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Riley (I think…)
It’s been nearly three months since Buffy Season 8, issue 18, not sure what the delay was, but we finally have the last issue in the Time of Your Life story arc.
We open up on Future Dark Willow (FDW from here on out to save me typing) talking about how she hates history. Not the school subject, but the actual history that is all romantic until you live long enough to be a part of it. She is staring at Buffy who is chained to a chair in Fray’s loft, and she comments on how she had forgotten how excellent Buffy’s nose is.
The Fray sisters are standing off to the side, watching FDW. Melaka Fray, the future Slayer, wants to know what the plan is, and she states that she will not kill a Slayer no matter what. FDW tells here there is no need to kill her, they just need to keep her there until after the temporal rift reopens, and present day Willow will try to extract her. The other Fray sister doesn’t see the problem with sending her back, but Melaka says she will end the world if she goes back by changing the future so that there reality will have never existed.
Buffy wakes up:
Buffy: Oh my god!
You went dark again? You are so in huge trouble for going dark. How could you even — is Kennedy ok?
FDW: It’s been two hundred years, Buffy. How do you THINK she is?
Buffy: Okay. Fair enough. Let’s move on. Why am I shackled, why are you evil, and why isn’t anyone on my side?
Just as Buffy finishes her questions, Harth, the twin brother of Melaka shows up with a small army of vampires. The stand above the loft, looking down through the broken skylight, and he states he has some questions of his own, and they mainly focus around why FDW has told Melaka a completely different story about Buffy’s presence than the one she told him.
All while this is going on, Buffy is mumbling that they REALLY (emphasis hers) want to untie her right now.
Harth: You’ve been spinning us all.
FDW: Yes, well, I’m dark that way.
Harth: To what end?
FDW: Death of course.
FDW: (this is over several panels, and while she speaks, Melaka’s spider-monkey thingy pet is unlocking Buffy)You see what I’ve seen, you come and go as I have… you realize the most important thing about death isn’t who dies… it’s who kills them.
Melaka: I told you I won’t kill a Slayer.
FDW: If she gets back to the rooftop by midnight, you’ll never have been.
Melaka: You’re lying!
FDW: I’m lying to SOMEONE. Would you bet your whole world it’s you?
Harth finally interjects saying his solution is just to kill everyone, but FDW says the night isn’t his. Harth disagrees, saying FDW’s powers are all but tapped out, she can’t stop an army… she says she doesn’t plan to.
Multiple futuristic gunships drop from the sky, opening fire on the vampires, in the lead ship is Gunter, the underwater guy we last saw in issue #17 being attacked by three vampires.
Gunter: Three? You think three lurks can best me on MY surf? You insult me.
Vampires are being dusted left and right. Someone shouts “Erin! Listen to me!” Erin Fray turn to be punched by Buffy who says, “That’s for ‘Puffy’!” Buffy grabs Erin’s stun pistol and shoots melaka, grabs her scythe and bolts for it, but FDW says from the shadows, “Not just yet, Buffy… you’re not done here.”
Xander and Centaur Dawn are with Lorelahn and an army of other woodland creatures, they are about to make a stand in the forest against the green snakemen that have been chasing them for a while now.
Lorelahn: WOOD CREATURES! THE TIME OF BATTLE IS UPON US! LET US SHOW THESE ABOMINATIONS THE FOREST’S RAGE!
Xander: Followed quickly by the forest’s denial, bargaining and the short, painful, acceptance.
Dawn: Lorelahn’s right. We have to make a stand sometime.
Xander: You’re just into guys with no lower half now, is what.
Dawn: Don’t be gross.
Xander: You wanna nuzzle his root system.
Dawn: I hope you die first. With the most wounds.
Xander: Pretty much counting on it.
The battle is joined, but as Zander cuts off a snakeman’s head, it reattaches itself. He figures they are in trouble now, but all of a sudden the snakemen turn to flesh. A team of Slayer’s break through the forest.
Lead Slayer: WICCANS TO THE BACK! SLAYERS… F*%# ‘EM UP.
Lorelahn: DON’T LET ANY SLOP THOUGH THE LINE! THEY’RE FLESH AND BLOOD NOW!
Dawn: That’s your squad, Xan.
Xander: All the ladies in the house go “Yeah…”
The fight wages on, but snakemen are dropping quickly.
Buffy is making her way across future New York City any way she can. Hanging from flying cars… leaping across buildings… she’s now sure she’s headed in the right direction, but she’s hopeful. As she climbs a building she finds Melaka waiting for her.
Melaka: I can’t let you go.
Buffy: Didn’t you listen to Willow? ‘It’s who kills you.’ Pitting us against each other is her idea of game night. We are the scattergories of evil.
Melaka: Can you swear my world won’t mist out if you leave? My best bonds? My sister?
