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Buffy Season Eight: Retreat, Part 1

Buffy: "Giles, are they right? Are we the bad guys? We've killed. Since the beginning. All of us. Even the best of us."


Willow, flying disguised as a sea gull, carries Buffy, disguised as a fish, to a secret island base protected by Wiccan magicks and disguised to look uninhabited.

(Meanwhile...) Giles and Faith are hiding underground in Germany when they're attacked by assorted demons, and wind up on a train, going to the island.

(Meanwhile...) Andrew's slayers are hiding in the catacombs under Rome when Warren shows up to lie to Andrew and distract him from Amy and the attacking goatmen. Andrew and his slayers use the bones as weapons (how humerus). They retreat and wind up on a truck on their way to the island, too.

Everyone is finally on the secret Island together, when Twilight's demons show up on the other side of the island's land bridge. Willow makes the land bridge disappear, and tanks and demons fall into the sea. Next, the demons load catapults with lots of bad stuff. Willow takes a demon off somewhere to interrogate him. She returns, referring to the demon as skinless (uh oh), and says that Twilight has found them because he's homing in on all of the magicks. Big battle, slayers and demons. The final magical shield comes down and the surviving slayers and Scoobies retreat to a secret submarine.

In a room in the sub, Buffy and Giles talk about the fact that they're losing Willow again. (If she's skinning demons, I think they're right.) Buffy tells Giles about her trip to the future and that she killed Willow there. Buffy wonders if perhaps Twilight is right about the slayers. She decides that Willow -- that everyone -- needs the one guy who has conquered magic.

Willow does one last spell to move the submarine to an extremely dry dock in the boonies of Tibet. And there is Oz, who sees the submarine and says, "Huh."


We've spent 25 issues watching our characters split up, and now they're finally all together again. Willow is once again addicted to magic, which will lead directly to what happened between Buffy and Willow in the future. We even have Warren around again to remind us of what happened to Willow the last time. And Oz just came back, hopefully to save Willow from herself. Can't ask for more than that.

Having all of the slayers running scared was pretty effective. The early bits with Giles and Faith hiding in Germany were transparent allusions to the slayers as a persecuted minority group: all of the slayers are in danger because of what they are. Buffy is starting to think that maybe Twilight is right, too, that a couple of thousand slayers may not be what the world needs, after all. It took some time to get Buffy to this point. Many, many issues and a couple of years. Looong time.

Where can it go from here? A reversal of the spell with the Scythe? Buffy and Faith as the only slayers in the world again? I'm not sure how I feel about a reversal of season seven, the climax of the series. The empowerment of all of those young women felt so good, so fitting and right. It's a complex issue, and it's being treated with complexity.

I've been down on the comics for awhile, so I was surprised at how much I liked this one. Maybe because it finally feels like something solid is happening and we're actually moving toward a conclusion. And maybe it's because this one was written by Jane Espenson.

Bits and pieces:

-- Oz on the cover rather spoiled the final panel surprise.

-- And I'd rather hoped Warren was on his way out, so I was bummed to see what's left of his face on the cover. Rats.

-- So I guess you could say the cover wasn't a success.


Faith: "I'm just saying. Waiting for the end in a bunker under Berlin...got a bad feel to it."

Andrew: "When you start using bones in your decorating, you've got too many bones."

Andrew: "Stay here, safe with the ... skull flower."

Warren: "You must know what shame's like, living with it every day. Linked with these slayer-fascists, trying to control everyone..."
Andrew: "That's not true!"
Warren: "Are you sure? Everyone says it. Olbermann did a special comment on it. Called them modern-day blackshirts."
Andrew: "Keith said that?"

Slayer 1: "Use the bones!"
Slayer 2: "It seems so wrong! Won't they mind?"
Slayer 1: "They're martyrs. They're into it."

Giles: "We're out of the bunker. No more bad associations."
Faith: "Uh-huh, a cattle car across Germany is much better."

Willow: "I just got an alert. They found us."
Buffy: "Who found us?"
Willow: "Everyone."
Buffy: "Which everyone?"
Willow: "Giles, Faith, Andrew, five slayers from the Italian group, and every demon in Scotland. (pause) They're not together."

Giles: "I'd... I'd ask for an explanation and then express skepticism, demand to be convinced... but I don't think we have time."

On to part two,

Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.

1 comment:

  1. Easily one of the better issues, some nice characters moments in this one.

    I hope the time this season wraps up that Warren is pernamently killed off as well.

    And hey, Oz!


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