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Date Posted: 04:01:51 12/08/07 Sat
Author: KdS
Subject: No Future For You Part Four (SPOILERS)

This has been a very good story, spoiled only by dreadful US-centric stereotypes of England and the English (Vaughan appears in this issue to have bought the romantic bullshit about Diana Spencer being a Working-Class Hero). It's a pity that Vaughan won't be doing any more (he stated in an interview around the time the first issue came out that it would be the last time he'd work on any character he didn't own the copyright to).

As usual I got the Jeanty cover, since the Chen cover was so OTT. Not merely is it gratuitous, but after reading the issue it doesn't even have any inspiration in the plot content. And the Jeanty cover is a great visual joke that teases the status of the characters at the end of the story.

Jeanty's Richard Wilkins is a pretty good likeness, even if a couple of the frame seem too alike in facial expression and lifted off a photoreference. Vaughan captures him as well, and the expanded version of a TV scene points out why the plot and character worked so well. Wilkins is thoroughly evil, but he's also kind, appreciative, and respectful in a way that the people who were meant to be looking out for Faith weren't.

I'm breathing a sigh of relief that this story seems to be the start of a full-scale attempt to rehabilitate Giles within the wider story, given that for a while based on the first issue I was genuinely afraid that he was plotting to get Faith killed. I hope that even without Vaughan we'll get some more Faith and Giles pairing, as Giles's willingness to open up about the uglier parts of his life to Faith seems to be finally creating the potential connection between them that was always there.

Faith manages to kill Gigi by accident, but still seems to be able to take satisfaction in the fact that she did her best to solve the situation without getting anyone killed. This is a rerun of the killing of Finch that first sent her off-balance, but now she's older and wiser, and also has more reason to be confident of the people around her. (I'm not keen on most arguments that blame Buffy for Faith's decline, but I do see a lot of reason in the argument a while back that Buffy's outraged response to Faith's actions around the Finch death shows a class-privileged lack of understanding of the likely reactions and fears of someone whose background doesn't leave her with any hope that the forces of social control will at least try to act justly in response to her actions). Given the visual appearance of the Tenth Doctor and Rose in an earlier issue, I wonder whether Faith's "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry" to the dying Gigi is a deliberate Doctor Who reference. I don't think there was any chance that she'd have accepted Roden's offer, Roden like the typical Whedon villain has no idea of the true complexity of her feelings for Buffy and just tries to stuff them into the box created by his cynical little mind.

Some people seem to have disliked Buffy's brief appearance in this issue, but I think it's in character given her strained relationship with both Faith and Giles. Her sad but unsurprised reaction to Giles's line about keeping her out of things makes me wonder if Vaughan is canonising the scripted scene from Lies My Parents Told Me in which Giles confesses about killing Ben to her.

I'm now wondering if one of the themes to the wider comic series will be Buffy being progressively abandoned by her friends not out of anger but impatience with day-to-day grind and desire to get back into the fray. Giles is now off with Faith to seek redemption and a kinder mode of Watching and Willow seems to be becoming increasingly seduced by
the attractions of of the occult VIP lounge. Xander probably won't leave unless something horrible happens, as he seems to have found his niche as one of the world's natural henchmen.

In the wider plot it's now clear that Twilight is an a person as well as an organisation and the levitating figure we saw in the first issue. A masked villain always raises the possibility that it's someone we've already met under a false flag, but I'm not sure of anyone who would want to disenchant the world, unless it's a broken and bitter Rayne who faked his own death. I do wonder if this will explain the Fray universe or possibly make it explicitly an averted potential timeline of the main Jossverse.

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