Buffy enters the tired and true realm of dystopian future-type stories, as the former slayer finds her way within a still-dangerous world that seemingly no longer has any need or want for her. This is a book that surely will speak to long-time Buffy fans as it treads the line very close to the television series world while also doing its own things to expand the familiar but different world.
After spending quite a few years at Dark Horse as a means to continue on the world of the television show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has found a new life the last few years at BOOM! Studios. Now that new lease on life has the series taking a major leap into a future that could be, a world where Buffy is the last slayer in a world that belongs to vampires and humans alike.
This is a pretty dense issue, in that fact that it spends the majority of its page count having to set up what this world is and where Buffy stands at this point in her life, taking pace fifty years after she first became the slayer. Casey Gilly does a very adept job at hitting the characterization of Buffy and the few familiar faces we see here (most of them in flashback only), putting this story in a place that pulls more from the ’90s TV series realm than it does from the modern rebooted comic books.
As stated above, there is a ton thrown here at the reader and some of it hits far better than other parts, but it’s a necessary sort of thing when attempting this sort of story. When having to basically do an info dump of sorts, it’s the other stuff around said info dump that can make or break the story. The characterization makes up for whatever the lore building might potentially take away from the story overall. Especially when Buffy and Anya are in scenes together, playing off each other with those odd couple-style vibes.
Of the methods used to drop some of the lore, one of the most effective to me was the idea of Buffy reiterating things about the world as if in a discussion with Giles, who has long since passed, as a sort of coping mechanism for her extreme loneliness at this point. Overall, the state of the world with the human/vampire treaty and the slayer line being down to just Buffy and the twist reveal at the end about a potential spark for the future were really well put together and interesting. I’m very much on board to see where this all goes and to see what more can come from the book now that a majority of the foundation has been laid.
It’s a world that looks really great thanks to Joe Jaro and Joana Lafuente tackling the art and colors. Jaro does a really great job at capturing the essence of these characters but older without feeling the need to spend copious amounts of time going for photo-realistic actor depiction. Each of the familiar characters that appear is close to the actors that played them while remaining their own thing. Much like how the current reboot main Buffy The Vampire Slayer series and the Angel series has handled it all.
All of the horror vibes are pretty great too, as the scenes with the vampires shifting into their full vampire face is accurate to what we’ve seen before with just the right hint of terrifying. This is helped by how well Lafuente captures the inherent darkness of this world, while still giving things a bright color pop along the way. The night scenes at the start come off as very realistic for what the world looks at during the night, so much so they actually feel ‘cold’ as one might expect at night. Little hints of blue help with this regard.
Another cool thing was the way that the flashback was done, giving it almost a washed-out color appearance, speaking both to it being the past and as revealed afterward a dream recall that Buffy is having.
Ed Dukeshire does such a great job with the lettering here, especially with some of the flares within the dialogue. Going with faded font and appearance or smaller font for whispers makes them feel more accurate visually, and the way the Vampires dialogue comes in distorted bubbles and wavy font after their change works.
Cell phone/texting visuals are finding their way into more and more stories, and when done right they work wonderfully. Here they work very well, not only because they feel authentic to the way old friends talk to one another but in appearance as well. It’s a great way to add more to the characters and tell us what is going on when the rest of the page is very ‘silent’ regarding dialogue.
Buffy the Last Vampire Slayer #1 is now on sale in print and digitally from BOOM! Studios.