While things have deadened somewhat topside (See Buffy the Vampire Slayer #9.), Buffy and Angel are neck-deep in Hellmouth nasties. The chemistry between the two is palpable but definitely less sophomoric than in the previous iteration. Think less Season 2 gooey and more Season 7 “call–you-out-on-your-ish” Buffy. As they navigate the Hellmouth, the two trade barbs while facing their fears.
Jordie Bellaire and Jeremy Lambert are credited as co-writers on this series, and I think the narrative really benefits from the laser focus on these two strangers who have to work with each other towards a common goal while learning about each other. There are some explosive revelations to be had, foreshadowed in a couple of moments. There’s a cute moment when Buffy exclaims, “Please don’t die! This place is too weird to be stuck here on my --,” indicating that their survival is tied to their unity. We’re not in shipper territory yet, though. There are a couple of cute callbacks to the original, with my personal favorite being a reference to Angel being in college and an oblique nod to “Reptile Boy.” This is an issue that keeps going, transitioning deftly between personal moments while delving, quite literally, into the plot. The cliffhanger is a huge moment, and I think it’s a profoundly transformative one for a particular character here.
Eleonora Carlini’s art really captures the frenetic pace of the story here. It’s kinetic without being confusing, and, more importantly, the characters don’t get lost in the grander set pieces. This really is the Hellmouth like we’ve never seen it before. The color scheme by Cris Peter is dynamic, shifting from searing desert landscapes to moody dreary caverns. I really love the use of complementary colors to amplify the explosive energy in high-octane situations. Ed Dukeshire’s lettering is such a subtle, but important, contribution to this book. It’s easy to read, and his letter placements really heighten the emotional and frenetic energy of the writing. It’s also remarkable that he provides clear visual cues in the text bubbles, so that it’s always clear which character is speaking.
Overall, Hellmouth #2 is a great ride that doesn’t lose its characters and builds on their personal trauma. That cliffhanger is a doozy…
Creative Team: Jordie Bellaire and Jeremy Lambert (writers), Eleonora Carlini (artist), Cris Peter (colorist), Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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