The Long Way Home, Part One is the first 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.
Since the destruction of the Hellmouth, the Slayers — newly legion — have gotten organized and are kicking some serious undead butt. But not everything’s fun and firearms, as an old enemy reappears and Dawn experiences some serious growing pains…
Buffy Summers is leading a squad of Slayers, including Leah, Rowena, and Satsu, in a raid on a large, dilapidated church protected by a force field. She reveals that there are at least 1800 Slayers now active, 500 of whom are working with the Scooby Gang; spread over ten squads, and that there are two Slayers posing as decoys of herself lest she become an easy target; one literally underground, and another in Rome publicly partying and dating the Immortal. Working with Xander, who is running things at Slayer headquarters in Scotland, Buffy refers to him as a Watcher despite his objections. They count on a team of computer workers, psychics, and mystics, including a Slayer named Renee, Buffy and her squad find three monstrous demons surrounded by a trio of dead bodies.
After slaying the demons, one of whom Buffy impales through the head with a cross, the Slayers investigate the bodies. Each one has an odd symbol cut into their chest, and Buffy finds automatic weapons, which leads her to believe that the victims came looking for a fight. Buffy tells Xander to send a copy of the symbol to Giles, when another Slayer finds the machine that generated the force field, also presumably belonging to the victims. We get a glimpse of someone — just boots and cape revealed — floating above the church watching the Slayers.
In Sunnydale, General Voll of the United States Army surveys the crater left after the collapse of the Hellmouth, calling the Slayers a threat to the United States government and likening their squads to terrorist cells. A government expedition is being led sixty feet under the Hellmouth, but is cut short when one of the explorers encounters something.
Back in Scotland, Buffy and Xander trie to puzzle out the meaning of the occult symbol; Xander calls it a “guy with a monocle frowning,” while Buffy opts for “a beautiful sunset.” Xander mentions to Buffy that she needs to talk to Dawn, so reluctantly she visits her sister, who is now giant-size and living in the basement of the headquarters. Buffy believes that her size was caused by Dawn losing her virginity to her ex-boyfriend Kenny, who is a thricewise. However, Dawn won’t divulge anything to Buffy, instead preferring to talk to Willow when the latter returns.
After a brief, bitter feud, during which Buffy mentions that Dawn should be at Berkeley, Buffy goes outside to reflect. She thinks about the fact that she and Dawn hadn’t gotten along since the battle at the Hellmouth, and that she misses her mom, her home, the gang, churros, and sex.
At a government facility, General Voll is shown an unrevealed creature captured from the Hellmouth — the “boyfriend” of the explorer’s attacker, whom he meets with disgust. General Voll is then informed of the attacker, whose first words to the explorer reportedly were “I’m gonna help you kill her.” In return for her help, she requests access to all of the government’s magical hardware and a weapons lab for the boyfriend. If they succeeded in taking down Buffy, she wants release and full immunity for the both of them, as well as plentiful amounts of cheese. General Voll queries about the subject’s identity, and she is revealed to be Amy Madison.
- The events from this issue on take place after episodes "Chosen" and "Not Fade Away", as well as comic stories Antique, Willow: Goddesses and Monsters, and Stranger Things.
- Buffy begins the story reflecting about “changing the world”. She thinks “the thing” is that “once you do it, the world is all different.” In Last Gleaming, Part Five, she will finalize that the “trouble” is that “you don’t.” Five years later, she will conclude: “The trouble with changing the world is… worth it.” (Finale).
- It is revealed that who Spike and Angel presumed to be Buffy in Rome during episode "The Girl in Question" was actually her Rome decoy. Andrew, responsible for this idea, had then lied to them about her identity on purpose.
- Dawn mentions her close relationship with Willow during Buffy’s death ("Bargaining, Part One").
- Buffy mentions her undergroung decoy, to be featured in The Chain.
- Amy is revealed to have survived the destruction of Sunnydale ("Chosen").
- Amy’s interest in cheese is a side effect from her time as a rat, as first mentioned in "Smashed".
- Amy’s boyfriend is revealed to be Warren Mears, in The Long Way Home, Part Three.
- Donna (Only mentioned)
- Rupert Giles (Only mentioned)
- Alexander Harris
- The Immortal (Only mentioned)
- Ken (Only mentioned)
- Amy Madison
- Warren Mears (Only mentioned)
- Willow Rosenberg (Only mentioned)
- Buffy Summers
- Buffy Summers (underground decoy) (Only mentioned)
- Buffy Summers (Rome decoy) (Only mentioned)
- Dawn Summers
- Joyce Summers (Only mentioned)
- Andrew Wells (Only mentioned)
Organizations and titles
- United States
Weapons and objects
- An unidentified demon, killed by Rowena with a crossbow.
- An unidentified demon, killed by an unidentified Slayer with a crossbow.
- An unidentified demon, killed by Buffy with a cross.
Behind the scenes
- Editor Scott Allie has established that “[the beginning of] Season Eight does take place about a year and a half after season seven; but I don’t necessarily think of season seven having been in 2003.”
- Georges Jeanty’s variant cover features a homage to another Joss Whedon’s famous television show, Firefly, with Buffy wearing its symbol on her shirt.
- Jeanty has described: “Joss wrote that there would be these big monsters in the first issue and he was very adamant that they shouldn’t look like a ‘guy in a suit’ like they had to do on TV most of the time. ‘We have an unlimited budget — go crazy,’ he told me.”
- Despite Xander’s protests on being under the title of a watcher, Scott Allie has clarified the roles: “The structure [of the Scotland squad] is different than it’s ever been, but Xander is essentially a Watcher (basically), and he’s the Watcher of the Scottish squad. Buffy’s the Commander in Chief of the whole thing, so all the squads are hers.”
- The Long Way Home, Part One was the ninth best selling comic issue in its publishing month, with 109,919 sales in March 2007 at comic specialty stores. It was also among the 300 best selling of April, May, June, July, September, and November 2007.
- As the printings were sold out, there were four additional printings available for this issue, as well as a special edition limited to 1,000 copies.
- An exclusive cover illustrated by Jeanty was released with the 2017 edition of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs.
Goofs, bloopers & continuity errors
- Buffy has her eyes colored as brown in her first panel, but they become green for the rest of the issue, as they most commonly appear.
Pop culture references
- Xander compares himself to Nick Fury, the fictional character who also wore an eyepatch and led a secret organization.
- The issue received two Diamond Gem Awards in 2007, as “Licensed Comic of the Year” and “Comic Book of the Year, under $3.00”.
- This issue was adapted into a Season Eight Motion Comic episode.
|Voll - “They got power, they got resources, and they got a hard-line ideology that does not jibe with American interests. Worst of all, they got a leader. Charismatic, uncompromising, and completely destructive. I mean, for the love of god… look what she did to her hometown.”|
- ↑ “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8: #1”. Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
- ↑ “Ask Scott Allie - August '08”. SlayAlive Forum, August 6, 2008. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
- ↑ "Season 8 Library Edition, Volume 1"
- ↑ “Scott Allie Q&A for #19 - November '08”. SlayAlive Forum, November 26, 2008. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
- ↑ “Top 300 Comics Actual--March 2007”. ICv2, April 15, 2007. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- ↑ “ICv2's Top 300 Comics & Top 300 GN's index”. ICv2. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- ↑ “Diamond Gem Awards”. Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc.. Retrieved December 27, 2017.