In any rebooted property, there comes an inevitable point where the story has to take a giant swing to differentiate itself from the original. And man, did the Boom!Studios Buffy comics take a swing.
Unlike the last three issues, it’s pretty much impossible to break this one up into segments to discuss because there’s only one event that really matters:
Xander got turned by Drusilla.
At least, so it appears. They could always do an abrupt heel-turn in the next issue, but I think that would be a major mistake and a disservice to the buildup of this issue. They’ve returned to having Xander be the voice of the comic, highlighting how difficult of a time he’s having with school, with his friends, with his family, and with his unrequited crush on Buffy. The manner in which he gets turned by Drusilla at the end actually reminded me of the “Fool for Love” episode, wherein we saw William/Spike get turned.
Who’s the New William?
The parallels between Xander and William are more striking than they’ve ever been, especially considering Willow’s advancements in character within this reboot. Arguably, she was the one who was most like William originally-an introspective but passionate wallflower on the fringes of society who uses their newfound power to distance themselves from their old identity. However, since she’s now shown as confident from the get-go, Xander has filled that space. I think that’s why we see Spike make this face:
He empathizes with Xander, much more than he would ever want to. I hope that the comics follow through on turning Xander, and in doing so further the development between these two characters who could mirror each other in the right circumstances. It would bring a delightfully fresh perspective to a relationship that was woefully under served as their television counterparts.
Angel the Vampire Watcher
It’s especially intriguing that they’re introducing Angel’s character as someone who just stands there and lets Drusilla turn Xander. We only see him in the two final panels, but his is a looming presence, indeed. Since they announced Angel is once again getting his own independent series, based on the character conception they create for this reboot, it’s a compelling choice to have him be someone who’s not immediately sympathetic the way he was in the television series. How will they make him someone new, presumably someone equally as morally divided, who audiences still want to root for in today’s day and age?