The Long Way Home (Buffy comic)


The Long Way Home (Buffy comic)

Supercbbox| title = The Long Way Home


caption= Trade paperback cover art by Jo Chen
schedule = Monthly
publisher=Dark Horse Comics
date = March 14, 2007- June 6, 2007
issues = "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" season eight #1-4
past_current_color =
main_char_team = Buffy Summers Xander Harris Willow Rosenberg Dawn Summers Rupert Giles Andrew Wells Amy Madison Warren Mears
writers = Joss Whedon
artists = Georges Jeanty
pencillers =
inkers = Andy Owens
colorists = Dave Stewart
creative_team_month =
creative_team_year =
creators = Joss Whedon
Episode list = List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes
preceding ="Chosen"
following ="The Chain|"

"The Long Way Home" is the first arc from the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight" series of comic books, a direct continuation of the television series of the same name. It is written by creator Joss Whedon.cite news | author=Rickey A. Purdin | url=http://www.wizarduniverse.com/magazine/wizard/002837101.cfm | title=Buffy Season 8 | publisher=Wizard Entertainment | date=2006-12-20 | accessdate=2007-02-15] It ran for four issues. The first issue was released on March 14, 2007,cite news | url=http://www.darkhorse.com/profile/preview.php?theid=14-111 | title=Dark Horse Comics > Preview > Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1 | publisher=Dark Horse Comics | accessdate=2007-02-15] and the final issue of the arc was released on June 6, 2007.cite news | url=http://www.darkhorse.com/profile/profile.php?sku=14-114 | title=Dark Horse Comics > Profile > Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8: #4 | publisher=Dark Horse Comics | accessdate=2007-06-10] A collected edition of the arc was released on November 14, 2007.cite news | url=http://www.comicscontinuum.com/stories/0706/11/darkhorsesept.htm | title=Comics Continuum by Rob Allstetter: Dark Horse Comics for September | publisher=Comics Continuum | accessdate=2007-06-11]

Plot

Part I (Issue #1)

Buffy is leading a squad of Slayers--including three named Leah, Rowena, and Satsu--in a raid on a large, dilapidated church protected by a forcefield. She reveals that there are at least 1800 Slayers now active, 500 of whom are working with the Scooby Gang spread over ten squads, and that there are two Slayers posing as decoys of herself lest she become an easy target; one literally underground and another in Rome publicly partying and dating the Immortal. Working with Xander, who is running things at Slayer headquarters in Scotland (Buffy refers to him as a Watcher despite his objections) with a team of computer workers, psychics and mystics, including a Slayer named Renee, Buffy and her squad find three monstrous demons surrounded by a trio of dead bodies.

After slaying the demons, one of whom Buffy impales through the head with a crucifix, the Slayers investigate the bodies. Each one has an odd symbol cut into their chest, and Buffy finds automatic weapons, which leads her to believe that the victims came looking for a fight. Buffy tells Xander to send a copy of the symbol to Giles, when another Slayer finds the machine that generated the force field, also presumably belonging to the victims. We get a glimpse of someone--just boots and cape revealed--floating above the church watching the Slayers.

In Sunnydale, General Voll of the United States Army surveys the crater left after the collapse of the Hellmouth, calling the Slayers a threat to the United States government and likening their squads to terrorist cells. A government expedition is being led sixty feet under the Hellmouth, but is cut short when one of the exploratory members encounters something.

Back in Scotland, Buffy and Xander try to puzzle out the meaning of the occult symbol; Xander calls it a "guy with a monocle frowning," while Buffy opts for "a beautiful sunset." Xander mentions to Buffy that she must talk to Dawn, so reluctantly she visits her sister, who is now giant-size and living in the basement of the headquarters. Buffy believes that her size was caused by Dawn losing her virginity to her ex-boyfriend Kenny, who was a Thricewise (Mimir in Norse mythology has been referred to as a Thricewise). However, Dawn won't divulge anything to Buffy, instead preferring to talk to Willow when Willow returns.

After a brief, bitter feud, during which Buffy mentions that Dawn should be at Berkeley, Buffy goes outside to reflect. She reveals that she and Dawn haven't gotten along since the Hellmouth was closed and all of the potential Slayers were activated, and that she misses her mom, her home, the gang, churros, and sex.

At a government facility, General Voll is shown an unrevealed creature captured from the Hellmouth (the "boyfriend" of the explorer's attacker), whom he meets with disgust. General Voll is then informed of the attacker, whose first words to the explorer were reportedly, "I'm gonna help you kill her." In return for her help, she requests access to all of the government's magical hardware and a weapons lab for her "boyfriend." If they succeed in taking down Buffy, she wants release and full immunity for the both of them, as well as plentiful amounts of cheese. General Voll queries about the subject's identity, and she is revealed to be Amy Madison.

