Warning: This article contains major spoilers for Buffy the Vampire Slayer #8, by Jordie Bellaire, David López, Raúl Angulo and Ed Dukeshire, on sale now.
The new Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic series has already made a number of major deviations from the original series. The comic has reconfigured characters like Anya and Drusilla and made serious changes to the histories of people like Xander and Willow. But the cliffhanger ending of Buffy the Vampire Slayer #8 might be the biggest shift to the franchise yet.
In a prelude to the upcoming Hellmouth crossover that will bring this version of Buffy and Angel together for the first time, it looks like Drusilla just sacrificed her vampiric lover Spike in a bid to open the Hellmouth that signals the most titanic change yet in this version of the Buffyverse.
Opening The Hellmouth
Drusilla - otherwise known as the Mistress in this new continuity - has been trying to find a way to break open the Hellmouth and unleash the demonic forces beneath it. She finally found it though in the form of an Egyptian Exhibit at the Sunnydale Museum. One of the items on display is the Dagger of Sekhmet, a ceremonial blade. Joyce Summers, the curator of the exhibit, is unaware of the potential power of the knife she has on display, unlike Rupert Giles and Jenny Calander, who were both of whom were visiting the exhibit on a date.
When Drusilla comes to claim the blade, Giles hides it in his jacket. He tries to keep himself from revealing it, even when Joyce's life is put on the line. However, Jenny ends up caving and revealing that Giles has the dagger before Drusilla can kill Joyce. Although Drusilla gets her knife and appears to get ready to sacrifice someone like Giles, she turns on the spot and plunges the knife straight into Spike's heart. From his shocked reaction, it's clear that Spike wasn't expecting that to be the plan, and the issue ends with the Hellmouth opening and Spikeis apparently sacrificed.
William The Bloody
Spike is one of the major characters in the original Buffy saga. Originally just a minor villain with a perchance for chaos, Spike is a former ally of Angel from when he was the evil vampire Angeuls. Betraying him in the modern-day to help save a world he quite enjoyed living in, Spike changed after Drusilla left him. Captured by the government and hobbled with a microchip in the brain that prevents him from hurting humans, Spike is forced into a tense allyship with the heroes. He slowly falls in love with Buffy herself, inspiring him to try and be a better man for her. He even regains his soul in the process. Slowly, Buffy also comes to love him, until he's forced to sacrifice his life to help defeat the First Evil at the end of the television series.
Spike would later be restored during Angel, and worked alongside his ultimate frenemy as a hero. He continued to play a major part in the subsequent sequel comics to both Buffy and Angel. Eventually, that continuity ended with Buffy and Spike at peace with one another, even hinting at a possible return to their romantic relationship. Although he was initially slated to be an inconsequential villain who'd be killed off with no repercussions, Spike eventually grew into one of the definitive characters of the universe.
Since Spike has such a major role in the Buffyverse, that's why his apparent death is so shocking. There's always a chance that Spike could have survived the stabbing. Drusilla used a ceremonial knife that may have other properties that preserve some form of life it takes. It's also notably not a stake, one of the only real ways to kill a vampire. Even if the blow did kill Spike, this is the Buffyverse after all, where characters are restored to life all the time in some way or another. Spike, in particular, has been technically killed multiple times, only to rise from the grave.
But going into its first major event, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has proven that no one is necessarily safe. Spike has also played a much more mellow role in the series than he ever did before. With Drusilla stepping up to become a chief villain in her own right, Spike has been relegated to the side-lines more than one would expect from his previous popularity. If Buffy the Vampire Slayer wants to establish just how massive the stakes are in its new take on the Buffy mythology, then there isn't a better way to do that than killing off someone who traditionally plays a major role in Buddy's word.