Avox in Arcadia (perpetual) wrote,
Avox in Arcadia
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Buffy Season 9 #12, Summary and Review


The first thing we see is Theo's TinCan personal page, showing us his vital stats, some icons of people he knows (all apparently celebrities, though I couldn't identify them all), and a few concerned messages from friends wondering where he is. On the bottom half of the page, however, it turns into a chat between two characters with demon-language names and spooky-eyes icons. They're talking about protecting their investment - by killing Theo. Indeed, in the next panel there's a computer in an empty dark room, and a tentacle creeping toward it.

Kennedy's driving down a dark road; Buffy and Theo are in the back seat talking about how he's using his security clearance to read Wolfram & Hart's messages. Buffy asks if he's sure it's them, since she and Kennedy both believe that they were in another dimension when the Seed was broken, meaning they should be stuck there. Theo reveals that TinCan works from the hell dimension - W&H gave him start up money in exchange for putting their own in his software, and then they used it to create a link to their own dimension. It's technology, not magic, so the link is still there even after all other dimensional portals are gone.

Theo explains that the only way to sever the connection now is to destroy TinCan altogether. It's a big deal - there are customers and partners who are going to lose a lot, and TinCan is important to him personally - but he knows this is the only way. Buffy and Kennedy agree, though Kennedy says that her Slayer bodyguard business can only be involved under the wire, so everything has to go through her. They start making plans to fry the TinCan servers, located under the headquarters.

The security cameras at TinCan turn off, followed by a security guard being attacked by a tentacle. Buffy and Kennedy spot it from outside, identifying it as a Teuth demon and kicking off the three preview pages. When Buffy returns to TinCan later, it's with Eldre Koh, who scopes out the place with Theo while Buffy and Kennedy talk. Kennedy suggests that they shouldn't let Theo destroy the only connection there is to another dimension - Willow might be able to use it to get her magic back, and it would get everyone off Buffy's ass about the Seed.

They split into two teams: Koh and Kennedy, to create a distraction, and Buffy and Theo to fry the servers. For the next few pages, the first team fights tentacles, and the second team runs down a corridor and then fights tentacles. It's really GRIPPING ha ha get it. Kennedy and Koh hear a demonic voice coming from a speaker somewhere, saying "You cannot win" and such things; it's W&H contacting them from their hell dimension. Eventually the teams fight their way through the tentacles and rejoin.

When Buffy and Theo are standing in front of the lever he needs to pull to fry the servers, he has second thoughts. He created TinCan to help connect people, and it's his life's work. Buffy tells him that she knows it's hard, and that nobody will understand why he did it, drawing a clear parallel to her own actions with the Seed. She says that at the end of the day, he has to do it to keep W&H out of the world, and he agrees and reaches for the lever.

Eldre Koh stops him and holds one of his round glowy blades to his throat. Koh speaks to W&H, saying that he'll kill the boy, securing their connection to the world, if they tell him which demon imprisoned him. Buffy says "But the Nitobe code--" and he corrects her, saying that honor is top priority and for that he needs vengeance. The issue ends with him waiting for W&H's response.


I want to be fair, so: take out the tentacle demon, and this isn't a bad issue. Like the last one, not a lot happens. What does happen serves pretty well to advance the story, although so far the story itself isn't the edge-of-your-seat high stakes noir adventure that one would hope for from Wolfram & Hart. We're still suffering from a serious character drought, not because there aren't enough characters to do the job, but because the current supporting cast consists of two new guys and Kennedy. I'd trade up a lot of tentacle demon panels for one or two of Xander and Dawn.

What I do like is TinCan, although in the real world I'd never sign up. We don't need to know anything about the site itself; we've pretty much gotten the cue to fill in 'Facebook' (or 'Zuckerberg') whenever there's a gap, and I can't abide Facebook. A demonically infested social network just fits into the verse really well, though, and I don't even mind that I've been working on a similar idea for years and they got theirs out first. (It's not that similar, anyway. Mine's an app, not a social network.) It's fun, and there's loads of potential for Easter eggs, like the icons of Theo's contacts (I see Joss, Neil Gaiman, and the Obamas - but I could be wrong, who do you see?).

Plus, I got something for you: ever since TinCan entered the story, its logo has been niggling at me, and I finally investigated. Back in Issue #5, Buffy and Willow walk past a large ad that looks like a can of soup. Though partially obscured, it actually says TinCan, and the rather brilliant slogan "Internet for the Soul", which is now fully visible in the latest issue. Isn't that nifty? Go worldbuilding!

I think everyone who's been speculating about the demon who imprisoned Koh being Illyria will turn out to be right. They've made too big of a deal about it now for it not to be someone we know, and she's the likeliest candidate. So that'll be cool. Not sure yet how they're going to make W&H cool, but it was interesting to hear Buffy mention it. I wonder if she got the story from Angel or Spike? Koh himself is a lot of yawns for now - his 'twist' at the end was the same one we got from Severin, and I don't expect the conflict to resolve with anything other than him getting the information he wants and Buffy saving Theo anyway.

The other part which actually ties into the larger story (yeah, I think there are really only those two parts) is Buffy comparing TinCan to the Seed. I'm surprised and pleased to say that it totally worked for me. Buffy is more conscious of consequences than most people give her credit for, and she does believe that she was doing it for the right reasons. It was also interesting that Willow, and Willow/Kennedy, came up in this issue. Considering that in the other series, Willow's being reacquainted with her magic right now, I can only imagine that this is another tiny step to make a cohesive season-wide plot.

Sorry to say I'm not hugely impressed by the art in this issue. Buffy and Kennedy are looking good, and there's at least one panel in which Eldre has a very cool face, but Theo seems to be getting the same non-treatment from Jeanty as he is from Chambliss - he's got his token identifying traits, but there isn't anything distinctive to love about him. A quirky line of dialogue or an adorable expression is all I'm asking for. I can wait, but TinCan alone isn't doing it for me.

And y'know, I don't blame the artist for the tentacles, he did what he could with what he had, but the wallpaper starscapes were frankly lazy (and we should blame the colorist for that, probably). And the cover...Noto. Noto what are you doing. I may have to go back and appreciate the backgrounds, because I'm pretty sure those were the best of the visuals this time around. The setting was kind of Initiative-y, which was fun.

So, here's my excuse for being late: I'm bored again. Also I've had a crappy couple of days, but mostly, I can't quite get excited about this series as it is now. I'm still reading, and browsing fan commentary, but I probably won't be showing up much for discussions. If you want to find me, leave a message on my TinCan page.
Tags: comic review, dark horse buffy comics
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