Retreat, Part Five is the thirtieth issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight comic book series. It was written by Jane Espenson and illustrated by Georges Jeanty. Joss Whedon is the executive producer.
The war between Twilight’s minions and Buffy’s army rages in the Tibetan mountains. Bereft of their magic, the girls — Wiccans and Slayers — face an epic battle in which they have no hope of victory. Buffy has already done the retreat thing once, plus also put herself and her army into hiding… What can she do now that there is no magic to help them escape from another losing battle?
Buffy, now standing on top of an overturned jeep, orders her Slayer troops to advance on Twilight’s army. Off to the side, Faith, Willow and another Slayer keep asking each other if they feel their powers coming back, which of course they don’t- but Willow has faith that it will, but it will take a few minutes. Giles and Andrew are watching the battle from the steps of the temple, and as they re-arm Slayers, Giles notes how they are lucky the goddesses are on their side instead of Twilight’s. Twilight, an army general, Amy and Warren watch the goddesses decimate their ranks from afar. Warren begins to argue with Amy about his working on Andrew, and how he was close to breaking him, but Amy responds that the only one who had successfully tempted Andrew was the First Evil. The general demands that Twilight help evacuate their men from the battlefield. Twilight declines, saying he wants to watch events unfold as they currently are; this angers the general, who tells Twilight that the goddesses would not stop killing until all of their men are dead — to which Twilight responds that not even the destruction of his army will stop the goddesses.
Xander and Dawn explain to a group of Slayers about advancing on Twilight’s army; they need to hold the ground they have as well as take control of the ground the goddesses clear, but if they do this too soon, the Slayers will also become targets of the goddesses. Dawn reminds the Slayers that they need to be careful about fighting around the goddesses, because being as giant-sized as they are, they will not watch what goes on around them and could and are able to step on the Slayers. As the group rushes back into battle, Xander and Dawn go to the aid of Buffy, Satsu, and Willow and assist them in overturning the jeep. Dawn questions as to why they are turning over the jeep, and Buffy says she has something that she needs to find out on the battlefield and Willow as well as Satsu join her. From the temple steps, as they re-arm more Slayers, Andrew questions the appearance of the goddesses, and how he assumed they would quickly end the battle, Giles is at a loss for an explanation and tells Andrew he thought the same thing. From the window behind Giles and Andrew, the infirmary and a group of injured Slayers are being tended to by the non-fighters. Also, Oz and Kelden stay by Bay’s side, who asks if the goddesses had come, and Oz responds that they have indeed come and that Bay did a good thing by helping to summon them. Bay tells Oz that they should not have come there, but Oz gets no clear answer as to whom she is talking about — the goddesses or the Slayers.
As Satsu speeds the jeep over rough terrain, she almost knocks Willow out of the vehicle, but Buffy catches her and pulls her back in. Buffy redirects Satsu to where she saw what she needed, now identified as a him. Twilight, as well as Amy, watch Buffy advance through the battlefield through a set of binoculars, Amy questions where they are going, while Twilight notes that the Wrathful goddess nearly killed them, and Warren questions the whereabouts of his binoculars. Remati nearly stomped on the jeep, and Buffy tries to remind the goddess that they are the good guys they were summoned to protect. As they speed away, Buffy notes what nearly happened, and sees that the blue goddess, has gotten hold of two of Twilight’s soldiers as well as a Slayer. Further through the battlefield, we come across two dead Slayers, soldiers, and werewolves, and one live werewolf. With a Slayer in one hand, the blue goddess takes into her other hand four of Twilight’s soldiers. As Buffy and Willow watch, Willow asks Buffy what the blue goddess is doing attacking a Slayer. Buffy quickly realizes that the goddesses are not controlled by one side or another, they are killers and they are not going to be getting their magic back; they didn’t summon help, they brought death. Dawn sees the goddesses attacking Slayers as well as soldiers, and Xander, now armed with a bullhorn, orders the girls to fall back and seek refuge inside the temple.
In the infirmary, Oz asks Andrew why the Slayer troops are all gathering in the temple, and Andrew informs Oz that the goddesses are now attacking indiscriminately. Oz cannot believe what he just heard, but Bay confirms it as well, stating it has been too long since they have been summoned out of the earth, and can no longer recognize the hand that feeds them. Kennedy asks Faith if they will be getting their powers back, and Faith simply replies "No." Outside, Buffy finally finds who she has been looking for — Riley. He is carried to the jeep by Buffy and Willow as he is seriously injured, and Satsu wonders why they nearly died to simply take a prisoner, she ignores this and simply orders Satsu to race them back to the temple so that his injuries can be tended to. On the way back to the temple, Willow shouts to the remaining Slayers on the battlefield that they need to run and hide in the woods and that the goddesses are going to kill them as well as the soldiers. As they make the way back to the temple, Slayers continue to fight the soldiers, while three werewolves attack the Vajrayogini. Finally at the temple, Giles assists Buffy in getting Riley to the infirmary. They declare he is still alive but needs his wounds tended to. Buffy calls for Xander, and upon seeing him, embraces him, relieved that nothing happened to him. Dawn asks Buffy if Riley is a prisoner, to which she reveals that he is a triple agent, working for her against Twilight and can tell her all of Twilight’s plans if he ever wakes up.
