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February 05th 2011

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Twilight

review By Bernice Watson

I’ve always loved Buffy. When I found out the show was to be continued in comic book form I was as happy as any fan and have eagerly pre-ordered every trade paperback edition since the beginning. But recently I’ve started to have some doubts. At first I tried to ignore the niggling feeling that something wasn’t right. I put it down to the fact that I didn’t really like the way the show ended (the whole multiplicity of slayers thing didn’t really do much for me) or that I just had to adjust to the new format or that the story arcs were more epic now. But I can’t deny it any more, Buffy just isn’t what it used to be.

Twilight, like the rest of the series, was written by a team of people and the whole project was overseen by series creator Joss Whedon. The problem is that no one except the man himself seems to be capable of nailing the distinctive dialogue. In this volume only two instalments were actually scripted by Whedon (Turbulence and Goddesses and Monsters), both are snappy, good fun and entertaining. In the remaining chapters however the dialogue varies from convoluted to just plain baffling. There are more pop culture references than you can poke a stake at but they are employed with all the finesse of a sledge hammer and lack the subtlety one gets from Whedon.

Story-wise I have to say that I’m completely lost. At the end of the last TPB (Retreat) I was barely keeping up. Tibet? Submarines? Giant Indian goddesses? Okie dokie. But this latest edition has left me completely perplexed. We finally find out who the season’s ‘big bad’, Twilight, is under that mask after which the story takes an abrupt turn for weirder territory. Meanwhile there is a steady flow of apocalyptic, world destroying mayhem where the cast run around fighting a life and death battle with the forces of darkness - but I have no idea why or what’s happening or how they arrived at this point. Apparently someone on the writing staff decided what Buffy really needed was more swearing and sex. Consequently the latter half of this volume seems to be jam packed with both but in the narrative chaos it loses all emotional resonance.

WARNING: SPOILERS FOLLOW!

So, while the rest of the crew are fighting for their continued existence Buffy and Angel are engaged in some sort of epic, earth-shattering, dimension-altering, at one point sub-orbital, sexual encounter. This comes about two minutes after Buffy learns that Angel is the evil bastard who has been making her life miserable as Twilight. But it’s okay because he was only helping her to evolve into…something. Clearly the only logical course of action following this unsubstantiated claim would be to jump his bones. Which she does. There then follows some kind of post-coital apotheosis where they both ascend to a higher plain. Of course! It all makes sense now…wait, no it doesn’t.

So I find myself scratching my head and wondering where all this is going. I’m hoping that all will become clear in the last volume of the season which won’t be out for another six months or so (unless you want to read the single issues of course). I still have faith in Joss’ genius and hope that he will tie everything up so it actually makes sense. In the meantime I remain somewhat disappointed and utterly unsure where Buffy is headed.


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