First the obvious: It's absolutely gorgeous. It's easily the prettiest interior artwork season eight has ever had. Reminds me on why as a kid I mostly disliked american comic books. I was used to franko belgium ones where the cover is usually done by the same artist as the interior art, so I always found the american books were kind of cheating. You see an amazingly beautiful cover, but then the inside art is rather dissappointing in comparison. I've been able to shake this attitude since but with season 8 it was a bit hard not to notice the gap.
It would be so amazing if the whole book was done at that level. I love the style and the colouring but beyond that I also love the extreme perspectives Jo Chen often choses like in the first panel were it looks like it's shot along Buffy's arm. I'm also amazed at how much emotions the faces and the body language express. Spike and Angel looks so amazingly arrogant (and pretty of course) and I felt really sorry for consternated Buffy.
I really hope Jo Chen will do more comic books, I'll look out for them, no matter if they have something to do with Buffy or not.
So, dream interpretation time!
There are two ways (or there are two that I chose to look at, I guess there are a lot more) to look at this dream. One is from the personal viewpoint of Buffy feeling abandoned and probably a bit paranoid and guilty and the second is looking at it from the point of the overall feminist message Buffy used to have.
Buffy falls to the ground in the same cavern and in the same clothes as in "Anywhere but here" (which I would not have noticed, but stormwreath did because he's incredible) when the Robin fortold her that she would be betrayed by the most closest the most unexpected. The only detail that's missing is that Buffy is not wearing her cross this time.
Buffy is must have been obsessing a bit on who it might be who's betraying her. She's confronted with Caleb, who answers with "you can't kill what's inside you!" I'd interpret that as Buffy wondering if she's boykotting herself, if she's on the verge of turning into a villain.
Before she can recover and properly go after Caleb who always was the enemy, Spike and Angel show up to help him make a point, both accusing her of bringing hell over them. In reality both of them never blamed Buffy for that but now her subconsciousness is. They also accuse her of not being able to tell them appart, that's to say to chose between them. Both of them at a point would have chosen her over every other woman, but Buffy can't make up her mind between them. Annother thing to feel guilty about. I found it curious that Buffy doesn't say she loves them, instead she says she's feeling "needy" and "I'm the love of your lives!". In response, Caleb calls her a dirty girl, again giving voice disturbingly low self esteem.
They were two people she always relied on and now they're just leaving her out, abandoning her to go after each other (which was hot, and made me squee but that's another story). If she's feeling guilty about not loving each of them enough it makes sense that they turn to each other. She felt shecouldn't emotionally satisfy them, but of course since both of them loved so strongly they can do it for each other. This made me feel so sorry for Buffy, because it showcased how she feels she's not able to love properly with all her heart and in return has hard time to believe she deserves to be loved.
Then on the next page Buffy is a bride and marrying her worst enemy Warren with Tara as her maid of honor, Xander as Warrens best man and WIllow and Dark!Willow sitting in the first row, while Spike and Angel have started to shed clothes somewhere off screen. Instead of sex, Buffy gets married and even squees about it. This could maybe be a metaphore for her thinking that she's jumping head first into her doom with her best friends just watching, her loves abandoning her, leaving her to make a ginormous mistake as all her enemies applaude.
I have absolutely no idea about the two boxers, they have got to be the cheese in this.
So now I'm pretty much going of into lalaspeculationland , so don't worry if you think this is complete silliness, I wont be offended on the least:
If I take all of this and look at it from the Buffy-feministing viewpoint, Buffy get's told by the worst misogynist on the show that the enemy is inside her. I think to battle ones inner misogynist is sometimes a very hard thing and point were you inevitably come to if you challenge society. You know all these things that are implanted in you during growing up, low self esteem, the nagging doubt that just maybe they're right and you really are not as good as they are and deserve being treated worse. So you could see Buffy's low self esteem as some kind of feminist identity crises.
Instead of Spike and Angel standing attention for having sex (as they seem to have in past dreams), they accuse of mistreating them and exclude her. Buffy thinking she doesn't deserve their love because of the things she did, because of putting empowerment first, another feminist identity crisis.
Then the wedding. Weddings are in many ways a symbol for women trapping themselves. There is this clichee of every girl wanting to be a bride and the wedding day being the happiest of their lives, but for ages it was just an act of becoming the possesion of a man. So Buffy has this "Yay, all I want is marriage" attitude that feminists have battled for years and is running open eyed into her doom with the other most misogynist figure in the show and married by Caleb.
So I guess you could (at least in a slightly deranged way) see Buffy's self esteem crisis as the battle with ones own misogynist designs, to get over feeling guilty for being empowered, not only battling outside forces but also finding the self esteem within to make your life good.