Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #16 Review

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #16 Cover by Steve Morris


A Bridge Between Worlds…

I’ve always loved a good crossover. That’s just something the nerd in me can’t resist. I would become super excited as a kid whenever The Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman would have a crossover event. An episode would start on one show and end on the other. It’s still true now, I geek out whenever The Flash makes an appearance on Arrow (and vice versa).  And it always worked for Buffy and Angel, even when they were on different networks, just like it did for that other super-couple Jamie Sommers and Steve Austin.

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Bionic duo and former lovers Steve Austin aka the Six Million Dollar (Lee Majors) and Jamie Sommers aka the Bionic Woman (Lindsay Wagner).

When Angel (repentant vamp and Buffy’s former love) left Sunnydale all those years ago, we knew he’d be back, and likewise, Buffy wouldn’t (couldn’t) stay away from him either. With dark slayer Faith (portrayed in the series by Eliza Dushku) traveling back and forth between both shows, there was always a bridge, and always a chance for a crossover event. Angel even shows up briefly during the Buffy finale.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #16 Panel


When Worlds Collide…

Is it any wonder then that the writers of both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel & Faith comics have teamed up to create a season that allows each series its’ own arc, while still letting one be part of the other’s story as well.

We all know that whenever Angel turns up in Buffy’s world, it means angst and complications. Having your first love show up while you’re involved with your current love is hardly a simple matter (read messy and awkward). I call this the “ex-boyfriend barbecue”… and I’ve been there myself… but I digress, as I often do…

Ever since the “Love Dares You” arc, starting with this season’s eleventh issue, Buffy and Spike have reconnected romantically, and after many long years of waiting, fans let out a sigh of relief (myself included). Of course,  hi-jinx must ensue when Angel is called, by none other than Spike (Buffy’s other on again/off again/currently on again beau) to aid in their latest fight against Archaeus, an ancient demon who has been tormenting both Angel and Spike. There is way too much history between these three, going back to when Spike was sired (turned into a vampire for the newbie) by Drusilla (who was sired by none other than Angel). There was a whole lot of siring going on back then. Oh, those wacky vamps!

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #16 Variant by Rebekah Isaacs

Suck Up and Deal…

Of course, there’s no time to wallow in hurt feelings and awkward silences when there are demons to slay, and the old team bands together to do just that, in their own unique fashion. Equipped with banter aplenty and sharp and pointy implements of death and destruction – not to mention a whole lot of hacking and slashing – they get to the task at hand. However, it’s just the beginning for our Scoobies, and the big bad for this season has yet to be dispatched.  After all, what would a crossover event be without a cliffhanger?

As always, the team of Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs aim to please and do not disappoint, and Steve Morris’ cover art always impresses.

While each series can stand on its own, do yourself a favor and pick up both Buffy and Angel & Faith Season 10 books. They’re even more fun together.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10: Issue 16 is due out tomorrow, June 17, 2015! Get it at a comic book store near you!

For more on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 and Angel & Faith Season 10 from Dark Horse Comics, check out my reviews at Skeletonpete.com.

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Midnight Society: The Black Lake #1 from Dark Horse Comics – Review

Ok, folks, apologies for the radio silence.  My muse decided to take a little vacation without me, as she often does… but we’re back… I think… Thanks for coming back. As always, it’s much appreciated. 

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Secret societies, mythical creatures and a strong female protagonist with a dark, mysterious past. Sign me up, please! Drew Johnson (Wonder Woman) brings his first creator-owned series to Dark Horse with Midnight Society: The Black Lake!

Something immediately drew me to the title. Midnight Society conjured up images of the monsters, witches and other things that go bump in the night, and the cover art, featuring secret agent Matilda Finn, made me think instantly “this woman is our hero”. I was intrigued. I had to learn more. I wasn’t disappointed.

The artwork, also by Drew Johnson (and colorist Lizzy John), is dark and foreboding, but very well rendered, the characters well-drawn.

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While reading it, I could definitely see this playing out as a film or TV series. Something creepy and fantastical… that’s kinda my bag. In fact, I found myself thinking of the BBC Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood, and kept hoping some version of Captain Jack Harkness might pop up somewhere. Who knows, he still might. After all, all roads lead back…

Midnight Society: The Black Lake #1 is not a origin story, as we’re already plunged right into the action, but we are definitely left wondering more about Matilda. This description gets your head spinning – who or what is Matilda Finn?

“They transformed her into a monster killer, but she was already something else!

