“I created a race of Slayers. To tip the scales, to beat back the darkness. To make the world better. But they’re not in the books. Not a mention. Nothing. And the better world… turns out like this. Wow. Spoiler alert.” – Buffy Summers
Buffy is undergoing an existential crisis at the beginning of this issue. She’s been reading through the Watchers Diaries at Mel’s Slayer HQ. She questions whether anything she did really matters. She changed the world, yet there’s barely a mention of all she accomplished in the diaries. She sheds a few tears as she gazes out the window. All her training, fighting and sacrifice, averting apocalypse after apocalypse, and the world is still going to hell.
Fortunately, Mel arrives with a well needed distraction.
Melaka: Gunther said there’s been a hum in the Uppers. Lurks don’t usually truck that high. I fig we stake some lush haunt, Lurks come out, we skin ‘em for stories. Yeah?
Buffy: Does any part of that sentence involve me beating something up?
Melaka: Think so…
Buffy: Include me in.
Meanwhile, Willow and Kennedy are trying to figure out how to get Buffy back. Willow may have an idea. But she seems a little nervous about it.
Willow: Ken-Doll, do you trust me and know that I love you and I’m not a crazy person and what we do is for the greater good cross your heart no backsies?
Kennedy: Duh. What do we gotta do?
In Scotland, Xander and centaur Dawn are still on the run from those flamey snakey ren-fair monsters. Dawn asks Xander what went down at the castle. He deduces that Bomb plus Magic equals Warren and Amy. They decide to get out of the woods before there’s any more trouble. On cue, a bunch of tree demons with flame arms interrupt. They refer to themselves as forest souls. Their leader, Lorelahn, tells them that intruders must die!
Lorelahn: This place is forbidden to humans. To gaze upon the forest souls is inevitable death. Thus swears Lorelahn!
Xander tells the forest souls that they’re being chased by something much scarier. He suggests they let them out of the forbidden thicket and call it a weird, horrible day. Lorelahn objects, until he begins to contemplate what could be scarier than his clan.
In the future, Harth is busy interrogating Gunther. He knows Gunther has been feeding his sister information. Gunther suggests he leaves, before he kills him and his band of Lurks. He’s rigged his place, so that if they so much as crack the glass, generators will kick enough sunlight in to dust them. Harth informs him that they have something in common. Lurks don’t breathe either. A swarm of Lurks appear in his tank, ready to attack.
Buffy and Mel are partaking in a little grand theft flying auto. Mel is not impressed by Buffy’s driving (See Buffy Speak of the Week.) The vehicle has access plates that gives them clearance to the Uppers.
Buffy: So the top half of Manhattan is a gated community? Guess that’s not a shock. What are we looking for?
Mel points to a van with Organ Fresh written on the side. A group of Lurks are grabbing humans and throwing them in the back. She tells Buffy they’ve gotta stop them. But Buffy says they don’t have time.
Buffy: We need to find out where they’re sending them from. You really wanna stop this from spreading? Stop your brother? Then you gotta look at the big picture.
Melaka: You look. I’m gonna do my job.
Mel ignores her and jumps out of the car to rescue the civilians. The Lurks scurry away after she dusts one of them. She proceeds to comfort a bite victim. She’s angry that Buffy was willing to leave these people behind to serve the bigger picture. Suddenly, Dark Willow appears imparting some advice.
Dark Willow: Anger won’t help. You have to understand Buffy. If you hate her she’ll be harder to kill.
Back in present day, Willow has used a spell to contact Aluwyn. The pair are naked and shrouded in green smoke. Willow is seeking knowledge on how to get Buffy back. Aluwyn says the rift will reopen tonight. She warns Willow not to look into the Future when pulling Buffy from the rift. When Willow returns from the spell, she’s in bed with Kennedy. She’s buttoning up her shirt and looking guilty. I don’t think Kennedy knew about the sexual nature of Willows meeting with Aluwyn.
In Haddyn, Mel is speaking with Dark Willow.