Part II (Issue #2)

Giles is training a horde of Slayers in an unspecified location, and is disappointed in their performances; he tells them that they have a technique and a power that may even be capable of defeating Buffy, but that they're all fighting alone, failing to look out for the rest of the team. In Scotland, Buffy is having the same problem with her Slayers, who are practicing with swords. To demonstrate the problems with their abilities, she asks Leah, Satsu, and Rowena to "kick my ass," yet she easily defeats them. She then compliments Satsu on her hair.

In Southern Italy, Andrew is outside with a group of Slayers, where he is supposed to be teaching them about fighting strategies and techniques. However, he's gotten lost in a ramble about Lando Calrissian, and how he would sooner believe that the Ewoks were capable of defeating the Empire than that a leader would wear Calrissian's outfit. He only gets back to teaching when one Slayer asks him why they use "medieval junk" as weapons instead of guns. Andrew repeats the mandate that Buffy has used for years, that a Slayer never uses a gun. He then goes on to talk about the do's and don'ts of headbutting.

Back in Scotland, Dawn takes a bath in the loch while Xander talks to her about her problems with Buffy. Dawn admits that she feels like Buffy hates her, and expresses jealousy over the fact that Buffy now has 500 "new and improved Slayer sisters." Xander then tentatively asks Dawn if she perhaps made herself giant-sized on purpose. Dawn subsequently splashes him with a sizable wave of water, prompting Xander to complain that he only has two of his military outfits.

In the United States of America, General Voll and his assistant discuss Amy's plan to dispatch Buffy, referring to Amy as "their op." Voll complains that they can't just use a nuclear weapon to destroy Buffy's base of operations, to which his assistant replies that if they were to do so, they would get noticed and most likely indicted. Voll questions his assistant's commitment, saying that, "There is no problem so big or complicated that it can't be blown up." They then discuss that if Amy fails, they will send in her boyfriend to do the job. After this, Voll goes to take a nap, and once he's in his private quarters, it is revealed that he has the same symbol cut into his chest as the victims Buffy discovered in the church earlier.

Meanwhile, Xander talks to Buffy about his discussion with Dawn, including his suggestion that Dawn purposely made herself larger, which Buffy finds too literal an answer. Buffy then asks Xander to come to bed with her. He says that they both know that it's a bad idea, but she promises to be gentle. They move into Buffy's room, where Buffy passionately starts kissing Xander before his head pops off. After frantically saying she's afraid of the dark, she is sucked through the castle wall, falling to the ground. She wishes not to fall, and a gigantic demon impales her feet and hands with its claws, creating an image similar to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Buffy mentions that she knows the demon, before the demon burns her alive with its fire breath.

It is revealed that this is all a dream, and that Amy is standing in Buffy's room above the sleeping Buffy, preparing to drive a dagger into her chest. Xander and four Slayers soon burst in to find her there, and Amy immediately stabs Buffy before Xander shoots her in the shoulder with his crossbow. Xander picks up the dagger, which has been split apart by a mystical protection spell they had previously placed over Buffy. Amy points out that Buffy is still sleeping, and says that the curse she placed on her can only be lifted by the kiss of true love.

Renee and another Slayer, keeping watch on the rooftop of the castle, have a brief discussion about whether or not Renee loves Xander, the other saying that Renee's sudden interest in a number of Xander's hobbies, including comic books, James Bond movies, and drywalling, speaks of love. Before Renee can reply, they hear a clawing sound and see a legion of kilted zombies climbing up the castle walls.

Xander is still talking with Amy when one of the Slayers runs in to tell him of the zombies, who were summoned by Amy. Xander then commands three of the present Slayers to go into the battlefield, and when queried about Amy says that she's bound inside the castle due to their security. He then tells the Slayers to keep a guard on Amy and to get their witches working on the "true love" spell. Amy clarifies that the person who wakes Buffy from her slumber does not have to be someone whom Buffy loves, just someone that truly loves Buffy, then taunts Xander by asking if he'd like to try.

As the Slayers wage a war against the zombies (at least two are dead or severely wounded, including Renee, stabbed with their own swords), Buffy continues her dream, internally pleading for it to stop, saying that it hurts too much. That's when a figure in a duster and a red shirt, whose face remains unseen, appears to her, offering his hand and telling her that he has much that he needs to show her, calling her "my love."

As Satsu informs an overwhelmed Xander that they're losing the battle against the zombies, Amy sits on the windowsill in Buffy's room surveying the carnage. She boasts aloud that not one person there can take her down. Willow appears, floating outside the window, and says, "As a friend of mine once said...I'd like to test that theory."

