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April 23 2013

(SPOILER) Buffy Season 9 #21 preview pages. The beginning of the final season 9 arc.

Nice preview !
Hmmm... but why would Simone and Severin let Xander go then? I mean, that just seems silly, since he'd just go spill the beans. Also, I see nothing that would stop Simone from just charging in guns-ablazin' if she really wanted that book. Sure, there's the Buffy intimidation factor, since Buffy has proven to be a challenge before, but Buffy can't be around all the time. It's likely that they're interested in Dawn, but I can't imagine Xander giving Dawn to them, no matter how desperate he may be. The whole "I rejected their offer" thing also doesn't track with Xander's "I'm in" from the previous issue, given the context of his internal monologue. He was also unharmed up to that point. Something is fishy here.
Well, Xander's lying to someone. It makes a lot more sense to me that he's lying to Severin and Simone, because what he says is absolutely true; he knows that Buffy has died for Dawn, let alone would die for Dawn. Also that Xander isn't exactly the betraying type.
Xander is betraying Buffy here, I have to assume. He is using intimate knowledge and reverse psychology to mind-trick Buffy. She has died for Dawn, but she has also said since then that she wouldn't necessarily do that again, and she would sacrifice Dawn if need be for a safer world. I think Xander knows that and doesn't completely trust her. Especially since she continually messes up as far as Angel, I think he's allowing himself to mess up for Dawn. I wouldn't be surprised if wanting the book is a fake-out too. Not sure if there's an even bigger angle Xander is working, but for now I don't think so. He is acting in his own interests.
So, Xander has changed his mind, does not betray and S & S let him go so that can relate everything to Buffy? This would be a foolish thing to do ..unless S&S's plan, was just to distract attention elsewhere and Xander (unknowingly) is helping them to execute their true plan (and this fits in behavioral analogy with Angel, which was present in #20) At any rate, Xander is lying to Buffy or he is telling only part of the truth. Im in contradicts You really think I'd betray my best friend? I hope that Xander lied to S&S
This scene was very in-character for both of them.

Also, I love how something so small - the Vampyr book from the first episode - is becoming pivotal. Great callback.
I definitely think Xander is playing Simone & Severin. I don't think he'd tell Buffy they're after the Vampyr book if he was going to betray her.
But what blew up there at the end? Was that Andrew's place? Did we just see Dawn die? And Andrew?
Has anything ever been said in the vast legions of non show/comic canon regarding the book? I always assumed the tale of the first Vampire and the illustration might be from it... but it's kind of odd that something it contains and the book in general have never really been shown to have any importance aside from it serving as an `I know who you are` moment.
@apollo11

Other than it for sure being confirmed as the Slayer Handbook, I don't think there was anything else said about it, I'd have to go back and reread the end of season 8 to make sure though.
I am not certain that Xander is the only potential betrayer here. I'm almost certain that Anaheed is involved as well. Her explanation to Billy as to why she was searching through Buffy's room in #19 is too easy. I think she was looking for the Vampyr book or even the scythe.

I think giving away the Xander nonbetrayal in a preview is also too easy for Dark Horse. Perhaps this is part of the betrayal as well. Severin and Simone may have let Xander in on Anaheed's status and they are triangulating around Buffy in a way to hide both of their betrayals.

Just a guess...
If it's Xander. Another robot?
Any plan that involves tipping Buffy off about the book being important contains an intractable logic flaw. By that alone, she now knows she could study it, protect it, destroy it even if it please her, and give her adversaries a bad day. So if this scene is Xander running the long con on Buffy, it makes him look like a fool and/or shows the writers having backed themselves into a corner. Much like "The Yoko Factor" and Spike, it would be.
Unless the book itself is a distraction and a bluff. Severin wants more power. More energy.
...Dawn?
Could also be that there's no mystery here at all, and that by the time we read the preview pages in context, we'll have seen how things continued with Severin and Simone and know if Xander is being true or false. Given how fond this book is for the device of that dangling voiceover transition, I think even knowing who is saying "... what can you lose?" will give us some pretty big clues thematically to what we're seeing here.

I do agree with a comment on BF, that if this is Xander betraying Buffy, him luring her in, "blackwashing" is a word that's fair to describe it. It is the step past what is believably a gutwrenching move to mustache-twirling evil if he's throwing around this indignation, this nostalgia, this admiration for her commitment to Dawn, calling her his best friend. It's like imagining the end of "Seeing Red" except, after the heartfelt talk, Xander is the one that shoots Buffy. It would be a gratuitously dark push past what the character can believably do as a betrayal, IMO.
Is there going to be a season 10?
Every indication that they've given has been that there will be a Season 10. They are bizarrely circumspect about it, though -- even thin tonal details.

I've been happily stirring the pudding from time to time by pointing out that Season 10 may in fact be the Season 0 they've also indicated they would like to do in the future; that this whole time travel plot is the contrivance to pull an "Abrams Reboot" of the franchise. I don't think it's all that likely, but it does have a whiff of plausibility to it.

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