When it comes to Buffy The Vampire Slayer I would consider myself more of a casual fan. I watched just about every episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel when they were on the air. It was a universe I greatly enjoy. At the same time it is a universe that I can’t say I know from top to bottom like many of my friends. Still, as a fan I was excited when BOOM! Studios announced that they were launching a brand new Buffy The Vampire Slayer comic book. BOOM! Studios is a company that has been on a roll the last few years with both their licensed and original comic books. Because of that I’m confident they got the right creative team in Jordie Bellaire, Dan Mora and Raul Angulo to make a great Buffy The Vampire Slayer comic book. Let’s see if that is the case with Buffy The Vampire Slayer #1.
Writer: Jordie Bellaire
Artist: Dan Mora
Colorist: Raul Angulo
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At Tunaverse Buffy is working behind the counter bored while Xander and Willow are eating.
While on her break Buffy sees that Xander and Willow are attacked by a vampire. Buffy immediately springs into action and kills the vampire.
Xander wonders if Buffy is some sort of superhero. Buffy says she is not but likes the idea of being though as one. Willow introduces herself and Xander to Buffy, also revealing they aren’t a couple. Xander, still freaked out, wonders if Buffy is a supervillain. She says she is just Buffy and goes back to work.
At Sunnydale High School Xander tries to convince Willow that they should try to find out who Buffy is. Willow hesitates but mentions that Buffy just went into the library.
While talking about going in Xander goes over how Buffy could be a witch. When they open the door to the library Xander goes in screaming and swinging his fists.
Rupert Giles and Buffy watch Xander doing this with an odd look. Willow says they just wanted to thank Buffy for helping them when the vampire attacked. Giles can’t believe Buffy already blew her cover after just being in Sunnydale for three weeks.
Xander thinks Giles is talking to Buffy harshly. Giles tells Xander and Willow to go back to class.
Once they are alone Giles says he is a loss for words. Buffy tells Giles that she did what she needed to do to save their lives. Giles says Buffy knows better. Frustrated, Buffy says Giles is not thinking how she is already doing the best she can. She walks off after sarcastically telling Giles she’ll see him again when she needs a refresher on teenage confidence.
Later, at home Buffy’s mom catches her reading comic books rather than studying. Buffy’s mom asks her if she got into any trouble. Buffy says that trouble finds her. Buffy’s mom awkwardly tells Buffy to have a good night.
After falling asleep Buffy wakes up and finds herself in a grave. She is suddenly attacked by two vampires. Buffy immediately kills one but for some reason is unable to kill the second one. The vampire tells Buffy she is in a lot of trouble now and says he will be back with more friends. He then disappears.
Elsewhere the vampire enters a place that has a sign that says “No Teenagers.”
Inside the vampire approaches Anya Jenkins and says he wants to buy more of the medallions he is wearing. Anya says she isn’t able to get more since the creator of it is unknown. She instead offers him a toast for being brave enough to use the medallion.
The vampire drinks what Anya gives him and immediately disintegrates. Anya takes the medallion and thinks another customer could use it some day.
The next day at Sunnydale High School Buffy shows Giles a drawing of the medallion that the vampire she was unable to kill was wearing. Giles says he will look into it while Buffy is in class.
While in class Buffy gets a note from Willow asking to hang out with her and Xander after school. Buffy smiles and agrees.
Sometime later while watching movies Willow asks Buffy how long she has been fighting weird guys. Buffy says that the ones she has been fighting and killing are vampires. Willow and Xander laugh in disbelief. Buffy says she is not joking and that she is in fact a Slayer. She goes on to say that Willow and Xander are the first friends she has made and would not lie to scare them off.
Willow asks if Buffy has met any witches. Buffy says she hasn’t met one but that anyone could be witch, including Willow, with the right spellbook and sacrificing to the right Dark Lord.
Buffy asks Willow and Xander how long they’ve been in Sunnydale. Willow says they lived there their entire life though Xander goes to Los Angeles in the summer.
