Credit: Jo Chen

Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan favorite characters Spike and Willow will officially be getting their own respective five-issue spin-off comic book mini-series from Dark Horse Comics, and EW has all the exclusive details about what their storylines will be about. If we had to sum it up in one word: Magic.

Fans of the ongoing Buffy comic series know that the current “season” finds us in a world without magic. Buffy destroyed the “seed” for all hocus-pocus on our planet at the end of season 8, and Spike’s spin-off finds him running afoul of some demons attempting to find the shards of that seed to mine residual magic from it. “That doesn’t exactly work out for the demons,” says series author Victor Gischler, who’s scripted Punisher, Wolverine, and X-Men comics for Marvel, along with his hard-boiled crime novels (and the occasional pulpy genre novel like Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse). Check out an exclusive shot from the cover below:

Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

Gischler stresses that while the engine of the plot focuses on what happens as Spike gets embroiled with these seed-extracting demons, the thrust of the story is on Spike dealing with the fallout of the most recent arc of the Buffy Season 9 comic, concluding with issue #10 on June 13. In that arc — which also deals with Buffy actually being a robot — Buffy confronts the fact that if she ever wants anything close to a “normal” life, having a boyfriend who’s a vampire probably isn’t the best thing for her. Gischler says the Spike spin-off starts “an hour” after the end of issue #10, with Spike leaving town in his spaceship manned by giant bugs. (Just go with it.) “The focus is on Spike and his coming to terms with some things, sort of getting right in the head,” says Gischler. “He loves Buffy, but can’t be with her. What does that mean to a vampire with a soul?”

Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

The repercussions from the destruction of the seed, meanwhile, had a far more profound impact on Buffy’s best friend, Willow. Stripped of the magical mojo that had made her a powerful witch, she amscrayed a few issues back with Buffy’s mystical slayer scythe, and the new comic miniseries finds her meeting up with Angel (from the parallel Angel and Faith comic series) to try to bring magic back to Earth. Or, at least, that’s what Willow says her plan is.

“She mainly just wants magic back for herself, whether she realizes it or not,” says miniseries scribe Jeff Parker, a comic writer and artist who’s scripted issues for X-Men: First Class, Agents of Atlas, Hulk, and Thunderbolts. “She really misses just being a witch and just doing what she used to do. She doesn’t really know what she’s looking for or how she’s going to do it. Her ego is pretty big at this point, and she thinks she can just figure it out for herself. So she goes charging into a chaotic universe where magic is all that matters, really.”

The Spike spin-off will launch Aug. 22, and the Willow spin-off starts Nov. 21.

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