Some might say that BOOM! Studios is moving a bit quick between the crossover and all the new content they are trying to create for the Buffy series. Though honestly, you can never move too fast with these things if you ask me. There are some big shoes to fill trying to give us a story seen from a fresh pair of eyes. That’s not to say that there aren’t things happening differently from what you remember, but at least these are happening regardless. Better yet, at least these things are happening with a bit more effort put into the execution. You know? The spectacle of it, the emotion put into it, the way it should connect to us for the updated time it takes place.
The major way to do this is how they have decided to jump into the introduction of a new slayer. Some will definitely ask what about Buffy, and that is the fun in this new development. There’s always something you don’t fully understand about what it means to be a slayer. If a slayer passes over into a different realm, would it be too hasty to already choose another slayer to take her place? Would the new one lose her power once the other one returns? Vice Versa? Its a new situation worth exploring! Surely enough, most of us are also more used to the first appearance of a new slayer being Faith. So it shakes things up right then and there when that is not the case. It helps that this is at the same time a slayer of color. This doesn’t have bearing over the quality of the storytelling, but it is hard not to appreciate the sense of inclusion made with this decision too.
Now speaking of this new slayer directly, she was definitely something different. Off the bat she separates herself from someone like Buffy because you could tell that she actually came into this world with a better understanding of what she was getting herself into in contrast to Buffy who is still in a high school state of mind. Even the relationship between herself and Robin was contrasting when Robin is still very new to all of this. I mean, who even thought that it was possible for a Watcher to be this young? I couldn’t argue with this since at the same time there was no better time to begin adding some depth to this guy who is now becoming more than just that love interest who pops up here and there.
During a time like this it didn’t hurt either to take the attention away from Giles. With everything he is going through, it worked quite nicely to give us a character who still has their compass intact. That is despite the visual queues they have given us throughout the issue that even Robin might be suffering from his own affliction from the Hellmouth.
Aside from this, it was chilling to actually see the damage that the Hellmouth could do to those who gave in to their dark impulses. This creative team pulled no punches to show us what that would look like. Especially to those who are unsuspecting of the dangers that they could get themselves into by not being fully aware of what was unfolding around them. By the end of this subplot, I really appreciated that they also approached this using other characters who don’t get the same opportunities to stand out.
This wasn’t an action-packed issue, or one which had many supernatural moments, but this was definitely one of the more character driven issues which we were engaged in through the efforts of this art team. With each passing issue I find myself becoming fonder of David Lopez drawing this series. Never before have we been so captivated by characters who share such a strong sense of expression. Everyone is on edge, everyone is becoming confrontational with one another, and you can see those who are being overtaken by the effects of the Hellmouth on the atmosphere. It was interesting how they chose to make said individuals sweat and have these veins popping out of them, though it also works. Now as I said above, you could also see the key differences in Kendra by the way she is drawn. She carries herself as someone who is more mature, she looks like someone who is goal driven, and certainly not amused by the things which don’t help her slip into this new role as slayer.
I don’t think I could ever love this book more for what this creative team is currently doing with the series. This is called Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but no one ever said the rest of the characters in Buffy’s orbit couldn’t stand out in this capacity. Familiar characters matter, new characters get more depth, and they are all offered new situations they never would have faced in the show. This is how you do a tie-in for a crossover event.