The Long Way Home, Part Four is the fourth issue of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight comic book series. It was written by Joss Whedon and illustrated by Georges Jeanty. Joss Whedon is the executive producer.
Buffy’s back in action, thanks to a kiss of true love, but Willow’s another story entirely — their capture of Amy the witch opened up a magical trap door, and now the Wiccan is in the belly of the beast. To make matters worse, she’s at the mercy of someone truly bent on revenge, and he’s been waiting for this for a long time. The conclusion to Season Eight’s first arc.
Warren begins torturing Willow, who is magically bound to an operating table, irritated by his death at the witch’s hands. He reveals how his human life ended, and how Amy saved him with a “pretty hokey” disappearing trick and used magic to keep him from dying of shock, her powers now serving as his new skin. Warren then prepares to mutilate Willow with a scalpel.
Back in Scotland, Dawn is fuming over Willow’s kidnapping. She begs Buffy to bring Willow back and adds that “Will is like a mom to me.” This doesn’t seem to sit well with Buffy but she opts not to discuss it, instead choosing to focus her attention on the mystics trying to track the portal’s echo so it can be reopened. Xander explained that the portal will only be able to let two people through it. Buffy wants Xander to go, but he refuses as he doesn’t not consider himself a fighter. He adds that Willow is too important and Buffy needs to do this right by picking the best person for the job. Buffy eventually picks Satsu, who is initially apprehensive, until Leah reassures her that it was Buffy’s decision and warns her not to embarrass the rest of them. As they wait to go through the portal, Buffy asks Satsu if she can borrow some lip gloss. She notes the flavor is cinnamon, hinting that Satsu might be the one who kissed Buffy.
When the portal is opened, General Voll has already set up a high powered energy cannon to blast anyone on the other side of the wormhole. Fortunately for Buffy, Xander had already taken the necessary precautions by rigging a large mirror to reflect the energy blast back through the portal, destroying the cannon and leaving Voll’s squad badly damaged and uncoordinated. Buffy and Satsu then appear through the opening. Slayer Scythe in hand and Satsu at her side, Buffy takes on the entire squad, mortally wounding many. This gives her the perfect leverage for the location of her friend, as Willow will be able to heal them.
Meanwhile, Warren taunts Willow to use her powers by going “dark”, as doing so will feed her bindings. As he begins to slice into her eye with a scalpel, a group of mysterious, elemental beings allow her passage into another plane of existence. There they show Willow a manifestation of the damage being dealt to her, explaining that Warren is lobotomizing her and remind her that if he succeeds in killing her, there will be no coming back. One being asks Willow if she has a plan, to which Willow replies “Have I ever told you about my best friend…?”.
Buffy confronts Amy, who is already using her magics to summon a minion to do her work. Things look a little ugly until Buffy’s eyes go black and energy starts to crackle around her. With Willow apparently channeling magic through her, Buffy makes quick work of the creature that Amy set loose. Amy declares that Buffy’s borrowed powers are just a light show and that she can’t have a fraction of Willow’s power. However, Buffy then manages to score a break in Amy’s defenses by taking the form of Catherine Madison, Amy’s mother, distracting her long enough for Satsu to toss a grenade under the witch’s feet. Warren and Amy eventually escape, while Willow awakens, already having healed herself from the torture she had to endure.
As they begin their escape from what Xander has discovered to be a military base two miles south of Sunnydale, Buffy passes a door that with the number thirty on it. Realizing that thirty is XXX in Roman numerals, Buffy breaks open the door to the cell, occupied by Ethan Rayne… who had been shot in the head by General Voll. After a brief skirmish, Buffy discovers the mark that was on the bodies back at the church is also on Voll’s chest. Voll explains that the mark means “Twilight”; specifically, twilight for Buffy and her Slayers. The General continues to explain that they have to wipe out the entire Slayer population because they fear that the demon aspect of the Slayer’s power will eventually lead them to try and create a master race once they are done battling the forces of evil.
- Warren recalls Willow’s confront in "Villains", and reveals that Amy was not only aware of their rivalry at the time, but was able to save Warren when Willow flayed him.
- Warren also reveals that he had come up with the plan for Amy to turn Willow into him two years earlier, in "The Killer in Me".
- Buffy borrows a cinnamon lipstick from Satsu and tastes it familiarly, hinting that Stasu was the one who kissed her in The Long Way Home, Part Three.
- Discovering she’s near Sunnydale, Buffy thinks about being “the one who wanted to go home,” recalling her reflection in The Long Way Home, Part One.
- It’s revealed a magical connection between Buffy and Willow, to be used again in a fight in Anywhere but Here.
- Willow uses a manifestation of Catherine Madison to distract Amy, referencing the events from "The Witch".
- After attempting to help Buffy from his cell, Ethan Rayne meets his demise.
- Buffy finds out who her new opponents supposedly are. However, it is revealed in Twilight, Part Two that this is only partially true.
- Rupert Giles (Only mentioned)
- Alexander Harris
- Kennedy (Only mentioned)
- Warren Mears
- Amy Madison
- Catherine Madison (Only in visions)
- Ethan Rayne
- Willow Rosenberg
- Buffy Summers
- Dawn Summers
Organizations and titles
- Elemental Goddesses
- Initiative (Only mentioned)
- Scooby Gang
- Slayer Organization
- Twilight Group
- United States Armed Forces
Weapons and objects
Rituals and spells
- Ethan Rayne, shot by Voll.
Behind the scenes
- In the “Slay the Critics” featured in No Future for You, Part One, a mail pointed out the contradiction of Warren’s reveal that he didn’t die in "Villains", while he was still impersonated by the First Evil in the following season. About this, Joss Whedon answered: “He was legally dead for like a second. Amy didn’t tell him ‘cause she didn’t want to upset him. I forgot, okay?!”.
- The Long Way Home, Part Four was the tenth best selling comic issue in its publishing month, with 102,430 sales in June 2007 at comic specialty stores. It was also among the 300 best selling of July, September, and November 2007.
- As the printings were sold out, there were two additional printings available for this issue.
Goofs, bloopers & continuity errors
- Willow has her eyes colored blue in her first two panels, then they become brown for the rest of the issue, instead of green as they most commonly appear. The blue is replaced by green in the library edition.
- This issue was adapted into a Season Eight Motion Comic episode.
- Jo Chen’s main cover is reference to Georges Jeanty’s variant cover for comic issue Living Doll.
|Buffy Summers - “This isn’t about demons at all, is it? It's about women. It’s about power and it’s about women and you just hate those two words in the same sentence, don’t you?”|