Part III (Issue #3)

The figure in the duster and red shirt is revealed to be Ethan Rayne, a former friend of Giles and chaos-worshipping sorcerer. He reveals that they are trapped within Buffy's dreamspace, the conglomeration of all of a person's possible dreams. Ethan urges Buffy to escape so she can help the battle raging outside.

Willow and Amy are locked in a magical duel, with Willow absorbing Amy's magics to "decode them". Willow then casts a spell that makes the undead army behave as if they were at a ball. Amy retaliates with another magic spell, which Willow counters - her eyes and hair turning black in the process. While Amy taunts her, the gigantic Dawn crushes Amy beneath her foot. Meanwhile, Ethan has led Buffy through her dreamspace to Amy's cage from her time as a rat. Buffy then sees three Xs (which she associates with either Vin Diesel or pornography), and Ethan begins speaking in riddles, saying that "Twilight is falling", and to remember the things she has seen in her dream.

With Amy out of the way, Willow addresses Buffy's condition. She reveals that someone in the room is in love with her, even though that person may not have realized it. Willow then commands all the people in the room to close their eyes and asks the person in love with Buffy to come forward and kiss her. Buffy, feeling something on her lips, suddenly awakens, yelling "Cinnamon Buns", but the source of the kiss is not revealed.

Giles contacts a demon of the same breed as those killed in Part 1, asking for information about the symbol found on the bodies, but the demon insists that the symbol is meaningless to his kind. Xander contacts Andrew in Italy to see if their station was attacked, and cautions him to be on alert. Xander then visits a wounded but recuperating Renee, reassuring her that she did her best in the battle.

Buffy and Willow examine Amy, now held in a binding spell. Buffy and Willow attempt to catch up: Willow asks about Dawn's giant condition (asking Buffy if the cause was having sex with a Thricewise) and Buffy asks about Kennedy. Willow reveals that Kennedy died, but it was only a short-lived mystical death, and that they are currently taking a break. Willow traces the source of Amy's power, finding that it came from something besides Amy herself. The tracing spell opens a portal, and forcibly transports Willow to the army base with Amy in tow; Buffy fumes that they've been tricked. At the base, Amy mentions that they had agreed to capture Buffy, but figures that Willow will serve as bait. The voice of Amy's 'boyfriend' claims to be looking forward to killing Buffy, but that he is most excited about revenging himself on Willow. The figure emerges from the shadows and is revealed to be a skinless man: Warren Mears.

Part IV (Issue #4)

Warren begins torturing Willow, (who is magically bound to an operating table), irritated by his death at the witch's hands. He reveals how his human life ended, and how Amy saved him with a "pretty hokey" disappearing trick and used magic to keep him from dying of shock. With Amy's powers serving as his new skin, Warren prepares to mutilate Willow with a scalpel.

Back in Scotland, Dawn is fuming over Willow's kidnapping. She begs Buffy to bring Willow back and tells her "Will is like a mom to me." This doesn't seem to sit well with Buffy but she opts not to discuss it, instead choosing to focus her attention on the mystics trying to track the portal's echo so it can be reopened. Xander explains that the portal will only be able to let two people through it. Buffy wants Xander to go, but he refuses as he does not consider himself a fighter; he says that Willow is too important and Buffy needs to do this right by picking the best person for the job. Buffy eventually picks Satsu, who is initially apprehensive, but Leah reassures her that it's Buffy's decision and warns her not to embarrass the rest of them. As they wait to go through the portal, Buffy asks Satsu if she could borrow some lip gloss; she notes the flavor is cinnamon, hinting that Satsu might be the one who kissed Buffy.

When the portal is opened, Voll has already set up a high powered energy cannon to blast anyone on the other side of the wormhole. Fortunately for Buffy, Xander had already taken the necessary precautions by rigging a large mirror to reflect the energy blast back through the portal, destroying the cannon and leaving Voll's squad badly damaged and uncoordinated. Buffy and Satsu then appear through the opening. Slayer Scythe in hand and Satsu at her side, Buffy takes on the entire squad, mortally wounding many. This gives her the perfect leverage for the location of her friend, as Willow will be able to heal them.

Meanwhile, Warren taunts Willow to use her powers by going "dark", as doing so would feed her bindings. As he begins to slice into her eye with a scalpel, a group of mysterious, elemental beings allow her passage into another plane of existence. There they show Willow a manifestation of the damage being dealt to her, explaining that Warren is lobotomizing her and remind her that if he succeeds in killing her, there will be no coming back. One being asks Willow if she has a plan to which Willow replies "Have I ever told you about my best friend...?"

