duly noted
soul sister, rebel girl
Can't Say I Didn't Warn You: Twilight and "After These Messages... We'll Be Right Back" 
01 24 10
After reading angearia's excellent meta, Season 8 is an Epic Fairytale (which I would strongly recommend you read before looking at this), in which she references "After These Messages... We'll Be Right Back" (#20) in passing, I kept thinking to myself, Hmmm. In fact, I was talking to angearia in gchat at the time, and actually typed that more than once. Anyway, after I started going through the issue page by page with comments of "!!!!," she encouraged me to post my own meta about the issue.

Warnings: I will talk about the Secret Identity of Twilight behind the cut. This is also incredibly image heavy (20 images), so if you're on a slow connection, you might want to let it load for a while.



At the time I read it (aka, in the same afternoon I read everything from #1 to #26), "After These Messages... We'll Be Right Back!" seemed like filler of the good ol' fun variety. However, in light of the revelation of Twilight's identity, this issue is suddenly starts to look a lot more important. As quick recap, "After These Messages" comes directly off the Time of Your Life arc, so killing Willow in the future? Definitely still actively on Buffy's mind. And our minds, I'm sure. So, when I was reading this - and when you were reading this - I'm pretty sure that what we weren't reading for was Twilight, or Angel-as-Twilight's significance in the larger arc.

Hence, this meta!


The very beginning of the issue opens with several panels of Buffy slaying different monsters, each time saying, "Can't say I didn't warn you!"


Buffy's exhausted, hasn't slept in quite a while, and still kicking ass... a girl's got to wonder.

(What was it like when she was one girl in all the world?)



Naturally, the moment her (dirty, exhausted) head hits Xander's pillow, she's headed straight to dreamland.


She wakes up in Season 1 Buffy's bed, and life - now with added Dawn. Joyce is hollering up at her from downstairs, trying to make sure she's awake for class.

"Buffy? Are you listening to me?"

The meta writes itself, kids.


Skip through several pages of ZOMG it's Season 1, Cordelia is a bitch, Snyder is an asshole, Principal Flutie has presumably been eaten by this point, Xander is adorably clumsy, Willow is adorably geeky and shy, and Giles... is tweedy and bitchfacey.


Giles is raining on Buffy's blast from the past.


Giles is talking, blah blah blah.

But wait, hold up. "The Disciples of Morgala are fairly unique, even for vampires." Geez, we've never seen a "unique" vampire on BtVS! "Unlike most of the bloodsucking variety - these actually worship someone or something called 'Morgala.' " We've totally never seen any vampires who have anything to do with deities of any kind. Totally.

Now, at this point, we're back in Season 1. There's no Spike. We've got boring evil vampires, and we've got... one boring good vampireAngel. Is Angel going to show up in this issue? You betcha.

But not yet.


At the time, I was kind of WTF GILES KNOWS WHO HARMONY IS, HAS HE BEEN CLEANING UP AFTER gabrielleabelle'S FANFIC, but then I remembered that #21 is "Harmonic Divergence," so this is probably alluding to that.


Now we're getting some meat. This scenario could be every scenario in Season 1, ever. (I mean, there's a reason that we get the apocalypse in "The Zeppo" later on.) But, at the same time? It's also clearly referring to the events of "Chosen."

Could upsetting this "balance of good and evil" have been a consequence of the spell in "Chosen"? Could it have something to with why Angel has become Twilight? Gee, I wonder.


Of course, Buffy still thinks that she can handle this problem like every other problem she's had to handle.


The first explicit connection between Buffy's role as the Slayer in her Season 1 dreamworld and her role in Season 8.

It's not Buffy's role as Slayer that she needs to be taking more seriously. It's her role in the dreamworld.

Speak of the devil...


"You can always come home again" seems like some pretty heavy foreshadowing. Could we be talking about undoing the Slayer spell? Bangel? So many possibilities...


If you had ANY doubt that this issue was about Twilight, and the Season 8 arc as a whole? Uh, gone now.


Angel's not just Angel-pre-Angelus, of course. He's also Angel pre-Twilight. Also, Buffy's attitude toward Angel is pretty important to note here - she's not exactly looking for him the moment she shows up in Season 1. He follows her around in the dark just like he always used to do back then. Much like in Season 1, he's largely a dark, broody, mysterious, handsome obstacle between her and the party she's heading to.


Angel is always cryptic. Also, his cheekbones are really crazy here.


Now, at the time this came out - so Time of Your Life! And, clearly, Buffy is thinking of Willow. But this is also Angel before Angelus 2.0, and Angel before Twilight. It's also Buffy before the Slayer spell. These are some heavy questions.


Uh, yeah. PARALLELS ANYONE.


Is Buffy too late? Too late for what?


Look, Buffy's flying again! Yeah, totally not foreshadowing anything at all.


I hope that this meta has convinced you that "After These Messages... We'll Be Right Back" is worth a second look. I also think that it comfortably buttresses the analysis angearia has laid out so painstakingly in her most recent meta. If Angel is Twilight, any issue in which he has a substantial presence has to be taken under some serious consideration. In addition, the title is totally hanging a lampshade on the way this issue sticks out - as a dream issue, drawn in a totally different/tv show animation style, with a cutesy/easily wrapped up plotline that gives Buffy a little time for introspection. It seems like filler. But actually, it gives us some of the best information about Twilight and the greater arc of Season 8 that we've got.


