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Buffy Season Eight: Last Gleaming, Part 1

Buffy: "The last time I saw Spike, he died saving me and my people."
Angel: "He told me like four thousand times."

Synopsis:

Angel flies through a dimensional rift and lands on an O in the Hollywood sign. He looks out over L.A. and expects to see ruins, but no -- everything appears to be normal. (If you can call L.A. normal.)

A dog comes up to Angel and tells him the world is back to what it was meant to be. A higher being is speaking through the dog to tell Angel he has a higher purpose, and that it would involve killing. Angel was "chosen" because he tends to be simple and uncomplicated. (The dog has apparently never seen the second season of Buffy.)

The dog brings Angel's attention to a plane breaking apart in mid-air (very Lost-like -- it's an Oceanic plane). Angel, without thinking, tries to reach up and stop it and discovers he has superpowers. Angel carries the broken plane down safely to the airport.

The higher being, shifting from body to body, tells Angel that Buffy's enemies will take her down, unless he redirects them. "Her enemies will come at her from all sides... unless they all stand behind you." It's his destiny, much bigger than the Shanshu, to take Buffy to a world without war and without constraints. Angel himself must be the focus of her anger and the target of her power, and she cannot be distracted by the knowledge that it's Angel who is doing it.

Some other time ago, later than Angel's arrival, Spike shoots out of a dimensional rift into the air, stuck in front of the huge sphere. He picks up the phone (he has a phone?) and asks "Bug One" where the wankers are. Bug One, who calls Spike "your majesty," asks if they should ram the clock looming ahead at ramming speed. Apparently, no.

Spike sits in a cafe catching up on the latest news about the slayers as terrorists and Harmony as a vampire television star. Outside, later, a vampire sympathizer at a pro-vamp anti-slayer demonstration tells Spike that the Twilight sun-going-down thing is a symbol of the leader of the resistance to the fascist slayer army. Spike sees footage of said masked leader, and immediately goes, "Ooh, that'd be Angel, then."

Back to the present. Xander and -- is it Kennedy? herd everyone into Spike's sphere, which seems to be a ship of sorts. Angel tells Buffy he doesn't trust Spike (what a shock) but Buffy says they have no choice. Buffy tells Angel how wonderful he is right before telling him he can't go with them. Angel needs to redeem himself by helping slayers fight the demons that came out of the rift, and Spike won't tell Buffy what's going on with Angel around. Angel expresses jealousy of Spike, and Buffy says that's beneath him.

(Willow momentarily turned Angel into a frog and back into Angel again. She should have left him there. He really needs to be a frog right now.)

Buffy and Spike do a charming bit of banter that reminded me of why I loved them together. She thanks him for saving them from the ubervamps. Spike says Buffy cannot trust Angel. Spike knows about the higher dimension and all about the Twilight stuff, although it took him awhile to put it together. Buffy and Angel created a new reality and abandoned it, a universe ditched at birth. Spike says Buffy had better pray the higher reality doesn't come looking for its mother.

Spike is going to take them to the heart of all magic on earth (not Stonehenge). It's in a house of worship swallowed by the earth, over which they built a city, also swallowed by the earth. In fact, it's a huge red egg, it's beneath Sunnydale, and the Master has it.

Review:

Okay, not what I'd hoped for, and I really have no idea where the bugs and Spike's ship came from (Angel season six, I presume?). But at least this one seemed grounded in Buffyverse character reality where the Scoobies are still Scoobies and Spike is still Spike. Unfortunately, Angel isn't Angel. I don't think Angel was ever uncomplicated, and I still don't get a hero like Angel doing all that evil crap because some higher being told him to do it for Buffy. Okay, well, then again I'm remembering Whistler. But still.

The Higher Being seems to have a very Whedonesque sense of humor. But you know, It could be anything. Yes, the cosmic sex did indeed create a universe, apparently, so It wasn't lying to Angel. But what Angel did was still evil, and good does not come out of evil. Hence the current apocalypse.

I've been waiting for Spike for so long that I pretty much gave up a number of issues ago. His timing sucks. Interestingly, Buffy telling Angel that jealousy is beneath him reminded me of Buffy treating Spike as if he was beneath her. Maybe Buffy and Angel won't end up together, after all.

And the answer to everything is back in Sunnydale, and that pleases me, too. Fool, fool, back to the beginning is the rule. But didn't they grind the Master's bones to make their bread?

Quotes:

Angel: "See, that's where you lose me. Pretty sure the last guy a dog told to kill was the Son of Sam."
Higher Being: "Come on, I'm not a dog. I'm talking through the dog. He was nearby. I am a power without name, from a realm far above your petty-- hey! Balls!"

Higher Being: "You have power. It's not a trick. It's called a *reward*, and believe me when I say ... it makes "shanshu" look like a sack a' crap."

Spike: "Well, I've missed a lot, haven't I? 'Terrorist Buffy Summers'? 'Slayer jihad'? 'Harmony's f@#%ing beauty tips'!?!"

Buffy: "You save as many as you can. And I get Spike's piece of this puzzle."
Angel: "Is that all you want from him?"
Buffy: "That's beneath you, baby."
Angel: "I got more powerful, not remotely mature."

Dawn: "The crew is bugs, the crew is bugs, the bugs are large..."
Xander: "Deep breath..."
Dawn: "The air is bugs, I'm breathing bugs..."

Buffy: "One, thanks for saving us from the ubervamps, that was crazy studly and sorry I haven't been in touch, but, as you can see, I'm somehow leading an army."
Spike: "You're wel--"
Buffy: "Two, what do you know and how can you help? No jokes no snark no British slang that just means something dirty."
Spike: "One, under all that demon viscera, you still reek of him, and that's not a treat for me -- but it can't be Buffy if she doesn't bonk the bad guy, right?"
Buffy: "Snark!"
Spike: "Comes with the sizable package."

I'll rate this volume when it's done. Comments welcome, as always,

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

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sticking with these reviews Billie. They help confused souls like me realize what was really going on in these issues. This one was a vast improvement by featuring Spike. Angel, is as you sad, still not "our" Angel.
    Anna

    ReplyDelete
  2. The ship with the bugs is related to what happens in the Spike mini-series. Which is bastly superior to the Buffy ones. Even the Angel comics, after the rocky beginning, got really better.

    Angel as Twilight still doesn't make sense, and I don't get why he did it "for Buffy". Hope it gets clearer in the next 4 issues.

    ReplyDelete

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