BTVS Season 8 #22: Swell

“Since that idiot Harmony’s reality show took off, everybody’s obsessed with fangs and lumpy foreheads. Public’s swallowing their undead bull by the handful.” – Kennedy

Synopsis

Satsu is hunting a demon in Japan. The demon is a four-armed, slug-like, dinosaur looking thing. She’s trying to steer it towards the bridge, away from the crowds. It’s clutching a bag with Santorio Corp. printed on it. She catches up with the demon and slices one of its arms off with her sword. The demon retaliates by sending her flying with its tail. Kennedy swoops in and electrocutes the demon with her fancy high-tech gun. Satsu is infuriated.

Satsu: Buffy sent you, didn’t she?

Kennedy: Satsu, you were promoted to cell leader like two minutes ago. Standard Op to run a performance review. Especially since your report on the Korean incident was vague.

Satsu is annoyed that Buffy didn’t come to perform the review herself. She assumes Buffy only sent Kennedy because she’s the other lesbian Slayer. Kennedy informs her that Buffy didn’t send her, she volunteered.

Satsu: Because you’re the other lesbian.

Kennedy: Because I wanted you to know you’re not the only fool to ever wrinkle the sheets with a straight girl.

Satsu explains that it wasn’t just wrinkles. For her, it was true love. Kennedy tells her that she gets it, everybody knows it was Satsu’s kiss that woke Buffy from her mystical coma (See Buffy Speak of the Week.) After the pair share a heart to heart, Satsu opens the bag which the demon was protecting. Strangely, inside there’s nothing but a small vampire-cat plush toy. Back at Japan HQ, another slayer explains that it’s a Vampy Cat, the new Happy Cat variant. Apparently, pre-orders are through the roof, but it’s not supposed to be on the market until next week.

Satsu: Vampires aren’t cute and fluffy! And a kitty cat? Come on!

Since Harmony’s reality show has taken off, the world is obsessed with vampires.

The demon from earlier has survived and is now talking to a wrinkly skinned man with red eyes. He tells the man that the Slayer took the bait. A large shadowy cat with red eyes moves towards the demon. He is rewarded with a quick death.

As the Slayers unsuspectingly turn in for the night, Vampy Cat comes to life. He creeps into Satsu’s room and his eyes begin to glow red. The next morning, Kennedy is surprised when she meets Satsu wearing traditional Japanese attire and acting very out of character.

Kennedy: What the hell are you wearing?

Satsu: It’s a Furisode! Girls wear them when they come of age to show they’re single and available for marriage. My parents bought it for me. Before I destroyed them with my gayness. Ah they were so right! The whole kissing girls thing? Blechh! Girls should kiss boys and have their babies.

Kennedy suggests that something weird is at play and offers to take her to see their resident witch. Satsu tells her to take her stinking paws off her and slaps her across the room. Satsu’s eyes begin to glow and she goes into a rant about how Slayers are just a bunch of self-righteous little ovaries. Kennedy beats the snot out of her, until Satsu vomits up the Vampy Cat which had been possessing her.

Vampy Cat: I am discovered, my brothers! Use what I have given! Strike at the heart of the beast!

The vomit soaked Vampy Cat attacks Kennedy and Satsu slices its head off. The Slayers team up and lead a squad to the Santario Corporation via helicopter. Upon arrival they discover that the staff have all been murdered. By inspecting the corporation’s database, they discover the entire Vampy Cat inventory was shipped an hour ago. They’re going global and over half a million of them are heading for Scotland.

Kennedy: Scotland. That’s why the little bastard climbed down your throat. To get the location of our homebase.

Satsu: Buffy. They’re going after Buffy.

In order to prevent the Vampy Cats from achieving world domination, Kennedy and Satsu board Sontario’s freight ship and plan to blow it up. But before they get a chance, they are attacked by hundreds of Vampy Cats. They have possessed the ships entire crew.

Vampy Cat: Slayers! Attack my brothers! Eat their #%&@ing ovaries!

