REVIEW: ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer,’ Issue #8 – Hellmouth Prelude

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Buffy The Vampire Slayer #8

The world of Buffy The Vampire Slayer has been reimagined at BOOM! Studios and it’s been one of the best things to happen to the Buffyverse in a long time. Buffy the Vampire Slayer #8, written by Jordie Bellaire, Illustrated by David López, with colors from Raúl Angulo, and with letters from Ed Dukeshire, is gearing up for its first crossover with Angel, from writer Bryan Edward Hill.

Last issue, Bellaire took us deeper into Willow’s situation. With a soul split in two, done to save Xander from becoming a full vampire, we got to see the trauma of the event and get a sneak peak at dark side Willow. Now, in this “Hellmouth Prelude,” it’s Halloween in Sunnydale and for existing Buffy The Vampire Slayer fans, we know that means something big and bad is about to happen.

The Halloween episodes of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer television show are some of the best in the seven-season series, offering up commentary on the culture at the time and pushing the characters to grow. Because of this, I expected a lot from the opening pages of Buffy the Vampire Slayer #8 and it didn’t disappoint.

While the Scoobies and the rest of Sunnydale High attend a Halloween party, Giles, Jenny, and Joyce spend time at the brand new Egyptian Exhibition discovering an ancient key to Sunnydale’s dark secret. Meanwhile, Buffy catches the eye of a brooding leather-jacketed masked party-goer, which we can easily assume is Angel.

The events of Buffy The Vampire Slayer #8 perfectly set up the Hellmouth event, opening the gate famously located below the school in a new way that existing fans haven’t seen before. In addition, this issue of the series gives us something that the television series never did, Joyce’s life. In the start of the series, Bellaire gave Joyce a significant other who wasn’t a robot and has shown promise in expanding her identity beyond just being a mother.

In this issue, we get to see Joyce as the museum curator in addition to getting to see Giles and Jenny having a happy life that they weren’t allowed in the television show. Bellaire has been able to expand the world of Buffy by adding small details to the characters that give them lives and stories outside the titular character. This has helped give this comic series a life all of its own.

That being said, López’s art is still extremely distracting. While the large settings from far away are beautiful, the close-ups of every single characters’ faces are shocking, their eyes permanently surprised and unable to show emotion. This issue, like the others in this arc, is plagued by losing heart in the art, something necessary for this series. On the plus side, Angulo’s colors are fabulous like always, the distinct dark Halloween party pulling you into the setting, with wonderfully executed lighting effects that give the depth to the panels.

Overall, Bellaire’s story and Angulo’s colors are great but López’s art pulls me out of it. It’s been a common complaint this arc, but the strength of the story keeps pulling me back, not to mention that Hill’s Angel series is substantially different than Bellaire’s Buffy series, so seeing them come together is something that I have been waiting for since it was announced.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer #8 is available everywhere now.


Buffy The Vampire Slayer #8
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TL;DR

Overall, Bellaire’s story and Angulo’s colors are great but López’s art pulls me out of it. It’s been a common complaint this arc, but the strength of the story keeps pulling me back, not to mention that Hill’s Angel series is substantially different than Bellaire’s Buffy series, so seeing them come together is something that I have been waiting for since it was announced.