Chen's cover is the third down. Now I've probably been one of Chen's harshest critics, mostly because I felt she was putting too much stock in likenesses and I felt a lack of dynamic action and emotion in her pieces. I think this cover really shows her talent.
It's not Chen's best likeness (the face is a bit too angular, the features a bit highset), but I think it's selling the most real emotion and mood. I look at this though and the details of likeness (very good, but not perfect) are rendered unimportant. This feels like Buffy. Remember how Joss instructed the artists to not draw SMG but to draw Buffy?
This is Buffy. Weary, defeated, letting the world crash over her without the energy to fight back, to protest, to even cry. The emotion of this piece is powerful, almost hypnotizing, and very, very Buffy.
Excellent. I feel as it I could stare at this all day and get lost in it. The way shadow is used, the brush strokes of shade that run atop Buffy's form, as if her picture was crumpled, as if the slashes of light and shadow are painting over her at the bottom, as if she's being swallowed by greater forces and she's submitting.
Understated and powerful. There's real heart in this piece where before in other covers I often saw poses and likenesses that felt a bit plastic. Even the detail of the hand speaks of this inward pain. Normally when Buffy's caught in an angst-ridden moment, she throws her hand out and says "Don't touch me!" But this reminds me more of grief, turning your hand inward to cover your heart, but the hand is limp and almost boneless (one single hand--Buffy is the Hand and has been rendered ineffectual, turned in on herself). There's weakness and pain, but a pain without the energy to grieve with loud tears and wails. All this pain is emanating from deep inside, silent and heartbreaking and quiet. All Buffy's energy has been used to silence the pain, to try to capture it inside her, to shoulder it alone and controlling her emotions has taken it's toll--she has no energy left to fight.
The earthy palette choice gives a feeling of the mundane. Makes me think how life has defeated Buffy, not the supernatural, but the pain of life, of love and connection. Her weakness and her strength are in how she's so very human.
I love this cover. I think it tells a story that leaves me feeling haunted and aching for Buffy.
So far we've had two covers released for Joss' final arc Last Gleaming. The first was of Spike and now Buffy. Both are understated portraits where the subject is facing the same direction, though Buffy's is far more vulnerable and she's gazing out, while Spike is more standoffish and distant. Allie said we weren't getting a Spike/Buffy cover, but frankly I think we just did. The attraction of Spike and Buffy is that they are very much themselves while together where as Buffy and Angel become this romanticized ideal of lovers. So a Spike/Buffy cover truly is where we receive two covers where both Buffy and Spike are posing and expressing emotion in this way. Spike and Buffy are being presented as the same while still separate, independent individuals--that's most definitely what a Spuffy fan would love to see.