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Buffy Season Eight: Living Doll

Xander: "We have to rescue Dawn. And I don't mean the underrated Christian Bale movie."


Dawn has gone missing. Her third transformation was from centaur to tiny porcelain doll, and she's imprisoned in a Gepetto-like old man's cottage full of toys that talk. Gepetto is actually protecting Dawn, though; if she breaks, her soul will disperse painfully.

Buffy is busy with her slayers and with a new threat; a splinter army of vamps led by Judas Cradle (great name) are going to attack the castle. But Xander is on it. He has a plan to find Dawn. He has sent Andrew to Kenny's college, undercover, as Kenny's new roommate.

Andrew introduces himself to Kenny, says he'll take the room, and immediately starts talking magic as he places totems (in the form of Yodas) around the room to form a teleportation grid. Willow and a band of slayers teleport in. Kenny turns into his thricewise form -- a three-eyed monster with tentacles. (See cover art. They've been big with the tentacles lately.)

Buffy and Xander are tracking a weird little guy (wood folk?) through the woods. They find a cottage. Xander is felled by a lot of very small arrows shot by dolls. I think. Buffy hears Dawn screaming for help. Kenny shows up (one assumes Willow talked him into it), and he and Buffy rescue Dawn the doll.

Dawn, still in doll form, apologizes to Kenny, and suddenly, she's a young woman again. Dawn confesses that she slept with Kenny's roommate because her feelings for Kenny were so intense she couldn't handle it. Personally, I think that's a crock of an excuse, but Kenny goes for it.

Buffy wants to hurt Gepetto, but the dolls beg her not to; they say he keeps them safe. Dawn tells Buffy that Buffy can't keep her safe.

Judas Cradle's small band of vamps climb stealthily over the wall, and find waiting for them many, many, many slayers armed with swords and axes. Great visual. Slayers attack. Guess who wins.


Dawn is missing. Must be Tuesday. I swear, I actually fell asleep while reading this issue. Literally. Impromptu nap.

Dawn acts out because she wants Buffy's attention, and Buffy blames herself for being too distracted with saving the world to pay attention to Dawn. I am so very totally and completely tired of it. What else is freaking new? Buffy can't keep Dawn wrapped in cotton, safe from the world. When you keep someone safe, it's like Gepetto and the dolls: they can't learn and grow and yes, I get it, Dawn has to make her own mistakes, take responsibility for her own actions. Geez. How many times did we go through this in season seven?

The best part of this one was Xander being so competent as well as very good for Buffy. He counsels her a lot, tells her not to beat herself up. He came up with the mission to save Dawn, and it worked. Although why, if Kenny is such a mellow Thricewise, did he cast such a harmful, lengthy, and possibly deadly spell on Dawn? I think Dawn should run for the hills and keep a continent between herself and Kenny for the foreseeable future.

Okay, I actually enjoyed Dawn's transformations in the past twenty-five issues. It was great comic relief, a fun and creative thing to do with her character, and an interesting fantasy plot surrounding the major Dawn theme: constant acting out, and a desperate need to grow up. I only wish it could have continued forever. Personally, Dawn as a horned fire snail would have worked for me.

Bits and pieces:

-- At least two references to Buffy being the only slayer, even though there are a zillion of them. Buffy still has more responsibility than anyone else.

-- Kenny changes from a nice looking guy to an icky monster at the drop of a hat. His mouth looks obscene. The rest of him looks like three protuberant eyes, stuck on top of a shag rug, stuck on top of a squid.


Buffy: "I mean, look at me. Who dresses like Wolverine for fun?"
Xander: "Certainly not me. Any proof you've seen to the contrary could have easily been photoshopped, and besides, I was drunk."

Xander: "I have an ace in my hole. Let me instantly rephrase that. We have... an inside man."

Kenny: "Okay, this is awkward, but here goes. I'm sorry I cast a spell on you that turned you into a giant, a centaur, and a creepy porcelain doll."
Dawn: "If I hadn't said 'I'm sorry', what would have happened? Would I just keep turning into different beings endlessly?"
Kenny: "Not endlessly. I would have called it off when it got to the horned fire snails."

Buffy: "How can I not know this?"
Xander: "It cannot be because I just told you because I would never do that. Bugger. Hey check me out, now I can hate myself in British."

The next issue is part one of -- I assume -- a four-parter. I am going to wait until I have all four before I post another review. So this is it for awhile,

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


  1. Actually Billie, it's part 1 of a five part story and there's a Willow one shot sandwiched between parts 4 and 5.

    Are you going to review The Thrill and Always Darkest comics? They're a part of Season Eight, though they're not designated numbers as such.

    This issue was fine but Dawn's plot should've been resolved as early as Issue 10. I hated that it dragged out for so long.

    There a Veronica Mars and Wolverine references in this one too.

  2. Shawn, I'm not doing the ones you mentioned. I'm just doing the official season eight and when it's done, I'm done.

  3. You know, I actually liked this issue. The second half was somewhat slow and lacked a climax, but overall, it was nice to see the sisters interacting and having fun with each other. That had been missing since the time season 7 lost its spark.

    Dawn as a centaur was really funny, though, and I hope later in the season she'll discover she actually retained the powers to switch from regular human to giant, to centaur and to doll...

    Dawn, as she is right now, only works as Buffy's emotional link to this world, and that's it. What's her point as a scooby?

  4. I would have liked Dawn to stay a creepy doll for at least five more issues. She's so dull normally. Kind of a fun issue anyway.


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