The Big Bad of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight was met with controversy that readers are still not comfortable with. Although the show itself wrapped up after seven seasons, the official canon continued into Dark Horse’s Season Eight comic book series. During the eighth season, a masked villain surfaces under the name Twilight, adopting it from an otherworldly consciousness, foretelling of a new universe prophesied to replace the earth.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight #33 – by Brad Meltzer, Georges Jeanty, Andy Owens, Michelle Madsen, Richard Starkings, Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt, and Joss Whedon – finally revealed the mystery of Twilight.

During a scuffle with Buffy, Twilight was unmasked, turning out to be none other than Angel. Not Angelus, either, as the supposedly “good” half of Buffy’s first love had been the one committing evil the whole time.

After the fall of Los Angeles, Angel starts receiving visions of Twilight, the consciousness, telling him that another apocalypse is inevitable, convincing Angel that becoming Buffy’s enemy is the only way to save the world from suffering the same fate as LA. He proceeds to kill hundreds of activated Slayers across the globe as Twilight, as well as recruiting a cult following featuring the likes of a revived Warren Mears. After telling Buffy his motivations, he convinces her to help him create a new universe, which they do through having superpowered sex. Season Eight is a rollercoaster, to say the least, but Angel as Twilight may be its biggest misstep.

It was understandable why the decision was made to make Angel a villain again – and, in theory, it’s a great idea. Angelus, for many audiences, is Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s most memorable villain, and Buffy’s most personal antagonist in the show’s seven-year run. To take advantage of an opportunity to revisit Angel, in a new way, in a new medium, was too tempting to pass up. However, the move ended up disappointing readers, and stirring controversy for a slew of reasons. For some fans, making Angel a villain, especially without an Angelus transformation as an excuse this time, set the character’s development far backward.

The move also did a disservice to the development between Angel and Buffy at this point, stalling out their dynamic and also disappointing fans of their longtime romance. Further, the elements surrounding both Angel’s decision to become Twilight and the fallout from the reveal read as confusing at best, and convoluted at worst, even to those who closely following every aspect of Season Eight’s story up to that point. Perhaps worst of all, the reveal wasn’t even treated with as much importance as it should have been; overall, the decision seems to have been made more for the benefit of shocking readers than telling a strong Buffy the Vampire Slayer story.

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