REVIEW: ‘Hellmouth,’ Issue #2 (of 5)

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The very first Buffy-verse event of BOOM! Studios‘ reimagining of the 1990s and 2000s series from Joss Whedon. Dubbed Hellmouth, the event has brought together the iconic Buffy and Angel for the first time and also opened up the staple of the horror-supernatural in Sunnydale, the titular Hellmouth. Set to run for five-issues from writers Jordie Bellaire and Jeremy Lambert. Hellmouth #2 brings in art from Eleonora Carlini, with colors by Cris Peter, and letters by Ed Dukeshire picks up after the events of last issue.

Hellmouth #1 brought Buffy and Angel together to investigate the opening of the gate and forced Buffy to deal with the reality that she can’t save everyone. Now, Buffy and Angel must find a way to work together as the Hellmouth opens further, spreading more evil across Sunnydale. But in order for it to work, Angel has to hide his true identity, his vampire identity, from the Slayer as the Hellmouth works to bring out their deepest fears. 

In this issue, Bellaire and Lamert have a script that pushes Angel and Buffy together while simultaneously exploiting their inner-demons individually. Apart, each character works and together they do as well. Hellmouth #2 works to further build the relationship between the two of them as colleagues and showcases the differences in their personalities. The dialogue in this issue works extremely well between the two main characters but it also works to develop them on their own as the demons of the Hellmouth attempt to work them over.

Hellmouth #2

Additionally, the choice to explore the Hellmouth, something that we don’t see until the very last episode of the television series, is a choice that works. Diving into the Hellmouth immediately is allowing the creative team, mainly Bellaire who is currently writing the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, to grow the series beyond the shadow of the television show. We’re introduced to the vampires and demons of of the Hellmouth, and we’re shown a new narrative behind it with Drusilla at its core.

The best part of Buffy confronting all of this in her first world-ending event in BOOM! Studios’ universe is that it allows her to showcase her strength against the pit. It also pushes her to confront the complications of being the Slayer that we don’t see until later in the series, especially with her mother.

Overall, Hellmouth #2 is a wonderful issue, one that works to establish its characters, their trajectories, and build a new narrative that existing fans of the series can jump into fresh. My only critique of this issue comes from the opening which shows a wolf-like monster feeding on the evil of the world. While ominous, it feels disconnected from the rest of the issue. While I’m sure there are plans for him later, his inclusion caused some confusion.

That being said, Carlini’s art is gorgeous horror. The creature design is beautiful and the monsters are distinct from anything I’ve seen before – save for the vampires of the Hellmouth that draw direct inspiration from season seven of the television series. The tone of this event, set by the art, is more akin to the beauty and darkness of Gleb Melnikov’s work on the art of the ongoing Angel series than the current comedic art in the Buffy the Vampire series. By keeping the darkness in the art and bringing in the camp in the dialogue, Hellmouth #2 is a great blend of both worlds.

Hellmouth #2 is available in stores now.

Hellmouth #2
4.5

TL;DR

The tone of this event, set by the art, is more akin to the beauty and darkness of Gleb Melnikov’s work on the art of the ongoing Angel series than the current comedic art in the Buffy the Vampire series. By keeping the darkness in the art and bringing in the camp in the dialogue, Hellmouth #2 is a great blend of both worlds.