|Buffy Season Eight|
|Issue 16-19: Time of Your Life|
|Written by||Joss Whedon|
|Published by||Dark Horse Comics|
Wolves at the Gate
After These Messages ... We'll Be Right Back!
"Time of Your Life" is the fourth story arc that spreads from the sixteenth through the nineteenth issue of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight series of comic books, a continuation of the television series of the same name. It is written by Joss Whedon. A crossover with Whedon's earlier Buffy spin-off, the Fray series (2001-2003), "Time of Your Life" features artwork by Karl Moline, co-creator of Fray.
Part I (Issue #16)
Bad day. Started bad, stayed that way.
We begin with Buffy fighting future Slayer, Melaka Fray, in midair in the future New York City. Flashing back to the past, Xander, Willow, and Buffy eat Chinese food and discuss what Willow saw during her encounter with Kumiko. Willow believes that she received the message for a reason, and hopes to act before losing another Slayer like Renee. At the reference of her death, we learn that Xander is still dealing with his loss, but can’t afford to be shielded from reality. While Xander is speaking, Leah bursts into the room to inform them that something is going on with Dawn. When the three of them arrive in the orchard, they find that Dawn is no longer giant sized, but is now a centaur. Meanwhile, Twilight, Amy and Warren discuss the effectiveness of a giant rune-covered missile they’ve constructed. Back in Scotland, Xander has prepared a helicopter to fly Buffy and Willow to an airport, where they catch a private plane. During the flight Buffy informs Willow that she will need a couple of hours to take a private meeting. They soon arrive in New York City where Willow's advance team, including her girlfriend Kennedy, and Slayer Vi, are waiting to begin the operation. Vi explains that the problem with Willow's vision is that it's hard to pin down anything mystical since so many mystical things are happening in New York. Willow clarifies things as much as possible by explaining that something is causing a disruption of the time frame similar to that of a ripple effect, a single event existing spatially that is affecting past, present and future time. Back in Scotland, Xander and Dawn are talking about her transformation into a centaur. While walking back to the castle, Xander notices something headed right for it: the missile that Warren built. He can only watch helplessly as it hits the castle. Back in New York, Kennedy, Willow and a few slayers are at the scene of the temporal shift: a high-rise building at the corner of 53rd and Lexington. Moments later, Buffy joins the girls from her private meeting wearing a short dress and boots. When questioned Buffy offers to change, but not before a sudden flash of light zaps Buffy away and replaces her with a demon. Finding herself in the demon's place in the future, Buffy is twice punched in the face. Her assailant is revealed to be Fray, who was fighting the demon that took Buffy's place, and thinks it has shape-shifted itself to look like the long-dead Slayer. Fray uses a lot of futuristic slang as she rains the blows on Buffy and finally succeeds in knocking her down.
Part II (Issue #17)
This is the place.
Prior to encountering Buffy, Fray and her sister Erin follow a B-42 harboring numerous vampires. Fray captures one in mid-air amongst the skyscrapers. She demands from him the whereabouts of her vampire twin brother and archenemy, Harth. The vampire claims that Harth has allied himself with a mysterious, powerful woman with dark powers, known as the Mad Woman. Fray informs her sister that she read in the Watchers Diaries of the woman in question; however she is unable to put her finger on whom exactly. At a docking site, Harth and the mysterious figure, who clouds herself in the shadow, supervise a number of vampires transporting helpless victims in and out of trucks. The woman explains to Harth that her menacing plans will ripple to the present. Meanwhile back in the present, Willow comforts a wounded Kennedy. When asked as to why Willow has tamed the beast and not killed it, she explains that she believes that it and Buffy switched places in time. At the castle, Xander bursts into the command central where it wreaths in green flames. Rowena reports to him that most of the Slayers have escaped through the tunnels, however the West Tower has collapsed. Suddenly, medieval Cobra-faced foot soldiers appear and shoot an arrow in Xander's shoulder. Dawn arrives on the scene and attacks the soldiers with her hooves. She then picks up the wounded Xander and carries him out of the castle. In the future, Fray arrives on a rooftop and battles a beast. The beast exchanges places with Buffy, igniting the fight between both Slayers. Buffy finally manages to calm Fray down. She wonders how many Slayers there are in Fray's time, to which Melaka replies: "One. Half." She explains that she is the only Slayer in a long time, and that her brother Harth carries the prophecies and the collective Slayer memories that should've been imbued in Fray. The future Slayer takes Buffy to her employer, Gunther, a fish-like mutant who resides in an aquarium apartment, where they question him about who the mysterious woman is. At the docks with Harth the woman he has aligned himself with is revealed to be Dark Willow.
