Dark Horse editor Scott Allie chats with Persephone Magazine about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season Nine’s big moments and fans’ burning questions on the release of the latest issue. This is part two of two in a series of interviews with the Buffy comic editor and writer. Warning: major spoilers for issues #1-8 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season Nine.
Last month, Persephone Magazine caught up with Allie to talk about what’s been going on with our favorite slayer. In addition to discussing the recent pregnancy storyline, we touched on a certain mind-boggling revelation that took place in issue #7–you know, the one where Buffy is a robot? As it turns out, the story is a little more complicated than we originally may have thought. On the release of the aptly titled, â€œApart (of Me) Part One,â€ we once again get to pick the brain of the editor and co-writer himself, Mr. Allie.
Persephone Magazine: Okay, so maybe you can help us wrap our heads around this new development. How could a robot Buffy believe that she was pregnant?
Scott: Through the various imperfections of Andrew’s Buffybot, Buffy’s consciousness, which is in the ’bot, mistakenly came to believe that she was pregnant.
A lot of people (myself included) feel very uncomfortable with what Andrew did to Buffy, without her consent, and feel that it crosses into some icky territory.
Oh yeah, it’s very bad territory. Andrew will have a lot to make up for. Andrew has certain considerable moral blind spots. He faces a lot of anger from Buffy and Spike in my arc, but they need him, so they don’t toss him.
There seems to be a lot of political satire at play in issue #8–especially when it comes to Andrew’s decision to â€œprotectâ€ Buffy without her consent. This is extraordinarily paternalistic. Was there a conscious effort on your part to draw a parallel to the current political climate surrounding women’s reproductive rights? Or am I reaching for a connection here because of the recent abortion storyline?
No, it’s intentional. Or a lot of it is, but then some of it just naturally rises out of the situation. Andrew hijacked her body. Andrew made decisions about her body–why? For her own good, of course. Obviously Andrew is an imperfect stand-in for our paternalistic society, but that’s where the art comes in, so to speak. That is, if Riley were behind this, or if the Watcher Council had reformed somehow, it would be sort of on the nose. Even though the pregnancy is revealed to be fake, the themes that we brought up in these issues will reverberate through the season. Buffy will be dealing with the decision she made, even if she doesn’t deal with the act itself. This season is not about abortion, but even more than other stories, it’s about choices we make, and about the things that this young woman, who was Chosen, is going to choose to do with her life now.
So, in a way, the abortion storyline was a more literal manifestation of the themes of this arc as a whole?
Yeah. The abortion storyline was one aspect of Buffy’s story of determining her own future as an adult. That’s always what this season was meant to be about, and this arc explores it in a particular way. The next arc tackles in in another way.
Will Buffy be able to forgive Andrew for what he did?
Being Buffy, she’ll want to. As I said, she believes she needs his help right now. But it’s not going to be easy.
Was anyone else was in on Andrew’s plot?
No. He thought he’d be more of a hero if he acted alone. He got the tech he needed from Warren’s place at the end of Season 8, and that’s where he got the idea to try this.
Okay, so I have to ask this one–how could Spike have been fooled by the Buffybot? Can’t he smell the real Buffy a mile away?
That’s not a bad point, he has some experience with the Buffybot, so he should have detected this. There was a line about that in at one point, but we got rid of it. I’m foggy on a vampire’s ability to smell. I recently had a question for Juliet Landau about one of her scripts, relating to that.
This question is cross-overish with Angel, the television series, so forgive me, but the suburban setting that Buffy’s body was being kept in reminded me a lot of the suburban hell dimension from the episode “Underneath.” Coincidence?
I don’t know, you’d have to ask Joss. Maybe this is him returning to that well, in some sense. But in writing the scripts, I’ve been thinking a lot more about Dollhouse than Angel.
That’s very interesting. Why the Dollhouse connection?
Well, it was all Joss’s idea to put the consciousness of Buffy in a Buffybot, who wouldn’t realize she was not Buffy, and also to put a Stepford Buffy consciousness in the actual Buffy. It seemed very Dollhouse to me, and then we had Andrew [Chambliss] working on it, so it just seemed natural, unavoidable. Even Cliff, the artist on this arc, was the artist on our Dollhouse series. It got to where, in writing the scripts, I felt like I had to reference Dollhouse a little bit, because it was an elephant in the room. Dollhouse has a lot to do with free will, self-determination, and so it’s a natural touchstone for this whole season.
While Buffy’s pregnancy/robot plot has gotten a lot of attention, Xander and Dawn have sort of faded to the background. Xander slamming his hand into the wall out of anger was a bit startling. What is going on with them?
They’re in trouble. Their plot will start coming forward, but you need to wait a bit longer. I get into it a little more in #9, but then in #10 things get too complicated with Buffy to really deal with them, unfortunately. It will be quite a while yet before their story really takes off, but it’s been percolating nice and quietly on the side for a while. There have been clues â€¦
Like when Xander was flirting with Buffy at the party a couple issues back?
He wasn’t flirting. That scene was widely misread. You were meant to misread it, so, good Joss, but there was a lot going on in that interaction that will make more sense later.
At the end the issue we see Buffy the housewife being thrown into the back of a van by Simone, who declares that she is going to liberate Buffy from â€œthis Betty Crocker bull&%$@.â€ Can you any teasers about what’s to come?
Simone’s still mad about the end of magic, the end of the Slayer army, the fact that Buffy wouldn’t go militant in quite the way Simone wanted her to. I think she’s mostly mad about never having a shot at being number one. So she has plans for Buffy, and she found out that the girl running around the wharfs in San Francisco wasn’t really her, and that the real Buffy was in hiding. She didn’t know the true nature of Buffy’s suburban arrangements, but she was intent on showing Buffy who the best Slayer was.
Well, there you have it, Persephoneers! I hope you’ve enjoyed my two part interview series with Scott Allie! Maybe we can convince him to come back for more.
In the meantime–for those of you who’ve been following the comics–what do you think of the recent plot developments?