|Buffy Season Eight|
|Issue 20: After These Messages ... We'll Be Right Back!|
|Written by||Jeph Loeb|
|Drawn by||Georges Jeanty, Eric Wight|
|Published by||Dark Horse Comics|
Time of Your Life
Predators and Prey
You come one more inch and things are going to get all blechy.
The comic is a stand-alone picking up some time after the Time of Your Life arc. As she slays various demons, Buffy remarks that things were far simpler in the past. After the slaying is done, Buffy returns to the castle and gets some well deserved sleep, albeit in Xander’s bed rather than her own. As she sleeps she dreams of waking up in her old bed in Sunnydale to her mother's voice and the presence of a rather young Dawn. She realizes that it is all a dream, but continues through it, relishing nostalgia. Later at school, Cordelia and Harmony give Willow a hard time about her looks, while Buffy reassures her that one day Cordelia will be dead, and Willow will be a ‘sorceress supreme’. Xander makes his entrance into the dream sequence via skateboarding through the halls and running into Principal Snyder. After his board is confiscated, Buffy consoles him that one day, Snyder will be eaten by a huge snake and that Xander will get to wear an eye patch and be in charge of a lot of women. The Scoobies meet up with Giles in the cemetery where he warns that, despite their party plans, the fate of the world is at risk from the Disciples of Morgala, a cult of vampires who worship a dragon, intent on summoning it that very night. Rather quickly, Buffy locates and dispatches three of the disciples with surprising ease. Feeling accomplished, Buffy finds that she still has time to attend that party, feeling as though it is owed her. At home, Buffy and her mother discuss Buffy’s life and future, saying that Buffy “can always come home again”. While on her way to the party she encounters Angel, who congratulates her on her vanquishing the five followers of Morgala. Buffy asks if he knew someone’s past and future, would he change it; Angel answers with a no. Upon leaving, it clicks to Buffy that Angel said five followers and not three, meaning that two disciples were still at large. She ditches the party and heads back to the cemetery, where she locates the last two. She dispatches them, but not before they use a large gem to bring the image of the dragon to life. Buffy and the dragon fight over the city of Sunnydale, where Buffy manages to loosen the gem from the dragon's head to destroy it.
As she is about to crash to the ground, she is woken by Xander urging her to find some place that is not his bed to sleep. It is revealed that all is as it should be—Xander has his eye patch, Dawn is still a centaur, and Willow is a witch and still a lesbian. Xander informs Buffy that she was only asleep for a few seconds. Buffy realizes that things weren't simpler in the past; her life has always been complicated, it was just complicated in a different way. But regardless, she notes that it was nice to be able to go home again.
- It was revealed in this that Buffy and her friends are aware of Cordelia's death.
- Buffy is seen wearing the cross she was given to by Angel long ago in "Welcome to the Hellmouth", but when noted by him, she lies and stated that it went with the outfit, similar to what she did when Willow had pointed out she was wearing his jacket in "The Pack".
- Three demons, killed by Buffy
- a Vampire, dusted by Buffy
- six vampires, dusted by Buffy (in dreams)
- Morgala, destroyed by Buffy (in dreams)
Behind the Scenes
- Jeph Loeb wrote the issue and Georges Jeanty and Eric Wight penciled it. This issue, written by Jeph Loeb, who worked on the animated series with Joss Whedon, had some problems at the beginning, as artists had to be approved by Sarah Michelle Gellar's representatives, and since there was no official artist working yet, Loeb had not started work on the script as he "tailors the script around the artist he is working with".
- Season Eight is set one and a half years after Buffy's seventh season and also after Angel's fifth, concurrent with Angel: After the Fall. However, this time travel issue sees it taking place during Season One of the series. Chronologically, Loeb describes the Season One setting of this and the unproduced animated series as being "episode 7.5" and therefore taking place between "Angel" and "I Robot, You Jane".
- The issue’s plot is similar to one partially seen during a promo for the animated series (both feature a cult of vampires attempting to raise a dragon called Morgala the same night Buffy wishes to attend a party).
- After These Messages... is also included in the Season 8 trade paperback collection, Time of Your Life.