I'll leave you with the very last page...
buffy (between)
Comments 
01 24 10 (UTC)
i am not caught up in season 8 - i think i left off somewhere around #15. the comics had done nothing but frustrate me endlessly up to that point and i needed a break. then came the twilight reveal (dun, dun, dun), which made me sigh and shrug and realize i should probably get caught up. and i will. i guess. *sigh* thus, i have not read this issue yet.

but.

the title says it all to me. not very subtle either, in light of recent reveals. "After these MESSAGES... We'll be right back" uh huh. didn't even bother to be very subliminal.

i think your analysis is spot-on, and knowing how many layers of detail are present in recent arcs actually does intrigue me and make me interested to see where S8 is going. *roots around amazon for used copies of comics*

NOT that i'll actively embrace any of it yet. because frankly, nothing i have read so far in S8 causes me to squee with fangirl joy that anything besides fanfic occurred post-Chosen and post-NFA. thus far, the fic writers are winning, and joss&co are trailing.
01 24 10 (UTC)
"because frankly, nothing i have read so far in S8 causes me to squee with fangirl joy that anything besides fanfic occurred post-Chosen and post-NFA. thus far, the fic writers are winning, and joss&co are trailing."

Dear god, ditto I'm afraid.
01 25 10 (UTC)
I don't know. I feel like Season 8 has suffered a lot for having what would normally have been compressed into, what? Eight, ten months? stretched out over 4 years. While some issues have been bleah, there are some that have totally rocked, IMHO.
01 25 10 (UTC)
I really like the Time of Your Life arc, and I suspect that you may as well. The Retreat arc, I hate. Hate it with BURNING FIRES. But #31 was good, so I continue to hold out hope. :)

Thank you!
01 24 10 (UTC)
I agree.There are lots of references to how things turned out.Great review!
01 25 10 (UTC)
Thank you!
01 24 10 (UTC)
Bravo! I loved it.

Looking at these panels just reminds me again of how much Angel is influenced by Batman. And doesn't Buffy look like Catwoman in the way she's crouching on the gargoyle? Nifty.

And hey, Catwoman totally would've stolen from a Swiss bank that was insured if she felt it was for a good cause. ZOMG. Buffy is Catwoman. (I'm only half-kidding, half-serious) :P

Edited at 2010-01-24 05:21 pm (UTC)
01 25 10 (UTC)
Yay!

Also, you are so right. Haha, Angel: The Dark Knight = Twilight, y/y?
01 24 10 (UTC) - poor great old one
Is she slaying a baby Cthulhu in the second image?
01 25 10 (UTC) - Re: poor great old one
awwwww. No, I think it's probably either a random monster or a comic book reference that I don't get.
01 24 10 (UTC)
Dude, ever since the reveal I've been meaning to go back to this issue and re-read it. I figured it would be full of foreshadowing - and it was! Your meta totally hit all the points I was hoping to find upon re-read.
01 25 10 (UTC)
Thanks!
01 24 10 (UTC)
totally thought you were talking about Twilight-the-books/movies for about 30 seconds, until I let it all load and I was like "...oh, wait..." LOL

One of these days, when I catch up on Buffy, this will all make sense.... and I'll have to come back to all your journal entries and be better late than never.....
01 25 10 (UTC)
Hahaha.

Someday! Or I will just have to make more posts ABOUT CHURCH. <3 I was an usher today! It was awesome.
01 25 10 (UTC)
lol for all of the stuff I do in church, I've never been an usher. ??? how is this possible?? I think maybe on youth day back in high school or something... there is this one really sweet old guy who ushes (?) sometimes. He's always like "Kathleen!" and gives me a kiss on the cheek and tells me I'm beautiful, lol. Totally not in a creepy way either. I swear. >_>

01 24 10 (UTC)
Also, his cheekbones are really crazy here.

This may seem silly, but for us old-time comics readers (like Joss) Angel looks like Bizzaro!Angel in that panel. As in, the thing that is it's total opposite. I don't know that it totally fits the current theories of Twilight, but I find it amusing anyway.
01 25 10 (UTC)
Ha! Thanks for the insight.
01 25 10 (UTC)
Great meta! I went back and re-read the issue and it's way more interesting now!

Did Angel ever wear a red shirt in the show?

There was a reference to Spike, too! She tosses a stake and it hits her on the left eyebrow and she says it's going to leave a mark.

A bit on the structure. This is issue #20. It closes the first half of the season. We opened with Long Way Home. Here we have Buffy going home again.
01 25 10 (UTC)
Thank you!

I don't remember him wearing red, no. And good catch on the Spike reference!

A bit on the structure. This is issue #20. It closes the first half of the season. We opened with Long Way Home. Here we have Buffy going home again.
This is such a good point, and one I totally didn't think of. HUH. That has some implications.

I really think, now, that whatever happens, it's going to result in Buffy being The One Girl In All The World again.
01 25 10 (UTC)
I dunno. I think this issue shows that even if she wanted to, Buffy can't go home again. She can only go forward.
02 09 10 (UTC)
The line "Giles, don't go all coronary on us--" suddenly jumped out at me.
He is talking about her destiny, her "choseness" at the time and her thought is heart failure. More of her long struggle with the idea that being the slayer means she can't love or that those she loves get hurt/dead. Or maybe her feeling a touch of Giles' future betrayal.

But I also can't help but notice how similar the word coronary is to coronation. Maybe a little plea from Buffy that she not be made the Queen.
02 10 10 (UTC)
"Applauds* Quite an eye opener!
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