Harmonic Divergence is the twenty-first issue of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight comic book series. Written by Jane Espenson and illustrated by Georges Jeanty, it was originally published on January 7, 2009 by Dark Horse Comics. Joss Whedon is the executive producer.
Television writer Jane Espenson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica) returns to Buffy the Vampire Slayer in Season Eight. Espenson is the first of five acclaimed writers that tackle this groundbreaking story arc — where Buffy fans are introduced to a new world where vampires are in and Slayers are out. Cue Harmony, the bubblegum cheerleader from Sunnydale High whose ambitions include blood sucking and stardom.
Harmony tries to work her way into a hot spot night club; after being turned down, she bumps into Andy Dick, who is taken in by her looks. He pulls her into a alley, where they are pursued by paparazzi cameras that catching Harmony feed from Andy. Later, Harmony, in her apartment looking at the photo on her computer, narrates about how it got her famous. The photo was released in tabloids which caused a world-wide stir of interest in vampires. Harmony uses this pop culture buzz to land her own reality TV show with MTV, much to the Scoobies' shock.
Elsewhere in the city, underneath a billboard ad for the Harmony Bites reality show, a Potential Slayer, Soledad, is trying to negotiate her way out of a street gang when she is jumped by the other members. She is suddenly imbued with the Slayer powers, and turns the tide of the brawl to her favor. Soledad leaves the gang to walk through the city, until she watches in shop window the television Slayer Organization commercial for girls who have been recently imbued but have no where to turn. Rather than call the number as advertised, she figures that she would rather be discovered. To her surprise, she is approached by Andrew himself. After talking to Buffy on the phone, the Slayer figures that joining Buffy and the other girls would just be joining another gang.
The Slayer decides to have her gang tattoo covered up. While she is in the parlor, Harmony and Clem show up with the reality show in tow. Soledad approaches the crew about getting on to the show, and they tell her that they will be shooting a party scene later that night and she is welcomed to come. At the party, the Slayer shows up, has her stake removed by security, and waits until Harmony makes her big scene arrival. Soledad then improvises by breaking a clapboard, and uses the wooden shard to attack Harmony. Her attack is thwarted by the vampires throwing her dog at the Slayer; she Slayer recovers but not before Harmony grabs hold of the clapboard shard, impaling Soledad on live television.
Worldwide watchers are shocked and enthralled, propelling the reality show to number two. Harmony's publicists feed news organizations information that the Slayers are really villains, even worse than Nazis. As Anderson Cooper carries on a interview with Harmony, Buffy fear the world believes it.
- Harmony has the vampire exposed to the general public, beginning the social-cultural phenomenon known as the vampire craze, allowing her to then become the leader of Reform Vampirism.
- Soledad watches the commercial for the Slayer Organization, as the unnamed underground decoy also had (The Chain).
- Willow mentions once again her attraction to Tina Fey, as she first had in issue Anywhere but Here.
- Harmony gives her first televised interview, which she'll give again in Harmony Comes to the Nation and Swell.
- Becoming a reality star celebrity with her own show, Harmony will then participate of Dancing with the Stars (Last Gleaming, Part Five) and Britain's Got Talent (In Perfect Harmony).
- Anderson Cooper
- Andy Dick
- Alexander Harris
- Harmony Kendall
- Willow Rosenberg
- Buffy Summers
- Dawn Summers
- Violet (Only in television)
- Andrew Wells
Organizations and titles
- United States
Weapons and objects
- Soledad, impaled and drained by Harmony Kendall.
Behind the scenes
- This issue follows the trend of entitled episodes after Harmony: "Disharmony", "Harm's Way". This will continue with the comic stories "Harmony Bites", "Harmony Comes to the Nation", In Perfect Harmony, and Day Off (or Harmony in My Head).
- The gang's name "Las Cuchillas" is Spanish for "The Knifes".
- Among the panel of tattoos at Do You Ink I'm Sexy, there were some Buffyverse references: Faith's arm tattoo, a "5x5" in reference to her catchphrase, a B from Buffy the Vampire Slayer logo, and Angel's back tattoo.
- Unnamed in the story, editor Scott Allie revealed the Slayer's name as "Soledad" later in an interview, commenting: "Jeez, did we never address her by name in the comic? Sloppy, sorry."
- Andy Dick and Anderson Cooper are two of the few real life celebrities to be inserted into the Buffyverse. Other than the numerous musical acts during the series, some examples of these characters are Aimee Mann and Stephen Colbert.
- Writer Jane Espenson has explained choosing the journalist to question Slayers: "I actually picked Anderson Cooper because he is believable. He is credible, and if you hear Anderson Coooper saying, "What is this shadowy organization?" it's not Rush Limbaugh saying it. Anderson Cooper is someone we tend to think of as credible and reasonable. So I picked him as a sign of reasonability, not of gullibility. I want us to say, 'Oh, smart people are saying, 'What's up with these Slayers?'' So Anderson, you can take it as a compliment."
- Harmonic Divergence was the tenth best selling comic issue in its publishing month, with 69,980 sales in January 2009 at comic specialty stores.
Pop culture references
- A paparazzo mentions actress Lindsey Lohan's mother, in reference to television personality Dina Lohan.
- Harmony mentions celebrity news website TMZ and television entertainment show Entertainment Tonight.
- Harmony goes to the Creative Artists Agency building.
- Harmony visits MTV's building.
- Willow compares Harmony with actress Tina Fey.
- One of the televisions has the fictional creature from Alien franchise.
- Some recognizable designs at the tattoo parlor had the logos of: fictional superhero team Fantastic Four, fictional character Punisher, fictional organization B.P.R.D., and the musician Prince.
- Willow mentions website Variety magazine's website.
- American Idol is mentioned as the most watched television program.
- Andrew wears a Spice World shirt.
- French: Harmonique Divergente (Harmonic Divergence)
- German: Disharmonische Harmonie (Disharmonic Harmony)
- Italian: Armoniche Divergenze (Harmonic Divergences)
- Russian: Гармоническое отклонение (Harmonic Divergence)
- Turkey: Avcılar ve Av, Kısım Bir (Hunters and Hunting, Part One)
- ↑ "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #21: Harmonic Divergence". Dark Horse Comics.
- ↑ Scott Allie Q&A for #21 - January '09. SlayAlive Forum, January 07, 2009. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
- ↑ Matt Brady, “Jane Espenson: Buffy, Harmony and… Anderson Cooper?”. Newsarama, January 09, 2009.
- ↑ "Top 300 Comics Actual--January 2009" ICv2, February 16, 2009. Retrieved February 25, 2018.