Last Gleaming, Part Five is the fortieth and final issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight comic book series. It was written by Joss Whedon and Scott Allie, and illustrated by Georges Jeanty. Joss Whedon is the executive producer.
Season Eight has at last brought Buffy the long way home, and betrayal comes in the shape of the closest, most unexpected individual of all. Reeling from their losses, the Scoobies will never be the same again.
Months after the battle on Sunnydale, Buffy is working as a waitress at a coffee shop in San Francisco. She's carrying a tray of drinks when she's tripped by some girl, but her Slayer skills help her from spilling the drinks. She identifies the tripper as a Slayer, which has happened often.
Buffy and Willow have a conversation about the aftermath of Buffy's latest act — which Buffy almost calls a "mistake" before catching herself — and Willow says that the world's lost its heart, which isn't worse than being destroyed, but it will be. Willow explains her break up with Kennedy, telling her ex likes power, which she only had with magic, and not programming computers. She also mentions there's someone else, who she'll never see again.
Buffy has a nightmare about Angel killing Giles. Dawn wakes her up and it's revealed that Buffy is crashing on Dawn and Xander's couch. Xander heads out to work, and Buffy and Dawn have a nice sisterly conversation about how things are different since Buffy destroyed the seed (though they never directly refer to that act). We learn that the world doesn't care as much about slayers, vampires are still big, and Harmony is a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.
Elsewhere, the General is complaining about the government's perception of the aftermath of all this. He thinks the war is over, and they've won, when he gets abruptly shot in the head by Simone Doffler.
Meanwhile, Faith and Buffy are at the reading of Giles' will, and it turns out Giles has left pretty much everything to Faith, who's "just as freaked as Buffy" by that decision. However, Giles did leave something to Buffy: the Vampyr book that Giles showed to Buffy when they first met which Faith takes as a sign that Giles saw Buffy as the one true Slayer. Buffy and Faith part, with Faith serving as caretaker to a catatonic Angel, since "Buffy can't look at him" and "everyone else wants his head on a pike."
Spike knocks on the window of Xander and Dawn's apartment, and Buffy opens it for him, but he she can't invite him because it's not her house, but she does go out to the fire escape to talk to him. He has some vague warnings for her and a pep talk about how she's the only one who can make the hard decisions, and she's always under fire. She starts to tear up, and heads back inside. After some more back and forth, with Spike supporting Buffy's decisions, Spike flies off again in his ship.
As Buffy tries to sleep, Dawn makes some fake sex noises to convince Buffy to leave the apartment and get back on the job making Buffy go out to patrol. She encounters three pissed off slayers (who no longer call themselves Slayers), including the one earlier from the coffee shop. She doesn't want to fight them but they attack anyway, and are defeated.
Meanwhile, Willow reads a book containing an image of Aluwyn; Tink flies by a grating; Simone wields her gun beside a hit list with Buffy for last; and a bloody man wearing glasses approaches someone. Buffy hears a scream and sees a vampire ready to attack a cornered girl. She knows that, despite how bad it felt fighting against other Slayer, there's more coming, "because that's how betrayal works." Buffy concludes: "The trouble with changing the world is… you don't. Not all at once. You just inch it forward a bit at a time, and watch it slip back, like the Greek guy with the rock. And you hope that when you're done, you've moved it up a little, changed it just enough. You hope. Let's go to work." Wielding her stake, Buffy jumps to save the girl.
- Buffy mentions being back at waitressing, which she had done in Helen's Kitchen ("Anne"). She also compares her situation to when she worked at Doublemeat Palace, "clinically depressed" and "wearing a hat with a chicken on it" ("Doublemeat Palace").
- Buffy mentions Willow being able to give up magic before ("Wrecked" to "Seeing Red").
- Xander and Dawn lead a life like they planned in Last Gleaming, Part Two, with him back to work in construction, her back to college, and the two sharing an apartment.
- Dawn wears the pants of the pajama set Xander used in The Long Way Home, Part Two.
- Asking about Buffy's dream, Dawn mentions the one she had in Always Darkest.
- Buffy reveals Harmony's reality show Harmony Bites was canceled, which began airing in Harmonic Divergence.
- The Slayer Handbook appears for the very first time since "The Harvest"; it'll play a significant part in the following seasons.
- Faith infers Giles left her horses, but she'll eventually learn the description in his will of "all occupants in the country home may remain" in fact refers to his great-aunts (Women of a Certain Age).
- After months in a catatonic state, Angel will wake up in Live Through This, Part One.
- This story takes place after the 62 days Spike spent returning to Earth with his ship (Magical Mystery Tour, Featuring the Beetles).
- Buffy sarcastically reminds Spike of their break up ("Dead Things").
- Buffy mentions Spike is still not invited to Xander and Dawn's apartment, where he'll be seen getting inside in New Rules, Part Two.
- Buffy sleeps by Dawn's Hoopy the Bear, as a cameo from non-canon issue Dawn and Hoopy the Bear.
