Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a show I really enjoyed, even the later shows with whiny Buffy, and I was delighted when Joss Whedon brought the next season in the series to comics, running it like a television show with different writers but him running it. This new comic series has been enjoyable, finding its feet as it straddles the transition from a television programme to a comic book format, and I look forward to each new issue.
So it was a little unusual to hear rumours that issue 12 was going to be something on the level of Captain America being shot (Rich Johnston was incorrectly predicting the specifics back in February). What could be happening in Buffy that would be so huge?
As everyone now knows, the big ‘shock’ was the reveal of Buffy having sex with Satsu, one of the new Slayers, whose ‘true love’ kiss revived Buffy in an early issue and whose infatuation with Buffy was the basis of the previous issue. My first response was, ‘Really? Is this the big thing they’ve been pimping?’ I’m either getting old or I’m extremely cynical, but I didn’t think it warranted the build up, or the reaction (the story was picked up in newspapers and television websites (via Blog@Newsarama), there was the blog response, and there was even an interview with Joss to discuss it).
The ‘hot girl-on-girl action’ (to quote Hot Fuzz) is a plot twist, an unexpected one, but it’s part of the storyline. I don’t know about you, but I kind of expect to have interesting plot twists in the comic books I read; it’s one of the reasons I do it. The turn of events has previous form, in the character of Willow being in a heterosexual relationship before her lesbian relationship with Tara, even if this time it seems like they are repeating themselves. (It’s interesting to note that there was no build up for the first Tara–Willow kiss on the show, in the excellent The Body episode, compared with the ‘Check out this comic!’ approach for the book.) And Buffy has always had unusual relationships (such as screwing Spike in season six [I love alliteration]), so jumping in the sack with a hot Asian babe who loves her isn’t completely outside the realms of possibility.
I disagree with Greg’s extreme interpretation of these events in his review (PS, you’re not a moron, Greg), although I can understand his viewpoint – I genuinely believe that this event can create an interesting chain reaction that will affect the characters and the way they interact, and I believe that this was done for a good story reason. I can’t imagine it would have happened on the television show if it was still on our screen – Sarah Michelle Gellar would have nixed that one straight away – but that is one of the reasons why the comic is a great medium for the Buffy concept, allowing Joss to take it in new directions. I don’t think it was done for titillation purposes (we don’t see the titillation, for a start) and I have confidence in the storytelling capabilities of the creators to take the book into narratively interesting directions.
For my money, the best reaction to the whole kerfuffle can be found as a 'Bonus Feature' at the end of Chris Sims’ review.