Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1
By Jordie Bellaire, Dan Mora & Raúl Angulo
There’s a new iteration of Buffy in town. The series is ripe for a modern-day reimagining and that’s exactly what writer Jordie Bellaire, artist Dan Mora and colourist Raúl Angulo have done here, reintroducing us to one of the most iconic television characters ever in style, as we see how she and her supporting cast of characters that includes Xander, Willow and Giles fit into the modern era. It’s fresh from the restrictions of a TV budget and writer Jordie Bellaire gives audiences a compelling reason to be invested in this new iteration.
Buffy is back and in the best way possible. Bellaire effortlessly introduces audiences to the ensemble and it’ll be interesting to see whether going forward old arcs from the television series are repeated or whether the show goes in a different direction. High School is still a very a prevalent setting, and Buffy’s already growing tired of the small-town routine that is remarkably different from her high-speed lifestyle of Los Angeles. She’s working at a fast food restaurant when we are introduced to Xander and Willow, and her night job as a vampire slayer comes not long after. Interestingly unlike the show, Buffy already has a working – if brief – dynamic with Giles. The book ticks all the right boxes for what a Buffy comic should do and it’s clear that the creative team have a love and understanding of the series, even using that trademark Buffy Speak that fans have come to associate with the show.
Under a different publisher this time in the form of Boom! Studios, the retooled Buffy is fresh and exciting, a back-to-basics approach that’s not bogged down by years of continuity built up under the great Dark Horse runs. The familiar setting of the universe is apparent despite the reboot, and the book almost echoes the tone and style of the new Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, also adopting a similiar approach to the recent Bumblebee film which cast off its connection with its established franchise in favour of doing something familiar yet different. Nods to the original series are made throughout this issue primarily from Xander and Willow, and there’s even a reference to moreof series creator Joss Whedon’s works, with Firefly being namedropped as well as a reference to the original movie. With Xander’s interest in comics being apparent, it’s no surprise that it doesn’t take long for Buffy to be compared to a superhero.
Dan Mora’s artwork pays homage to the original actors whilst injecting fresh life into the new character designs, avoiding photo-realism in favour of crafting a simplistic yet effective approach that instantly evokes memories of the tone and style of the show, from the desolate, haunted graveyards to the bustling school corridors. Every bit of detail is fleshed out by colourist Raúl Angulo, who really shines in helping to craft the artist’s vision to light.
It’s worth mentioning that that new readers unfamiliar with the show need not worry as the series feels new, laying the groundwork to proceed in a fresh and creative direction as it progresses throughout the issue. Yet if you’ve devoured everything Buffy related in the past and want something new this caters to old fans just as much as it does new ones. You’ll want to start reading this series now, as it should be a treat to see how Bellaire, Mora and Angulo take the characters going forward, as based on this first issue readers are sure to be in good hands.