Comics: Boom! Studio's Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1

Boom! Studios recently purchased the publishing license for Buffy the Vampire Slayer after Dark Horse Comics’ Buffy license expired at the end of 2018. After 20 years with Dark Horse, Boom! taking over the series was met with a lot of excitement from Buffy fans all over the world. As we waited to see just what the plan would be for the comics, I for one, was really excited to discover the direction they would take my all-time favorite heroine’s story. When the critically acclaimed television show ended with season seven in 2003, Joss Whedon and a team of creators at Dark Horse Comics decided to continue telling Buffy’s story. The comics began with season eight and ended up taking the story all the way up to season 12. Though the ending of the series was certainly a disappointment to those who had followed the story, curiosity and anticipation began to build when fans learned Boom! had decided to reboot the comic from the beginning. As opposed to continuing the story from where Dark Horse left off, Joss Whedon and the team at Boom! thought putting a modern spin on our beloved slayer would make both longtime fans happy as well as gain a new, younger following. Frankly, I couldn’t agree more.

The first issue of the Buffy reboot made it perfectly clear to me as I read that the writer was either a long term fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or did an immense amount of research into her character, personality and backstory. I have no qualms admitting that I am a Buffy super fan. From home d├ęcor to multiple tattoos, Buffy has been a huge part of my life for years now, so I was bound to be excited about anything that Joss Whedon had his hands on in regards to Buffy. I will admit that the Dark Horse series ended up losing its luster to me, as eventually it just no longer felt like the show I had devoted so much time and energy to watching. The plots, the characters and even some of the new introductions and writing styles just did not feel like MY Buffy, so I was really excited to see what the writers at Boom! would bring to the table with the reboot. I did a bit of personal research on Jordie Bellaire, the writer of the new Buffy comic and was thrilled to learn that, undoubtedly, as a woman with a cat named Buffy, she definitely is a longtime fan of the Buffyverse and it shown through her writing. I have been waiting for a while to see Buffy appear once more as the Buffy from my beloved show and this first issue of Buffy reboot absolutely nails it. From her quippy one-liners to the inner turmoil she experiences knowing that the fate of the world rests on her shoulders, Buffy Summers feels like herself once more.

 I may or may not have cried several times throughout reading this issue, and though none of the story itself was super intense or emotional, there is just something about seeing an accurate adaptation of  my favorite character once again coming to life the way I wanted to see her in the previous comics that just made my heart swell. We are introduced to much of the Scooby gang in the first issue and I was very pleased with how Xander and Willow’s initial appearance took place. There is something so special and magical about Buffy meeting what will eventually become her second family for the first time and Bellaire definitely made it feel fresh and new but kept with the nostalgic tone that will make fans happy. The relationship between Xander and Willow feels exactly the same, which is certainly what I was hoping for. It is interesting to remember just how tough Giles could be on Buffy in the beginning of the show. Because I watch it in its entirety on an annual basis, I of course know how fatherly he becomes to Buffy, so it was a bit startling to see Giles in the light of watcher only for the first time once more. I cannot wait to see those relationships and friendships develop with each new issue.

Artist Dan Mora breathes new, modern life into the residents of Sunnydale. Fashion, hairstyles and makeup have been modified to give each character a very necessary update in order to reflect the fact this comic takes place in the world we live in now. Mora’s ability to capture the characters we know and love and make them immediately recognizable impressed me the second I read the first page. I do have to be honest; however, I did find myself a bit confused about the stylization of Willow. Willow is one of my favorite Buffy characters, and I loved watching her slow and steady growth throughout the television series. Willow had this wonderful transition from shy wallflower who preferred to stay in the shadows and not be noticed, to the vibrant, eccentrically stylish Willow we began to see in season four and beyond. 

Willow begins issue one as a babe and a half, with a sultry, sexy punk rock aesthetic really pulling her vibe all together. Short shorts, fishnets and crop tops were all a part of her look in the first issue and I have to say it just left me very surprised and a bit confused. Don’t get me wrong, she looked great and honestly I would love to take a trip to her closet myself, but it just did not feel like the Willow Rosenberg I was expecting her to be.  This may not end up being a bad thing, but her personal growth and character development throughout the television series really was probably my favorite progression in the entire show, so I am curious to see how, if at all, that will be handled in this series. Overall, however, I absolutely loved the artistic approach to the new series. Colorist Raul Angulo brought such a bright vibrancy to the overall tone of the issue. It felt youthful; it felt like high school. The entire artistic palette blended together seamlessly to create a picture that was visually stimulating and sure to leave fans eager for more. I really look forward to seeing what the team does next.

It did not surprise me at all that Boom! Comics’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot sold out before even going on sale, nor did it surprise me that every local comic book shop that I have heard of sold every copy nearly immediately. Fans of Buffy certainly are not going anywhere anytime soon and I am pleased with the overall success that the reboot is already having, even just with the very first issue. I love how much the characters' personalities just felt like the Buffy gang that I know and love and that the overall tone of the comic felt exactly like what Joss Whedon hoped to accomplish with the show. I am so privileged to receive the opportunity to read these in advance and look forward to being able to share my opinions on the reboot showcasing my favorite badass vampire slayer with each new issue.

--Rachel Rutherford