|The Core, Part One|
|Publication date||May 8, 2013|
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #21|
The Core, Part Two
|Published by||Dark Horse Comics|
|Editor(s)||Scott Allie & Sierra Hahn|
|Cover artist(s)|| Phil Noto|
|Letterer(s)||Richard Starkings & Jimmy Betancourt|
The Scoobies are together again – and just in time! Buffy, Willow, and Xander begin a new mission as a team in order to protect something very dear to them all. But evildoers Simone and Severin have their own plans and are ready to undermine the happy reunion!
Back at Andrew's apartment, Willow was working her magic furiously to restore Dawn's health. However, her magic is not a complete full-power and she could do nothing long-term that would actually save her life. Meanwhile, Xander was suddenly teleported from a portal, looking very bruised and beaten up. Buffy immediately inquired what happened to him and he told the truth: Severin and Simone had figured out a way to reverse Twilight, simultaneously sparing Dawn's life and preventing all the horrors that had happened last year. They expressed a desire to want him on their side. She bluntly asked him why he did not accept this proposition, seemingly implying she believed he would fall for the bait. Xander was seen angry and annoyed at her lack of trust in him until recalling their fight earlier. He told her that she died to save Dawn's life and could not forget that enough to betray her. Buffy was touched by this and hugged him in gratitude. As Xander continued to inform her of the Vampyr book they had wanted him to steal, a blast suddenly came from the apartment.
Buffy and Xander rush to the scene, revealing Willow had finally made some progress with her magic. Dawn was now conscious and awake, but was still very sick and constantly forgetting faces as well as other memories. She asked them what was wrong with her and Xander told her that she was dying, but made sure to hug and comfort her. Willow sadly informed them that she had at the most only bought Dawn a few days extra and could not cure it. Buffy shared a moment with her sister, assuring her that she loved her and would do absolutely anything she could to save Dawn.
Going back to Buffy's apartment, the Scoobies hash things out and come up with a game plan. Buffy realized that Severin's fascination with the Vampyr book to find the entrance to Middle Earth since the place was extremely well-protected and holding several very powerful Old Ones. She came to the conclusion that the three of them needed to travel to England to the Deeper Well so they could stop Severin as well as power Willow up like a magical battery, hopefully saving Dawn's life in the process.
Buffy used Kennedy's jet in order to fly to England. Beforehand, Dawn pleaded to Xander for him to stay with her in San Francisco. Shockingly, he gently refused this and disagreed with her belief that they could handle it by themself. Xander drived his point by arguing that he would be able to fix everything, not them. They eventually reach the Deeper Well. One side was guarded by two guards, while the New Zealand side was left defenseless. Meanwhile, Simone and Severin are revealed to already be there. They discuss Xander and how he had feeded them information about the entrance as well as what Buffy was planning to do was well. It was revealed that he had allowed Simone to beat him earlier so she would found him escaping and "rejecting" helping them more believable.
Meanwhile, Spike finally arrived in San Francisco after his time in London. When he walked in apartment and was told what was going on by Andrew, he realized that he had just missed Buffy and the others. However, he casually shrugged this occurance off, claiming he was not there to be play Buffy's "puppy dog" and was mostly there for Dawn's sake. While she displayed a lack of memory of who Spike was, he nevertheless decided to stay and watch over her, resuming his role as her "babysitter".
Back in the Deeper Well, Buffy and her friends are seen ready to take on a showdown with the council. Buffy was confident and determined, her final closing line being "Bring it."
- Buffy discovers through Xander that Simone Doffler and Severin have teamed up, as revealed in Freefall, Part Four.
- Xander mentions Buffy have died so Dawn could live, in reference to her sacrifice in "The Gift."
- Xander refers to the Vampyr as "the book Giles left [Buffy]," as seen in Last Gleaming, Part Five.
- Dawn questions if Willow is "dark" and if she was the responsible for her to feel "empty," in reference to the time Willow offered to turn her into a ball of energy in "Two to Go."
- Billy questions if Anaheed is going to tell Buffy she's a slayer (Welcome to the Team, Part Three), as well as Dowling's being bitten by a zompire (Part One), and her information on the slaypire Tessa Freer (Part Four).
- Buffy mentions that "nothing good ever happens when we go underground." The Scooby Gang have notably went underground in "Prophecy Girl," "Primeval," "Chosen," and "Last Gleaming."
- Buffy and Willow discuss the events that led to the end of magic (Last Gleaming, Part Four).
- Willow mentions her interdimensional walk-about, from "Willow: Wonderland."
- Spike returns from London to San Francisco after he heard about Dawn's health (What You Want, Not What You Need, Part One).
- Spike mentions Drogyn's inability to guard the Deeper Well, in reference to his murder in "Power Play."
- Willow explains Giles had brought her to the Deeper Well's entrance in England during her rehabilitation ("Lessons").
- Buffy Summers
- Willow Rosenberg
- Xander Harris
- Dawn Summers
- Andrew Wells
- Simone Doffler
- Billy Lane
- Balloon demon
- Illyria (Only in flashbacks)
- Maloker (Only in flashbacks)
- Maloker's caveman victim (Only in flashbacks)
- Rupert Giles (Only mentioned)
- Robert Dowling (Only mentioned)
- Eldre Koh (Only mentioned)
- Kennedy (Only mentioned)
- Drogyn (Only mentioned)
Organizations and Titles
- San Francisco, USA
- Cotswolds, England
- Deeper Well entrance
- Lake Taupo, New Zealand
- Deeper Well entrance
Weapons and Objects
Behind the Scenes
- Xander wears a Sunnydale High School shirt.
Pop Culture References
- Xander wears his coat with a Hellboy's B.P.R.D. patch.
- Andrew's apartment is decorated with various Star Wars miniatures, including a Death Star.
- Andrew's apartment has posters of Ghostbusters, Hellboy, Akira, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- Andrew's apartment has figurines of Batman, Spider-Man, Captain America, and Alien.
|Willow - "And I know it's been ages since we've had some quality girl talk, but the questions aren't helping."|
|Buffy - "Oh. Right. Hint heard. Hint about to be taken."|
|Buffy - "Why does Simone want that book? She's rejected every Slayer bone in her body."|
|Xander - "And nearly broken every bone in mine."|
|Willow - "I think it means I exceeded my recommended daily allowanced of magic."|
|Willow - "What happened to your face?"|
|Xander - "What happened to your magic?"|
|Buffy - "Nothing good ever happens when we go underground."|