Comic of the Week: Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1 is a new start with much love for the original

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1 is out 1/23/2019.

By d. emerson eddy — Into each generation a slayer is born...or reborn as it were. To many my age Joss Whedon's television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, even Dollhouse, served as a backbone to our cultural development. Particularly Buffy and Angel since they came first. They informed a lot of our attitudes towards the world, reflected many of our musical tastes and speech patterns, and all around showed a world where it was all right to be the outcast, the fringe, the geeky nerd, because you'd be accepted into a family of like-minded weirdos. And, of course, you'd look fabulous while dusting vamps.

It's been 15 years since Buffy and Angel have been on the air, in that time culture has changed, in some ways evolved, in some ways regressed. In those intervening years, Dark Horse and IDW continued on the legacy of the Whedonverse, sometimes taking it to welcome places, sometimes strange. At times for me it was like checking in with a friend that you've lost touch with and grown apart, but when you see one another you're picking up old conversations like you've not lost a beat. Because the memory remains.

BOOM! Studios' new launch of the series does not continue on from any of the previous comics or television series. Instead, it takes us back to a new interpretation of the beginning, and I'm perfectly okay with this. It feels right to start again, especially when it's being done with as much skill, reverence, respect, and outright love of the source material as it is by Jordie Bellaire, Dan Mora, Raúl Angulo, and Ed Dukeshire. The old, familiar faces of Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles are here representing that core configuration. Slightly different than before, but still capturing that same spirit.

With Redlands, Jordie Bellaire has proven that she can write horror and the supernatural very well. With this first issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she transports some of that with the usual vampires and ancient relics and such, but she also shows an ear for the catchy dialogue and banter that was a hallmark of any Whedonverse joint. It's not a copy of Whedon and co.'s dialogue patterns, but like the overall story, it captures the spirit.

Likewise with Dan Mora's gorgeous artwork. His approach to likenesses is interesting, because the characters are recognizably Sarah Michelle Gellar, Allyson Hannigan, et al. yet simplified. He makes the characters his own, such that we don't have any of the common bizarrely over-rendered stars in a comic compared to the supporting and background characters. And equally excels with the action as with the quieter interpersonal moments.

Raúl Angulo's colors perfectly complement Mora's line art, giving the series a somewhat ethereal glow. It reminds me somewhat of the color approach that the “New Riverdale” line from Archie Comics had of mixing some of those classic vibrant comics colours with a bit of a modern haze. It works really well for adding atmosphere to the story.

Ed Dukeshire rounds out the creative team here, performing his usual exemplary job of providing some tight lettering, showing some interesting variation for vampires and the narration.

Overall, this relaunch is very well done. As a longtime follower of Buffy and the Scooby Gang, I think that Bellaire, Mora, Angulo, and Dukeshire have done a very good job at capturing the spirit of the property while also weaving it into a new and compelling story. Even if you've somehow never experienced Buffy the Vampire Slayer before, it introduces well to the cast and the overall premise and tone of this new series. There are also some surprise appearances and a twist in the tale that should have everyone champing at the bit to see the next issue.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1
Jordie Bellaire
Artist: Dan Mora
Colorist: Raúl Angulo
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Price: $3.99

Check out past Comic of the Week selections by d. emerson eddy on the list page.

d. emerson eddy is a student and writer of things. He fell in love with comics during Moore, Bissette, & Totleben's run on Swamp Thing and it has been a torrid affair ever since. His madness typically manifests itself on Twitter