The Slayers fight for their lives as the Vampy Cats attempt to crawl down their throats and possess them. They slice and dice their way through the plush toys, but they just keep coming. Eventually the Cats all join together forming one huge Vampy Cat. “WE ARE SWELL! WE ARE LEGION!” they chant. They also reveal that they’re working for Twilight. Before the Giant swell of Vampy Cats destroy the two Slayers, Satsu throws a flare into the air. The flare signals a secret Korean submarine. The submarine is being steered by a squad of Satsu’s Slayers. They commandeered it from a group of vampires. The Slayers fire two torpedoes at the freight ship and Kennedy and Satsu escape in the nick of time.

Kennedy and Satsu fill Buffy and Xander in on their adventure via satellite communications. All Vampy Cat shipments have been annihilated. But there’s a catch… Harmony appears on Larry King claiming that the Slayers destruction of the Vampy Cats was a senseless hate crime.

Harmony: These “Slayers” hacked, burned, and blew up millions of fluffy stuffed kitties! And Why? Because they had tiny little fangs! They hate us so much they’re killing toys now!

Larry King: Well that’s just mean.

Buffy is worried. Everyone thinks that the Slayers are the bad guys. She decides they need to keep a low profile until they can find a way to improve their image and set the record straight.

The issue ends with Satsu tossing her cinnamon lip gloss in the trash, symbolising that she’s ready to start getting over Buffy and move on.

Satsu: Lets go shopping.

Kennedy: Shopping?

Satsu: Buffy’s right. The world’s coming apart. It’s time to stop being who we were… and get a new flavor.

The Watchers Files

This issue was written by Stephen S. Deknight and features artwork by Georges Jeanty and Jo Chen.

I freakin’ loved this issue. It was absurd, but in all the right ways (unlike the Meca-Dawn debacle). I want a vampy cat. Seriously, why isn’t there merch yet?

This story had humour and heart. It balanced the two alongside action and whimsy, perfectly. It achieved that unique Buffy blend.

I was surprised at how much I loved this issue the first time around. Because, Buffy and the gang barely feature. This shows how rich the Buffyverse is. As Anne Shirley Cuthbert would say: it provides plenty scope for the imagination.

I adored Kennedy and Satsu’s chemistry. I feel like they could have made a cute couple. The symbolism at the end when Satsu discards the cinnamon lip gloss because of Kennedy’d pep talk was such a sweet moment. It ended the issue perfectly.

Trivia

Hello Vampy

Unsurprisingly, Georges Jeanty revealed that Vampy Cat was inspired by Hello Kitty. The cute plush parody makes several cameos throughout the comic series. So, keep your eyes peeled. Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of fans have wicked custom creating skills. I was wondering if anyone has made a Vampy Cat yet? If so, where can I get one? Just take my money!!!

Buffy Speak of the Week

As discussed previously, Kennedy gets a tough rap from the fandom. Don’t get me wrong, when she first appeared on the scene, I wasn’t a fan either. It was too soon after Tara. But I can’t help but wonder if we’d have warmed to her if she’d had more time to develop on the show. I’ve enjoyed her character so much more in the comics. They’ve made light of her bratty ways and she’s delivered some solid funnies. This is probably my fave Kennedy moment to date. She was funny, tough and honest in this issue, and I have to say, I kinda dug her.

Kennedy: Yeah, yeah, everybody knows the story. Your kiss brought Buffy out of a mystical coma. But sleeping beauty wasn’t gay. And neither is Buffy. Despite recently taking a skinny dip in that pool.

Satsu: It was more than a dip. It was a plunge. A big, wet –

Kennedy: You had a thing, I get it! Time to towel off and face the hetero. You Gay. Buffy not. My advice? Lose the cinnamon lippy gloss you laid on her and try kissing someone who can give you their heart. Not just their body.

Satsu: But I really love cinnamon.

Kennedy: Yeah, it’s great. But there are a lot of other flavors out there. Maybe it’s time to try a new one.

Slayer Rating: 5X5

©2017 by Daniel Devenney.