What exactly is “Twilight?” I’m not sure that Meltzer ever really answered that question during his time on Buffy: Season 8. Don’t get me wrong; this issue was a blast! I’ve been enjoying the comic incarnation of Buffy since the beginning, but this issue was especially tight! Along with treating us to the return of “Spike,” Meltzer cemented an iconic moment in Buffy history during “Buffy” and “Angel’s” debate regarding “Twilight” and their destiny. Destiny has led them to this one moment! The universe itself is urging them to evolve and advance onto a higher plane! “Angel” and “Buffy” can finally be together, if they can just leave everything else behind! Then, “Buffy” turns to “Angel,” stating with a knowing smile, “Don’t you know me by now, ‘Angel?’ I never do what I’m meant for.” It couldn’t be more perfect. Much like “Buffy’s” decision to share her power at the end of Season 7 summed up the major theme of the series, this moment sums up who “Buffy” is as a person. I will never tire of that plucky, little slayer.
The coolness of this moment is only multiplied when “Angel,” doubtful for only a moment, mirrors that same knowing smile “Buffy” is wearing and says, “Okay. Let’s go.” They exchange a “missed you,” and then our two super-super-powered heroes dive in and save their friends.
Missed you too, guys!
And that’s what makes these scenes really work. Despite the fact that many facts are still out of our grasp, “Angel” and “Buffy” really sound authentic, and it shows. It’s a joy to see these two characters back together again, and Meltzer even gives artist Georges Jeanty multiple panels where the success of entire character moments rests on Jeanty’s depiction of a character’s facial expression alone. And theses moments work! Well done, Mr. Meltzer and Mr. Jeanty!
The big question in the arc is still “Twilight,” ironically. Despite the fact that we know who “Twilight” is, we still don’t know what it is. As “Giles” explains, “Twilight” is a higher plane that makes our plane of existence “utterly expendable.” The fear of this event being triggered by a slayer has caused trouble within the watcher’s council in the past. This still doesn’t really explain “Angel.” Where have his powers come from? What exactly was his plan, besides the cool, flying moment of many orgasms? And speaking of bliss, what’s up with “Angel’s” gypsy curse?
Also, a number of readers have complained that Meltzer’s “Angel” doesn’t sound like his character, seeming especially out of sorts when he’s willing to sacrifice “Buffy’s” friends for a perfect future with her. While I agree that this all seems out of character, it’s obviously intentional. “Giles” commented last issue about the effects that “Twilight” can have on its victims, implying that they may be under the influence of this primal force in some way. “Giles” continues to drop mysterious clues this issue. When “Xander” demands to know why “Angel” has become a killer, “Giles” cryptically replies, “I’m not sure ‘killer’ is the right word. The power that ‘Twilight’ has on its subjects–.” Clearly, we do not know everything we need to yet! This is especially frustrating considering that much of the validity of the plot hangs on the further explanation of “Twilight” and how it is dealt with. As it goes right now, there’s no clear “big bad” unless the breach to “Twilight” that “Buffy” and “Angel” caused is now an “Acathla”-like force that will end the world unless stopped. And with “Spike’s” timely return on the last page, one has to wonder whether he has a real role to play or if this was merely a pandering move to the “Spuffy” fans out there. The two haven’t seen each other since “Spike’s” death on Buffy, so I am very eager to see how this plays out! Unfortunately, everything is up in the air until September when we finally get Buffy: Season 8 #36.
Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer