|Buffy Season Eight|
|Issue 29: Retreat, Part Four|
|Written by||Jane Espenson|
|Drawn by||Georges Jeanty|
|Publication date||October 07, 2009|
|Published by||Dark Horse Comics|
Retreat, Part Three
Retreat, Part Five
"Retreat, Part Four" was the twenty-ninth story from Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight.
The Scoobies prepare the Slayers and Wiccans for a human battle with Twilight and his army. Xander and Dawn speak with Bay and Oz about the weaponry they will need, while Faith and Giles, Andrew and Satsu, along with Buffy and Willow are all lecturing to the Slayers/Wiccans about the reality of the coming battle: they do not have any magic to protect or heal themselves and people will die, but they need to fight, and fight with everything and anything they can throw at the coming army. Willow comments to her and Buffy's group that while they lack magic, they also lack a "chance in hell" at winning, which leads Buffy to take Willow to see Oz and Bay, who explain to Buffy and Willow that her magic is totally gone, and that since she committed herself to redirecting her magic out of herself and into the earth, she cannot just have it back all at once on a whim. Angrily, Willow pounds at the ground, and demands her magic be returned to her. Oz tries to comfort Willow, who is angry that she agreed to becoming weak, to which Bay responds that she has more right than any to be angry, because an army was brought into her home and disrupted their peaceful home. Willow finally expresses that she is not angry with anybody but herself for going along with Buffy's plan even though she felt it was wrong. She also expresses that she cannot have a normal life and that without her magic she has truly lost everything, Buffy embraces Willow and reassures her that they can survive the battles ahead.
In the armory, Xander, Dawn and Andrew are teaching the girls all about how to use the stockpiled firearms, while Dawn and Xander become giggly and flirty as Xander teaches the girls about wearing MANPADS, using Dawn as a visual aid. Meanwhile in another room, Giles has brought Buffy a set of two Chinese assault rifles, one for himself and the other for Buffy. Buffy responds that Slayers don't need guns, which causes Giles to remind her that she is not the Slayer anymore. The reality of Giles' words hit her and she zones out for a moment, then tells Giles she has an idea and they need to find Andrew. In the control room, Xander and Dawn are showing a group of Slayers (including Kennedy) about how to read radar to keep an eye out for oncoming airplanes. One of the Slayers mistakenly thinks that the "noise" on the screen is actually enemy aircraft, but Xander assures her and the rest of the Slayers that Dawn and himself have never used magic or had any magic, so if anybody can teach them the human way to track and locate enemies, it is them.
Outside the compound, Buffy and Giles speak with Andrew about the special assignment he was given: to create the illusion that the Slayers still have magic. Buffy is assured by Andrew he can do it, and Buffy thinks this plan will fool Twilight's army into believing they have retained they're magic just shielded it well, and just may buy them precious minutes in battle. Andrew notices Buffy seems a bit off, and questions how she feels following what she saw when she walked in on Xander and Dawn kissing. Buffy convinces him that she is fine and an hour later, Andrew has come up with ways to fool Twilight into thinking they have retained their magic: through cauldrons of colored smoke, using a grinding wheel and an axe to create sparks (magical glints), and combining yak hair amongst other foul smelling ingredients to create the smell of potion brewing. From the steps of the compound, the grounds are surrounded by defensive walls made of sandbags, and Slayers are armed and ready for battle. Xander and Dawn note how Buffy (who is standing atop a hill of sandbags shouting orders), even when weak, is still strong. They talk about how the Wiccans and the non-combatants are in the safest part of the compound, and that the girls are as armed as they could be attacked at any moment. Dawn notes that the last time they were ambushed, they ran, with magic and Slayer strength. She and Xander kiss, which Buffy sees out of the corner of her eye and becomes hurt by the sight. Inside the compound, Kennedy notes something on the radar that isn't noise and screams "plane!"
Outside, three Slayers shoot down a plane into the mountains with missiles. Giles notes that he hears a strange noise, which Satsu reveals to be tanks at the edge of a river at the bottom of the hill. At the compound, Dawn and Xander instruct those armed with auto-cannons and mortar grenades to take aim at the tanks. As Faith huddles behind one of the defensive walls, she is scared by a werewolf. The wolf is revealed to be Monroe (who survived his encounter with the werewolf version of Bay), and has brought his pack of werewolves to aid the Slayers in their battle, because they are fighting on the side of those who vow to keep magic. Standing on the temple steps, the group can see the army advancing towards them. Faith leads Giles, Dawn, Xander and a group of Slayers and werewolves into battle as they race down the hill. Faith stops to help an injured Slayer, but orders her troops to keep firing and do not become distracted by the casualties around them. From the wall beside the temple steps, Buffy and Willow watch as the wolves mercilessly attack the troops, and despite their strength, the aid of the wolves is doing next to nothing to slow down the advancing troops. Xander arrives to their side, and Buffy orders him to use his secret weapon. Faith along with three Slayers lead a large object wrapped in cloth down to hill, a troop looks on from a tank, and through his binoculars, the secret weapon is revealed to be one of the torpedoes from the submarine. Andrew, Giles, and a Slayer watch as it speeds down the hillside and towards the tanks and explodes as it collides with the tanks, ecstatic that torpedoes can in fact be effective weapons on land. Inside the infirmary/control room, the non-combatants are tending to injured Slayers and Buffy muses that despite the work of the torpedo, they are still losing. Giles admits that in their present condition, they will not prevail, and Buffy realizes they need the magic and they need it now, but they got rid of it. Willow says that they didn't get rid of it, only redirected it.
Buffy runs off to talk to Oz and Bay. Outside, Buffy sees Oz carrying a wounded Bay from the battlefield. Buffy helps carry Bay inside and asks her where their magic went, to which she answers "into the earth." Buffy tells Bay and Oz that she looked up the words of the chants they used to weaken themselves, and is puzzled that one of the words translates into "invocation" and Buffy demands to know to whom or what they are sending their magic to. Bay tells her of Ekajati, Vajrayogini and Remati: three wrathful goddesses of the earth who are taking on the strength and power of the Slayers and Wiccans in exchange for protection. Buffy concludes that the reason that their magic left them so quickly is because the goddesses sucked it out and became stronger each time they did so. Buffy asks Bay how to cash in on the exchange in order to gain their protection, but Bay loses consciousness. Willow locates the prayer scrolls with the chants on them, and Buffy orders Xander and Dawn to keep up the fighting while she and Willow summon the goddesses. Willow finds it difficult as she cannot read the language the scrolls are written in, so Buffy attempts to physically awaken Bay so she can summon the goddesses. Bay comes to, and tells Buffy that they don't need her to summon the goddesses for them, all she needs to harness the anger within herself to call them.
Outside, the war wages on, and all of a sudden, the ground splits open and from a glowing light emerge clouds of pink, red, and blue smoke, which soon take the physical form of the giant goddesses who hover over the battlefield.
- Xander Harris
- Dawn Summers
- Faith Lehane
- Rupert Giles
- Andrew Wells
- Buffy Summers
- Willow Rosenberg
Weapons and Objects
- Guns and heavy artillery
- Military, killed by werewolves
- Military, killed by a bomb projected by Slayers
- Slayers, killed by military
- Werewolves, killed by military
Behind the Scenes
- "But it seems to me…that we don’t have the one thing that matters. A chance in hell. We don’t have any magic. "
- ―Willow Rosenberg
- "You’re not a Slayer anymore."
- ―Rupert Giles