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The Watcher is the twentieth issue of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine comic book series. Written by Andrew Chambliss and illustrated by Karl Moline, it was originally published on April 10, 2013, by Dark Horse Comics.


The loss of the world's magic has finally hit Buffy. Hard. As friends and family continue to fall, Buffy is helpless… and Xander is beyond fed up with helplessness — and Buffy! He is so finally ready to do something about it![1]


In the chamber of the Seed of Wonder, Xander and Buffy react to Giles' death. Angel asks if they won the battle, and Xander reflects on only ever being able to watch his friends die. When Angel asks a sobbing Buffy what happened to Giles, Xander lashes out and punches him into a wall, telling Angel he killed Giles. Angel tries to explain Twilight was controlling him while Xander repeatedly punches him. Xander holds a bloody Angel and says he always has an excuse. He takes the broken Scythe, and Buffy stops him from staking Angel. She pleads: "Please. I can't lose anybody else. I can't lose you, Xander." Watching over Giles's body, Xander says he has something to do so he doesn't feel useless.

In Andrew's apartment in San Francisco, Xander sits with an unconscious Dawn. Buffy lists the reasons Faith, Kennedy, Spike, Koh, and the Council are unavailable to help them, the only way they will ever be able to help her sister is if they work together. Xander refuses to speak with Buffy, and he tells Andrew to explain to her he chose to separate himself from anything supernatural. Buffy tells Xander it may be her fault, but, if she doesn't fix it because he doesn't have her back, he's just as much to blame. Xander storms out of the room.

Outside, he walks down an empty street and thinks about how he departed the "big bad world" for Dawn's sake and she still got hurt. In his apartment, he looks at an old photograph of Buffy, Dawn, and Joyce — in the picture, Dawn's form is translucent. As he crumples the picture in frustration, Xander is suddenly transported to Severin and Simone's location. Xander makes an immediate attempt to attack Simone, but Severin freezes him and Simone aims her handgun. Severin snatches the photograph from Xander's hand and observes he is about to lose Dawn. Severin says he is going through with his plans for his deceased girlfriend's sake. Xander asks what he has to do with it, and Severin explains both he and Severin lost someone because of Buffy.

On the roof of Andrew's apartment building, Buffy asks to be left alone. Before he turns to leave, Andrew tells Buffy he knows she will find a way to save her sister regardless of what Xander believes. Willow suddenly appears with a restored Scythe and heals the scar on Buffy's forehead. Realizing Willow has managed to regain her ability to use magic, Buffy hugs her friend, crying and saying she thought she wouldn't be able to save Dawn.

Simone reminds Xander that Dawn is soon going to disappear completely. Severin declares he can use Illyria's power to turn back time and undo every event involving Twilight — including Dawn's illness and his own girlfriend's transformation into a zompire. Simone tells Xander all he needs him to do is steal the Vampyr book from Buffy. Xander argues against betraying Buffy, but they explain nobody will know or remember it ever happened when it works. Simone says Buffy is right now trying make a plan to help Dawn without being sure it'll even work, but they know their plan will. Xander reflects he won't watch this time and maybe he won't feel so useless. He agrees to help them.


  • The flashbacks of the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the Seed takes place between Last Gleaming, Part Four and Part Five.
  • Xander reflects on the deaths he had been unable to prevent: Tara in "Seeing Red," Anya in "Chosen," Renee in Wolves at the Gate, Part Three, and Giles in Last Gleaming, Part Four.
  • In the flashback, Xander beats up Angel and almost stakes him before Buffy stopped Xander. A few years before, Xander had similarly attacked Spike in "Entropy."
  • In the flashback, Buffy reasons with Xander over killing Angel, stating she can't lose him. In "Graduation Day, Part One," Buffy had set out to kill Faith to save Angel's life, and Xander told Buffy: "I just don't want to lose you."
  • Xander's feelings helplessness and uselessness were prominently seen in his dream in "Restless," his conversation with Anya in "Two to Go," and his message to Dawn in "Potential."
  • Buffy mentions Faith is "occupied and self-centered" so she can't help with Dawn. In What You Want, Not What You Need, Part One, Faith's side of the phone call appears and it's revealed she and Angel lost their fabricated memories of Dawn.
  • Buffy doesn't know where Spike has gone; he is currently in London, as seen in Spike and Faith.
  • The photograph Xander holds has Dawn fading out from it. Five years earlier, Buffy saw Dawn fading from the same photograph in "No Place Like Home" when she discovered her sister was not real.
  • Willow reunites with Buffy; she left in Slayer, Interrupted and returned to San Francisco in Wonderland, Part Four.
  • Xander describes the Vampyr book as the one Buffy inherited from Giles in Last Gleaming, Part Five.



Organizations and titles[]





Behind the scenes[]


  • The Watcher was the 95th best selling comic issue in its publishing month, with 21,901 sales in April 2013 at comic specialty stores.[2]


Pop culture references[]

  • Xander sports a B.P.R.D patch on his jacket.
  • Xander mentions Ziggy Stardust.
  • Xander calls Simone Tank Girl due to their similar appearance.
  • Xander compares his blue appearance with a Smurf.



Cover artwork[]



Xander: "I've watched a lot of people die. Tara. Anya. Renee. Giles. But that's what I do. Watch. And watch. And watch. It builds up in you. Hides in you. Becomes a part of you. You don't even know it's there. Until it finally makes you do something besides watch."
Xander: "You always have an excuse. Guess what? I don't care."
Xander: "As much as I hate agreeing with Tank Girl, maybe she's right. Maybe I don't have to watch this time. Maybe I don't have to feel so... useless."