Forty years ago, England’s greatest adventurers cast aside their friendship, making a choice that would come to haunt humanity. Now, secret agent Matilda Finn will face the consequences of that choice as she aids in a frantic rescue operation at Scotland’s Loch Ness, where something terrible is waiting to draw her into the fight of her life!”

 

What kind of monster is she? 40 years ago? She looks like she can’t be more than in her 30s. Is Matilda a mythical creature herself? I ran through quite an exhaustive list of possibilities. We don’t get an answer just yet. We’ll just have to stay tuned.

So visit Loch Ness, and follow Matilda Finn and The Midnight Society’s exploits starting tomorrow, June 10th. Pick up Midnight Society: The Black Lake #1 from Dark Horse Comics, at a comic book store near you.

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Available Today: Buffy Birthday Mega Bundle from Dark Horse Comics!

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Hard to believe that it has been 18 years since our favorite blonde cheerleader-turned-supernatural-slayer, Buffy Summers, first burst onto the scene. That would make her 34-years-old today. To celebrate the occasion, Dark Horse Digital has a limited-time offer for die-hard Buffy fans.

Starting today, every single digital issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, Season 9, and Season 10 is on sale for only $0.99 each.

But if you really want to impress the Buffy fan in your life, the Buffy Birthday Megabundle is the perfect gift to add to their collection of memorabilia.

With nearly 200 titles (worth over $500), the Buffy Birthday Megabundle includes digital copies of:

  • Season 8 (including one-shots), Season 9, and Season 10
  • Angel & Faith Season 9 and Season 10
  • Buffy classics
  • Angel
  • Spike
  • Willow

The Buffy Birthday Megabundle is on sale now through Monday, January 19, 2015 for only $150.00.

Check out the special $0.99 sale and the Buffy Birthday Megabundle on Dark Horse Digital, both available now!

Peter Capaldi and Katy Manning Recreate Some Special Doctor Who Memories


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Earlier this week, former Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) companion Katy Manning, known to fans as UNIT agent Jo Grant, visited the set of Doctor Who. She and current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, had a blast re-enacting some scenes from her time with the series. The 67-year old actress truly enjoyed her time with the 12th Doctor, and it showed, calling him “one of the most charming men I’ve ever met.”

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Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

I can’t believe how happy these pictures made me feel. It struck me how right they looked together – Doctor and companion – together again. Thus proving that Peter Capaldi is the man for the job.

Katy loved returning to her old (if renovated) home, the TARDIS, and getting treated to a sneak peek of the upcoming Christmas special. “I know is going to be the best Xmas DW special!” She said.

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Days Gone By…

My only regret, these pictures weren’t part of an on-screen adventure with the 12th Doctor. I miss the late Lis Sladen (former companion Sarah Jane Smith) terribly and the last time we saw Katy in the “Whoniverse” was when she reprised her role as Jo Grant alongside Lis and 11th Doctor Matt Smith in The Sarah Jane Adventures episode Death of the Doctor. I’m still holding out hope for a classic companion to return to the series… A girl can dream. I wonder what ever did happen to Jo Grant and her son…? But I digress… as I often do…

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And as The 10th Doctor (David Tennant) says to The 5th (Peter Davison) in  Time Crash, “all my love to long ago…” We sincerely hope to see Katy on board the TARDIS again soon.

NEXT UP…

In the meantime, Series 8 continues. Stay tuned for tonight’s episode of Doctor WhoThe Caretaker.

Airing tonight on BBC One at 8:30pm and at 9pm on BBC America.

Taking In Doctor Who: Deep Breath

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“He’s the doctor. He has walked this Universe for centuries untold. He has seen stars fall to dust… You might as well FLIRT with a mountain range.” – Madame Vastra

Before diving into the Doctor Who Series 8 opener Deep Breathlet me get this declaration out of the way — Peter Capaldi IS The Doctor and I will tell you why.

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FAMILIAR FACES

Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint and Strax all make their welcome return in Deep Breath, Peter Capladi’s debut episode as the 12th (or is it 13th?) Doctor, to help ease companion Clara (and the fans) through The Doctor’s transition from The 11th Doctor (Matt Smith). As many of us remember, The Doctor in a regeneration crisis can be quite a predicament.

WHERE’S A ZERO ROOM WHEN YOU NEED ONE?

I can’t recall even one time when The Doctor had an easy time of it post-regeneration (unlike Romana in Destiny of the Daleks). It takes time for him to stabilize both mentally and physically. As the Fifth Doctor  (Peter Davison) tells his companions, it takes a little time for his “dendrites to heal”. And of course, Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is no exception. He struggles with everything — his memories of his friends, how they look, how they speak, their appalling accents! That’s right… because apparently, not only do most planets have a North, but they have a Scotland too (picture me saying it with a Scottish accent, far more amusing that way).

