Buffy #12

by Nick Devonald on February 05, 2020

Writer: Jordie Bellaire
Illustrator: David López
Colors: Raul Angulo
Letters: Ed Dukeshire

This issue may well be my favourite issue on this run of Buffy (A reread of the whole lot is in order to confirm it though. Oh, the sacrifices I make in the name of reviews.). This is the second last issue of the Hellmouth event, with only Hellmouth #5 left to conclude it. What an issue. We have action. We have drama. We have answers. We have sacrifice. It delivers a lot.

One of the main criticisms of the rebooted series has been pacing. The team obviously want to introduce a lot of characters and stories from the TV series then get rolling with them. At times it's felt like  there's been a bit of a rush to get where they want to be, and since comics are quite a short format for telling a story the pacing hasn’t been perfect in this series. But, and this is why I bring pacing up, they’ve managed to get it spot on here. It doesn’t feel rushed, it feels like plenty happens, and I can’t help but feel like Jordie Bellaire has gotten her characters where she wants them to be and can now enjoy the story.

While I mention the pacing it hasn’t bothered me overly before. It’s been something I have been aware of but hasn’t really detracted from my enjoyment of the series, understanding it’s a necessary evil of the format and longer plans for the series. If this issue is how well paced the rest of the series will be it’s sure to please the fans.

Fans of the TV series need to prepare themselves for some major changes to one character, Anya. There were obviously differences already but we haven’t spent enough time with the character to learn about them. Anya steals the lime light in this issue. Apart from her name and appearance she’s essentially a brand new character. It does beg the question though, why go with Anya and not just introduce a new character like they did with Rose?

And while we’re on the subject of Anya she looks like she’s going to be incredibly important to the Buffyverse going forward. Not only is she incredibly knowledgeable on events going on she also mentions some important characters from Angel (the TV series) which are sure to shake things up a little.

We get a lot of mysteries answered in this issue. Anya manages to fill some of the blanks in when it comes to slayer mythology amongst other thing. We finally learn how Kendra is also a slayer. But at no point does all this new information feel like needless exposition. Of course with answers comes new questions which will keep us interested going forward.

This issue has me extremely excited for the next issue of Hellmouth, and the entire event in general. I have to mention that the Hellmouth event has been brilliant. This is how comic events should be done. Forget hundreds of needless tie-ins, the two main series plus Hellmouth has been the perfect amount. I hope events like this become an annual tradition since I've enjoyed it so much. It has also meant there was a Buffyverse comic out nearly every week as well, only one out of the four without anything, which has been a really good way of keeping the momentum going.

One of the other things I’ve enjoyed in this issue was Kendra being relegated to the sidelines a bit and no longer being the knowledgeable one. I haven’t taken to her overly in the comics yet, so it was nice that she’s taken a bit of a back seat here. I need to add I may be slightly biased here though, since Faith was, and still is, my favourite character from the TV series. We need Faith, sorry Kendra. Then again with all the changes in this series perhaps Faith will be introduced in another way.

I need to talk about David López’ art. I have mentioned in past reviews that while a talented artist I don’t feel he’s quite the right fit for Buffy. I need to eat my words here though. He’s done a great job. Perhaps it’s to do with the pacing of this issue, there’s a constant sense of action throughout so even with all the blanks being filled in there’s something going on in every panel so the focus is on the action rather than the characters. Whatever the reason is, I enjoyed it much more in this issue than I have in others. I’ve remarked on it in previous reviews but it bears repeating, his vampire Xander is a real highlight of his work.

There’s been plenty for Raul Angulo to do with his colors in this issue as well and he gets to use a much broader pallet than usual. There’s a number of different settings with different lighting, magic with different glows, and he brings López’ art to life in a fantastic way.

The whole series has been building to this issue. Excellent writing, fantastic pacing, great art and colors, the best issue of the series. As the penultimate issue of Hellmouth it manages to build up plenty of excitement while also being a brilliant issue in its own right. Well done to the whole team at Boom! Studios.

Our Score:


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