Sometimes it doesn't happen exactly that way, and those are the times that I'm quicker to post than I was today.
We begin with a flashback; Severin's look sharp in his round glasses and threatening/siphoning a vampire trying to get to the one who turned his girlfriend. A shadowy figure shows up and tells him about Buffy, at which point the art brings us back to her and Severin fighting while the narration continues to lay out his motivation.
As he launches himself at Buffy, he tells her she doesn't deserve her power and he's thus going to take it from her. She looks fairly shocked, both at his sudden turnaround and his ability to steal his power. In true Big Bad fashion, he goes on to tell her how he intends to frame her for the warehouse full of dead people/vampires surrounding them.
Right on cue, we have Dowling and his partner Cheung getting an anonymous tip that Summers is at the wharf, having killed hundreds of vampires. Cheung responds by shouting into a phone to summon all available units.
Spike and Eldre Koh are on a boat.
Their talk about Buffy and what she needs is cut short when they see the lights of emergency vehicles gathered at the wharf. We zoom in to see Cheung calling in a SWAT team and Dowling going to talk to Buffy before they get there.
Inside the warehouse, Buffy and Severin are having it out. He's glowing, but hasn't managed to suck out her power yet. She stakes him in the gut, saying, "I'm guessing you can't do that mystical first-aid thingie without charging up. And you already zapped all the zompires." She tackles him and they fall through a rotten part in the floor. Nice try, Buffy, but the bottom level is full of more zompires, very much still undead - Severin's been saving them.
The event is now on the news. Xander and Dawn are watching, not knowing that Buffy's in danger but wondering how much bail money they'll need. Dawn calls Willow.
Meanwhile, Tumble calls Anaheed in to see the news, but she's already found the Slayer stuff in Buffy's room. "The newscast is right...and she's not really trying hard to hide it..."
Dowling creeps into the warehouse, calling out to Buffy. She doesn't hear; Sev is draining vampires and Buffy is staking them. She warns him he can't steal her powers if she's dead, and he agrees and drains a few more, giving him the power to throw them off of her at a distance. Then he gloats some more.
Spike finds Dowling and talks to him with hands up, suggesting that he not point a gun at Buffy. Eldre Koh jumps right to the "Where is she?". The sight of him freaks Dowling out enough that Spike ditches whatever plan he had and goes straight to bumpy face mode, telling the detective that they're trying to save Buffy and the cops better clear out if they want to live. Dowling seems to agree, but then there's a crash and Buffy and Eldre run after it.
Severin's got Buffy against a wall and is beginning to suck out her power. Spike and Eldre drop in and attack, and Severin does his distance-glow-thrust to knock them back. Within the space of another panel he somehow manages to grab Spike with one hand while keeping the other at Buffy's throat. He's now siphoning both of them, yelling like a madman while they both start to wither.
Then he gets shot four times in the chest by Dowling. He keeps his feet, but lets go of Buffy and Spike. Our team wins, and we now know who's on it.
Outside, Severin is loaded onto an ambulance while Buffy and Dowling talk. She thanks him, and he says she's off their most-wanted list. From what Buffy says, she hasn't been permanently harmed or lost any powers. Spike and Eldre Koh are talking nearby; Spike refuses to go talk to Buffy because, as Eldre says, he wants her "to be with what this realm calls normal."
When Dowling offers Buffy a ride home, Willow shows up and says she's got it covered. She explains that she knew what was going on thanks to Spike's group texts. "As a magical have-not...I wanted to be here in case you joined the no-powers club. I thought you might need a magick-free shoulder to cry on."
Buffy wonders if Willow will be mad that she still has powers, and Willow says it was never about that. This time Buffy gets it, due to her brush with the fallout, and Willow says she's glad that Buffy doesn't have to go through what she did with losing the thing that makes her tick. Buffy promises that they'll figure out Will's magic - hard to know what that might mean, but their friendship appears to be on the mend.
Severin, not so much. He's talking to someone in the hospital, trying to get some power to recharge. It's Simone. Severin blew it, she says, so she's not loaning him any of her power; she needs it all to kill Buffy.
Okay, Severin's bad. WHY IS IT ALWAYS THE CUTE ONES? Or alternately, WHY DO I ALWAYS FALL FOR THE BAD ONES?
I had a couple small problems with this issue. Primarily, the dialogue. While everyone's voice was more or less on target and nothing sounded outright awkward, nothing stood out, either. It wasn't infused with wit so much as quirky speaking patterns, like the writer could tell where Buffyspeak was needed but couldn't quite think of anything to add. Actually, that's how I feel writing fanfiction most of the time. This is no easy 'verse!
My other problem was with the art. It wasn't really a problem with the art. Jeanty was as strong as ever and the colors are shiny, but I couldn't quite tell what was going on a couple times, especially during Buffy's fight with Severin. Honestly, I'm not sure anything could have been done to help that, and it might have been my own fault anyway.
Regarding the character stuff going on this time, I think we're pretty much on track. I'm a little disappointed that Buffy didn't lose her powers, at least temporarily, but it's possible that we'll see side effects of her grapplefest with Severin later. Oh, and hey, he's not a new team member or a love interest, but he's not dead either! Give him to me. I can change him.
I'm okay with having Eldre Koh around. I hope he and Buffy hit it off. No, not like that. Honestly, it could be fun times if Buffy decides to go on a couple normal-person dates with Dowling. He's alright, though fairly cookie cutter at this point. (That one panel, when everything seems lost and then there are gunshots and THERE STANDS THE UNDERESTIMATED CHARACTER YOU DIDN'T KNOW WAS THERE...yeah.)
Xander and Dawn, nothing new to report. Willow, okay, Willow is still getting on my nerves. Even now that she and Buffy are making up. Remember the end of "Dead Man's Party"? The moral superiority is still a drug, it looks like.
So, another issue goes by. End of an arc. I hope some pay attention to the lettercol; A&F really needs more readers! Also SA apparently needed to tell us that the team doesn't read the forums. Hmm. Did someone not know that? Are we causing mischief?
Does anyone want icons from this issue? I think I might put together a batch.