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Anywhere But Here is a standalone issue of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight series of comic books, a continuation from the television series of the same name.

Synopsis

Threatened by Twilight's uprise, Willow and Buffy fly to the lair of Sephrilian, one of the Tichajt, to question the demon about the matter. During their flight, they detail their personal fantasies. Buffy reveals actor Daniel Craig approaching her at the beach, whilst Willow sets herself in a cabin with Tina Fey during a snowstorm. Buffy questions Willow about Kennedy's whereabouts, but Willow avoids the question just as they finally arrive at the lair that resembles an old cottage. There, they are greeted by Robin, a Minder who stabilizes the reality field inside the lair. She warns Willow not to use magic inside and informs Buffy to rescue the prince, much to their confusion. The two enter the lair and find themselves set on a never ending staircase. They decide to play a game.

At the castle, Xander surprises Dawn with a gift: her trunk full of clothes and articles enlarged. Amongst her possessions, Xander comes across a picture of regular-sized Dawn with her ex-boyfriend Kenny. Dawn finally reveals to Xander that she never slept with Kenny like she had informed everyone. She had in fact slept with his college roommate, Nick. Xander comforts her saying that she's only guilty of being human. He asks if she feels better getting it off her chest. She doesn't respond.

Back inside the reality field in the lair, Buffy and Willow finally meet Sephrilian. Since he can walk through all realities, Buffy demands what the mysterious Twilight signifies, to which he replies: "The death of magic." Sephrilian grows impatient with them and decides to send them through a series of past and future events. First, Buffy and Willow find themselves looking at Buffy and other Slayers rob a Swiss Bank Account for their personal funds that occurred months ago. Willow explains to Buffy that this is what the government feared.

Robin joins them as they are situated in a new setting: Buffy on the floor, beaten and crying, a cracked red seed sitting on a podium in the centre of the room. No evidence has been given yet as to how it gets broken or what it does. Robin explains that she will be betrayed by the closest and most unexpected. She then senses a disruption and leaves. Buffy asks Willow if she is the betrayer. She claims no, not any more than she already has. The two suddenly find themselves watching Willow and Kennedy in a living room following the events of "The Long Way Home". Willow and Kennedy argue about why Willow has kept her from Buffy for the past year. Willow breaks down in tears blaming herself for Tara's death. She believes that because she resurrected Buffy, she doomed her lover in exchange and wishes to avoid the same fate for Kennedy. Buffy witnesses the revelation in disbelief.

Suddenly, Sephrilian returns and informs them that he welcomes the upcoming war. Willow then lends Buffy some of her powers to slay Sephrilian. Because she performed magic, the lair explodes. However, Robin magically rebuilds it within seconds and asks what happened in there. Buffy explains "It was demons. Playing games." And she and Willow walk away in their solitudes.

Continuity

  • Willow and Buffy played "Anywhere But Here" in "The Dark Age".
  • Willow's guilt over Tara's death was first mentioned in season seven episode "The Killer in Me".
  • The final vision of Buffy lying injured is a call-forward to Last Gleaming.

Production

Writing

  • Joss Whedon returns as writer for the first time since "The Chain." Cliff Richards joins the team as penciller, replacing the series' regular Georges Jeanty for this issue. Although this is Richard's first issue penciling for Buffy: Season 8, he has previously worked on past Buffy comics including "Slayer, Interrupted," "Play with Fire," and "Jonathan." This issue will be 25 pages as opposed to its usual 22, as stated in the letters column of issue 9.

Timing

  • Intended to be set after BtVS's seventh season. The precise timing of this arc is currently uncertain.

Dark Horse Contest

  • Dark Horse Comics held a contest for one reader to be given a cameo shot in Buffy. The winner was Jerrod Balzer, an author who wrote an entry on behalf of his wife, Robin. He wrote about watching Buffy and sharing it with her at the beginning of the onset of Robin's schizophrenia:[1]
Robin and I didn't have cable or satellite for years, so we had only seen the original movie of Buffy until the first season came to DVD. At that time, schizophrenia was gradually taking over my wife's mind. Our growing love for the show as each season came out gave something for my wife to focus on and look forward to during those first dark and confusing years. The character Drusilla gave her a fantasy icon to relate to, and kept her spirits up as though she were a part of the story, and of course Buffy's character gave her the strength to battle her 'demons.'
Now, she's completely disabled from her illness, in and out of coherence, but I keep Buffy and Angel posters on the wall which give her focus even when we're not watching them. We've also become attached to Firefly. Again, she can relate to River in her own way. We really owe a lot to the imagination of Joss Whedon.
For this reason, I know it would mean the world to my wife, Robin, if she could see herself with Buffy in a comic. For the struggle she consistently goes through, I feel she deserves to be with a character that's helped her so much over the years.[2]
  • Upon reading the winner's entry, Whedon decided to expand that character's role and feature her as a critical part of the story, as opposed to a simple cameo.[1] She appears in this issue as well as on the variant cover with Buffy and Willow.

Reception

  • Five days prior to its release, Scott Allie sent contest winner Jerrod Baltzer a copy of the issue to ease his anxiety.[3] Jerrod claimed:
I can't get over how breathtaking this issue is. I loved Robin's role and Joss wrote her perfectly. It seemed like she stepped right into the comic!
It's been very helpful, too, just this week. She's had a lot of episodes lately where she thinks people are coming after her to wrap her in barbwire and put her on the train to Hell, so she needs to find her tickets. I'll just remind her of the (incredibly accurate) metaphors that Joss used in the issue and she was able to come out of it easier. The visuals helped bring things into perspective that Buffy and Willow really are there for her. [3]
  • He furthered on detailing another episode Robin underwent:
If I may share a moment that just happened, Robin was just yelling about monsters trying to come in the house to kill her. I reminded her that Buffy and Willow are every bit as real as those monsters, and then I held the comic in front of her. It took a moment to process, but then she said, "I'm a minder. Buffy and Willow's got my back!"
I said, "That's right. If anything tries to mess with your mind, they'll kick butt and cut tails off."
"Yeah!" Her face brightened and her face went "normal" again. "Can I have some decaf coffee?"
"Sure, sweetheart."
"With marshmallows?"
Her episodes can last a lot longer than that. I could have been working with her all night, the poor thing terrified that she wasn't safe. But not with that comic, and I'm not fooling her, either. Buffy and Willow really ARE as real as her hallucinations. They're a part of all of us.
I also keep reminding her that fellow Buffy fans all over the world are rooting for her and it means so much to both of us. Thanks again for everyone's support. [3]</blockquote>

Other

  • Anywhere But Here is also included in Volume 2 of the Season 8 trade paperbacks, No Future For You.

Canonical issues

See also: 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 story, it will be seen as a continuation of the official continuity established by Buffy and Angel.

Variant Covers

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Announcement of contest winner
  2. [1]
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 [2]
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