Part III (Issue #18)
Buffy searches through the Watchers' diaries where she can hardly find anything recorded about her or the Slayer army she created. Fray reports that there's been some lurk activity in the Uppers. In the present, Willow and Kennedy are in their bedroom going through books with hopes to find a means to retrieve Buffy from the future. Kennedy suggests that Willow contact her source. In the woods after the main Castle exploded, we see Xander still riding on a centaur Dawn's back as they flee from the creatures that invaded the castle. A short time later, a hoard of tree-demons threaten them and order them to leave their woods. In the future, Harth tells Gunther that he is upset because he knows Gunther has been telling Fray about his activities. After the two argue, Harth and his vampire gang leave the room, leaving a squad of vampires swimming inside Gunther's tank ready to attack him. Meanwhile, Buffy and Fray have stolen a flying car, one that has coded-access to the "Uppers", where they see a group of vampires attacking defenseless humans. Fray is ready to go and slay the vampires but Buffy tells her not to because they need to find where Harth's hunting parties are coming from, and that they cannot afford the time to rescue everyone. Fray refuses to listen and slays the vampires leaving Buffy behind. As Fray finishes off all the vamps Dark Willow approaches behind her. In the present Kennedy helps Willow to make contact to Saga Vasuki and asks her how to get Buffy back to the present. Saga tells Willow that the time rift will reopen that night and warns Willow not to look into the future when saving Buffy. In the future, Dark Willow uses the little magic she has left to show Fray something in order to gain her trust. When Buffy gets to Fray’s apartment she is confronted by Fray's sister, Erin. In the middle of the conversation with Erin, Buffy is zapped with a ray gun by Fray, and falls to the floor in pain.
Part IV (Issue #19)
I hate history
In the future, Dark Willow is musing on how long she has lived and how she dislikes living through history while Buffy is chained up unconscious to a chair in Fray’s apartment. Fray asks what the plan is, telling Dark Willow that she won't kill a slayer, no matter what Dark Willow has shown her. Willow tells Fray to keep Buffy there long enough to miss the "extraction" at midnight; she seems to want Buffy not to go back to the present. Fray tells Erin what Dark Willow showed her: That if Buffy goes back, she will "change the world". Willow has told her that Buffy going back to the present will result in changes that will mean Fray's future will not come to pass. Buffy wakes up, confused that Willow is dark and wondering if Kennedy is alright. Before they can speak further, Harth appears with a pack of vampires, annoyed that Willow has acted without him and left him out of the plan. While Buffy tells Fray and Erin to untie her, Harth asks Willow why she told him bringing Buffy to the future would cause his world to be, but told Fray the opposite. She admits she is lying to either Fray or Harth but won't say who. As Harth threatens to kill everyone in the room, Gunther appears, still angry after his visit from Harth and his lurks, and causes a commotion that, along with help of Fray’s spider-monkey, frees Buffy. A fight ensues between all parties and Buffy makes her way out. In the present, Dawn, Xander and the forest creatures are preparing to battle against the demons that invaded the Castle. Xander is unsure about fighting, believing they have no chance, but Dawn tells him they have to make a stand. As the fight starts, they are outnumbered until Xander's team of slayers appears with a group of Wiccans, who use magic to make the creatures corporeal, and easier to kill. The slayers and forest creatures start to fight against the demons. In the future, Buffy has escaped and is searching for the building where the extraction, to be caused by Willow in the present, is to appear. When she arrives Fray is there, telling Buffy she can't let her go, as it may cause her world to disappear. They begin to fight, watched by Dark Willow. Buffy realizes that while Fray has the upper hand as she is in her own world, she lacks what Buffy has, the memories and dreams of every battle that every Slayer has had. The fight continues with Buffy eventually gaining the upper hand. In the present, Warren and Amy