Comics: Boom! Studios Buffy #4 (2019) - Reviewed

Though I was unable to officially review issue three of Buffy in April, I wanted to make sure I get back on track when it comes to providing monthly reviews of the series that I was most looking forward to in 2019. I am a couple weeks late on the review of issue four, but I at least wanted to update my reviews with my thoughts on the series thus far before getting back into the swing of things with the June 2019 issue. In issue three we were able to get more glimpses into the life and world of our modern day slayer. With Spike being my favorite character from the television series, I am thrilled that he made such an early debut in the comics and am heartily enjoying his smart-alecky interaction with the Buffster, as it feels very reminiscent of the original storyline. 

Issue four opens with Buffy contemplating the differences between her life and what the life of a “normal” teenager would be like, a theme that once again echoes the Slayer those of us old school fans have come to know and love. Balancing school, friends and her ever changing home life while figuring out how to live up to her destiny as Slayer has left Buffy exhausted and ready for a bit of a break. Issue four was not entirely plot heavy and felt a bit more like a filler issue than the preceding issues, but I don’t consider that a negative thing. Though Buffy is most certainly an epic tale of a supernaturally empowered young woman fighting demons and vampires, it’s also a coming of age story; a depiction of a teenager growing up and learning how to make it in this world. Not just her, but all of those around her - friends, classmates, family members; Buffy is a story about growth. 

We get a little bit more depth when it comes to Xander’s modernized character in this issue and I think it is something that really helps the storyline. While Xander is often this slapstick silly character who provides a lot of extra comedic relief, I really enjoyed getting a peek at what else is floating around in his head. The feelings of inadequacy, frustration and insecurity are things most teenagers will experience during high school, so a story that is above all aimed at a newer, younger generation of future Buffy fans definitely handled that portion incredibly well. Jordie Bellaire continues to do an excellent job of combining silly and serious; allowing the Buffy reboot to have so much heart, charm and fantasy while still being really relatable and promoting a very positive message.

Dan Mora’s artwork seriously delights me with every issue. I am consistently impressed with how well he captures every character perfectly. Facial features, expressions and even the wardrobe choices of each character all reflect and pay homage to the characters created by Joss Whedon for television. The fact that he has done such a fantastic job remaining true to the source material, all while giving them the necessary modern updates needed so the story and characters feel relevant is just simply wonderful. As much as I enjoy having the privilege to read these digitally in advance, I feel the need to get my hands on print copies because truly the art just keeps getting better. Scenes are heavily detailed without feeling cluttered, battle sequences are epic but not fussy; everything that Mora is doing genuinely works for the story. His art, combined with Raul Angulo’s vivid color work and Bellaire’s exceptional writing definitely make this series a must read for Buffy fans new and old.

Without giving too much away, issue four left readers with a character cliffhanger. In the end, we are reintroduced to a prominent Buffy character, which will undoubtedly leave fans eager to see what happens next. Unfortunately we will have to wait a bit for the hush hush issue five of this series, as it is not slated to be released until June. Even the cover is top secret and unlike the rest of the series thus far there is no sneak peek provided. 

Although we have to wait an extra month to read the next issue, Boom! Comics also announced they will be doing an Angel reboot as well; more news that will leave fans of this series and the original television show eager with anticipation. Boom! is doing an excellent job with the Buffy reboot, so I am very excited to see how Angel is handled.

--Rachel Rutherford