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Buffy Season Eight: Anywhere But Here

Buffy: "Hey, the demons are after us, the humans are after us, this whole 'Twilight' thing is looking very creepy and hey, Faith tried to kill me again! My grip on reality is not that grippy."


Willow is flying, and carrying Buffy on her back; they're searching for something in particular, which turns out to be a cottage facade concealing the lair of something called Sephrilian. During the flight, Buffy and Willow play a game (I'm assuming it's "Anywhere But Here", given the title of this issue) in order to keep Buffy from freaking out. Buffy spins a beach fantasy starring Daniel Craig and some suntan lotion. Willow's involves being alone with Tina Fey in a cabin in a snowstorm, which sparks a brief Buffy/Willow conversation about Kennedy, who is apparently still Willow's significant other even though we never see her around.

Sephrilian walks between worlds, which makes reality unstable. Sephrilian's lair (concealed by cottage) is being "minded" by a woman named Robin, who keeps reality stable. Minders are "chosen," like Slayers. Buffy and Willow enter the cottage, which is a lot bigger on the inside, and start up (or is it down) an endless dreamscape sort of staircase. Another game of "Anywhere But Here" involving Christian Bale is interrupted by Sephrilian, who looks like a dragon with eyes that are a rectangle consisting of four pictures of the same being with four different expressions. Sephy is Tichajt, one of the demon elite, whatever that is.

Buffy tells Sephy that she needs Its help because the imbalance between worlds is going to rain destruction on all. Sephy opens up its rectangle eyes and shows them a vision of Buffy leading a group of Slayers (what is a group of Slayers? A herd? A gaggle?) robbing a Swiss bank. (At least, I think it's Buffy. It's hard to tell because it's a freaking comic. See, on television I could tell if it was Sarah Michelle Gellar, but comics can be open to interpretation. But I digress.) Apparently, this is how the Slayer army has been bankrolled. Buffy tells Willow that it's a victimless crime, that the bank is insured. Willow responds that this is what Buffy's enemies saw, and that robbery is the first domino.

(Sephy also shows Willow being bad; lying naked in the arms of a female demon serpent thing. Buffy says "Wow. Your bad is way better than mine.")

Buffy and Willow talk with Robin in what looks like a weird castle-y place. There's a huge busted-open egg on the wall. Buffy sees her future self bruised, scratched up, and crying. Robin tells Buffy she will be betrayed by the closest, most unexpected. Willow says she has to get out of there, and Buffy asks Willow, "Is it you?" Willow replies, "No, I won't betray you. Any more than I have." Willow tells Buffy why she never brings Kennedy around. Willow feels that her choice to resurrect Buffy back in season six eventually got Tara killed, and now she doesn't want to again be put into a situation where she must choose between Buffy and the woman she loves.

Sephy reveals that he welcomes the war, would happily be rid of humans, and will reveal human weaknesses to his brethren. Buffy attacks. With Willow's help, she defeats Sephy, the "cottage" explodes, and Buffy, Willow, and Robin are outside among flying cottage-y debris. It was demons playing games, Buffy says. But Willow is clearly still upset.

Meanwhile back at the castle, Xander brings Giant Dawn a present: her own clothes and a trunk that were made really, really big by members of the Wiccan Squad. Dawn is so anxious to explore the trunk that she knocks Xander into it. As he flounders on the frillies, he and Dawn get to the truth about her condition: Dawn was indeed dating Kenny the Thricewise, but slept with Kenny's roommate, Nick. That was why Kenny turned Dawn into a giant.


We're back to confusing. I hate confusing. I had to read this issue three times to figure out what was going on. Is that because Joss Whedon wrote it? He always wrote my favorite Buffy episodes, and I'm finding this confusion thing to be a real bummer.

Not that this wasn't interesting, because it was. I liked the "anywhere but here" fantasies (especially the one about Christian Bale; I'm not that into Daniel Craig), because they had the flavor of the television series. I liked Buffy and Willow together on a mission again, because it just hasn't felt all that much like Scoobies together up until this point. But the whole thing with Buffy financing the Slayer army by knocking over banks and Willow keeping Kennedy away from Buffy spoke volumes. Buffy and Willow have grown apart and have different lives and priorities. Trust is becoming an issue.

The upcoming struggle may mean the end of magic. No more Slayers. No more Super Wicca Willow. I can imagine that some might find the end of magic appealing in its way. If Buffy and her team are pulling bank robberies, then absolute power is definitely corrupting absolutely, or maybe partly. And maybe all this is more ambiguous than I like. (And maybe I'm just upset that Willow is still with Kennedy.)

It's amazing how boring Dawn remains, even though she's a comic now. There's something fundamentally wrong with that character. It took us ten issues to find out that Dawn became a giant because she slept with Kenny's roommate? How much do I not care?

Bits and pieces:

-- In the first panel, Buffy is asleep on a beach (before Daniel Craig shows up) and there is a book beside her with the word "Lestat" and a pair of open fangs on it. I don't think Anne Rice ever wrote a book with the title "Lestat," but he was the main character in, what? Five of them?

-- Flashback Kennedy mentions that she died for Willow. "Admittedly, it was mystical, and kind of mellow, but headline: death!"

-- Robin and Willow said they met in the future. It seems that magic gets a little time trippy.

-- The cover illustration is Willow, Robin, and Buffy standing in front of the "cottage."


Willow: "Come on! We're flying!"
Buffy: "You're flying. I'm dangling."
Willow: "But you're bad-ass Buffy! You slay! You jump out of helicopters!"
Buffy: "They're lower down."

Robin: "Willow."
Willow: "Hey, Robin."
Buffy: "I thought you hadn't met."
Willow: "We do later on."
Buffy: "And I'm just gonna ride with that."

Buffy: "You know what I love?"
Willow: "An endless staircase?"
Buffy: "A staircase with no end at all. Aren't there any escalators to hell?"

Buffy: "Little Women Christian Bale, you and I waltz obscenely close in plain view, while Reign of Fire Christian Bale saddles the horses. It's a hard ride across the moors, and then we're just one-hot air balloon ride from freedom!"
Willow: "See, now you're pulling from the top shelf. That's beautiful. I don't know where to start."

Willow: "Do you know what it is? What it truly means?"
Sephy: "The end, of course, of the struggle, of the hellmouths... the final triumph of the base humans over the demons. It's your life's goal achieved, Slayer. The death of magic."

Xander: "Cigarettes, dirty hair, didn't care what anyone thought, never gave you the time of day, but he seemed to be in pain deep down?"
Dawn: "Yuh-huh."
Xander: "And for the big money... did he in any way play in a band?"
Dawn: "Bass. Vocals. I'm a Satan."
Xander: "Dawnie, stop. You are hereby found guilty of being a cliche."

Two out of four stakes,

Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.

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