[SPOILER] Revealed as the New Buffy Villain
Despite a spoof reveal claiming that the new Buffy villain, Twilight, would be omnipresent comic book character Barack Obama, the real identity of the Big Bad has finally been revealed...
... as Angel.
Of course, this isn't the first time Angel's been a villain; he was baddy numero uno in the second season of the TV series, when the one-time one true love of Buffy turned evil following a night of perfect happiness (i.e. sexing) with the vampire slayer. Calling himself Angelus, he terrorized and taunted Buffy, and notably murdered one of her friends before his soul was restored -- but Buffy had to stab him through the heart and send him to Hell for a jillion years anyway, because love ain't easy, and they've been estranged to varying degrees ever since.
So does the return of Angel as a villain mean the return of the evil Angelus? Signs point to probably not. While Twilight has certainly declared war against the expanded ranks of Slayers that Buffy now commands and is actively trying to bring about the end of magic in their world, the character has thus far lacked the sadism and all-out douchery of the desouled vamp, and has even managed to recruit former Buffy pals like Riley Finn and Amy Madison to his cause.
We'll find out more during Brad Meltzer's run -- where Buffy will have superhero-like superpowers -- which is coming up in February with issue #32, followed by the return of Joss Whedon for an arc of his own. The two covers for #32 seem a lot more kissy than punchy, but no matter how many kicked puppy dog faces Angel makes, he will doubtless have a lot of explaining to do re: why he rallied an army and laid siege on his ex, and particularly why he did so from behind a mask.
Oh, and continuity buffs can also take comfort in the fact that Dark Horse will be reconciling the storyline so that it fits cohesively with the "Angel" comics published by IDW, allowing all the comics to wrap up in a neat little Whedonverse package.
[Edit: As a note to everyone who is pissed off about the reveal, it's worth mentioning that it came about because of a leak of the solicits and covers (above), which Dark Horse's Scott Allie called "disappointing," but acknowledged was something that could not be contained. They've decided to address and publicize the news now that the reveal is essentially already revealed, which is really the only prudent step from a PR perspective.
I know many of you would have preferred to learn about this by reading the comics, and we've added a spoiler warning at the top of the article, although we seriously doubt any Buffy fans will be able to avoid the news over the next several months. This is the internet, and information that's being actively publicized is a genie that doesn't go back into the bottle. If you're a true fan of the series, however, there's obviously a lot more to this story than a single revelation, and more to enjoy in these comics than just the moment of the surprise.]