel was revealed as Twilight, I suddenly did.

The previous issue really didn’t help matters with Buffy and Angel astral-shagging all over the place and with the both of them seemingly birthing new reality; I’m still as confused and unsatisfied as I was beforehand. Also I find it hilarious and uncharacteristic of Angel to be so quickly accepting of their new utopia as such.

A part of me probably should’ve found Angel’s enthusiasm a tonic to Buffy’s increasing cynicism and ‘woe is me’ of the world but it turns out that being a raincloud of doom (thank you, Nathan from BB11) can actually have some positive. Like knowing that your new world is way too good to be true.

The orcs that are constantly mentioned seem to be Buffy’s vocal way of conveying her doubts but it’s overanalysing the sex from the last issue and Angel picking up on the fact that their clothes kept changing that also provided a bad omen. Then again, if you had to read some of the cheesiest shit coming from Angel’s mouth, you’d know that you were basically up the creek without a paddle.

I find it interesting that this place reacted a lot to Buffy and Angel, suggesting that they had some control over their own destiny. That idea in of itself could’ve been used better to show a level of resistance for Buffy as well but I am actually proud of the fact that she decided to abandon this world to help out her friends.

It’s not much of a shocker that Angel too decided to abandon it as well but it was Buffy that motivated him into ditching utopia as such, even if his desire to be with Buffy seemed to be more intense (but not as engaging) than on the actual series itself.

However if you’re a Buffy/Angel lover and you were hoping that after so many years that this comic alone would seal them permanently as a couple, then you really should’ve anticipated the final moment. Does Joss Whedon and his writing staff like happy endings for couples? Not remotely!

Of course Spike would have to resurface at the end of this comic and a part of me groaned. His return was pretty inevitable and while he does/did work better in Buffy’s world than in Angel’s, I just have a feeling that we’re going to subjected to fan pandering of the worst kind in the remainder of this season.

Joss Whedon knows that fans are either Team Bangel or Team Spuffy and by trying to either appease to both ships or set them on each other; it could end up backfiring on him big time. Sales for the comics have dropped over the last year and this could easily be perceived as a desperate ploy in trying to generate more interest.

Normally that wouldn’t be a bad thing but it also smacks of laziness as well. I’m not big into either ships for different reasons and this season has also been rather crap in recent issues with handling already established couples such as Willow/Kennedy and Xander/Dawn. Plus more character development and growth for the Scoobies would be preferable to an ill advised love triangle that we don’t need.

As for the rest of the issue, meh, it just reeked of filler to be honest. Both Willow and Xander tried in different ways to take Giles to task over his knowledge of Buffy’s potential world creating destiny but neither could really get a constructive argument with the amount of times the comic kept chopping and changing back to Buffy and Angel.

It also didn’t help with the raincloud of monsters attacking the team, the horrid subtext of Warren showing something vaguely resembling decency (do not, I repeat, do not try to redeem that Tara killing scumbag) and Spike’s beyond silly entrance in the issue. If I could pick a positive with this issue, it’s probably down to the fact that out of every character, Amy is still the only one being consistently written along with her general mate.

Also in “Twilight Part 4”

Jo Chen continues to give us beautiful covers with Willow, Giles, Xander, Faith, Angel and Dawn all above Buffy’s head.

Buffy: “No, the moment you look away – the bad guy jumps out ... there’s a bomb under the car ... the apple’s been poisoned.”
Angel: “Apple, maybe. Poison no.”

There’s a subtitle for this issue: The Final Chapter: The Power Of Love. Jennifer Rush or Frankie Goes To Hollywood version?

Xander (to Giles): “So these demons pouring out all over us are some sort of afterbirth? What! Placenturians! That I’m gonna copyright.”

Andrew: “And F.Y.I. – the shield doesn’t boomerang back like you think.”
Warren: “Then why do you want it so bad?”
Andrew: “Why do you think?”

Why the hell did Spike arrive in a spaceship in this issue? I know Buffy/Angel shagged above the Earth in the previous one but come on.

Amy: “Warren does know we’re going to kill them after all this, doesn’t he?”
General: “Relax, Amy. Current problems first. Our erstwhile leader and his cooze are AWOL and if I were guessing, I’d bet that boy has no idea what he just ripped open.”

Angel: “The universe we’re going to make ... it’s not just that we get to be together, Buffy ... we finally get to be happy.”

At one point during the several costume changes between them, Buffy was wearing Angel’s Twilight jacket as well.

Angel: “You do understand that being here is what you’re meant for?”
Buffy: “Don’t you know me by now, Angel? I never do what I’m meant for.”

Spike: “Enough of this. You wanna put these demons down and end this ‘Twilight’ crap once and for all? You talk to me.”

There’s a Riley one shot due out in August before the final arc, “Last Gleaming” starts in September.

As I said at the start of the review, I didn’t really enjoy this one a lot. I struggled with “Twilight Part 4” and I have serious reservations about Spike being added into the mix. Hopefully I’ll be proved wrong though.

Rating: 5 out of 10.