Buffy’s new position as leader and figurehead of the world’s five hundred most powerful women has made her a bigger target than ever before. “The Chain” tells the story of one of the decoy “Buffy” Slayers, a tale personally important to series creator Joss Whedon. Guest artist Paul Lee (Conan, Tales of the Vampires) pencils the first standalone issue of Season Eight.
A demon called Yamanh of Hoht holds up the body of a dead Slayer he believes to be Buffy Summers, with various demons around him cheering him on. It was not the real Buffy, but one of her body doubles. While the Decoy was dying, her life flashes before her eyes.
She remembers a previous conversation before going up to Yamanh to fight him, where her friend, a fairy named Tink, pleaded with her not to go. The decoy insists that Yamanh and his army are marching to the upper world and that Tink should go and warn others, while she will hold them off.
Then the decoy remembers how she had been activated. She was having lunch with her friends — having short black hair then —, when suddenly she was hit by an invisible force as her powers came to her.
The decoy also remembers seeing a commercial on local television starring Andrew and Violet, which helps the girl finds the Slayer organization and “the chain" to which all Slayers are connected. There, she trains in a squad with Rona and. one day also receiving a lecture from a visiting Giles.
She then thinks back to an occasion on which she was fighting vampires with a squad of Slayers, she intervened to save a fellow Slayer and was bitten by a vampire. Squad leader Rona identifies the Slayer as a candidate to serve as a Buffy decoy in an underground society of demons, monsters, and faeries.
The decoy thinks back on how after having accepted the job, she first climbed down into the darkness of the underground world. There she met faeries and slimefolk and after passing their tests, she explains that Yamanh and his demons will kill all the benevolent creatures there before moving above ground and that the only way to stop him would be by working together.
Then she remembers after being activated, she got up and at just that moment a driver had lost control over his truck, which would’ve hit her and her friends, if she had not reacted quickly. Luckily, with her new powers, she managed to save them.
Then finally she remembers the fight against Yamanh and his army, in which all the benevolent creatures have indeed united at her side. In spite of that, he has beat her and she is dying, while he holds her body up. Just at that moment though, several Slayers, having been alerted by Tink, descend into the cave, to aid in the battle.
Her final thoughts suggest she was happy to have saved the world and been part of “the chain”, even if her own name will never be known.
- Buffy had previously mentioned the underground decoy in The Long Way Home, Part One.
- A Slayers mentions having heard Buffy also has a neck wound. At this point, she had been bitten three times ("Prophecy Girl", "Graduation Day, Part One", "Buffy vs. Dracula").
- It’s revealed that Rona became a leader squad of the Slayer Organization, in Chicago.
- Mike Billenger(Only in flashbacks)
- Holly Braeburn (Only mentioned)
- Simone Doffler (Only in flashbacks)
- Rupert Giles (Only in flashbacks)
- Yamanh of Hoht
- The Master (Only in visions)
- Naayéé'neizgháni (Only in visions)
- Rona (Only in flashbacks)
- Xin Rong (Only in visions)
- Sineya (Only in visions)
- Anni (Only in visions)
- Buffy Summers (Only mentioned)
- Buffy Summers (Rome decoy) (Only mentioned)
- Buffy Summers (underground decoy)
- Vi (Only in flashbacks)
- Andrew Wells (Only in flashbacks)
- Elizabeth Weston (Only in visions)
- Nikki Wood (Only in visions)
- Unidentified Slayer (Righteous) (Only in visions)
Organizations and titles
- Chicago, USA (Only in flashbacks)
Weapons and objects
- Buffy Summers (underground decoy), killed by Yamanh of Hoht.
- Five vampires, dusted by Slayer Organization Chicago squad.
Behind the scenes
- In the “Slay the Critics” featured in The Long Way Home, Part Four, Scott Allie said about The Chain: “Joss [Whedon] put a lot into this one. If it were an episode of the show, he would have directed it.”
- Georges Jeanty’s variant cover references Uncle Sam in the famous 1917 poster, used to recruit soldiers for the war.
- This issue had three covers in the first printing, an exception in Season Eight that Scott Allie explained: “After the fact, I thought the three covers was excessive. We did that because I’d asked Paul [Lee] to do a variant cover, and forgot that I’d told Georges he would do all the variant covers, even for fill-in issues. So we decided to use all three, but again, I think it was too much for retailers to deal with, and too much of a burden on readers who might be completists.”
- The issue was dedicated to Janie Kleinman, a network executive whom Joss Whedon had worked with and admire, and had died in December 2006. Whedon elaborates this dedication in the “Slay the Critics” featured in A Beautiful Sunset.
- The Chain was the twelfth best selling comic issue in its publishing month, with 100,830 sales in July 2007 at comic specialty stores. It was also among the 300 best selling of August and September 2007.
Pop culture references
- The Decoy exemplifies impactful names mentioning the historical figures Abraham Lincoln, Adolf Hitler, and Mahatma Gandhi.
- French: La Chaine (The Chain)
- German: Die Kette (The Chain)
- Italian: La Catena (The Chain)
- Portuguese (Brazil): A Cadeia (The Chain)
- Russian: Цепь (The Chain)
- Spanish: La Cadena (The Chain)
- Turkish: Zincir (The Chain)
- This is the first issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics’ main series to not feature the character of Buffy Summers, who was only mentioned in its story. Notably, she had appeared in all Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes.
- This issue was adapted into a Season Eight Motion Comic episode.
|Buffy Summers (underground decoy) - “There is a chain, between each and every one of us. And like the man said, you either feel its tug or you ignore it. I tried to feel it. I tried to face the darkness like a woman and I don't need any more than that. You don't have to remember me. You don't even know who I am. But I do.”|
- ↑ "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8: #5". Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
- ↑ "Scott Allie Q&A for #22 - February '09". SlayAlive Forum, February 04, 2009. Retrieved February 09, 2018.
- ↑ "Top 300 Comics Actual--July 2007" ICv2, August 20, 2007. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
- ↑ "ICv2's Top 300 Comics & Top 300 GN's Index" ICv2. Retrieved January 13, 2018.