Melaka: You’re her, aren’t you? You’re the Madwoman.
Dark Willow: I suppose I am. Don’t hold it against me, though. I’m fairly certain I’ve earned it.
Mel figured she was a Lurk. She isn’t. But she’s not quite human anymore either. She tells her she won’t kill Buffy. Dark Willow says that Buffy won’t show the same mercy. She says they want different things. Mel says they both want rid of the Lurks. Dark Willow points out that the most important men in both their lives are Lurks.
Melaka: Yeah, you been bound to Harth awhile now, word is. You two have some big plan. Spinning me’s just part of it.
Dark Willow: Your brother is interesting and ambitious. My concerns are more personal.
Dark Willow begins to cast a spell. She shows Mel a vision in order to turn her against Buffy. Meanwhile, Buffy has returned to Mel’s place. She’s confronted by Erin as she enters.
Erin: Stand down and offer submission!
Buffy: Whoah! Hey! I submit! Submissively! I thought this was Melaka Fray’s place. Could you not ray gun me?
Erin apologises and explains that she’s worried about her sister. Buffy tells her they split up and that she found Lurk Central, but it’s massive. They’ll need to talk strategy before storming in. Buffy and Erin have a heart to heart before Mel bursts in and stuns her with a ray gun.
Erin: Mel… are you sure about this?
Melaka: I’m sure.
Erin: She just seems… Mel, what are we doing here?
Melaka: What we do. Saving the world.
To be continued…
The Watchers Files
Time of Your Life was written by Joss Whedon and features artwork by Karl Moline and Jo Chen.
So many great moments and references in this issue…
From Buffy’s driving in ‘Band Candy’, to her Career Day results in ‘What’s My Line’, to freaking Dark Willow. I love all those little nods and how faithful the comics are to the show. Even if conceptually and visually they somewhat differ in parts. It’s all still there. That Buffy magic lives on in these pages.
Writing is on point, obvi, it’s Joss. This one was high on funnies and drama. Just how I like it.
Buffy and Mel working together is gold. I love the dynamic. Fray is very much a younger less jaded Buffy. After seeing the end result of all her hard work, Buffy is even more ‘Big Picture’ orientated. While Mel is still looking out for the little guy.
The Willow/Aluwyn thing is a little weird. But hey, no judgement. She’s a very attractive snake-looking-demon-lady, I just feel bad for Kennedy. Now there’s a line I never thought I’d write.
Plus that ending… Erin and Mel setting up the Buffster… What did Dark Willow show Melaka? Stay tuned…
Officer Buffy Reporting for Duty
Buffy: You know, I thought about being a cop. A law.
Buffy: In High School. I took a test, said I fit the profile. If we had your outfits, I woulda signed up in a heartbeat. Is that pleather?
In Buffy’s Second Season, the gang undergo Career Week (What’s My Line, Part 1, Episode 9.) Buffy’s results state that she would be best suited to a career in Law Enforcement. She doesn’t seem overly enthused by the prospect, but perhaps a seed was planted. This is not the last time Buffy’s Career Week results will become relevant in the comics. Fans who have read Season 12 will know exactly what I mean. For those who haven’t, watch this space.
“Xander: They just put up the assignments for the career fair. And according to my results, I can look forward to being gainfully employed in the growing field of correction.
Buffy: At least you’ll be on the right side of the bars.
Xander: Laugh now, Missy. They assigned you to the booth for ‘Law Enforcement Professionals.’
Buffy: As in Police?
Xander: As in Polyester, donuts, and brutality.” – What’s My Line, Part 1
Buffy Speak of the Week
I loved this little nod. Hardcore Scoobies will recognise the reference. Mel’s reaction to Buffy’s driving is exactly the same as Principal Snyder’s in Band Candy (Season 3, Episode 6)
Buffy: Hey, it’s my first time with grand theft flying auto – I think I’m doing swell.
Melaka: Summers, you drive like a spaz!
Buffy: And that phrase stood the test of time?
Slayer Rating: 4.5/5 Stakes