Buffy the Vampire Slayer#1
Jordie Bellaire (writing); Dan Mora (art); Raul Angulo (colors); Ed Dukeshire (Lettering); Matthew Taylor, Kevin Wada, Dan Panosian, Kaiti Infanti, George Schall, Jonathan Case, Miguel Mercado, Jen Bartel, Becca Carey, Royal Dunlap (covers)
January 23, 2019
After concluding a very long, partially Joss Whedon-written run with Dark Horse that was controversial within the fandom, Buffy has been reborn. Kiss those memories of sky sex, Dawn and Xander getting it on, and whatever the hell that Buffybot pregnancy arc was, and open your arms to embrace the new. Sink your fangs into a fresh Buffy the Vampire Slayer continuity!
This one takes us all the way back to the beginning of high school, imagining a different meeting for Buffy, Willow, and Xander and re-situating them in 2019 — though that’s not really a factoid that comes into play in this first issue, and aside from the appearance of a laptop there isn’t much that moves the book into the modern era, design nor techwise.
After Buffy saves them from a near-deadly meeting with a vamp outside of the seafood restaurant where she works, Xander becomes extremely curious about who and what Buffy is, and follows her into a janitor’s closet, where he and Willow stumble through a false door and into a secret library. There Giles and Buffy are having a tutoring meeting — and as the three become friends, Wills and Xander soon learn that Giles is tutoring Buffy in the art of survival — she’s a Slayer, destined to kill vampires, and he is her watcher, a designated mentor. But beneath it all, the only thing Buffy Anne Summers wants the only thing she’s ever wanted — to be a normal teenage girl.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1 is, in a word, smooth in its first outing under new management. All of our characters sound exactly as they should and look perfect, thanks to excellent, on-model art by Dan Mora. The likenesses of each character is spot-on perfect, but Buffy looks slightly more like she did in senior year versus freshman. The writing is fun and punchy and easy to like, and everyone feels much like themselves under Jordie Bellaire’s pen. And there’s another amusing benefit of the reboot: the letters section and preview are reorganized like an issue of the school newspaper, the Sunnydale High Sentinel.
But if you find character backtracking frustrating this will be a trying reading experience for you, because Willow is returned to her shy, geeky first episode-level self, Joyce is once again oblivious, Buffy is back to yearning to shrug off her mantle, Giles is impatient and expecting perfection of her, and Xander’s rubbery geekiness is turned all the way up to eleven. Seriously: if you couldn’t stand him in the show then you’ll loathe him here.
Yet there is a lot of charm in this first issue, mainly because we’re anchored so firmly in Buffy’s POV, and with her nearly every step throughout the issue. If you ever felt sympathy for the beleaguered slayer and her dangerous, alarming world, then those feelings will come back tenfold.
In short, there’s a lot to like in this first issue. And if you don’t find yourself catching that Sunnydale spirit, just consider it a nice, meaty, well-written chunk of AU fanfiction with a great fan art base.