Buffy #14 Review

by Nick Devonald on May 19, 2020

Writer: Jordie Bellaire
Artist: Julian Lopez with Moisés Hidalgo
Colours: Raὐl Angulo with Francesco Segala
Letters: Ed Dukeshire

Buffy #14 is an incredible issue. After writing in this universe for more than a year writer Jordie Bellaire has a fantastic grasp on the characters and what makes them work. There have been some complaints in the past about the pacing, there is almost a feeling that Bellaire has had a plan in her head for where she wants the characters and has been rushing to get them there. Whether she’s now reached that place, or has taken the feedback on, the pacing is spot on in this issue. She takes the time away from the big save-the-world stakes just to let us know where our heroes are after the Hellmouth event. There have been some big changes to Buffys world. Xander is dead. Willow is gone. The classic Buffy triumvirate has been destroyed.

Ignoring the Kendra-centric Buffy #13, this is the first issue focusing on the aftermath of the incredible Hellmouth event. As such the issue focuses on establishing the new status quo in Buffy’s world. There’s no new big bad. No action either in fact. This is a dialogue heavy issue and is so reminiscent of an episode of the TV series this reviewer wouldn’t be shocked to learn it had been written by Joss Whedon. It’s that good. Bellaire understands that it’s not the action or the high stakes which make Buffy work, it’s the quieter, character driven moments.
Sure, there are some small hints and teases to what the future holds. It takes some of the revelations from Hellmouth and begins to build on them. But what shape that is going to take is still a mystery. While they remain a mystery what we do know is very, very exciting. If this is what we can expect from the Buffy comic going forward there is the real potential to surpass the TV series in terms of quality.

What helps this issue be so strong, and is apparent from the first page, is the new art team. We’ve got Julian Lopez with Moisés Hidalgo illustrating it, with colours from Raὐl Angulo and Francesco Segala. WHAT. A. TEAM. The first page focuses on Buffy and her inner dialogue, filling the reader in on how she’s feeling. But it’s also a fantastic opportunity to show off how well this new team capture Sarah Michelle Gellars likeness, right down to her different facial expressions and feelings. It’s a stroke of genius, a great piece of storytelling and a demonstration of how the art has stepped up and matches the quality of the writing.

This quality continues through the issue. Giles, Jenny, Buffy, their likenesses are so well captured here it’s uncanny. And that extends to the settings as well. The library is so well drawn and coloured you could almost imagine the art team visiting the set to recreate it. One of the biggest problems with BOOM!’s Buffy has been the art hasn’t matched the strength of the story. By getting such a fantastic art team on they’ve turned it around and made this one of the best comics out there.

There are other, minor tweaks they’ve made as well which strengthen the story. Each issue has had a recap care of Cordelia, which has never quite rung true. It’s now from Anya, who is keeping a record of goings on at Giles’ request, and it feels a better fit for the story. Not only is she fully clued up but it’s a chance to learn a little more about her personality now that she’s been properly introduced after Hellmouth. A small change, but it’s enough to take the series from good to great.

A really strong issue, by taking the time out to develop our characters and their new status quo it makes for a fantastic issue. Minor tweaks to the formula and an incredible new art team take a good series and elevate it to a fantastic series. There is a real potential to surpass the TV series here.

Our Score:


A Look Inside