Into every generation a slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their number. She is the Slayer.
For the first time in over twenty years, Buffy Summers once again is that slayer. The only slayer. Courtesy of Boom! Comics, we’ve gone back to the beginning, in an updated yet familiar way.
The art, done by Dan Mora and Raul Angulo, is so beautifully detailed. Even though each of the characters’ individual styles has changed to fit that of a twenty first century high schooler’s, the reader can still visualize the original actors’ facial expressions from the art. It’s a welcome, much needed change after the disappointing art in the Dark Horse season 12 comics.
Small, inconsequential but ultimately distracting mistakes and inconsistencies are made, however, particularly with eye color. Willow’s eyes will be green on one page, then blue on the next. Joyce’s eyes are shown as blue when they were brown in the television series. I warned you it was inconsequential, but for this Buffy die-hard it had me looking back and forth between pages and other reference materials, rather than reading on. It took me out of the story.
In a twist of fate no one could have seen coming, Xander’s part in this issue is what I found to be the most thought-provoking. We are led to believe that the words in the blue text boxes are Buffy’s own internal monologue. The text describes how suffocating Sunnydale can be-in diction reminiscent of the “Little Town” number from Beauty and the Beast-, how difficult it is to make friends when you can’t be honest about who you are, and how exhausted the speaker is from the responsibilities of their life.
The writers utilize the narrative edict of showing rather than telling to reveal that it is actually Xander writing out these thoughts for what appears to be a personal blog. It leads the reader to ask a lot of questions about the yet unforeseen changes to Xander’s backstory, headspace, and the format of the comic itself going forward. Why does Xander feel he can’t be honest about who he is? What is he hiding? Are future issues also going to be narrated by Xander via this method?
Easter Eggs for Fans
As this is a first issue that needs to hook old and new fans alike, it does a fairly good job of balancing between providing easter eggs they know die-hard, eagle-eyed fans such as myself will be scouring for and establishing itself as its own entity.
The first easter egg I found was likely the writers’ least intended, but as such was the one I appreciated most. There’s a page where Buffy walks out of an alley after having just saved Willow and Xander from a demon. Xander implores her to say that she’s not a supervillain, to which Buffy replies, “Nope. Just a Buffy.” It reminded me of the first scene in the season five finale, “The Gift,” in which a boy that Buffy saves in a similar looking alley remarks in wonder that Buffy’s just a girl, to which Buffy replies, “That’s what I keep saying.” It illustrates how weighed down, resigned, and resentful Buffy already is towards her Calling to an extent that took much longer the first time around.
Other easter eggs are much more minor and lighthearted. Xander bemoans “Grr, Argh!” as he pretends to be a staked vampire, calling back to the end credits of every Buffy episode. Anya sells what seems to be a Gem-of-Amara-like ring in a Magic-Box-like magic shop. Xander’s username for his blog is TheXeppo, which is a reference to Cordelia calling him “The Zeppo” of the Scoobies in a season 3 episode of the same name.
All of these little touches remind us that this world is still full of the characters and locations we loved from 1997-2003, and we better get ready to embark on another adventure with them in 2019.
‘Cuz really? Normal’s overrated.