SPOILER WARNINGS IN FULL EFFECT!
When asked what was going on with the lovely Miss Summers within the pages (and the sheets) of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8" #12, Dark Horse editor Scott Allie offered quite simply, "We are letting her grow as a character."
In case you missed it -- and if you have, don't read on if you haven't picked up your copy yet-- Joss Whedon's titular slayer had relations with one of her female devotees in the issue on stands now. That is, if you can still find one.
"With Joss, stuff like this just sort of evolves," Allie told CBR News. "Very early in 'Season 8,' we knew that one of the slayers was going to fall in love with Buffy but we didn't know that it would go anywhere. I certainly didn't expect it would go anywhere."
The lucky lady is Satsu, an Asian slayer who broke Buffy from a deep sleep with a kiss in issue #3 and expressed her feelings towards her openly in issue #11.
"It was about a year ago that I found out about this," said Allie. "It was like, 'wow,' but by then the relationship with Satsu was growing a little bit. So when Joss said that this was going to happen, it was like, 'Yeah, This makes sense.' It makes sense in terms of the kind of patterns Buffy has always been in. She always tries to wash away her loneliness with someone who is available and is really interested, no matter how inappropriate the person might be. And despite what some people are going to say, I think Spike was a much less appropriate partner than Satsu is," Allie remarked, referring to the vampire who bedded his rival slayer in Season 6 of the original television show.
Allie said the relationship may also have been weighed by a simple law of averages. "Buffy is living in a castle with 500 girls and one guy and she is an open-minded young person," the editor explained. "I think part of why this exists in this comic and why this feels appropriate in this comic is because of the way Joss sees the world. And the way Joss experiences the world, this happens with people."
As for whether or not this relationship will continue or was simply a one-night stand, Allie said, "What exactly this means remains to be seen. We are pretty much openly saying that no, this doesn't mean that Buffy is now a lesbian the way Willow's coming out did. With Willow, this is actually the thing that makes most sense for her. With Buffy, this is a little more that this is what makes sense for her, right now.
"And when you read issue #12, the dialogue between Satsu and Buffy in no way indicates that they are together now, like Willow and Tara were. It's not like that. They sought comfort with each other and they were attracted to each other and they liked each other. And that's how stuff like this happens whether it's a man and a woman or whatever."
With #12 being "Cloverfield" and "Lost" writer Drew Goddard's first issue on the popular comic, some have speculated the same-sex encounter was a pure publicity stunt by Dark Horse. To that, Allie said, "Uh, uh."
"This seed was planted in Joss' first arc," he explained. "In issue #3, we saw the beginnings of this. And Joss and Drew really started working on the 'Wolves at the Gate' storyline in late spring/early summer of last year.
"The way the story evolved with 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8' is Joss and the writer, whether it's Brian K. Vaughan or Drew or the writers that are coming up later, these guys are all friends, they have a working history, they have relationships so they spend time together and just shoot the shit about this stuff and they spitball and come up with it.
"And they talk about what they like to do. Drew really likes Dracula. That's why Dracula is in the 'Wolves at the Gate' arc. It wasn't, 'we need Dracula now, let's find the best guy to write it.' It was more, 'we want to do something with Drew, at this point, what's appropriate?' So the two of them, talking this story out, is how this thing evolved.
"It was after they worked out this story line that Joss actually went in and wrote issues #10 and #11. So issue #11 very much set up the Satsu thing. At one point, we didn't know Joss would write issue #11. At one point, Drew's arc was going to start with #11, but scheduling shuffled stuff around and it made most sense to do those two issues in a row, which gave him the opportunity to develop this thing with Satsu so it wouldn't come out of nowhere when issue #12 came out."
Allie did admit Dark Horse had tipped off retailers that ordering some extra issues of #12 wouldn't be the worst idea.
Buffy's bed games aren't the only big news coming from the Buffyverse these days. Allie also confirmed fan favorite from the future Melaka Fray would be joining the fray in issue #16 for a four-issue arc written by Whedon. As the slayer's scythe played a central role in the seventh and final television season of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" in 2001, Whedon penned an eight-issue miniseries starring the character for Dark Horse called "Joss Whedon's Fray."
"That one I knew about pretty much since the beginning," said Allie. "We knew about that from really, really early on that eventually that would happen and Joss would write it. And that we would bring ['Fray' artist] Karl [Moline] back to draw it. Since the minute 'Season 8' started and fans got a glimpse of what it was basically about, the diehard Buffy fans were all asking when is Fray going to get into it. They knew that somehow Fray would come into it because of what Twilight is hinting at and what the 'Fray' series hinted at in terms of Buffy's fate, so people wondered if that was coming and it was really difficult to keep out mouths shut about that."
In issue #10, Buffy demands a demon named Tichajt to tell her what the arrival of Twilight – "Season 8's" Big Bad – means, to which he replies: "The death of magic."
In "Fray," it is revealed that sometime in the 21st century, an apocalyptic battle between good and battle occurs which wipes out all demons and magicks, although it is hinted that a lone slayer may have survived.
Jo Chen returns for covers on the series with issue #16 and Moline has already drawn the first issue and is nearly finished with the second part of the arc.
"It (the arc) sews up continuity to some degree," said Allie. "It definitely tells people that the events in 'Fray' that happen in the future is Buffy's future, most likely. This isn't just an alternate universe. Fray is a character in the future and now the two of them are going to come together, one way or another and that means she is very much a part of the world that Buffy exists in and is currently creating."
Allie said from the minute Dark Horse finished "Fray," the creative team always talked about doing a sequel. "And this crossover, doesn't rule that out or make that any less necessary," Allie warned. "I still really want to do that. And Karl wants to do it. And Joss wants to do it. But Joss is busier than ever, right now. So who knows? Keeping 'Season 8' going is a priority."
And if that ain't enough for fans, when discussing upcoming arcs and the writers who will tell them, Allie shared that superstar writer Jim Krueger ("Project Superpowers" and "Justice") was coming along for the ride, too. First, though, Allie confirmed best-selling New York Times author Brad Meltzer ("Justice League of America") would write four or five issues. "It will be issues #31-35, either all five or just four of those," said Allie. "But Brad will do the penultimate arc and Joss will do the final arc.
"And the plan is to finagle the schedule so Georges (Jeanty) can draw all of the final 10 issues, which is hard. For someone as good as he is, he's really fast but he's not quite fast enough to keep issues cranking out so we have to make sure that we are ahead when we start the final arcs."
Allie also said Jeph Loeb ("Hulk" and "The Ultimates 3") would be writing a single-issue story for #20, the book right after the Fray arc. There is still one more surprise writer to be named for the 40-issue series. "But it's still a surprise to me," laughed Allie. "We still haven't figured out, for sure, who is going to write the arc before Brad. That's still the one mystery ball in play."
Jane Espenson ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Battlestar Galactica") Doug Petrie ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation") and Drew Greenberg ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Dexter") are also confirmed to write issues of "Buffy: Season 8."
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8" Confirmed Writers
#1-5 Joss Whedon
#6-9 Brian K. Vaughan
#10-11 Joss Whedon
#12-15 Drew Goddard
#16-19 Joss Whedon
#20 Jeph Loeb
#21-30 A combination of Jane Espenson, Doug Petrie, Drew Greenberg, Jim Krueger and one other TBD
#31-35 Brad Meltzer (four or all five issues TBD)
#36-40 Joss Whedon
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