Finale is the fourth and final issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Twelve comic book miniseries. Written by Christos Gage and Joss Whedon, and illustrated by Georges Jeanty, it was originally published by Dark Horse Comics on September 19, 2018.
Buffy, Fray, the Scoobies, and the Slayers are in an epic battle against Harth, and his army of baddies. His attempt to steal the power of the Slayers has brought Buffy and her crew to the turning point that they have been trying desperately to avoid. With all other options spent, it is only Buffy and her sacrifice that can save the world…
In the battle by Willow's empowerment center, Buffy attempts to attack the now Slayer empowered Harth, but he takes the Mʔ from her and claims ownership of the weapon. Erin and Faith are confused by the vampire having Slayer powers as a male, and Melaka blames herself: as his twin, she's the reason he got the Slayer memories in the first place. Giles, in the control room, explains to the rest of the gang that men can and have taken the power of a Slayer, but aren't able to endure it and become mad. Although, he believes that Harth is spared from these effects for being a soulless vampire, so they must escape and regroup. Angel, Spike, and Illyria refuse to give up, and resume their fight against Harth and Richard Wilkins.
Willow tells Dawn she should open the portal now, while she'll try to conjure a whirlwind to force the demons into the hell dimension, despite her weakened state. Some of the smaller demons indeed fly into the portal, but the strongest ones easily resist the wind, like Wilkins in his Olvikan form. Willow collapses and the whirlwind stops, but Dawn maintains the portal open. Meanwhile, Harth repeals Angel and Spike's attacks with ease, boasting about his superior strength. With Tauron and the remaining demons, Wilkins says Harth delivered his promise: they get rid of the Slayers, defeat their friends, and stay on Earth to rule it.
Angel, Buffy, and Spike decide on an alternative plan: tossing the demons into the portal themselves. But Illyria suddenly shoves Buffy and Spike away, calling them fools, and Angel keeps telling her no. She runs to kiss him goodbye, and tells him he'll know happiness, but their enemies will know pain. The energy of the hell dimension affects Illyria so she assumes her original form, and she takes most of the remaining demons with herself through the portal. She tells Dawn to close it, and says farewell to her friends. Desperate, Angel demands Dawn to open the portal again, but she needs to recover herself first. Xander tells Angel to back off, and reminds him they still have problems. The battle between Harth and the Scooby Gang continues.
Being left behind, Wilkins tells Harth this still worked well for them, with less to share after they take over the world. Harth agrees, and beheads Wilkins. Over the Olvikan's corpse, he screams the world is his, and that he has enough power to defeat the others by himself. Buffy and Melaka go after Harth to fight him, but he continues to claim no one can hurt him. He tells them he's decided on conquering this era: he'll shape the future however he wants and rule it forever. Harth shoves Melaka away and holds Buffy by the neck, ready to bite her, telling the Slayers their power had been wasted on them.
Harth suddenly feels an intense pain, and asks what Buffy did to him. As she denies having done anything, his eyes shine bright, and he's assaulted with visions of past Slayers. He screams in pain as Sineya walks in the desert, Xin is bitten to her death, Nikki has her neck snapped, another Slayer is burned at the stake, another watches the vampire that used to be her friend turning into dust, Nikki hugs Robin, Kendra is hypnotized by Drusilla, Buffy and Angel kiss before she stabs him... Melaka asks what's happening, and Buffy explains: Harth already had the memories, but now he's feeling them. Melaka takes the Mʔ he dropped and gives it to Buffy, telling her they'll have to take advantage of this. Buffy asks if she's sure about killing her brother, and Melaka says his soul is long gone: "Set the rest of him free. Set us all free." While Melaka holds him in place, Buffy stakes him in the heart.
Harth's skin becomes gray, slowly cracking. Melaka observes the Slayer power must be holding him together, but it's fading — he's fading. Crying with Harth in her arms, they tell each other they're sorry. A blue light escapes him and reaches Melaka as Harth tells her to be whole, and his dust finally disappears in the wind. Stunned, Melaka says he gave the Slayer memories back to her. Buffy asks about her memories of future events, and Melaka answers they all stop here. Erin asks if this means their future is gone. Faith, staking a vampire, tells Buffy her Slayer powers are back. Buffy says the only way to find out is living it.
Days later, Dawn and Willow recreate the portal to Fray's era. Although, without Illyria's powers this time, they can't guarantee what's on the other side. Buffy tells Erin, Melaka, and Gates they are welcome to stay, but they refuse explaining they never take the easy way. They enter the portal and find a different Haddyn. Melaka finds the way to Gunther's home, who she expects will explain what happened in this future. Although, Gunther doesn't even recognize her, so they are left on the streets without knowing what to do. Suddenly, a group of women approaches them calling for "sister Fray", excited for meeting Melaka, Erin, and Gates. One of these women explains that the Watchers Diaries had described how she and her allies saved the world, which helped them — Slayers — forge a much better future than the one Melaka came from. Extending her hand, this Slayer says no one knew the three of them in this world, but they wanted to, and they would always have a home and a family here.
In the 21st century, two weeks after the Reckoning, Buffy and Faith leave a building wearing police uniforms. They talk about their fighting classes, which Faith thinks it's useless as they already know how to fight, but Buffy says it's necessary that they go through the police academy to be actual police, so they'll be able to completely change the Supernatural Division. Xander arrives to give then a ride to his and Dawn's home, explaining Dawn insisted on it so they wouldn't be late after encountering some monster. Faith mentions there haven't been a lot to do since the Reckoning, and guesses the forces of evil must have learned their lesson. Buffy says she doubts it, but this is what they're here for.
