‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Every Generation #1’ - Advance Comic Book Review

The nitty-gritty: In BOOM!’s second Slayer anthology, we’re technically introduced to three Slayers, though one of them should seem rather familiar, especially if you’re up to date with the whole Hellmouth series. In this new series, we meet a version of Buffy, presumably the version that BOOM!-Buffy met in the Hellmouth. We are also introduced to a Filipino Slayer that was depicted on the Chosen One variant for Buffy #5. And finally, we meet an Irish Slayer who encounters the legacy of a particular dark and handsome vampire.

The comic opens with a tale by Nilah Magruder. depicting an alternate-reality Buffy, and, based on context cues, this is presumably the alterna-Buffy that we met in the Hellmouth series. This seems to be the most important of the stories presented here for a couple of reasons. For one, it’s quite simply the longest, paging in at twice the page count for each of the next two stories. For another, this story seems pretty anchored in the current storyline, appearing as a flashback to elaborate on how that version of Buffy ended up where she was. And finally, given the whole multiverse direction we seem to be headed in, this could also be a way to explore some of that without bogging down the main narrative. Magruder’s story gives us a glimpse at how life in Sunnydale could have been, with enough familiar elements to ground the audience, but with enough strangeness to throw them off a bit. Lauren Knight’s artwork is a nice mix of really dynamic scenes and some great character moments. Alex Guimarães’ colors work really well with Knight’s work, building up the dynamic scenes with some really cool effects. Colors really are a universal language… I will say that I wish there was a bit more consistency with Buffy’s eye color (green, not blue). All in all, this seems to be the strongest story of the lot.

Next up is a short story about a Filipino Slayer in the early 1900s, written by Morgan Beem and Lauren Garcia, and drawn by Beem. Of the lot, this one has the distinction of being the most visually striking. It’s also the most “monster-of-the-week” of the lot. At the core of the story is Matay, a hilot (“Healer” is an interesting term for a Slayer, but more on that in a bit.) on the tail of an aswang, a shape-shifting, vampire-like demon of Filipino lore. It’s interesting that the aswang also bears certain traits that are typically associated with the manananggal, which is another demon that’s able to separate its torso and fly around on bat-like wings. A cognate also exists in Malaysia called a penanggal. Both names quite literally mean “to detach,” so the names are pretty self-explanatory. Matay is an interesting intersection of culture and Slayer, serving as both protector and healer. Being such a blend, it’s probably fitting that at the end of the day, she learns that the lines between humanity and demons aren’t as cut and dry as she used to think. Beem’s illustrations are fantastic. The linework is unfussy, but detailed, and the imagery is detailed and evocative. What I appreciated the most was probably the watercolor-y colors that just lent such a natural warmth to the proceedings.

The final bit is “The Sisters of Angelus,” fittingly set in 1940s Dublin, Ireland. Here, we meet Una (Kinda cool that her name either means “one” or “lamb.”), a Slayer whose loyalty to her friend, mildly contentious relationship with her Watcher, and dismissive attitude towards learning should strike many as rather familiar. Caitlin Yarsky’s yarn follows Una as she tries to free a friend sent to the Angelus Asylum to be rehabilitated by the Sisters of Angelus. Without giving too much away, the irony here is probably not lost on anyone, and it’s so deliciously in character for a particular tall and brooding vampire. Also introduced is a bauble that holds significant relevance to vampires, and I wonder if this is something that will come back into play in the current series. Yarsky’s artwork is very accomplished, and there are some amazing moments, such as when Una takes on her foes. The very last page is absolutely stunning, with so much symbolism, and the final narration is just heartbreaking.

Overall, while I enjoyed meeting these Slayers, I really do hope that their narratives will gradually build up the Slayer lore of BOOM!’s reboot. #StoriesMatter because they can color our personal narratives; they can contextualize history and shape futures. In this regard, “Every Generation” seems to have to ability to shape the narrative of the current BOOM! iteration of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as all three stories do have something to say about the mandate and fate of Slayers - past, present, and future.   

Creative Team: Nilah Magruder, Morgan Beem, Lauren Garcia, Caitlin Yarsky (writers), Lauren Knight, Morgan Beem, Caitlin Yarsky (artists), Alex Guimarães (colorist), Jim Campbell (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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