Willow has come to her senses, realizing that she’s spent the past few days just drinking and having sex with Aluwyn. Not a bad way to spend time but not the reason she set off on her quest. She realizes that she can’t continue this way and has to move on to find a way of bringing back magic to the Scooby gang. As much as Aluwyn loves her, she has not been as truthful as she should be, hiding things from Willow that would dissuade her from staying. Who hasn’t been so terrified of losing their lover that they’ve at least contemplated hiding something that could cause them to leave? Readers can empathize with Aluwyn on that point but as her selfishness could affect the well-being of the entire planet, I think it’s fair to get a little angry at her. Willow’s discussion with her is surprisingly level-headed and they resolve the issue with minimal drama. It’s a very mature conversation that could have gone badly between two other people but they both come to terms with what must happen. They separate with sadness but with love in their hearts; a sign of caring enough about each other’s happiness to put aside their own selfish desires to keep each other close. Not an easy decision but Aluwyn lets Willow go because it’s the right thing to do. I love when characters in comics have this much depth and maturity, especially in a series that originally targeted teenagers as its main demographic. Better examples of what love can be like beyond the stereotypes is always a good thing.
It’s not just an emotional issue though, as Willow returns to Marrak and they continue together on their quest to find magic. They jump to another dimension that Willow senses has an abundance of magic everywhere: in the sand, the rocks, the earth itself. She realizes that Marrak is toying more and more with dark magic that he will not be able to control but that she can deal with it when things inevitably go bad. While he stalks off to find more tangible magic, she pauses to meditate in this mystical landscape and ends up finding more answers than she expected. One being how she looks at her darker side and the other, who Marrak was before he came to this place. It’s quite a shock for BtVS fans who’ll recognize his true name.
This is a very introspective issue— which I can see not appealing to everyone— but it still reads very authentically as Willow and that makes it enjoyable overall. Gage and Parker nail Rosenberg’s tone and Brian Ching continues to deliver on art. A great continuation of this series and though the end game isn’t in sight quite yet, it’s an interesting enough journey to keep me following along until we get there.