So there you have it. The season — and possibly the series — finale of Dollhouse. In this episode, Alpha’s full story is revealed, along with more details about what exactly went down in the time period just before the first episode.
RECAP DETAILS AHEAD (don’t read if you haven’t watched it yet) …
Okay, so technically, Issue #18 isn’t “After the Fall” — it’s more like “After After the Fall”. But more on that later. First, as usual, I’m overdue to recap the last couple of issues, which in this case were literally the last couple of issues of what we could probably consider Season 6 — the end of Brian Lynch’s “After the Fall” plot arc. Which I have to say, after some clumsiness in the middle of the arc, wrapped up in what I felt was a fairly clever — and true to the series — way.
RECAP DETAILS AHEAD (don’t read if you haven’t read the issues yet) …
“Everybody is curious about us vamps these days. I think I fingered a zeitgeist.” – Harmony, Issue #21
“Let us talk of the Vampyrs.” – Andrew, Issue #21
“My parents bought it for me. Before I destroyed them with my gayness.” – Satsu, Issue #22
“Big buts come with the Slayer territory these days and I probably should have reviewed that sentence before unleashing it on the sensitive womenfolk.” – Xander, Issue #22
Although it may not seem like it, we’re two issues into a five-issue arc right now, called “Predators and Prey”. It’s a looser arc than some of the previous ones, as evidenced by the individual titles. And in the case of these two issues, the focus has been on B-List characters, as a device to make us aware of a growing public awareness of both Vampires and Slayers in the world.
Here’s another piece of genius from Joel Watson over at HijiNKS Ensue. This will mainly be funny to the Firefly fans out there, and all the moreso to those who love Calvin & Hobbes …
Okay, so I’m long overdue to recap Angel: After the Fall. Three issues overdue, in fact. I’m starting to wonder if I should just buy the trade paperbacks for these. Because read as each issue came out, I’ll admit that I had a hard time getting into the story. But when I read all three in a row last night, I could feel the energy, and had a better sense of what Brian Lynch was aiming for. In hindsight, the TV show was like that too — sometimes it could be more rewarding in reruns than it was as a first run, because the main arc could get so twisty that you’d miss details along the way.
By the way, huge kudos to Alex Garner for the awesome covers he’s been painting for this series (seen above). Just as Jo Chen does for Buffy, Garner’s art really makes this comic jump off the shelf.
Now on with the recaps (here there be spoilers!) …
Some history: Back in 2002, Joss Whedon and Jeph Loeb got FOX to green light a deal for “Buffy the Animated Series”. It would be kid-friendly, the episodes would take place somewhere in the middle of Season 1, most of the actors from the show would do the voices, and most of the episodes would be written by the writers who were currently working on the show at that time. But, FOX being FOX, the series never happened, and the closest we’ve ever gotten to seeing it is the three and half minute promo that leaked to YouTube this past August.
HERE IS THAT, GO CHECK IT OUT
So there’s your context for this one-shot issue, written by Jeph Loeb, in what I have to figure is a nice bit of closure for him. As well as an appropriate story for the Christmas season. Let’s call it the “Ghosts of Buffy Past” issue — a nice counterpoint to the several issues we just spent in Fray’s dystopian future.
“Let us show these abominations the forest’s rage!” – Lorelahn, to the Forest Souls
“Followed quickly by the forest’s denial, bargaining, and then short, painful acceptance.” – Xander
“She’s just a tiny whiney, long-dead slayer … in a damn unpractical frock.” – Fray, about Buffy
First of all, how awesome is that cover? I’ve been extremely happy with the artwork on the inside of Buffy Season 8 throughout the run (something I can’t say about Angel: ATF), but Jo Chen’s painted covers have really been the icing on the cake. Click here to see a full view of the cover if you don’t own the book yourself, because you don’t want to miss the detail in the eye. I have to figure that Alyson Hannigan has this framed in her house somewhere, right?
You know, I usually like to start these Buffy and Angel reviews with some funny line of dialogue from the issue. And with Buffy Season 8, my problem is inevitably that I have TOO many lines to choose from, and have to decide which 2 or 3 were my favorites. But with Angel these last few issues, I find myself poring through the pages trying to find even one humorous line that stands out to me. Granted, I understand that Angel was always a darker show than Buffy, but still … even at its gloomiest, I remember laughing sometimes. That’s the beauty of a Whedon show — laugh a little, cry a little, care a lot about the characters as they battle certain doom. But in the last few issues, I can’t help but feel that the plot has overshadowed the characters.
Anyway, so Issue #11– which I was sorry to see was still being drawn by Nick Runge — picked up right where #10 left off, with Angel and Gunn finally coming face to face. Wait, can we talk about Runge’s art for a minute? Right on the first page, I’m confused, because there’s a guy in the second panel who looks like Angel. But then Angel’s in the third panel. And what’s with Fred’s expression there — is she supposed to be happy to see Gunn, or terrified? And why do most of the panels in this issue have no backgrounds? And WTF is up with Gwen’s, Spike’s, and Connor’s faces in those last two panels on the next-to-last page?
“Hey, Baby, there’s no need to curse like a nerd.” -Kennedy to Willow, who just said, “Frak!”
“What’s your deal, anyway? With the fire and the branches and the sword — did you get caught in a legend blender?” – Dawn, to the Forest Souls
A few minutes ago, I started to write, “If ‘Time of Your Life’ was a song, then this issue would definitely be the bridge.” Meaning the plot arc. And then I realized that “Time of Your Life” IS a song. By Green Day. And then it occurred to me that unless Whedon is referencing the short-lived Jennifer Love Hewitt Party of Five spin-off of the same name, the lyrics to that song might be relevant.
“Another turning point / A fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist / Directs you where to go
So make the best of this test / And don’t ask why
It’s not a question / But a lesson learned in time
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life.”
“We were played. We’re all pasties.” – Willow
“You are talking crazy-person talk. Put your words in word places, please.” – Buffy
“Vampires are lurks. A spin is a lie. Toy is bad, but spled is good.” And thus begins Fray 101. Joss does a bit of catch-up in this issue, for those who are silly enough not to have read the Fray TPB already. Other critical bits of info include the fact that Melaka Fray has a twin brother named Harth. Mel has the physical powers of a Slayer, but Harth holds the prophetic memories of past Slayers in his mind. Unfortunately, he’s a vamp — er, that is, he’s a lurk. Mel also has an older sister, Erin Fray, who’s a cop. And a pet spider monkey demon named Gates, which she acquired in a story from “Tales of the Slayers” … which is also when she found the Watcher Library that she currently lives in. And she has a merman associate named Gunther, who sometimes sends her out on thieving jobs.
And that’s the Fray universe that Buffy is introduced to in this second installment of the Whedon/Moline “Time of Your Life” arc. As for what actually happens …