“You’ve redecorated… I don’t like it…” – Clara Oswald

Even though a regeneration can be seen as a renewal, poor, traumatized Clara (Jenna Coleman) seems quite skeptical this is her Doctor (in spite of meeting his earlier incarnations – including John Hurt’s War Doctor). Her assumption is, The Doctor should start out young. Had she met the first four Doctors, she wouldn’t have been in such shock (but then she had met them, when she was splintered across time and couldn’t remember those encounters).

As Madame Vastra (played by Neve McIntosh) points out, The Doctor is not a young man. He’s lived for centuries, millennia, in fact.  The Gallifreyan is over 2,000 years old (if he even remembers his age correctly by this point) by the time we see him in Deep Breath. He has lived many lives and has worn many faces. It is fair to say The Doctor is far from young.

Still, Clara needs convincing… but that’s not The Doctor’s only problem…
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Frazer Hines Returns To The Scottish Highlands In Outlander

Ok, now I feel vindicated when I say “all roads lead back to Doctor Who“. For those who haven’t guessed by now, the longest-running British science fiction series Doctor Who, happens to be my all-time favorite TV series. Further evidence supporting my “all roads” claim came today in the form of the latest casting news for the time travel drama Outlander.

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A FAN FAVORITE RETURNS

I was excited to hear that Frazer Hines, best known for his enduring portrayal as Jamie McCrimmon on Doctor Who, was cast on the new Starz series Outlander, as Sir Gordon Fletcher, the English warden of Wentworth Prison in Scotland.

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YOU CAN’T KEEP A GOOD SCOT DOWN

James Robert McCrimmon (Jamie to his friends) joined The Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) on board the TARDIS after the Battle of Culloden in 1746.  Jamie valiantly fought Daleks, Cybermen, Yeti and Ice Warriors alongside the Time Lord – when he and co-stars Deborah Watling (Victoria Waterfield) and later, Wendy Padbury (Zoe Herriot), weren’t running for their lives that is.

One of the few male companions to grace the TARDIS, Jamie endeared himself to fans as the brave, kilt-wearing young Highlander. Inquisitive, fiercely loyal and devoted to The Doctor, to this day, Jamie is considered one of Doctor Who’s most popular companions.

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Frazer left the series in 1969 in the ten part story The War Games, which introduced the Time Lords, on The Doctor’s home planet of Gallifrey. It also saw the departures of Wendy Padbury and Patrick Troughton. The Doctor, placed on trial by the High Council of the Time Lords, was forced to regenerate (into Third  Doctor Jon Pertwee) and exiled to Earth in the 1970’s – his sentence for contravening the First Law of Time. Sadly, Jamie and Zoe were returned to their respective timelines and their memories were wiped. They would no longer remember the adventures they had shared with The Doctor (almost, but not quite as heart-breaking as Donna Noble’s memory wipe, but I digress…).

Jamie was so beloved that Frazer returned to Doctor Who nearly two decades later. He had an all-too-brief cameo in The Five Doctors 20th Anniversary Special (1983), during the Peter Davison (The Fifth Doctor) era, and he was reunited with Patrick Troughton in The Two Doctors (1986), during the Colin Baker (The Sixth Doctor) era.  The 10th Doctor (David Tennant) even uses Jamie’s name in Tooth and Claw (2006).

ALL ROADS LEAD BACK

Author Diana Gabaldon revealed her Outlander books were inspired by Frazer’s portrayal on Doctor Who, and that makes this casting news even sweeter.

As a long-time fan of Doctor Who (and a fan of Jamie’s), I keep hoping for an on-screen reunion between Jamie and the current Doctor. We know how The Doctor hates goodbyes and Jamie isn’t supposed to remember him, but come on, there has to a be remedy for the Gallifreyan Memory Wipe surely?

Jamie does make a welcome return in the BBC sanctioned Doctor Who Big Finish Audios, but, like Sarah Jane Smith (played by the late Elisabeth Sladen), he’s one of those companions we keep hoping will crop back up again in the current series.

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing Frazer Hines in future episodes of Outlander.

RECOMMENDED LINKS

For more on the Outlander series of books, visit Diana Gabaldon’s site.

For more on the Big Finish line of audios, please visit their site.

Outlander airs Saturdays at 9pm on Starz.

Doctor Who returns to our screens on August 23rd.

Mental Illness and Awakening the Bodhisattva…

I originally wrote this as a Facebook post. More of a rant – a personal reaction. Outrage and sadness driving me.

