Retreat, Part One is the twenty-sixth issue of the 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.
Team Buffy has become all about sneaky in a world where Slayers are now feared and hated, and vampires would rank at the top of a popularity poll. All hands are on deck as Scotland’s brand-newest Slayer headquarters comes under attack; but, when things get more than a little fried, Buffy has to punt. There are yaks.
Three seagulls fly above a seaside cliff. The middle seagull has a fish in its grasp, and to make things bizarre, the seagull and fish are speaking to one another. They talk about how they need to be sneaky now that people are on the lookout and report sightings of witches and Slayers. They hover over what appears to be an unoccupied island, and as they touch down, the seagull and fish transmogrify into Willow and Buffy. The island is the site of their new Slayer HQ, a medieval castle covered by a magical illusion of dense forestry to throw off any attacks.
Inside the control room, Buffy mulls about, wondering if they are truly doing all they can to ward off attacks by allies of Twilight, who now has every demon in Scotland on his side; Willow assures Buffy that their magic is all across the grid, and that all that can be done is being done — to which Buffy questions Willow and how she is with the temptation and control of magic — which Willow just brushes off as being clingy. Buffy reminds her troops that the best thing they can do now is disappear until the anti-Slayer movement is over — this causes Satsu to ask how long it will take for that to happen and wonders what the judgment of history will be.
Meanwhile, in Berlin, Faith and Giles are hiding underground in Hitler’s bunker, talking about how hiding underground doesn’t feel right. Suddenly, they are attacked by demons and Faith fends them off enough for her and Giles to escape.
Cutting to Rome, Andrew and six of his Slayers are wandering through underground catacombs, and one of these Slayers, Posey, stops to read an old Latin inscription carved into the stone walls. The rest of the Slayers and Andrew go down the staircase and find a large circle of bones and skulls from early Roman martyrs. Above, something with red eyes watches them, and Andrew’s further investigation uncovers skinless Warren laying in wait.
Warren tries to trick Andrew into joining him by apologizing for having him kill Jonathan. All at once, the Slayers begin to yell "Goatmen!" and Andrew turns to see Posey, now dead, being thrown to the ground and a literal goatman standing above her. Warren reveals that his sentiment was all a trick and that the Goatmen were a trap set up by him and Amy. Andrew and his Slayers fight the goatmen with the bones of the martyrs and escape the catacombs. We cut to a boxcar carrying Faith and Giles through the mountains, taking them to Buffy, and in Rome, Andrew and his badly beaten Slayers are riding in truck bed to Buffy as well.
Back in Scotland, Willow wakes up startled, and rushes to Buffy’s room. She, along with Kennedy, Xander, and Dawn, alerts Buffy that Giles and Faith, Andrew and five Slayers, and every demon in Scotland are separately on their way to the castle. After Willow uses her magic to allow their friends in, Buffy runs to and hugs Giles, telling him she’s happy he’s there, and Andrew marvels at how Dawn has shrunk. Buffy asks Xander to review their defenses, dumbfounded, he begins to babble. Willow informs Buffy she has the Wiccans working shields, traps and mystical mirages, though Satsu reveals that the demons are already working their way through the shields.
Soon, Buffy and Faith see the army destroy their security cameras and the group is forced to head for the roof, where a group of Wiccan-Slayers are working the defense shields. On the roof, Buffy sees that the army is miles long, with all sorts of medieval tech, catapults and military tanks. Willow alerts the Wiccans to drop the bridge illusion, and the path to the castle disappears. As Xander gloats about triumph, the demons load what appears to be a flaming stone at the castle. As the castle explodes, one of the Wiccan-Slayers dies from a fried brain due to magic overload.
Willow interrogates a demon that Satsu has taken prisoner. As Faith and Giles try to advise Buffy on battle tactics, Buffy notices that in the fray below, the demons are winning and Slayers are dying. Willow returns and informs the group that Twilight is tracking the Slayers through their use of magic. With their last defense shield destroyed, the entire Slayer HQ escapes in the submarine Satsu had commandeered. Buffy and Giles converse, first about Buffy turning Willow into the future Dark Willow she killed by making Willow use strong magicks, and then about trying to figure out how to keep themselves guarded from all their enemies.
They realize that because Twilight is able to track them through magic, even if Willow were to stop using magic, the Slayers themselves are mystical. When Faith enters and wonders if Buffy has decided where they’re going, Buffy comes up with an idea, but it will mean Willow will have to perform one more big spell before stopping with magic. Cut to a monastery in the yak-filled mountains of Tibet. Oz is sitting and meditating, when he hears a bell chime. He stops and looks out ahead of him — seeing a smoking submarine at the base of the monastery steps.
- Buffy mentions preferring flying with Willow the way they had done in Anywhere but Here.
- The Slayer Organization moves its command center to a third known location; in a palace since After These Messages... We'll Be Right Back!, and before in another castle since The Long Way Home, Part One.
- Giles and Faith are still in Germany, since Safe.
- Warren mentions a special Keith Olbermann did on Slayers, which appeared in Carpe Noctem, Part One.
- Andrew accuses Warren of making him a killer; even though the First Evil impersonating Warren who convinced him to kill Jonathan ("Conversations with Dead People"), Warren talks like it was himself.
- Andrew has the same image of living with Warren and Jonathan as gods as he did in "Storyteller".
- Xander and Dawn agree on the importance of knocking before entering, in reference to the events from Wolves at the Gate, Part One.
- Buffy and Giles are reunited, not seeing each other since before The Long Way Home, Part One. His reasons for being absent are revealed in Twilight, Part Three.
- Buffy reveals to Giles she has killed Willow in the future (Time of Your Life, Part Four).
- The Slayer Organization uses the submarine Satsu had commanded, as mentioned in Swell.
- Oz is in Tibet, last seen in episode "New Moon Rising".
- Rupert Giles
- Alexander Harris
- Faith Lehane
- Jonathan Levinson (Only mentioned)
- Amy Madison (Only mentioned)
- Warren Mears
- Daniel Osbourne
- Willow Rosenberg
- Buffy Summers
- Dawn Summers
- Andrew Wells
Organizations and titles
Weapons and objects
- Impact bomb
- Napalm grenade
- Posey, killed by a goatman.
- Unknown number of Slayers, burned by a fire ball projected by demons.
- An unidentified Wiccan-Slayer, brain-fried during the demon attack.
- Unknown number of slayers, killed by demons during the battle.
- Unknown number of demons, killed by Slayers during the battle.
Behind the scenes
- Talking about Posey, a Slayer answers “Ee-may oo-tay”, which is Pig Latin for “me too”.
- Retreat, Part One was the 31st best selling comic issue in its publishing month, with 55,393 sales in July 2009 at comic specialty stores.
Pop culture references
- Faith and Giles seek refuge at a bunker of the Nazi Germany (1933–1945).
- Warren mentions political commentator Keith Olbermann.
- Willow and Kennedy have the "Wicked" novel on the nightstand.
- French: Retraite, Première Partie (Retreat, Part One)
- German: Rückzug! — Teil Eins (Retreat! — Part One)
- Italian: Ritirata, Parte 1 (Retreat, Part 1)
- Russian: Отступление, Часть 1 (Retreat, Part 1)
- Turkish: Geri Çekilme, Kısım Bir (Retreat, Part One)
|Willow - “Hey, look! You’re a reverse mermaid.”|
|Faith - “I knew it was stupid, going underground! Demons live underground!”|
|Andrew - “When you start using bones in your decorating, you’ve got too many bones.”|