For as much hype as been building up to the Buffy/Angel event, Hellmouth, it wasn’t until this week’s release of the prelude to the event where the reality finally hit that this is it. This is a big milestone for BOOM! Studios as they continue to prove to us that this beloved franchise is in good hands. So far I already believed that, and rolling through with a crossover event already only further proves that they are taking this seriously. My hope for the prelude was that it would give us assurance that this story was going to still take us into new territory for the franchise. That is what we keep coming back for when everything else we have already seen from the show.
Where we jump into this prelude was interesting. Not too long ago we were just dealing with a Xander who was fighting for his life after an incomplete vampire transformation, and then there was Willow who struggled with the consequences of losing half of her soul to saving her best friend. That was a big thing for all of them to go through, and then at the start of this issue we find ourselves close to Halloween. A convenient point in time for this to take place since this is not only one of the more dangerous periods of the year, it is when the veil between different worlds are at their weakest. In other words, the perfect time to open up a Hellmouth. You could call this convenient timing, but I just call it excellent pacing for the fact that this has been more than just your average monster of the week series.
From just the cover image, we at least knew that this was going to be an issue where Buffy encounters Angel. Keeping the timing in mind, I’m sure that we all questioned whether this would be their first time meeting, or if there was another time before that was never addressed. This is something we’ll still have to wait for by the end of the issue. Not a problem of course. As a prelude, you expect that there is more for us to look forward to than to receive.
For a prelude, I enjoyed some of the smaller moments such as the adults having a bit of fun. This was all of course leading to something bigger, but it’s not very often hat the story will turn it’s attention to the adults in Buffy’s life who seem to all come together sharing a similar experience with her. Out of everything which unfolded in this issue, the turn of events which took place in this part of the story was probably what you were actually preparing for since what was set-up from the previous issue. We all knew ahead of time that there was more to what Buffy’s mother had on exhibit than just being rare artifacts. The big thing was seeing what form the trouble would take when it came knocking on the doors of the museum. That was where things got chilling. Great execution from said villainous party that set the tone for what is to follow.
With this issue in particular, this was one of those times where David Lopez’s pencils stood out most. There was a strong range of emotions that he was able to capture through these characters. The big difference between the run before BOOM! and this one is that the art style allows for a bit more of a light touch. It goes a long way when trying to demonstrate the attitude of Buffy at this age for example. She’s till figuring things out socially, she definitely has her need for privacy since becoming a slayer, and this is a time where she can really be caught off guard considering this unknown eventuality that she couldn’t see coming. All of that was written on her face, and Lopez had fun doing this with other characters too who found themselves being thrown into trying situations. This includes the parents. Being close to Halloween, I did also enjoy the creativity put into the atmosphere that this creates in a place like Sunnydale. Aside from that, the colors really set the tone for this being the prelude. For just the party scene that this issue opened up to, the lighting was on point. Not many will lean so hard to green lights over a purple background, and it looks great when someone takes that risk on it.
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer prelude for Hellmouth was a great set-up for how and why this event is called what it is. No time was wasted at all in bringing everything full circle between the mysterious circumstance of Joyce Summers’ new museum exhibit, and the dreams both Buffy and Xander have had warning them of what might possibly come.