REVIEW: ‘Hellmouth,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Hellmouth #1

It’s time for the first event of BOOM! Studios’ all-new Buffy Universe with Hellmouth #1. Leading up to this event, both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel had prelude issues that brought Angel to Sunnydale and brought Buffy to a Halloween party in her gym that went horribly wrong. Now, in Hellmouth #1, written by Jordie Bellaire and Jeremy Lambert, with art from Eleonora Carlini, colors by Cris Peter, and letters by Ed Dukeshire, it’s all come to a demony head.

As the Slayer, Buffy is supposed to protect the world but with the Hellmouth opening after Drusilla and Spike took the key from her mother’s museum in Buffy the Vampire Slayer #5, her job just got harder. With time running out, Buffy must team up with a new ally that she doesn’t fully trust, everyone’s favorite broody vampire: Angel. By bringing together the 2019 versions of the characters, as I’ve come to refer to the new BOOM! continuity Buffy-verse, both Bellaire and Lambert had a lot to manage in the expectation department.

Buffy and Angel are one of the defining television couples of the 1990s, which means if any readers were existing fans of the Buffy-verse, like me, they were coming into Hellmouth #1 with expectations. Thankfully, once I started reading those expectations faded away and Bellaire and Lambert’s dialogue filled the space.

On Buffy, Bellaire has proven their ability to capture the essence of characters we already know and bring them into a new story, with new identities while still feeling like, well, them. Now, in Hellmouth, the chemistry between Angel and Buffy is undeniable and not at all predatory – a comment many have had for the original television iterations of the characters’ relationship.

Hellmouth #1 not only seamlessly introduces Angel to the Scoobies but it also fills Cordelia in on Slayer business and reimagines the hells of the Hellmouth in a deliciously monster-filled way. As the Hellmouth begins to come alive, with Drusilla making her way to open it fully, monsters seep out and Carlini’s art is perfection. This is extended from the creature designs for the monsters that come out to the Drusilla’s bumpy vampire face.

Hellmouth #1

One of the issues that has plagued the Buffy-verse is making the bumpy face vamps work as evil beings and not jokes. In the last few issues of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it’s been the latter, but in Hellmouth #1, Drusilla is terrifying. There is an epic scale to Carlini’s art that truly makes this Hellmouth into an event. Additionally, his take on the characters reflect the real-life actors in a way that is completely noticeable without being exact copies – most notably with Angel.

The colors in this issue from Peter are so beautiful. Awash in reds and oranges, Peter helps build out the scale for the Hellmouth’s awakening, you can feel the heat from the page. Additionally, as the palette mutes and cools into blues and grays in Buffy’s hardest moment deepen the emotion.

The best part of Hellmouth #1 is not only Angel and Buffy’s banter but Buffy’s confrontation with her own perceived failure. When she sees one of the Sunnydale students dead, Buffy spirals, the weight of the Slayer crashing down on her at once. Angel coaches her up, and that’s when it hooked me. Bellaire and Lambert are giving us some of the best Buffy writing over the entire character’s tenure in pop culture.

Hellmouth #1 is utter perfection. As a life-long Buffy fan, as a critic, this issue moved me and brought the depth and stakes needed for a crossover event. Hellomouth #1 is a must-read.

Hellmouth #1 is available where comics are sold.

Rating: 5/5

Hellmouth #1
5

TL;DR

Hellmouth #1 is utter perfection. As a life-long Buffy fan, as a critic, this issue moved me and brought the depth and stakes needed for a crossover event. Hellomouth #1 is a must-read.