Taking protagonists out of their element is one of the best tropes in serialized fiction. It keeps things fresh and prevents storytellers from leaning into the same patterns. So it’s great to see Buffy the Vampire Slayer do so, and do it in a way that a TV show or movie really couldn’t.
Jordie Bellaire, David Lopez, Raul Angulo, and Ed Dukeshire throw Buffy into an adventure unlike any she’s been on before.
Buffy and Willow dive deep into a catacomb system full of danger in search of the enchantment that could free Xander from Drusilla’s thrall. The two have fought through incredible dangers to get to their goal, but can they overcome the final challenge, and what they have to give up to overcome it? Meanwhile, Xander gives Giles and Ms. Calendar a dire warning through his fevered ramblings…
Bellaire tells an exciting adventure story here, borrowing heavily from Indiana Jones and Lara Croft. However she makes sure it doesn’t fall into simple pastiche. It’s a Buffy story through and through, largely thanks to the heavy character center the story has.
The resolution also feels earned, and not just a checkmark to move to the next plot point or issue. Yes, they get to their goal by fighting monsters, but they save the day thanks to the connection the characters have between one another. As another plus, it’s a resolution that’s been earned by the previous issues in the story as well, not just our existing familiarity with each member of the cast.
Lopez shows an improvement with this issue. Though it slips through a few times, Willow feels much less manic, with her facial expressions conveying her worry very well. Buffy feels strong but still vulnerable, thanks to small cues in her face and body language.
He also does a great job depicting implied action, as most of the fighting takes place off panel. It allows us as the reader to fill in the blanks by the aftermath he surrounds the characters in. Angulo’s color work makes it all so much more vivid, particularly in his use of light on the page, and how the colors change with that light.
Xander’s life has been saved, but there’s much greater trials in Buffy’s immediate future. That includes a face fans will be excited to see, and a threat they dread…
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #6 is available now from Boom! Studios.