Willow asks Buffy who the librarian is to her. Buffy says Giles is her “Watcher,” who is like a strich coach. Willow thinks that is a bit creepy even with how big a responsibility it sounds to be a Watcher to train Buffy against mystical threats.
Buffy says she would like to have a normal night and asks what other teenagers do normally. Xander says they should switch the conversation to talking about pizza.
Elsewhere, Anya wraps up her day and decides to relax with some TV. Suddenly the lights go out and Drusilla walks up to Anya. Anya says she sell Drusilla stuff tomorrow. Drusilla says she will be taking what she wants now, while smiling wickedly. End of issue.
The Good: Buffy The Vampire #1 is a great first issue. From the get go Jordie Bellaire and Dan Mora are able to create an experience that feels welcoming to both new and long-time fans of the Buffy series. The world around Buffy and her friends are set-up extremely well with some characters introduced earlier into the lore of the franchise than they did in the TV show.
Going back to when Buffy first started at Sunnydale High School was the right choice. When it comes to this franchise the friendship between Buffy, Willow and Xander is the core of everything. They are the original members of the Scooby Gang so it was only appropriate to go back to seeing how their friendship began.
Revisiting Buffy, Willow and Xander’s early friendship allowed Bellaire to spotlight how much of an outside Buffy was before meeting them. Because of her job as a Slayer she basically had to become someone without a social life while Giles trained her. Bellaire did a good job showing how this caused Buffy to be closed off by how she talks. There was a defensive nature to how her early conversations went. Everything was quick and to the point. This all help catch us up to who Buffy is at this point, where she has been training for some time under Giles care.
Buffy’s characterization was nicely balanced out by the nerdy excitement Willow and Xander showed when hanging out with her. They brought a lighthearted air around Buffy that she needed. Even when grilling Buffy about her job as a Slayer they were doing it just so they could know Buffy more. It felt like the beginning of a strong friendship, which is what they have in the future.
Willow and Xander’s interactions with Buffy provided this issue with a strong contrast to how Giles interacted with Buffy. Bellaire emphasized how the early stages of Buffy and Giles relationship was strictly Slayer and Watcher. They are not at the father-daughter type relationship at this stage as Giles still sees Buffy as just a student he is training for greatness. With that comes a strict manner in which Giles talks to Buffy with. It’s a good starting point for Bellaire to show how Buffy and Giles relationship will evolve over time.
Through all of this it was great to see that at this point Buffy is not a rookie Slayer. Were we see her is someone that has experience fighting vampires and other mystical beings. Even though she still has a lot of training to go through Bellaire does a good job showing how competent Buffy already is as a Slayer. In establishing Buffy as a skilled fighter already Bellaire gives the reader a strong idea of how much potential Buffy has to grow into her Slayer role.
With all that strong character work Bellaire does a great job creating a sense of danger around every corner of Sunnydale. Even though Buffy is new to the city there are plenty of vampires and other beings that are going to be looking to come after her and her friends. Using unnamed vampires in this way establishes that fact into the readers head early on.
Also, bringing in characters like Anya Jenkins and Drusilla into the mythos this early was a great choice. Even though in the TV show we didn’t see them until after season one, with the comics Bellaire has the luxury of introducing characters much earlier on into the series. Having Anya and Drusilla show up this early opens things up for fresh stories to be told. It creates questions around the direction this Buffy The Vampire Slayer comic will take now that the possibility important characters can be introduced much earlier own into the continuity.
Dan Mora’s artwork was absolutely fantastic throughout Buffy The Vampire Slayer #1. The amount of detail Mora puts into each page was stunning. Mora did a great job making his art style reflect the tone of the show. At the same time, he is able to capture what a Buffy The Vampire Slayer series would look in comic book form. Through his artwork he is able to show the various layers of Buffy’s character. From confused teenager to badass Slayer, we get to see what makes Buffy such a great character through Mora’s artwork alone.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Jordie Bellaire and Dan Mora deliver a phenomenal opening issue with Buffy The Vampire Slayer #1. From the very first panel Bellaire and Mora create an inviting atmosphere both for fans of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer series and those new to the world. Where this comic book goes from here will be exciting to see now that a strong foundation has been put into place.