Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Buffy #19 Time of Your Life

After a two month and three week wait, we finally got the final issue in the Time of Your Life four issue arc. Was it worth all of the delays?
Simply, no. Less simply, the premise of the arc, a Buffy/Fray crossover, presented some problems that were not only not resolved, they were inexplicably poorly handled. Inexplicably because Joss Whedon himself wrote this arc. But then again, he's dealing with the television production of his mid-season show, Dollhouse, so if the comic book tentacle of his usually reliable genius seems a bit distracted (if not distracting) it's because it (he) is.
The number one pitfall of employing time travel in any storyline is the clear and present danger of jumping the shark. I don't believe that Buffy season 8 did jump the shark with ToYL because honestly, despite the death of future Evil Willow at the hands of Buffy, this beached whale couldn't jump a phytoplankton submolecule. It's merely horrible, not antithetical to its own mythology.
What went so, so, very wrong?
Let's examine, shall we? The Fray series was exciting in its own way and right when it first came out. I've read the entire collection, and despite the annoying lingo employed, it was a fun slayer foray. Not nearly as fun as the Tales of the Slayer series, but then what is? And Part 1 of ToYL laid a good foundation for what was to come, but the problem turned out to be what was to come. Parts 2&3 of ToYL were, dare I say it, vapid. There were pages and pages of drawing and stuff happening, but none of it seemed to lead to much of anything, except Future Willow's afroementioned death. FWillow lies to Fray, she lies to Harth, she manipulates everything so that what? Buffy either gets killed or kills her? It just seems ridiculous that it took 4 issues, not to mention a last issue that was severely delayed, to tell so little of a story. And the b-storyline of Dawn becoming less a giant and more a centaur and Xander rallying the slayers at the castle to fight the thingys that Warren conjured for Twilight was adequate, although to be honest, had I not just reread the whole arc I probably wouldn't even have mentioned them because it was that forgettable. Especially the tree people.
On the plus side, we did learn that Riley is NOT Twilight, but he is in bed with him...probably not literally, but you never know. There's been a lot of speculation around the internets as to whether Riley was Twilight, given the military involvement, and to a certain extent, those wild specualtions weren't entirely off the mark. But still, who is Twilight? We know that he knows Buffy from the past, and doesn't like her much, which leads us back to the initiative from season 4. Graham? Col. Mustard, or whatever his name was? A rebooted Adam?
The best thing I can say about the ToYL arc is that Jo Chen's cover art is brilliant, as always.

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