Comic Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1 (Jordie Bellaire & Dan Mora)

About

Released in January of 2019 under the guidance of Joss whedon, this first issue of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic reboot is, in her words, author Jordie Bellaire’s “love letter” to the original series.

Under the guidance of series creator Joss Whedon, Jordie Bellaire (Redlands) and Russ Manning Award-Winner Dan Mora (Saban’s Go Go Power Rangers) bring Buffy into a new era with new challenges, new friends…and a few enemies you might already recognize. But the more things change, the more they stay the same, as the Gang faces brand new Big Bads, and the threat lurking beneath the perfectly manicured exterior of Sunnydale High confirms what every teenager has always known: high school truly is hell.

The Rundown & My Thoughts

When I first heard this new series would be reimagining the original characters, back in high school, but in 2019… I have to admit, I wasn’t all that intrigued. I am a HUGE Buffy fan, but I already follow the original comic series, which is a continuation from the TV show. In my world, Buffy is far removed from high school now, and going back just didn’t interest me. Then, I bought issue #1 on a whim and I take it all back. This reboot is a freaking gem!

The first issue, “Welcome Back to the Hellmouth,” (re)introduces the world. Buffy is new to Sunnydale and hasn’t made any friends yet. Giles is on her to take her calling as a Slayer more seriously, but she’s doing her best. So, when she sees two kids from her school get attacked, she has no choice but to jump in and save the day… thus revealing her superhuman powers. Oh… and the kids are Xander and Willow.

I love, love, love how all the characters are introduced. Having watched the entire series (multiple times), I can tell that Bellaire is looking to smooth out some of the edges that are getting a bit rough as the show ages.

(Minor Spoilers)

I love that Willow is a more confident version of herself in this reboot…

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She’s more of a Season 6/7 Willow who is even already comfortable with her sexuality…

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I’m not sure yet what direction Xander will be taken in, but so far, he hasn’t drooled over Buffy once, nor objectified any girls or women. So, that’s nice. He’s not without his trademark humour, but he definitely seems to be being given some depth that he never quite had in the original early seasons (I won’t spoil the reveal on that part).

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And then, of course, there’s Giles. We don’t see Buffy and Giles meet, which means they can already have a rapport that is in the realm of hard-ass father and annoyed teenage daughter. Also… ouf! That Library! Gorgeous.

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Even Willow is quick to notice the Surrogate Dad vibes…

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What I probably appreciate the most about this reboot is its ability to take a clever jab here and there at the Buffyverse, in a way that is still entirely affectionate. Like above, when Willow notes that “Watcher” sounds kind of creepy. It’s funny because, of course, it does! But we all accept because, of course, we LOVE Buffy. Critical fandom? I’m all in.

I can’t wait for issue #2. In fact, I pre-ordered it the moment I read the last page of Issue #1 and found myself devastated that it was already over.

Download a free preview from the publisher here.

My Rating

I give this a solid 5/5. It’s nostalgic without relying too heavily on the original. And the changes it’s made (ie Willow already having a girlfriend and Buffy already having a job) just make sense in the social atmosphere of 2019. It made me think about how much I love the original series, but it also made me so EXCITED to see how certain things will be handled in this new world. Will it be more diverse? Will the men be less toxic? Will the romances play out differently? I have so many questions, and really high hopes! Issue #1 nailed it for me.

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