Earlier this year, BOOM! Studios launched a reboot of the Buffy-verse with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In this series, the Scoobies of Sunnydale were updated to 2019. Their clothes, behavior, and ultimately their characters have all been updated, with each of them going through different stories and events that fans of the original 1990s television show, from Joss Whedon, haven’t seen before. Now in issue number seven, the series deals with its larger change yet, Xander is half-vampire and half-human, and its all thanks to Willow.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #7 is written by Jordie Bellaire, Illustrated by David López (pages 1-3 and 21-22) and Sas Milledge (pages 4 – 20), with colors from Raúl Angulo (pages 1-3 and 21-22) and Milledge (pages 4 – 20), and with letters from Ed Dukeshire. Last issue Willow and Buffy sought out a cure, a way to keep their friend from fully becoming a vampire. While they completed the quest and found the cure, in order to save Xander, Willow had to give away a piece of herself. Now, this issue explores how Willow is coping with half a soul.
Willow is sleepwalking through life. She’s different, she’s scared, and she’s dealing with her demons every night, and Buffy can’t slay these. The beginning of the issue sets the stage by showing readers how Willow is faring without her whole soul. As López’s art falls away we’re seamlessly transitioned to Milledge’s art and into what we assume is Willow’s nightly nightmare as she confronts her other half.
I am still having the hardest time with the art in the part of the series. It’s soft and the illustrations of the characters’ faces are extremely detached from not only the live-action characters but the way they each looked in the series in issues number one through four. Sadly, the story is hard to focus on when the art shows the characters as looking constantly confused and a little like the villain from Universal’s The Phantom of the Opera. But this is only for the opening and closing of the book as López and Milledge have split the book’s art.
The center of the story has art from Milledge, and while it still leaves me longing for Dan Mora’s art, it doesn’t pull me out of Bellaire’s story in the same way as López’s art does. The bulk of Buffy The Vampire Slayer #7 takes place in Willow’s struggle against herself, while Milledge leans on the way dark side Willow looked in the television series, this depiction of Willow is all its own.
With all of this being said, Bellaire is still doing a great job of writing the characters of Sunnydale. The bond between Willow and Xander is explored more, even showing us them as kids. Honestly, the writing invokes all of the “yellow crayons” feelings from the television series. If you’re not a Buffy fan from the show’s time, Xander uses a reference to “yellow crayons” in order to tap into Willow’s true self and pull from the edge of destroying the world, using their childhood together and relationship to save the world.
That being said, Milledege’s art lends to the emotion in this part of the issue while the opening and close from López is frustratingly void of the emotion needed from the dialogue. Instead, every character continuously looked shocked, this is extremely true in Xander’s face in the close of the book is tonally disconnected from Bellaire’s text.
Overall, I’m unsure if I can come back into the book. The jump away from Mora’s art has been frustrating for the most part and I’m unsure what to do as a reader. Bellaire’s narrative is beautiful and she understands the characters but sadly, López’s art doesn’t.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #7 is available everywhere.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.