Emmie (angearia) wrote,

My Thoughts on Buffy #22 Swell

A complete story in one issue, jam packed with action and wonderful character moments. This issue really is all about Satsu even though we sadly don't get an internal monologue from her. We learn about her troubled history with her parents after she "destroyed them with [her] gayness." The story comes full-circle with Kennedy helping Satsu in the beginning, then kicking the mind-controlling Vampy Cat (way better than Bad Eggs) out of Satsu only to have Satsu save the day. We see her being questioned and even controlled, but her instincts and ingenuity lead her team to victory. Kennedy serves as an assistant and morale booster who shows Satsu she needs to move on from Buffy, but it's Satsu who ultimately takes action. Strong, sure and independent. Satsu finally comes to terms with Buffy's heart being unreachable to her and stops moping (notice that Satsu has a newpaper clipping of Buffy on the wall of her bedroom), throws away the lip gloss o' love and moves on. To shopping. With her new BFF Kennedy. A wonderful issue for her.  I offically need a Satsu icon STAT.

There's some very disturbing metaphors here regarding sexuality and how women are kept down. The most blatant one to me was, "Get in her mouth! Get in her mouth!" in order to force control. As for Satsu's Stepford-ness, that completely worked. Recall that Satsu isn't really speaking and has no idea what's happening - that's Vampy Cat #1 in the driver's seat there. And what Vampycat!Satsu is saying is all from the demonic, misogynistic Swell's perspective.

The theme of appearances not matching the heart of the situation, the truth of reality, is continued here. What is truth? The Vampy Cats are seen by the public as cute, cuddly toys massacred by those mean old slayers and Harmony cannot be taken out because that will make her appear like a "martyr." The Slayers are seen as evil when in reality they're fighting evil. Perception of reality continues to play an important role. What becomes the priority here - the mission or the message? If the Slayers fail to counter Twilight's message, how can they continue their mission?

Twilight is striking on two fronts, both in battle and in the hearts and minds of the people. While Buffy and Co. successfully stop the Swell from attacking thanks to Satsu's squad, she continues to fail to act regarding the public's growing fear and hatred of the Slayers. Twilight's outflanked Buffy and she needs to start answering the message war or she really will be at war with humanity. Demons on one side, humanity on the other - both frothing at the mouth to put an end to Slayers.

We finally see how Buffy is reacting to the PR nightmare Harmony's perpetuating as she paints the Slayers as evil, but her solution seems ultimately misguided. She wants to keep a "low profile...like subterranean" but that is impossible when battles happen in the light of day and Slayer commercials are presumably still airing. All this will do is make them seem even more secretive and dangerous to the public who's asking questions.

"We need to stop being whatever we've been and focus. Be more than human. Or the less-than is gonna win." - Buffy

Whatever we've been? She's unable to define it - how about morally wrong, secretive and elitist? Be "more than human"? That's been the problem all along. That Buffy thinks Slayers are "more than human." What she needs is to simply *be* human and being human means connecting to the world, creating ties with humanity rather than keeping a "low profile". Her plan is "way that bad" as it continues her isolationist stance that is breeding mistrust among the public. Buffy's statement also addresses the inner battle every Slayer faces between their humanity and their slayerness. The Slayer has the potential to be "less-than". The other that is within each and every Slayer.

Favorite quotes:

"Duck, don't get hit." - Anonymous Slayer
"That thing had four arms! I ducked the first three!" - Ayumi

"It's not the sparks he should be afraid of, it's the fire." - Satsu

"Your eval's so getting a smiley face." - Kennedy
Tags: comics, meta, season 8
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