Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8, Episode 13: Wolves at the Gate, Part Two
Written by Drew Goddard; Illustrated by Georges Jeanty
Another month, another wondrous Buffy comic. The previous issue was irksome because of the Buffy/Satsu nonsense, but this one is completely and utterly bloody infuriating. First of all, this episode has more Andrew in it than any previous one - Goddard must be in love with this character, and it’s one of my main reasons for my considering him to be utterly overrated as a writer. Seriously, it absolutely astounds me that he and illustrator Georges Jeanty have managed to make this character every bit as annoying on the page as he was on screen. That must constitute some sort of dubious special talent.
Secondly, the character of Xander continues to be run into the ground with the revelations, spoken (by Andrew) without a hint of jest, that he and Dracula “stayed in touch” post Buffy vs. Dracula, writing “the occasional letter here and there”. I mean, seriously. This is the Xander who, after freeing himself from Dracula’s spell, gave a bit speech about how he would never again be anyone’s butt-monkey. But even this pales in comparison to the statement that, after Anya’s death, Xander went to live with Dracula for several months because he “needed some guy time”. Oh, and taught Dracula how to ride a motorbike.
I know this shouldn’t really be surprising. The character of Xander was treated like absolute crap in the final two seasons of the TV series, and indeed Nicolas Brendon has since stated that, at around the beginning of Season 5, Joss Whedon essentially told him that his character arc was finished and was welcome to stay but shouldn’t expect any meaningful storylines (he only stuck around because he felt he needed the money). But this is a new low. It demonstrates, to me, that those involved have lost any interest in telling a believable story about people the audience can empathise with and instead are content to trade the core characters’ dignity in favour of a cheap laugh here and there.
By this stage, I was pretty close to tearing my comic in two and chucking the two halves in the bin, but I hadn’t even finished page 7 at this point, so against my better judgement I persevered. If I hadn’t kept going, I wouldn’t have got to enjoy the sight of Buffy completely blanking Satsu and barking orders at her, and a whole cavalcade of jokes suggesting a homosexual relationship between Xander and Dracula, each one more hilarious and mature than the last. Oh, and Willow pestering Satsu to tell her what Buffy’s like in the sack. That, by the way, comes after Satsu saying she knows Buffy’s not “a dyke”, surely the most tasteful piece of writing since that infamous deleted exchange in the Season 6 episode Dead Things where Tara sympathises with Buffy’s sordid relationship with Spike by pointing out “Sweetie, I’m a fag. I been there.” (You think I’m kidding? Just follow the link.)
Following this hearty recommendation, I’m sure you’ll all be rushing out to buy copies of this masterful work of literature. Myself, I’d cancel my pre-orders for Parts 3 and 4 of this four-part arc if I could.