CBR Recap: Buffy the Vampire Slayer #19

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: One of the Scooby-Gang is Officially the New Big Bad

In Buffy #19, a classic member of the Scooby Gang is revealed to be the new “big bad,” breaking Willow’s heart and jeopardizing everything.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Buffy the Vampire Slayer #19, by Jordie Bellaire, Jeremy Lambert, Ramon Bachs and Raúl Angulo, on sale now

In Issue 19 of the ongoing Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, Willow enters a crypt in her astral form when she encounters Xander, who has recently been turned into a vampire. Striding confidently toward her with his fangs bared in a confident smile, he tells her that they two are “bound to each other.” But Willow is not so certain. The friend she knew was just a regular goofy guy, not a bloodsucker capable of seeing incorporeal astral forms. In fact, Xander actually says, “I’m sort of the big bad of the season.”

Written by Jordie Bellaire and Jeremy Lambert with art by Ramon Bachs and Raúl Angulo (and based on the iconic series created by Joss Whedon), this issue raises serious questions about the nature of Xander and Willow’s friendship, but it also raises an even bigger questions of who the story’s “big bad” really is.

In their tense exchange, each of the two friends — both original members of Buffy‘s core “Scooby Gang” — express genuine concerns. Despite the claim to be “the big bad,” Xander insists he is still her friend. He expresses what seems like a genuine interest in catching up with her and learning about events in her life, telling jokes and reminding Willow of fond memories they shared. But Willow is not willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. She explicitly tells the vampire that “Xander” did nice things for her in the past, not this new vampire who stands before her.

Here, the conversation turns morose as he opens up, telling her about loneliness and how much he misses his best friend in a heartfelt speech. Willow is even swayed by his words, but she has her doubts. After all, a vampire. After all, a vampire, Xander has no soul. Despite having Xander’s memories and body, there is no way to know whether or not he can be trusted.

There is a much bigger issue: Xander has taken their old teacher, Jenny Calendar, as prisoner and is hiding her somewhere. The entire reason Willow astral projected into Xander’s crypt was specifically to try and find Jenny. When confronted about the kidnapping, his only excuse is to say, “I needed her help. I needed you back.”

Their exchange is interrupted when Willow hears a voice urgently telling her to reurn to her body immediately. As she prepares to go, Xander sees her worried look and voices concern for her safety. Then, he pleads with her to help him so things can return to the way they were before. Willow relents but sets a condition. For her to help him, she will need him to prove he is still the Xander she remembers, which requires him to set Jenny free.

Upon returning to her body, Willow finds Buffy standing over her in tears. Willow comforts Buffy, who has had a fight with her boyfriend Robin. Meanwhile a crow perches on a branch outside the window.

Toward the end of the issue, Robin and Willow’s stories converge. Robin is attacked by vampires in a cemetery, while (completely independent of him) Willow once again astral projects into the cemetery, where she encounters the crow from before. She decides to follow the blackbird, which leads her to a terrifying scene: a massive horned demon speaking to a mysterious robed figure. The demon promises the hooded person that their wishes are about to be granted with the fall of the council (presumably meaning the Council of Watchers).

The robed stranger’s identity is a mystery. It could be Xander, the self-described “big bad” making a pact to try and fix his circumstances. However, the clutch of vampires that attacks Robin is a reminder that as bloodsuckers go, Xander is far from the worst of them. Considering what the demon promises, it seems that there are far worse enemies conspiring to cause trouble.

Original article at CBR

This article has been reproduced for archive purposes.

Author: Cider

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