REVIEW: ‘Buffy: The Vampire Slayer,’ Issue #2

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Buffy: The Vampire Slayer #2

Buffy: The Vampire Slayer #2 is published by BOOM! Studios, and is the second issue in the revamping of Joss Whedon’s classic series of the same name. Written by Jordie Bellaire with illustrations from Dan Mora, colors from Raúl Angulo, and letters by Ed Dukeshire, issue two introduces a new character and sees the introduction of old favorites like Cordelia Chase, Spike, and of course Drucilla.

In issue one, we learned that there is an amulet that will keep vampires from dying when staked, we also learned unbeknownst to Buffy, it’s in the hands of  Anya, the owner of a magic shop, which is a fact that takes from the later part of Whedon’s series.  Buffy: The Vampire Slayer #2 opens with a supernatural nightmare and then leads into a different kind of terror — teenage life. The issue focuses primarily on our Scoobies and their life at Sunnyvale High. By doing this we see Bellaire develop the characters and in some ways make them deeper than their television counterparts. It’s exciting to see Bellaire build out their personalities early on in this series and it adds a depth that show lacked until well into the second season.

For instance, issue one established that Willow is out already and in a relationship and issue continues to show us more of this by highlighting her girlfriend Rose and building up her confidence. For Buffy, we know right off the bat that she is terrified of being the Slayer and is already having horrific visions of letting her new friends down. For Cordelia Chase, introduced this issue, she isn’t the mean girl — at least not yet, but actually, someone who cares about the environment and is outgoing and confident in herself in a way that is less arrogance and more confidence — something referenced in the issue itself.

Then, there is Xander, my eternal favorite of the Scoobies. I can say right now, the way Bellaire writes his inner thoughts and the way his doubts about himself are shown is perfection. He maintains the friendly and happy Xander exterior while showing the reader his self-doubt at the same time. It’s the perfect rendition of a beloved character.

The depth is showcased by the dialogue and that same dialogue is also used to give us their outward persona. “You point, I stake” and Giles’ response to this Buffy line is something that serves devoted Buffy fans while her inner dialogue in the previous issue and this one balances her out and updates her for a new audience.

Bellaire also utilizes a seamless narrative shift from Buffy’s perspective to that of her friend’s and it completely causes a bridge of empathy to be built between the reader and them.

Something else that should be noted is that the creative team has included multiple people of color in  Buffy: The Vampire Slayer #2. It may seem commonplace in comics now, but in the television show, it was the biggest blindspot for Whedon, with only a handful of important characters of color over seven seasons. It’s also clear that they will become recurring, which is a great addition.

Another addition of the comic to note again is that this takes place in currently — not in the 90s. It was a little jarring at first, but now, I’m into it. In fact, the update of Willow’s wardrobe is my absolute favorite thing. Gone is the ugly sweater and instead, it’s a baggy gray one and more goth-adjacent while still being the wholesome Will we know and love.

After the stellar writing is the amazingly horrific art — and I say that as the highest compliment. The opening panels of the book, featured above, are truly scary. Mora’s ability to twist some of the most popular characters into monsters while still making them recognizable is well executed and has me excited to see the world of demons that Sunnydale has in store.

Moving away from the nightmare into the vampire design, which I commented on in my last review, it continues to amaze me. The good old bumpy faces of Whedon’s vampires were always more horror comedy than pure horror in most cases but Mora is able to make them intimidating. In fact, Drusilla is downright powerful and scary, which is great for a character who’s legacy, as much as it is violent, was also about being a wilting flower.

Mora’s take on Spike is something I’ll take a poster of and put on my bedroom wall like I did in the early 2000s. He’s sexy, dark, and definitely evokes the very best of William the Bloody — and I don’t mean the poetry.

Overall, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer #2 is the perfect homage to the Slayer of the 90s and the perfect Slayer that we need today. Every character has more depth, has a recognizable but fresh design, and sounds like themselves. I have never read an adaptation execute every piece of the story this well.

Buffy: The Vampire Slayer #2 is available wherever you get your comics now.

Buffy: The Vampire Slayer #2 
5

TL;DR

Overall, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer #2 is the perfect homage to the Slayer of the 90s and the perfect Slayer that we need today. Every character has more depth, has a recognizable but fresh design, and sounds like themselves. I have never read an adaptation execute every piece of the story this well.

1 Comment on “REVIEW: ‘Buffy: The Vampire Slayer,’ Issue #2”

  1. I agree with everything you wrote . It honestly may be the best 2 issues of Buffy I’ve read since the first 2 of season 8. I am very worried about Xander tho.. his internal dialogue the whole issue and ESPECIALLY the last thing he “thought ballooned” in the final panel makes me wonder if the Xan Man is gonna go quickly to the darkside . It was subtle but yeah, def setting something up with him besides teen angst methinks

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