Willow #1 Review

by Nick Devonald on July 07, 2020

Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Natacha Bustos
Colours: Eleonora Bruni
Letters: Jodi Wynne

Willow has been through a lot in Booms! Buffyverse. She’s had to deal with the supernatural being real, losing Xander (twice), giving up a piece of her soul, going into Hell(mouth), breaking up with Rose. So it’s no wonder she isn’t in the best headspace at the moment. The first issue of her mini-series takes the time to remind the reader of everything that Willow has been through in the past little while and how alone she’s feeling. Events have left her feeling incredibly isolated and alone, so she decides to take off in an attempt to get away from everything. Only, as this issue establishes, physically getting away from everything doesn’t make your problems disappear.

Mariko Tamaki understands that this willow-centric issue is a great opportunity to spend a little more time with Willow. The pacing for the first half of Buffy had a few pacing issues and skipped a little on character development, and while Jordie Bellaire has managed to get the pacing and characterisation spot on for the parent series, Willow has been absent since that point, so it’s nice to spend a bit of time not only learning about Willow, but developing her character following all the traumatic events she’s been through. Tamaki has such a great grasp on Willow and makes all the trauma’s she’s experienced feel real, and she makes this a character-led story. Willow is experiencing what a number of young adults do, since she’s struggling to find her place in the world, and couple that with everything she’s experienced recently it makes these struggles exponentially harder.

While most of this issue deals with Willow and how she’s feeling, it also manages to set up the story for the rest of the miniseries. Not too much is revealed, only that magic is in play and perhaps everything isn’t as it seems, but it’s pretty exciting for fans. It’s nice to have a Buffyverse tale where characterisation is put first and foremost, and the rest of the story feels like a bonus extra rather than the focus.

As if all that’s not enough for Willow fans, we all get a two page spread where she, presumably, glimpses the future. This stands out as one of the biggest highlights of the issue, confirming a few theories about TV Buffy’s involvement in Booms! Buffyverse, as well as teasing a number of other events. One of the highlights of Joss Whedon’s Buffy is that he would tease events far in advance, sometimes even a series or two in advance, and this is something that this rebooted Buffyverse is also doing, although perhaps not quite as subtlety.

Natacha Bustos is a great artist for Willow. She manages to capture Willows isolation and despair brilliantly, and as Willow finds herself travelling she brings all the different locations vividly to life. Across the issue, as events are recalled, Bustos gets the opportunity to recreate various moments from the series and does a great job with this. And the previously mentioned two-page spread is absolutely incredible thanks to her art. It’s an exciting reveal, and Bustos is exactly the artist to bring this to life.

Eleonora Bruni colours are a great match for Bustos’ art. Her colours help capture the gloomy weather in England, and are used to great effect in any page utilising magic. Willows bright red hair also immediately captures readers eyes and draw them towards her, really making sure we understand that she’s the focus of this story. Towards the end of the issue Bruni’s colours are instrumental in establishing the tone of the story, making a darkened forest scene particularly creepy.

A great first issue in a miniseries where character is put first and foremost, and events unfold naturally as Willow travels the world in an effort to find her place and recover from the events of Hellmouth, amongst other things. Tamaki makes sure that readers understand this miniseries is going to be important within the larger Buffyverse, and teases events our heroes will be facing shortly. Like everything in Booms! Buffyverse, highly recommened.

Our Score:


A Look Inside