Buffy confronts Amy, who is already using her magics to summon a minion to do her dirty work. Things look a little ugly until Buffy's eyes go black and energy starts to crackle around her. With Willow apparently channeling magic through her, Buffy makes quick work of the creature that Amy set loose. Amy declares that Buffy's borrowed powers are just a light show and that she could not have a fraction of Willow's power. However, Buffy then manages to score a break in Amy's defenses by taking the form of Catherine Madison, Amy's mother, distracting her long enough for Satsu to toss a grenade under the witch's feet. Warren and Amy eventually escape with Willow awakening, already having healed herself from the torture she had to endure.

As they begin their escape from what Xander has discovered to be an Initiative-type base two miles south of Sunnydale, Buffy passes a door that has the number thirty on it. Realizing that thirty is XXX in roman numerals, Buffy breaks open the door to the cell, occupied by Ethan Rayne... who has been shot in the head by General Voll. After a brief skirmish, Buffy discovers the mark that was on the bodies back at the church is also on Voll's chest. Voll explains that the mark means "Twilight"; specifically, twilight for Buffy and her Slayers. The General continues to explain that they have to wipe out the entire Slayer population because they fear that the demon aspect of the Slayer's power will eventually lead them to try and create a master race once they are done battling the forces of evil.

:General Voll: We're not waiting for that to happen. We will wipe you out. Not just monsters anymore. It's you against the world. You're at war with the human race.

:Buffy: Oh. (Then, after a pause.) 'Kay.

Production

Joss Whedon returns to the series after four years since writing the television series' finale. Throughout the issues, he slips references to past episodes in the dialogue. Willow's comment "I'd like to test that theory" was first uttered by Giles in season six. Amy's reference that Willow attempted to end the world occurred in "Grave." When Willow's hair turns black, Dawn questions her if she's evil again ("Villains.") Whedon also adds pop-culture references: Xander and Renee discuss about Nick Fury, the fictional Marvel Comics character, who wears an eye patch similar to Xander's.

Like Whedon, Georges Jeanty references past episodes as well as pop-culture in the artwork. In part 3, Buffy's inner psyche feature images of past characters and events. Such instances include The Master, her mother Joyce Summers, Angel, Faith, Caleb, Buffy's doodled notebook ("The Prom,") Joyce's corpse ("The Body,") and Buffy, Willow, Xander's high school graduation ("Graduation Day.") One image also features Joss Whedon himself. Finally, when Andrew is playing strip poker with the Slayers, one of the girls is reading "Fray", the actual graphic miniseries by Joss Whedon comic about a future Slayer.

Reception

The resurrection of the series was both a critical and commercial success. "Entertainment Weekly" was quoted praising that "creator Whedon effectively sucks devotees back into his Hellmouth." http://www.darkhorse.com/profile/profile.php?sku=14-836+a | Dark Horse official website] "EW" also secured the comic series at number 8 in "The Twenty Big Events of 2007." "The Long Way Home" trade paperback was listed #10 in Amazon.com's "Best Books of 2007." [ [http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000158411 Amazon.com] ]

Elizabeth Anne Allen, who portrayed Amy in the television series commented favourably on the story, describing it as "awesome" and commenting that " [Season Six/Seven] was fun.... but I really would have loved to play Amy in Season 8. She is much darker." [ [http://www.slayalive.com/index.cgi?board=shows&action=display&thread=1197082788 SlayAlive Interview: Elizabeth Anne Allen] , SlayAlive.com.]

Timing

*Intended to be set after BtVS's seventh season. The story takes place "at least a year and a half" after the events of "Chosen",cite news | author=Edward Gross | url=http://www.geekmonthly.com/features/2007/02/07/joss-whedon-hearing-voices/ | title=Joss Whedon - Season Eight: Part 2 | publisher=GeekMonthly.com | date=2007-02-07 | accessdate=2007-02-15] placing it at its earliest in the latter half of 2004 and after the events of "Not Fade Away." However, given that Dawn's sophomore year at Sunnydale High was during Season 7 and the she is now described as currently being (or having recently been) a college freshman, it seems likely the events take place about three or four years after the end of the series.

*Stories that take place around the same time in the Buffyverse:

Canonical issues

:main|Buffyverse 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 Whedon is writing this arc, it will be seen as a continuation of the official continuity established by "Buffy" and "Angel".

"Season Eight" contradicts and supersedes information given in the paperback novels set after Season Seven, such as "Queen of the Slayers" and "Dark Congress", which are described as being set in an unofficial "parallel" continuity.Mata, Shiai, " [http://www.slayerlit.us/interviews/interview6.htm CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN INTERVIEW 2] ", "SlayerLit.us" (2007).]

References

ee also


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