Review: Buffy The Vampire Slayer Volume 1

"High School Is Hell"
Writer: Jordie Bellaire
Artist: Dan Mora
Color Artist: Raul Angulo
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire

Published by BOOM! Studios

Review by James Stone

Official Synopsis: "This is the Buffy Summers you know, who wants what every average teenager wants: friends at her new school, decent grades, and to escape her imposed destiny as the next in a long line of vampire slayers, tasked with defending the world against the forces of evil... only this time around, her world looks a lot more like the one outside your window."


Volume One collects the first four issues of the new series Buffy the Vampire Slayer published by BOOM! studios.

If, like me, you were a fan of the TV series, then you will feel very much at home with this book. The creators have picked up the Joss Whedon characters from the 90's TV series and dropped them in the world of today.

Issue one feels very much like episode one from the TV series as we meet Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles for the very first time. As a fan of the show it feels slightly repetitive at times, having already spent seven seasons getting to know these characters, however I can see why they decided to start from day 1, to try and bring new fans to the comic. There would be a risk in starting this series under the basis its audience already knows who everyone is, and this would prevent any chance of the comic to grow its audience. I personally think this was a sensible decision by the creative team and allows anyone to pick up issue one and begin their journey in Sunnydale, no matter their history with the show... especially considering that it hasn't been on the air for nearly 20 years now!

Volume one "High School Is Hell" does a tremendous job of reintroducing us to all the main characters. We learn enough about who they are and their history, without delving too deep into any back stories. Throughout this volume we meet the four core characters with very little variation to the personalities we know from the show. The only real change is that Willow is out as gay from day 1 and is already in a relationship with Rose.

Spike and Drusilla also make an appearance in these early issues, something that again changes from the TV show as they didn't appear 'til season 2. This is the story arc I'm most interested in seeing develop, as Spike is very much infatuated with Drusilla.

Knowing how his journey goes in the show, it should make for some very interesting reading. Drusilla appears to be setting herself up as a long time big bad, so I'm very intrigued to see where her story goes.

Conclusion

I'm very happy to have picked these books up as they've rekindled my love of the character. Buffy was on TV as a strong female lead character at a time when that wasn't seen very often. Being one of the most memorable strong female leads, it's great to see that she's still popular enough to warrant such a successful restart of her story.

This comic feels like a reboot, but a good one... you don't hear that very often. Jordie Bellaire has done a wonderful job by taking a story set in the 90's and refreshing with the feel of 2019.

I like how the story doesn't dwell on this, though, it's just adapted to it. Mobile phones, instant messaging and GPS are staples in modern society today and simply contribute to the story which is still heavily grounded in slaying Vampires.
Images Courtesy of BOOM! Studios

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