As the title of this issue alludes to oh-so subtly, this issue serves as a prelude to BOOM!’s first epic Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel crossover event: “Hellmouth.” After the relatively slow burn of the last arc (Xander almost turned into a soulless vampire, and Willow sacrificed a bit of her soul to prevent that, NBD.), this issue is laser-focused on its mission to get us to the Hellmouth.
David Lopez returns to full-time art duties on this issue, and his strengths remain the same: fun and expressive character work. While I do admire those strengths, I do wish that there were a bit more subtlety in some of the facial work. It’s not that Lopez is incapable of more subtle facial expressions; his work on Jenny’s face as she judges Giles’ inaction in a particularly tense moment in this issue is proof of this. On another note, I’m loving the design of Willow’s t-shirt in this issue. It’s kind of on the nose, but it works. Raul Angulo’s colors are fantastic in this issue, whether it’s the trippy lights at the high school party or the rich tones of the Egyptian exhibit.
There’s plenty to love about Jordie Bellaire’s script in this issue. The meet-cute between Buffy and her masked acquaintance (I don’t think the identity is all that secret.) seems to be revisiting an iconic pairing with some new sensibilities. The interaction between Joyce, Eric, Giles, and Jenny is pretty adorable, and it’s nice to see the adults actually get a moment together in a very normal situation. Of course, “normal” doesn’t last long in the Buffyverse, and things go sideways really fast. Making a bad situation worse, in the midst of a hostage situation, Bellaire slips in the possible beginnings of a lovers rift in a really organic way. While Drusilla’s plan ain’t all that original, I think this is the first time that we actually see the Hellmouth come to life in this particular way, and since there are no budgetary constraints here, I expect the Hellmouth to be wide open for business going forward.
Overall, Bellaire and team do a great job setting up the multi-issue “Hellmouth” event. The characters are in place for where they need to be going forward.
Creative Team: Jordie Bellaire (writer), David Lopez (artist), Raul Angulo (colorist), Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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