A barbecue is going on at their home, with Xander at the grill and a banner written "Congratulations Buffy and Faith". While playing with baby Joyce, Willow finished telling Dawn that, now they've seen the future, she's steering the empowerment center's work to prevent the problem they saw there. Inside the house, Buffy brings Spike a cup of blood while he waits for the sun to set to join the others. He mentions she should check Angel, because he'd tried to provoke him in various ways but Angel isn't interested in a fight — Spike's only repertoire of "therapy". Buffy answers she'd like to first make sure they're okay. He tells her they're always, and she says she's glad, that seeing him fighting, caring, and willing to do everything during the Reckoning filled her heart. She tells him that their relationship could happen again any time, so it's important that, meanwhile, they're happy and nothing gets in the way of that. Spike says he isn't going anywhere, and they hug, both declaring they're their best around each other.
Buffy then enters the room Angel has been sitting in the dark. She tells him they're all ready to go after Illyria anytime, but he says Illyria had told him not to; it's too dangerous to reopen the portal when so many demons might come through, so she needs some time to kill as many as she can. Angel is worried that she'll want to stay, but he recognizes that they're both immortals, so he can wait. Buffy asks what does he want to do in the meantime, and he says he'd like to stay, if she doesn't mind. Hugging him, she replies: "who doesn't want the people they love around?" She guides Angel to outside the room, and Spike tells them it's dark enough for them to join the others. With Xander, Dawn, Joyce, Willow, Faith, Giles, Andrew, Angel, and Spike, all eating, playing, talking, and celebrating, Buffy reflects: "the trouble with changing the world is... worth it."
- Among the Slayer memories Harth receives, they include the events:
- Xin Rong's and Nikki Wood's deaths by Spike’s hands ("Fool for Love");
- an unidentified Slayer burning at the stake (Righteous);
- an unidentified Slayer watching a vampire turn to dust (The Glittering World);
- Drusilla about to kill Kendra ("Becoming, Part One");
- and Buffy kissing then stabbing Angel ("Becoming, Part Two").
- Illyria is the one who banishes the demons into another dimension, contrary to what have been told about Buffy (Ready, Steady..., Future Shock).
- Buffy mentions being a cheerleader, then a Slayer (The Origin, Part One), then a general (The Long Way Home, Part One), and a "nobody" (Last Gleaming, Part Five).
- Buffy becomes a police officer, as her high school vocational test had indicated in "What's My Line, Part Two".
- Faith also becomes a police officer, her previous fugitive status likely cleaned by Giles through the Watchers Council's resources, as he had made similar offers in No Future for You, Part One.
- After changing the future, Melaka, Erin, and Gates arrive at a better Haddyn, in which the Slayer never had to work grabbing for Gunther and has the Slayer memories herself.
- Buffy concludes about "changing the world". She had reflected that the "thing" was that "once you do it, the world is all different" (The Long Way Home, Part One), but eventually finalized that the "trouble" was that "you don't" (Last Gleaming, Part Five). She now affirms that "the trouble with changing the world is… worth it."
- This is the final story of the comic continuation to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer original series, both in publication order and chronology. Notably, it is followed by a homonyms comic series rebooting the entire Buffyverse.
- Drusilla (Only in visions)
- Harth Fray
- Rupert Giles
- Alexander Harris
- Joyce Harris
- Faith Lehane
- "Naayéé'neizgháni" (Only in visions)
- Xin Rong (Only in visions)
- Willow Rosenberg
- Sineya (Only in visions)
- Buffy Summers
- Dawn Summers
- "Tó Bájíshchíní" (Only in visions)
- Andrew Wells
- Richard Wilkins
- Nikki Wood (Only in visions)
- Robin Wood (Only in visions)
- Kendra Young (Only in visions)
- Unidentified Slayer (Righteous) (Only in visions)
- Unidentified Slayer I (Finale)
- Unidentified Slayer II (Finale)
- Unidentified Slayer III (Finale)
- Unidentified Slayer IV (Finale)
Organizations and titles
- Haddyn Police Force (Only mentioned)
- The Key
- San Francisco Police Department
- Scooby Gang
- Watchers Council (Only mentioned)
- Africa (Only in visions)
- England (Only mentioned)
- Haddyn, USA
- New York City, USA (Only in visions)
- Peking, China (Only in visions)
- San Francisco, USA
- Sunnydale, USA (Only in visions)
- Banishing dimension (Only mentioned)
Weapons and objects
- Richard Wilkins, beheaded by Harth Fray.
- Harth, staked by Buffy Summers.
- Unidentified vampire, staked by Faith Lehane.
Behind the scenes
- This is the last Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic story published by Dark Horse Comics.
- Some in-universe cameos in this issue are Melaka wearing a shirt with the Bronze logo in it, Buffy with a Sunnydale High shirt, then Andrew and Giles playing Scrabble with the words "Clem", "Bronze", "Fyarl", "Acathla", and a "goodbye" turned to the reader. The leftover letters forms "Joss" [Whedon].
- Finale was the 185th best selling comic issue in its publishing month, with 10,195 sales in September 2018 at comic specialty stores.
Pop culture references
- Xander stops his car by a Dark Horse Comics store front.
- Xander greets Buffy and Faith with "Good morning, Angels," in reference to the catchphrase from Charlie's Angels franchise.
- Giles tells Andrew the Council wouldn't have "Fight Song" (2015) as their fight song.
- Andrew wears a shirt with fictional superhero Deadpool.
- Andrew and Giles play the word game Scrabble.
- ↑ "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 12: The Reckoning #4". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
- ↑ "Top 500 Comics--September 2018". ICv2, October 15, 2018. Retrieved January 05, 2019.