Outside, Amy notices that Riley has been taken, and Twilight reveals that Riley was a triple agent working against him. Warren asks if Twilight had known all along or just figured it out, because the tone in which he said it made it sound ambiguous. Amy and Warren begin to fight over Warren’s constant nagging. As Twilight tries to interject, he is rebuffed by Amy, who reminds Warren that she is keeping him alive when he calls her the least supportive girlfriend ever. Twilight walks away as they continue to bicker. Back in the infirmary, Buffy waits by Riley’s side until he finally wakes up. He states that he doesn’t know how to win the battle, and that she needs a miracle. This makes Buffy start to cry as she states that she doesn’t have magic or miracles but all she has is....a losing battle, as Twilight finishes the same thought. He tells the general that it is unavoidable fighting them. The general tells him that he is letting their men die, to which Twilight replies that as mortals, they need to die sometime. On the battlefield, the three goddesses unearth the buried submarine and continue to wreak havoc on Slayers and Army soldiers alike, before throwing the submarine and causing a massive explosion. Twilight notes that once the goddesses are done here, they will move on to the next village and the next, and that he will go in after and take survivors — should there be any.
Back at the temple, Buffy stands before the surviving troops and tells them that they have no other choice, they are not getting their powers back, or win the battle and that they cannot run again because they have too many injured to carry and they will not be able to move fast enough to escape. Buffy tells them that they can protect the temple, but should do nothing else to call attention to themselves, then orders her Slayers to go out and collect their injured as well as Twilight’s injured soldiers — protect everything that bleeds. As Buffy, now armed with the scythe, leads her troops down to the battlefield, it begins to snow. Riley and Oz watch from the temple window, they note that Buffy realizes that she has no chance at winning or staying alive, but note her bravery, all of their bravery, despite this. A soldier shoots at Buffy, but Satsu knocks Buffy out of the way and shoots at the soldier. She drops the scythe and before she can fall to the ground, she is picked up by the blue goddess. Buffy and the goddess look into each others eyes, and the goddess simply drops Buffy to the ground, knocking her unconscious.
Five hours later, the battlefield is covered in snow, littered with the bodies of dead Slayers and soldiers. Buffy finally comes to and looks down the hill at Twilight’s camp to see that that her entire army, including Giles and Willow, have been taken as hostages. She stands holds her head up high and closes her eyes. The next thing she realizes is that she is hovering high in the sky, above Oz’s temple, Twilight’s camp and the goddesses, who continue to make their way through the mountains.
- Warren complains about not having enough time to convince Andrew to join him side, in Retreat, Part One.
- Amy mentions the First Evil being able to tempt Andrew, in "Conversations with Dead People".
- Upon seeing the wrathful goddesses, Dawn recalls being a giant (The Long Way Home, Part One until Time of Your Life, Part One).
- Buffy reveals Riley had been a spy for her the whole time he was in the Twilight Group. She had secretly reunited with him in Time of Your Life, Part One, and he first appeared in their side in Time of Your Life, Part Four.
- Riley and Oz interact for the second time in this issue, having met when Riley broke Oz out and deserted from the Initiative in "New Moon Rising".
- Buffy suddenly has flight ability, as it’ll be revealed in to be due to Twilight’s empowerment (Twilight, Part Two).
- Riley Finn
- The First Evil (Only mentioned)
- The General
- Rupert Giles
- Alexander Harris
- Faith Lehane
- Amy Madison
- Warren Mears
- Daniel Osbourne
- Willow Rosenberg
- Buffy Summers
- Dawn Summers
- Andrew Wells
- Husky puppy
Organizations and titles
Weapons and objects
- Military, killed by Slayers and the Wrathful goddesses.
- Slayers, killed by military and the Wrathful goddesses.
- Werewolves, killed by military and the Wrathful goddesses.
Behind the scenes
- Retreat, Part Five was the 35th best selling comic issue in its publishing month, with 49,155 sales in November 2009 at comic specialty stores.
- French: Retraite, Partie Cinq (Retreat, Part Five)
- German: Rückzug! — Teil Fünf (Retreat! — Part Five)
- Italian: Ritirata, Parte 5 (Retreat, Part 5)
- Russian: Отступление, Часть 5 (Retreat, Part 5)
- Turkish: Geri Çekilme, Kısım Beş (Retreat, Part Five)
|Buffy: “We don’t have a choice. We’re not getting out powers back. We’re not going to win. But we have too many of our injured here to run away. Besides, they can follow faster than we can move. We can defend the temple, but do nothing else to draw their attention. And first, collect our injured and bring them back here. You know what? Let’s collect their injured too. The soldiers. Protect everything that bleeds, okay? I’ll lead the way.”|
|Riley: “She knows she’ll lose?”|
|Oz: “She knows.”|
|Riley: “Amazing woman.”|
|Oz: “They all are.”|
- “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #30: Retreat part 5 (Adam Hughes cover)”. Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
- “Top 300 Comics Actual--November 2009”. ICv2, December 7, 2009. Retrieved January 24, 2019.