I was only going to “say it once”, but after receiving so much positive feedback and encouragement from my friends, I realized this may be worth repeating…

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THE DEATH OF ROBIN WILLIAMS

I was deeply saddened to hear of Robin Williams’ passing yesterday. A man who, for many of us, felt like a favorite uncle growing up. Someone who encouraged us to be our most authentic selves – always weird and wonderful. Somehow, we think our childhood heroes are indestructible. That they’ll live forever. Alas, they’re just as human and frail as the rest of us.

Most of the world is mourning and celebrating the life of the late Robin Williams today. But I’ve also read some comments which deeply disturbed me.

Speculation on his mental state at the time of his death, and his history of depression and drug use – said with contempt and skepticism – angered me. I am dismayed and deeply disappointed by some of the things I’ve read. While mostly positive in nature, I’ve seen some very unkind, even cruel comments, some questioning his illness and his acts.

Robin had a history of illicit drug use. It was known. Some would say he brought his pain onto himself. I can’t conscience that. Sometimes drugs can cause permanent neurological damage, yes, but more often, they are a symptom, a way of self-medicating and masking the pain. Some say he committed a selfish act.

Regardless of the circumstances, if a man in pain took his life, mourn him, honor his good deeds and good works, and have compassion for him and his family. It isn’t for us to judge.

“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.”
― Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

MENTAL ILLNESS… WHAT IT IS

Depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are physiological disorders. They can cause behavioral, or emotional symptoms, yes, but one can not simply be talked out of having the symptoms, or feelings, associated with these very real physical illnesses.

Just because you cannot see the physical landscape of a person’s brain, and the neurological circuitry that is damaged, with the naked eye, does not make it any less real. You can see someone has a broken arm. You can’t see someone has a broken brain (for lack of a better way of putting it).

What causes mental illness? Most often a genetic predisposition (or physical vulnerability, if you will) often triggered later in life (teens, 20’s, or later) by physical and emotional trauma. It is not a “choice.” In some circumstances, direct injury to the brain, as seen with head trauma from a motor vehicle accident, is the cause.

While talk therapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy, can be helpful, it is best in combination with a regimen of medication, to help stabilize the patient’s brain chemistry, and can offer the most effective course of treatment.

Therefore, think carefully before judging someone struggling with a mental illness.

MY PERSONAL JOURNEY

How do I know so much about mental illness? I’ve done the research.

Why? I’ve been a caregiver to my mentally ill mother since I was 15 years old. She didn’t choose it. I didn’t choose to be born into a family with a person afflicted. But there it is. It is a daily struggle. For both the person with the illness and those closest to them. That is if most people haven’t abandoned them, as I’ve experienced all too often is the case.

How do you reason, or know to get help, when you don’t know how sick you truly are? If the very neural pathways and structures of the brain that involve reasoning, logic and self awareness or self reflection are compromised? Poor insight, as stated in Xavier Amador’s book, I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help! How to Help Someone With Mental Illness Accept Help, is quite common among those identified with psychiatric disorders.

I’m not ashamed of my situation. I used to be. I never told anyone about my mother growing up. It was too embarrassing and painful. I feared I would be judged poorly, or mistreated and rejected (sadly, I wasn’t always wrong). I don’t hide it anymore. It’s part of who I am. I won’t be ashamed, and for my part, I won’t propagate the stigma.

“In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is an enlightened (bodhi) being (sattva). Traditionally, a bodhisattva is anyone who is motivated by great compassion…”

AWAKEN THE BODHISATTVA

Mental illness is real. It is a condition. An illness. Like cancer. Or heart disease. It can be treated and it needs to be fully understood. Healthcare and government agencies need to catch up and deal with it.

As a community, we need to break the stigma and deal with it.

It’s time people educated themselves and learned to have some compassion. Think before you speak. The anonymous nature of the internet gives people a false sense of security to spout off without censoring themselves; things they’d never say in public during a face to face confrontation.

Learn from this. 

Those who live in glass houses should never throw stones. If you’ve ever experienced that abyss, then turn to someone in pain and HELP them — don’t judge or berate them. Don’t tell them to simply “snap out of it.”

Lastly, thank you for taking the time to read this and letting me share something so personal in the wake of something so tragic.

Brightest Blessings,
SylverWhisper

 

RECOMMEND LINKS

I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help! How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment by Xavier Amador

Surviving Schizophrenia: A Family Manual by E. Fuller Torrey

NAMI – National Alliance for the Mentally Ill 

Suicide is NOT a Selfish Act  by Kevin Caruso