(1) Journeys (Buffy/Multiverse)
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 2nd October 2002 (1)
The summary says: "Grads over and Xander leaves on his Road Trip. He winds up going a lot further then he ever expected." You could almost sub-title this story "How Xander Got His Cool", since this summer of adventure turns Xander from an Everyman into a Hero, complete with super-powers (or at least, an indestructable sentient weapon, same diff). The rationale for how he survived some of the things he went through was that the Soldier and the Hyena spirits were still there, able to be tapped; which I guess is reasonably plausible. And the Weapon in question, well, you're allowed one uncanny coincidence, I guess. Mind you, they're quite exciting and snappy adventures, fun to read, and let's not forget playing spot-the-crossover. Charmed, Seven Days, Shadow, Predator, Alien, Stargate, Pretender and probably some others that I didn't recognise.
(2) Home Again (Buffy/Multiverse)
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 2nd October 2002 (2)
Welcome to the further adventures of Xander-Sue Harris. I'm sorry, but it's true. Various disturbing hallmarks of the Mary-Sue are quite clear here -- other characters keep remarking on how great he is; it's he that saves the world -- not single-handedly, but they couldn't have done it without his amazing organizational skills in getting his super-powered friends along to help, and everyone loves him for it, except for the one person who's on the outer whom Xander doesn't trust anyway... (I'm sorry, I just can't believe that Xander's summer experiences would have given him organizational skills. Fighting skills, yes. Leadership skills, no.) Not to mention the lectures which spring from Xander's mouth (like his sudden negative reaction to hearing that a civilian was in charge of a military unit -- I just can't believe that Xander would care one way or another about that; if the Soldier spirit has permeated Xander so much that he's picked up on its attitudes, when in the series itself there was absolutely no sign of that, then this thing is seriously out of whack). And then we have the deep angst and guilt that Xander feels over things that he had no control over, and that other characters eventually (almost) convince him were not his fault. And of course there are the Nightmares. Not that I wouldn't expect him to have nightmares, but to be more realistic, he'd not only have nightmares, but uncontrollable fighting reflexes which would be rather difficult to hide from his friends. Oh well. But hide it from his friends he does, at which they get pissed off, but when he explains his reasons, they contritely accept without question. Huh?
All this just left me wondering a bit if Johnathan had found another perfection spell and cast it on Xander instead of himself... (ah, now wouldn't that be a twist...) (not very likely, though.)
Take this, for example:
Graham nodded. "Good. I know you're hurting man, but Harris did what he had to do... You know that as well as I do."
"That guy worries me," Riley admitted, "How the hell does he warrant the kind of support and firepower he managed to pull together?"
"I don't know..." Graham shrugged, "I'm just glad he and his friends are on our side."
All that being said, however, again, these adventures are exciting and engrossing. Xander doesn't actually do everything, the cast of thousands do actually strut their stuff in the Battle to Save The Earth. And we do get some fun lines too.