- Buffy reflects about "changing the world". In The Long Way Home, Part One, she thought "the thing" was that "once you do it, the world is all different." In this issue, she finalizes that the "trouble" is that "you don't." Five years later, she will conclude: "The trouble with changing the world is… worth it." (Finale).
- The issue ends with Buffy jumping into action and the words "Let's go to work," as Angel did in "Not Fade Away".
- Aluwyn (Only image)
- Simone Doffler
- The General
- Rupert Giles (Only in visions)
- Xander Harris
- Harmony Kendall (Only mentioned)
- Faith Lehane
- Willow Rosenberg
- Buffy Summers
- Dawn Summers
- Unidentified Slayer III (Last Gleaming)
- Unidentified Slayer IV (Last Gleaming)
Organizations and titles
Weapons and objects
- Harmony Bites (Only mentioned)
- Mʔ (Only mentioned)
- Seed of Wonder (Only in visions)
- Spike's duster
- Spike's ship
- The General, shot by Simone Doffler.
Behind the scenes
- Jo Chen's cover is a parallel image to her own cover for The Long Way Home, Part One.
- A bogus cover by Georges Jeanty was released with Dawn absent from the group: "When we first revealed this cover, fans were speculating that Dawn would die. To fuel that rumor, we blacked her out on the preview version of the image."
- Jeanty has revealed that, in the scene Kennedy tells Buffy that Willow left her, he portrayed her breaking the fourth wall and looking to the readers, as an acknowledgment to Buffy fans’ general dislike for the character.
- Buffy and Willow stand by the Golden Gate Bridge, in San Francisco.
- Last Gleaming, Part Five was the 25th best selling comic issue in its publishing month, with 39,486 sales in January 2011 at comic specialty stores.
Pop culture references
- Xander and Dawn's apartment has figurines of the Cookie Monster and a Dalek.
- Buffy uses a mug with the fictional superhero Thing.
- Dawn compares her role in the Scooby Gang with fictional character Scrappy-Doo, the younger member among the main characters of the Scooby-Doo cartoon series.
- Buffy wears pajama pants of fictional character Eeyore.
- Dawn and Spike mention Harmony's participation on the reality show Dancing with the Stars.
- Buffy mentions the mythology of Sisyphus, who was punished by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill for eternity, as the boulder would always roll down whenever it nears the top.
|Willow - "You made everything different, Buffy."|
|Buffy - "Wasn't that the idea?"|
|Willow - "Not this time. Not this way."|
|Dawn - "You miss it?"|
|Buffy - "Dancing with the—"|
|Dawn - "The war."|
|Buffy - "Are you kidding?"|
|Dawn - "Not the war part. Being a leader. I mean, with an army, you got to be what you were born to be. A leader. Without 'em, you're back to just being bossy."|
|Buffy - "I am not—"|
|Dawn - "Please."|
|Buffy - "I don't know. No. That was a nightmare. It's just... Everybody else woke up, forgot the nightmare. So I'm back to living it alone."|
|Dawn - "Not alone. Not till Xander and I get sick of you. Then you're on the street, bossy pants."|
|Buffy - "I love you too."|
|Faith - "I got a theory is all. He thinks you're stronger than I am. I'm not blowing smoke. Pretty much means he thought I was a puss, which irritates the hell out of me, but — Hah! Got it! — he must have figured I needed more help. So I get the money, the flat, the farm, the horses..."|
|Buffy - "You get horses?"|
|Faith - "...And you get this one crappy item. You know what this says?" (hands Buffy the Vampyr book) "It says you're the Slayer. You're the only Slayer. You always were."|
|Buffy - "Then I really did fail."|
|Spike - "Look, I know everybody thinks you're a useless bint that ruined everything right now—"|
|Buffy - "Why did we ever break up?"|
|Spike - "...But I know the truth. You were faced with decisions no one has to make. Attacked — controlled — by forces no one comprehends. And you pulled your people through. So, honestly? F#$% anybody who thinks they could've done better. The world was on fire. The world is always on f#$%ing fire and you're always right in the thick of it and the only difference this time is that people actually noticed. So they judge. And they carp, and debate — but put the scythe in their hands and they'd shake like trifle on a train."|
|Buffy - "The trouble with changing the world is... you don't. Not all at once. You just inch it forward a bit at a time, and watch it slip back, like the Greek guy with the rock. And you hope that when you're done, you've moved it up a little, changed it just enough. You hope. Let's go to work."|
- ↑ "Buffy the Vampire Slayer #40 (Jo Chen cover)". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
- ↑ "Season 8 Library Edition, Volume 4"
- ↑ "Georges Jeanty – DragonCon Panel". Hellmouth Podcast, September 6, 2011. Archived from the original December 29, 2011.
- ↑ “Top 300 Comics Actual--January 2011”. ICv2, February 7, 2011. Retrieved May 9, 2019.