The last time we were in Sunnydale, the Hellmouth was just opened and Buffy and Angel were quite literally in it. Hell was breaking loose everywhere. Fast-forward a few days, and that’s where we are now. It’s pretty clear that despite both the Buffy and Hellmouth titles being set in Sunnydale, the focus of each series is clearly divided, with the Hellmouth series focusing on Buffy and Angel, and the Buffy series shining the spotlight on the rest of the gang.
It may take an issue or two to win me over, but I’m not a huge fan of the division of characters into different titles. It feels a tad inorganic. There is plenty of talk about Buffy in this issue, but no Buffy to actually establish the stakes. That being said, all the Scoobies get a moment to shine. Despite having the biggest change made to his being, Xander remains the most like his past iteration. Willow is still a bit moody, and the tension between her and Rose has been palpable for a while. Perhaps the biggest shift has been in Giles. While his past iteration was capable of making hard decisions without having an existential meltdown, this version is erm… less British?
Tonally, this may be my favorite issue that Jordie Bellaire has written. There is a moody sense of loss, which is kind of telling about how Buffy’s absence is affecting the people who know her. In a way, it’s very reminiscent of the atmosphere in the episode, “The Wish.” No one is at their best, and some really ugly truths pop up. It’s a bit uncomfortable, but it feels earned. In that same vein, David Lopez’s art captures these moments really well. The exchange between Giles and Jenny is the absolute high point in his work so far.
Overall, things are really going south, and a new threat is introduced. Good thing the Scoobies are getting some help from a newcomer…?
Creative Team: Jordie Bellaire (writer), David Lopez (artist), Raul Angulo (colorist), Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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