REVIEW: ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1

New year, new Hellmouth. Buffy The Vampire Slayer is a new series from BOOM! Studios based on the show of the same name created by Joss Whedon. Buffy The Vampire Slayer #1 introduces readers to the characters and lore we’ve come to know and love but shows that their adventure is going a different way. Written by Jordie Bellaire with illustrations from Dan Mora, colors from Raúl Angulo, and letters by Ed Dukeshire, the inaugural issue of this new series is almost perfect.

I have been a fan of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer since I was about seven-years-old and every summer, I marathon the entire series — yes, even the Dawn years. Like any fangirl or boy, I naturally feel a little possessive of the source material. In an entertainment world of remakes and reboots, I always get worried when a franchise is changed, specifically when it involves existing characters.

That being said, when I picked up Buffy The Vampire Slayer #1, I wasn’t disappointed. The creative team was able to capture the uniqueness of Sunnydale, Buffy-speak, and the personalities of the characters while crafting a new story. This is a feat rarely achieved, but they executed it extremely well.

From the cover to the inside panels, it’s clear these are the Scoobies I’ve come to grow with and love. Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles are all modeled off of their live-action counterparts. With a franchise that is over 20 years old, nailing likeness can be hard but Angulo succeeds. Now, there is one small difference, how they dress. Gone are Willow’s unicorn sweatshirts and Buffy’s hyper-feminine valley girl clothes. But, that’s to be expected, given that issue number one is serving as a restart of the Scoobies, why not update them?

Beyond the appearances, there are definitely major differences in the trajectory that our characters are beginning to take. Buffy meets Xander and Willow in a different way, a main character from the later seasons makes an appearance, but I didn’t have a problem with any of the changes. In fact, Bellaire and Mora were able to introduce a new sequence of events without excessive exposition because they not only know the characters they’re working with but also expect the audience to as well.

There are moments of language and explanations that fans of the series will be able to pull more information from but these are used in a way that also leaves this new series accessible to newcomers joining the Scoobies. We don’t get a real introduction to Giles, and we don’t see too much explanation behind Buffy, Willow, and Xander’s immediate friendship. Now, this may be a pacing issue for those unfamiliar with the characters but the brevity of these sections serves to build the new additions to the characters.

The art is great and the bumpy-headed vampires maintain a look recognizable to the Buffy-verse while differing enough to feel new. The colors are vibrant and the stark contrast of Buffy’s clothing and hair in dark settings achieves what her valley girl clothing did in the 90s. Overall, each of the Scoobies was brought into 2018 in a way that worked.

Buffy: The Vampire Slayer is one of the most formative pieces of media I watched as a kid. My love of the cast of characters and lore is only enhancing my love of this new Buffy. That being said, my only gripes are how similar Buffy and the magic store owner look and that Giles seems more preachy than fatherly. For the latter, this may just be because I’m reading the issue through the lens of someone who thinks Giles is one of the best TV fathers of all time and forgetting that they need to develop their relationship.

Overall, it’s a testament to the talent of the creative team that I am able to hear the voices of the actors when I read the dialogue, or immediately feel like I’m watching a new pilot as I flip the pages. With the book sold out before it even launches and already announced for third reprinting, I hope every Scooby out there feels the same.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer #1
5

TL;DR

Overall, it’s a testament to the talent of the creative team that I am able to hear the voices of the actors when I read the dialogue, or immediately feel like I’m watching a new pilot as I flip the pages. With the book sold out before it even launches and already announced for third reprinting, I hope every Scooby out there feels the same.