Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Buffy Omnibus volume 2 review

Writers: various
Artists: Various
Set pre season1 to season 3
Awesome mixed with downright misogynistic

This started really well.  Two of the stories feature Dawn, which is a nice touch.  The first one is fabulous, 7 pages long, and I'm, wrestling with whether it's ethical to post all of it.  It's a good ad for the book, it might convince some people to buy the book, but is it right for me to post all of it? How about some of it?  What do any industry professional types think?

The second story is about Buffy's folks divorcing and the 3 women moving to Sunnydale.  Angel is a creepy stalker (perfectly in character then) and attempts to draw off Buffy's pain into himself in soem sort of secretive romantic gesture, (seriously, wtf?) but manages to conjure up demons instead.  It's a good way of seeing how Buffy, Dawn, Joyce at all coped at this time.  The art's not bad and there's some lovely painted scenes.

Next story features Buffy being tested (again).  It's just good fun and she turns the tables on Giles at the end.

Next features evil Angel summoning a Kelgore - I was reminded of the Kilgore (spelling incorrect I know) from the early issues of Wally West's run of the Flash - Kendra turns up and Giles deals with Jenny's death.  S'okay.

Next one is a Spike and Dru story, horrible art but at least the characters are recognisable, so my beef is just that it's not to my taste.  Not bad art per se.  Not like volume 3.  This showcases how fucked up Spike and Dru are, how obsessed they are, how they're not human, how they are in fact evil, something I tend to forget sometimes.  I always think it's good writing when we see aspects of personality that flesh out the characters, give us a reason for believing they are evil.  All too often we are told some dude is evil but there's actually no evidence for it.

The last story, well it's just dire really.  The art is foul (like Volume 3's art) and it ends up incredibly misogynistic.  Not what I expected from a Buffy comic.  It features Lilith as the mother of all the demon spawn.

A little background - Lilith is supposedly the first wife of Adam.  She may have been created from filth and sediment, not dust as Adam was.  There are lots of stories about her, one is that she was thrown out of Eden for not obeying Adam.  Another is that she bore Adam lots of demon children.  Some say that when she left Eden she then slept with the demons on the shores of the world and birthed their children.  Others say that she murdered children to get her revenge - either for being thrown out of Eden or for being forced to return.

There are more, and combinations of the above.  Google Lilith, and Lilth demon, and Lilith vampire and see what you find.

Anyway, I find the stories about Lilith quite misogynistic, given that quite a few start with her being punished for disobeying Adam (the shame!) and others seek to show her evilness by talking about how she likes having sex (women, know your place and curb your desires!).  Mind you, I also find Eve's story misogynistic (the evil in the world is all down to women), which probably tells you why I'm not Christian.  That kind of shit hasn't come from the Gods, it's come from old men many years ago trying to form some semblance of control over their lives.

I digress.

For a Buffy comic to feature Lilith, when Buffy is generally considered to have some feminist sensibilities, I'm quite offended.  Especially when she is literally the mother of all vampires in the story.  And yes yes I know, the writers were drawing on current vampire legends, like they did with Dracula, they didn't invent it out of thin air, they're just drawing on mythological sources, yadda yadda yadda.  Doesn't mean they had to include it.  Certainly doesn't mean that had to put her in something slashed to the thigh that is comparable, bust wise to this Arisia costume, but in blue and spikier around the boob bits.  I mean, what the hell?  Since when has the buffyverse had superhero costumes?  God, this would be crappy even in a superhero world, but in Buffyland, people and demons dress normally.

Jesus, this story sucked.  If this wasn't so bad I'd reccomend buying this volume, but it's just crappy and means the 18 quid price tag is relay not justified.  I'd buy the volume if it were 12 pounds, because the rest of the stories are worth it. But The Dust waltz juts ruins it for me.  God bless the library for letting me try it out for free.


Red said...

I appreciate the review. I've come to Buffy very late, as in just this year, and have now been delving into the comics.

Just today I came across the Omnibuses at the bookstore and in saw a female character with the barely-there, painted-on blue outfit. Not what I expected from a Buffy comic.

Whedon generally does right by feminism and it's disappointing that he included the Lilith story. He explicitly wanted to rewrite the girl-as-victim trope, so why not turn the Lilith story on its head too?

Thanks for the review.

Saranga said...

Hi Red, thanks for the comment.
To be fair to Whedon, he didn't write the Lilith story, but as I understand it, all stories and plots had to be approved by the studio before they went to print, or were formally written, or something. This was to ensure that they didn't clash with upcoming plotlines. I just marvel at the idea that someone involved in the Buffyverse thought that this was a good idea.

I'll be putting up reviews of the other omnibuses as I read them, maybe they'll be of use to you as well. So far they seem to be of varying quality.