For the benefit of members of my flist who don't read the comics but are still interested to see the first mention of Spike by name since episode 7.22, a scan of the panel is below the cut. I've also copied over my theories on what Buffy's expression means from my earlier review of issue 8.23. For context, Andrew and Buffy are about to go into battle, and Andrew's worried he might not survive; in the previous panel, he was apologising to Buffy for deceiving her about something earlier - to which her reply was "Seriously? This seems like the time?"
Thse are my reasons, from the review:
1. The simple mention of those names got to her, because she thinks Spike is dead. (Or does she???)
2. The idea that Andrew is passing judgement on something so personal to her shocks her. After all, Buffy herself knows nothing of the shipper wars waged in her name by fandom.
3. It is, I suppose, possible that she didn't know that Andrew had met Angel, and was shocked by learning this. That would give comfort to the people who think Andrew lied in 'Damage' about having received his orders from Buffy. This episode itself also supports that, by showing that Andrew is capable of coming up with elaborate schemes and not telling Buffy about them.
4. Buffy is shocked by the affirmation of her relationship with Spike by a third party. Remember, in Season 6 she was bitterly ashamed of herself for sleeping with him; in Season 7 she was extremely defensive about him, and had to endure the suspicion and hostility of Xander and Dawn, Willow pushing her towards Robin Wood instead, and Giles's murderous betrayal of him. It's hardly surprising that Buffy might conclude that nobody else would ever understand or support her feelings for him... and now to hear Andrew not only accepting her relationship with Spike but saying that Spike was better for her than Angel was... well, I think those are words that Buffy never thought to hear from anyone.
There's also 5) She was reacting to his comment about people hating her hairstyle, not his comment on her lovelife, and eowyn_315 suggested that she's simply shocked he's still wasting time on this when they should be heading into battle.
I'll also note that some people are suggesting that her reaction isn't surprise at all, it's blank, emotionless disinterest and therefore, presumably, proof that Buffy is now utterly bored and uninterested by the thought of either Spike or Angel. What I'd say to that is:
1. The fact that Buffy stands stock-still for two entire panels, her expression fixed and unchanged while Andrew blithely goes about his business in the background, is significant. Comic books are short enough as it is; no writer would waste a quarter of a page on something like this unless they meant to draw attention to it; and no self-respecting artist would draw a figure in the exact same pose twice in a row unless it was important to the story (or they were lazy and on a really tight deadline). This is how comics show someone freezing in shock, or needing time to process an unexpected idea.
2. Look at Buffy's expression, expecially compared to how Jeanty draws her face elsewhere in the comic. Her eyes are much larger and rounder than normal. Her eyebrows are arched. Despite being silent, her mouth is open.
In my experience, an open-mouthed wide-eyed expression is generally considered indicative of "surprise", not "apathy". :-)
Anyway, here's a quiz for you all. One thing about the comic artwork is that there are two 'categories' of drawings. In some panels, the artist does a close-up of their face showing lots of fine detail. In others, usually when there's action going on or the viewpoint 'camera' is far back to show more of the background, the faces are sketched in much more abstractly and the people's expressions simplified. The panel above is the second type. Since there's been some controversy over exactly what expression Buffy's supposed to have, I've scanned in several more pictures of her from the same comic showing her from the ame angle and rlevel of detail. Personally, I'm quite impressed by how her emotional state can be judged quite well from each picture despite its relatively small size and simplicity; but see what you think...
For each picture, can you state what Buffy's emotional state is meant to be? Or if you prefer, tell us what thought you think is going through her mind at each moment.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
My own answer is in the comments.