Buffy: You know I can’t.
Melaka: The big picture.
Buffy: It’s called the fare of the world, short view.
Melaka: ‘Fate of the world.’ Made sense… … when there was only one.
The Slayers go at it. Punching, kicking, both with their scythes at the ready. FDW watches from the shadows and mutters “… so close”.
Buffy takes a tumble and thinks, “She’s stronger than me. On her home turf. And she knows what she’s fighting for. But I’ve dreamed every battle a Slayer’s ever fought, and she hasn’t. I’m outgunned… she’s outnumbered.” She knocks over a giant wooden, rooftop water tower (because we still have those 200 years from now…), sending Melaka shooting off of the roof in the torrent of water.
As Melaka tries to save herself, she does some thinking of her own. “Jesu! I’m such a needs! She’s got me scrambling. Like I’m fighting a history lesson! Stop awe-ing and finish it! She’s not some big head carved on Mount Walmore… she’s just a tiny, whiney, long-dead Slayer… in a damn unpractical frock.”
We cut to Amy and (still skinless) Warren watching the forest battle in a mystical cauldron. They are arguing over why more of the Slayers didn’t die and blaming each others faults with the mystical bomb in front of Twilight who is hovering off to the side. Warren threatens to build an Amy robot with no mouth; Amy threatens to conjure a love slave who has skin.
As Twilight moves away, he over to someone who is standing at parade rest and in army fatigues, his face in the shadows, but he clearly has Twilight’s emblem carved in his chest.
Twilight: Ah, young love… isn’t it depressing?
Military guy: In my experience, yeah.
Twilight: But you don’t tell her that.
Military guy: I tell her I’m her inside man. Her ever faithful. She’s so stuck in the past, man… when we had out secret meeting in New York…
(light his his face here, revealing who I -think- is supposed to be Riley)… she even got dressed up.
I know normally don’t interject my thoughts inside the body of the synopsis, but if that is Riley (pictured right) I’m not sure what image they were using for reference.
Kennedy is tying a blindfold on present day Willow and asking her if she’s going to be throwing knives at Buffy. Willow says it is a precaution she doesn’t accidentally see what Kennedy is getting her for Hanukkah this year. Another Slayer yells that the portal is opening.
In the future, Buffy sees it and turns, Melaka screams “NO!” and comes at her with her scythe. Buffy says “No.” and shatters it, says she’s sorry, and punches Mekala out.
FDW: For what? Failing? (she is standing in front of the portal now)
Buffy: You know I’ll go through you.
FDW: And you know you’ll have to.
FDW: Maybe I think the 20th century can soldier on just fine without you. (er… doesn’t she mean 21st century?)
Buffy: I’m cute and blond and popular but I’m not stupid, Wil. You dragged me here and then told me exactly how to get out. Everything, every lie to get us here. Why? What happened? Why does it have to be me?
FDW: It’s a long story.
Buffy runs FDW through with her scythe, magic crackles in the air, lightning shoots out of her with a boom. They stare at each other as scythe sits in FDW’s chest. She shirks her off, Mekala leaps for Buffy just as Willow lunges through the portal to grab Buffy… Willow wins.
In the present day, Willow pulls off her blindfold and talks about how she was afraid she would grab the wrong person. Buffy stands up, crying, and grabs Willow saying, “I love you, Will.” As they stand there, Kennedy says “I’m watching those hands, you two…”
Back in the future, Melaka’s sister hops off an air cycle saying that Gunter ran off Harth and she got there as soon as she could. Melaka says she failed again, but her sister reassures her that Buffy is gone, but they aren’t so that means it’s a good day. As the “camera” pulls back, we see them hugging, and FDW laying in a pool of blood.
This ends the story arc, and I know I quoted the issue a lot more than I usually do, but I think it was important in this case you saw exactly how some things were said. Involving FDW in the story arc was interesting, and I hope someday we learn why it was that Buffy had to be the one to kill her, but for now, it is what it is.
If that was Riley, which I really think it was despite the lousy art of him, what’s up with him working for Twilight? Next issue is a one-shot story, so I doubt we will get much advancement on the Big Bad story, but it feels like we’re getting to that part of a Buffy season where the main story will kick into overdrive, leading us to the final fight. I’m not sure how many total issues this “season” is supposed to run, but I know I’m ready to find out just who Twilight is, and what they are up to. Bring it on, Joss!
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|Buffy Season 8, Vol. 1||Buffy Season 8, Vol. 2||Buffy Season 8, Vol. 3|
|Includes Issues #1 – #5||Includes Issues #6 – #10||Includes Issues #11 – #15|
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|Buffy Season 8, Vol. 4||Buffy Season 8, Vol. 5||Fray Mini-Series|
|Includes Issues #16 – #20||Includes Issues #21 – #25||Includes all 8 issues of the series|
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