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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Anya Just Unleashed One of Most Powerful Big Bads Ever

Anya’s machinations in Buffy the Vampire Slayer released one of the most powerful Big Bads from the original series, and they may destroy the world.

The following contains spoilers for Buffy the Vampire Slayer #23 by Jeremy Lambert, Ramon Bachs, Raul Angulo & Ed Dukeshire, on sale now

The “Big Bad” in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a term that referred to the ultimate enemy of each season of the series, each with their own dark intentions and plans for the world. But one of them, Dark Willow, came dangerously close to destroying the world, despite spending most of the rest of the series as a hero. Now, this dark reflection of a Scooby has come to the modern-reboot, and the key to defeating her might already be lost.

The current Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics just unleashed their version of Dark Willow without a heroic Xander to bring her back from the brink, and it’s all Anya’s fault.

The current version of Willow Rosenberg has been through a lot recently, losing her best friend Xander, breaking up with her girlfriend Rose, and finding herself increasingly drawn into the magical side of the world. Even her most recent encounters with the scheming Anya — which resulted in her gaining a relic that allowed her to explore the world in a ghost-like form — has a secondary effect Willow didn’t see coming. While trying to remove the amulet, dark magic spreads further through her, leading to dark cracks appearing across her skin. In giving her the amulet, Anya has “released the floodgates” of the young woman’s true potential, before she was fully ready to control it all. Willow is transformed into a new form with a crueler personality, with dark hair and black eyes, the hallmarks of Dark Willow.

Dark Willow was one of the biggest twists in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Willow spent seasons of the original series learning about magic and perfecting spell-crafting in her own right. But by Season 6, her ambitions and appetite for magic had grown to a dangerous level. When her girlfriend Tara was murdered in front of her by a wayward bullet meant for Buffy, Willow embraced the full dark powers at her disposal and became Dark Willow. She promptly murdered Warren — the villain who’d killed Tara — and set about bringing the end of the world so she could escape her own pain and “spare” the rest of the world the torment she’d been through. She fought her way through a magically-empowered Giles and almost ended all life until Xander stepped in, who talked her back from the edge.

Dark Willow remained a possible dark future for Willow throughout the subsequent Buffy comics, but this new incarnation appears to be a slightly different take on the character. Although she doesn’t appear as powerful as the original Dark Willow, the true Willow appears trapped within her own mind, but this version of the character won’t be calmed by Xander, who has been turned into a villain himself by embracing his status as a vampire. Dark Willow and Xander even come to blows, recognizing that neither of them is truly the friend they were before. In the chaos, Xander even ends up alongside Buffy Summers, who arrives on the scene to try and save Willow. But Dark Willow could end up becoming far more powerful, with it being implied that she’s even capable of draining the mystical powers of others, as she does to some of Xander’s followers.

This could end up bringing her closer to the power levels she reached in the original series, which made her a potential world-ender. Willow has been hinted to have the potential to reach that power in the new universe, but it’s still frightening to see a particularly brutal version of Willow arrive in the storyline so early. Coupled with the other threats that have already emerged across Sunnydale, this could end up causing some more serious conflict for Buffy and her friends going forward, especially if they’re forced to fight against her and Xander at the same time. She even may have done serious damage to Xander with a powerful blast. It also continues to paint Anya and her mysterious mission for the future of this universe in a more sinister light. If Anya has already unleashed Dark Willow, there’s no telling what else Anya is planning.

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