are seen conferring with Twilight and a fourth, unseen figure, about the failed attack on the Castle. As the dialogue comes to a conclusion, the shadowy figure is revealed as Riley Finn, with what looks like a Twilight symbol carved onto his chest. He tells Twilight that Buffy is so stuck in the past, and when she secretly met him in New York, she even got dressed up. Still in the present, a blindfolded Willow is preparing to bring Buffy back. In the future as Buffy runs for the portal that appears, she's chased by Fray and her Scythe. As Fray swings at her, Buffy smashes Fray's scythe and punches her away, telling her she is sorry. Dark Willow has moved in front of the portal, blocking it. Buffy tells her she will go through her to get home, and with tears in her eyes, stabs her in the heart. Dark Willow falls away from the portal just as present-day Willow reaches forward seeking Buffy. As Fray looks on, aghast, Buffy leaves Haddyn and returns to New York where she runs to Willow, hugs her, and tells her she loves her. In the future, Fray lies alone on the rooftop, with the dead body of Dark Willow nearby. Erin arrives, telling Fray that Gunther ran Harth off and they ponder Dark Willow's motives as they realize that their reality is safe.
Behind the Scenes
- See also: canon
This series has been described as canon by both Whedon and various commentators. As the creator of Buffy, Joss Whedon's association with Buffyverse story is often linked to how canonical the various stories are. Since this story is part of the larger canonical "Season Eight" plotted by Whedon, it is considered to continue from the official continuity established by Buffy and Angel.
- Intended to be set at least a year and a half after BtVS's seventh season. The precise timing of this arc is currently uncertain.
- The exchange portal in issue 16 is similar to the one used in "Get It Done" in which a large demon appears when Buffy is transported to the time of the the First Slayer and the Shadow Men.
- Willow states that Buffy has apparently never been in a limo, which is not true. She and Cordelia rode in a limo that they thought was going to deliver them to the Homecoming Dance in the third season episode, Homecoming. In context, it's possible that Willow was merely making fun of Buffy. Another explanation is that Willow simply forgot this minor detail from over five years ago, since she never actually saw Buffy in said limo.
- There is a misprint in #17 stating that Part Three (#18) will be made available to sale on August 6 2008 rather than the correct September release date.
- Also, in issue #18 it was stated that Part Four (#19) would be released on October 1st 2008. But official date was changed by Dark Horse (on its official site) to November 26th 2008 due to artist delays.
- In issue 18, while Buffy is (horribly) driving a flying car, Fray tells her "Summers, you drive like a spaz," which is exactly what Principal Snyder tells Buffy in "Band Candy".
- When Buffy meets Erin, a law enforcement agent, Buffy states that her high school aptitude test said she would do well in a law enforcement career, a reference to "What's My Line, Part One".
- The outfit Buffy wears when she joins the girls from her private meeting with Riley in issue #16 is similar to an outfit she wore in "Welcome to the Hellmouth".
- "Frak", in issue # 18, is a reference to Battlestar Galactica, where it's used as a not-so-subtle replacement for "fuck".
- The opening line Buffy uses in issue 16, "Bad day. Started bad, stayed that way.", is the same as Fray's first opening dialog when the reader meets her in the Fray comic series.
- The trade paperback collection of Time of Your Life also includes After These Messages ... We'll Be Right Back!.
- Buffy being transported into the future and meeting someone who has been changed (i.e. Willow) is a idea also used in the Ongoing Angel series Angel: The Wolf, the Ram, and the Heart. Angel is forcefully transported into the future and discovers Illyria, who has been changed. "Time of your life" was written before 'Angel: The Wolf, the Ram and the Heart'.
- On the variant cover of issue 18, the flying car that Buffy and Fray are riding in has the licence plate reading 'Starfury'. This is in reference by Georges Jeanty (who drew the image) to Starfury Conventions, a popular UK-based convention organiser, due to Jeanty being a guest at one of their events previously.