Buffy the Vampire Slayer #4
By Jordie Bellaire, Dan Mora, Raul Angulo & Ed Dukeshire
Buffy the Vampire Slayer starts off with a quick recap of the characters and their day to day lives after the non-stop chaos of the past few issues. We get to catch up with Buffy’s struggles, learn that she might be on the verge of failing Physics, and learn that she hasn’t managed to fit in as well as expected at Sunnydale. This book seems intent to test the characters and their friendship to the point where it looks likely to tear it down before it builds it back up, particularly in the case of Xander, who is a desperate, hollow wreck who is easily manipulated when the antagonists land possession of Buffy’s phone without his knowledge.
It’s a character-centric book that plays to their strengths. Buffy is the main spotlight here and showing the day-to-day life of the Slayer as well as the vampire-related activities continues to be enjoyable, especially as Jordie Bellaire gets these characters so well. The book still feels different enough not to be a clone of the original series and the arcs aren’t repeating themselves. Characters are all new and improved, and the end of Boom’s first arc wraps up on a high. Fans who have waited to see Angel show up will be pleased by the announcement of his upcoming comic, which justifies a reason for an absence from this series which has found a way of working in plenty of characters who wouldn’t normally appear until much later in the television series.
The fact that this comic is a soft reboot and not a continuation continues to be one of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s main selling points. It’s unpredictable and exciting, whether in the mundane realities of Buffy’s life or exploring the dangers that come with the profession of a Slayer. And its’ written by someone who knows and cares about the characters, in this slowed down plot that proves that that you don’t have to move at a fast pace all the time. That said, the pace does quicken towards the end when the narrative comes together, switching gears into an ending with plenty of danger. Because of the nature of this reboot, no character is safe anymore and Bellaire seems intent on exploiting that.
Dan Mora’s artwork continues to be another one of the series’ strengths with slick, stylish artwork that complements the character-centric focus of the issue. There’s a clear split between the time of day and locations that give each setting a distinctive mood and feel without betraying the tone of the series. Mora’s pencils are complimented by Raul Angulo’s colours, whose striking imagery really brings the action to life. Even background details like what the gang are watching on the television is shown in clear light, and each characters have a colour palette that plays into their emotions well. Both Mora and Angulo are at home whether Buffy is dual-wielding weapons to decapitate a vampire or just sit back and have some pizza with her friends, and as a result, the book maintains a strong natural vibe throughout.
Those worried that the reboot might be too different need not be, as Bellaire, Mora, Angulo and letterer Ed Dukeshire have delivered their own unique take on the Buffy mythos whilst keeping it faithful to the series and updating it to a modern era successfully, ending the first arc on a high leaving readers with nothing but anticipation about where the series is going to go next.