Dark Horse had a long run with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and related titles, which continued the characters’ adventures after the show’s end. Boom! now owns the rights, and they’ve taken their own, comic-appropriate approach to the Slayer:
A complete, contemporary reboot.
Welcome back to the Hellmouth.
Title: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
“Welcome Back to the Hellmouth”
Written by Jordie Ballaire
Art: Dan Mora, Raul Angulo
It’s the 2018-2019 school year, and a new Slayer has arrived in Sunnydale, CA to fight the forces of evil. Her name?
Alyson Hannigan’s Willow turned a sidekick into a series highlight. Her drawn counterpart appears poised to do the same. She presents the strongest of the original series characters, draws from the source material, and yet develops in ways that make sense for 2019. She’s dating another girl from the first issue, and has a level of confidence the original character took years to develop. At the same time, we see things in her that will grow and change.
I found they front-loaded a little too many characters, series tropes, and elements of fan service into the first three issues. Most of the series principals have appeared already. Robin Wood attends Sunnydale. Anya runs the magic shop. Spike and Dru are about. We already know that Giles sings folksongs.
And Buffy’s mother as yet has no idea about her daughter’s true nature, despite that fact that Buffy encounters a giant bat-monster downtown in front of multiple witnesses.
Originality: 2/6 Joyce has a boyfriend Buffy doesn’t much like. Cordelia is less overtly a Mean Girl, and plays a more realistic high-school Alpha– but that may change. Spike and Dru’s relationship has been reimagined dramatically.
Buffy feels torn between teen dreams and the forces of evil. Darkness is ascendant.
And it’s a comic, so there’s a giant bat-creature.
In short, they’re taking a fresh approach to old material, but it’s still revisiting old material.
Artwork: 5/6 The artwork for the 6000 or so1 variant covers really impressed me, even if many of those covers take their influence from the TV series, instead of the comic content within. The story art itself features some interesting takes. Some of the characters need to be better-differentiated. Anya and Joyce look very alike in some panels.
Story: 4/6 The Hellmouth exists, and I suspect the Master will eventually reveal himself.
He’s one of the few major characters who hasn’t already appeared.
Characterization: 4/6 The comic walks a line between taking new approaches to the characters and letting the readers project familiar characterization onto the panels. Since Willow feels more confident, they’ve really played up Xander’s insecurity, and it appears it will play a major role in the early story arcs.
Emotional Response: 4/6 After the initial, nostalgic excitement, it really didn’t do much for me. However, the original series took time becoming a hit, and this comic version may well draw readers new and old. At present, it relies heavily on reader familiarity with the characters and concept.
Overall: 4/6 Hardcore fans of the series may find this new take on the characters refreshing. I find the concept interesting, but I doubt I’ll be following the series.
In total, the first three issues of “Welcome Back to the Hellmouth” receive 29/42
1. The first issue has, I think, thirteen variant covers. The second and third have fewer.