MADE. OF. WIN.
Okay, I hadn't been particularly in love with the first issue, but this issue? Giles! And seguing to Buffy (OTP! okay, we are ignoring the following segue to Andrew). And Xander being Xander (shades of his speech at the end of "Potential" with his insightfulness).
And that was where I left off my first reading, wanting to savor the comic. I finished the rest of it at the library tonight and the rest of it didn't quite live up to my love of the early bits, but there's a lot of potential, and the very last line makes me happy a lot.
Of course I feel the need to quote copiously (with some commentage).
The Slayer population of the world has gone from two to nearly two thousand. Almost five hundred are working around the world with Buffy's organization in squads---or "terrorist cells," according to the American military. Buffy, Xander, Dawn, and a passel of Slayers are currently bunked out in a Scottish castle, where the latest mission revealed a strange symbol carved into human bodies.Oh, Joss.
Also, Dawn's a giant.
And the opening panel is a steaming cup of tea with voiceover: "I used to be a Watcher."
Giles: "I see some superior fighting out there. Technique and power that might give Buffy Summers herself a run for her money. Impressive force. It is, of course, useless. You're all fighting alone. Getting in each other's way, not protecting each other's flanks... failing to use your single most valuable asset..." / Buffy: "...Each other."
Buffy: "Leah, Satsu, Rowena. Would the three of you please kick my ass? So. Three perfectly valid avenues of attack, good form -- on three seasoned well-trained corpses, one of whom, sidebar: has her best hair ever; Satsu, you're making me think I need a new look, see me after."
[Edit: And okay I don't really need gay&geeky Andrew, but yay for someone bringing up the obvious question of why not use guns; Andrew's horror at the idea, I wondered if he remembered Warren. /edit]
Dawn: "All she does is yell at me."
Xander: "And you, what, recite sonnets? Sisters fight. It's a rule."
Dawn: "What do you know? You don't have a sister."
Xander: "Have you seen this place? I got all my sisters 'n' me."
Green-uniformed guy: "There is no problem so big or complicated that it can't be blown up."
He and the brown-uniform argue a bit, part ways, and green calls him a "suit," which is followed by a voiceover which reminded me of Jubal Early: "Just a suit, walks and talks, has by chance a man in it. Got no idea what's at stake here. No idea at all." Reveal I wasn't expecting: green-uniform has that marking carved on his chest.
Buffy: "And once again, sports fans, it's all my fault."
Xander: "Oh, don't go there. There smells of you, you've been there so often. With the guilt, and -- "
And then we get that weird kinda creepy shot of a rectangle view of just her eyes, which indicates to me in retrospect that this is where we transition from a conversation that actually happened to Buffy's dream.
My initial reaction to her "are you coming to bed?" was to boggle that they were a couple (yes, I clearly forgot about her "I miss sex" lament from the previous issue), though given the cover, of course, this shouldn't have come as a surprise to me, and then of course it turned out to be a misdirect (and it doesn't invalidate or devalue the cover image at all because he is still hugely important to her: her grounding, her heart, her Xander). Interesting psychoanalysis that her first defense against dream!Xander's statement that it would be a mistake is "I'll be gentle this time. I can be gentle" (and then her dream self breaking him). Later:
Buffy (being pulled out the window): "No, no, I can't go outside, I'm afraid of the dark."
Xander: "Buffy, you are the dark."
Buffy: "That's what I meant."
Hi, 5.1 ("Buffy vs. Dracula")
Buffy to Giles near the end of the ep: "I need to know more. About where I come from, about the other Slayers. I mean, maybe ... maybe if I could learn to control this thing, I could be stronger, I could be better. But ... I'm scared. I know it's gonna be hard. And I can't do it ... without you. I need your help. I need you to be my Watcher again."
Buffy telling herself, "I make a wish that I don't fall," is interesting. Does she know she's dreaming? Also interesting is her statement to the demon: "I know you..."
Xander: "Amy. Long time, no desire whatsoever to see."
I didn't for a moment think that Amy had succeeded in stabbing Buffy before getting shot and tackled (and not just because hello, the title character never gets killed off -- well not in a lasting way) but of course Xander's, "Oh my god. [pageturn] This is the cheapest sacrificial dagger I've ever seen," is classic Joss fakeout. I like that Amy's smart enough to do the "We can talk about this. After." I also appreciate the, "You really think we let Buffy sleep without mystical protection?" though it feels sort of cheap to me.
Amy: "Any of you pros notice she's still asleep? She's living a nightmare, genius, and the only thing that can wake her up ... is the kiss of true love."
Great segue to the two slayers on roof detail arguing about whether (looks up her name in my previous entry) Renee has a thing for Xander.
I'd been spoiled for the fact that zombies would show up and yup, my complete lack of interest in zombies continues.
Xander: "So this doesn't have to be someone she's in love with."
Amy: "No, I said. Just someone truly in love with her."
Xander: "But not friend-love."
Amy: "Right. someone who wants to kiss her, like they're passionate about her."
Xander: "And not a sister."
Amy: "Well, a twisted sister..."
Xander: "Ha! But no, I hate you."
Xander: "She's bound by our security or she'd have bailed by now."
I like the unobtrusive explanation of why she's still here.
Amy: "It's real, Xander. Your star player's out unless she receives a kiss from someone passionately devoted to her. Care to give it a whirl?"
I hope Xander's angst over this doesn't turn stupid. I feel like Joss is gonna drag out this "Does Xander have passionate feelings for Buffy?" thing, and I hope I don't find that too painful. (With Willow back, I suspect Willow will manage to lift the spell just before Xander is about to kiss Buffy, with Xander's beliefs about how much he might still be in love with Buffy left ambiguous to the reader. I don't have strong feelings about the 'ship pro or con, but in this 'verse I like him&Renee.)
Oh, Amy, sitting on the window ledge like you own the place. I'm gonna almost become fond of you.
Amy: "All that time underground with nothing to do but get stronger. A hundred slayers and there's not one person here who can take me on."
voice: "As a friend of mine once said..." [pageturn to endpanel] "I'd like to test that theory."
My first reaction was to think Willow had like a Gretel outfit. I decided it was supposed to be a Tara outfit.
And the awesomeness of that line? It's the final line to the penultimate S6 episode when Giles (who despite being in the guest star list I had, when I first saw that ep, forgotten until he showed up) shows up.
WILLOW: And there's no one in the world with the power to stop me now.["Two to Go" transcript from buffyworld.com]
Suddenly a huge blast of green magic energy hits Willow from the side. She goes flying a huge distance across the room, lands on the floor and slides some more.
She comes to a stop and lifts her head. Her nose is bleeding. She looks surprised, looks up in the direction the magic came from.
Reveal Giles standing in the doorway, wearing a long black coat and no glasses.
GILES: I'd like to test that theory.
End of episode.