What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Hellmouth #5! The event of the year ends here! This finale I have been very anxious for since the way the previous issue ended. As I said before, it was going to be very interesting to see what can turn the tides of this situation when it is almost impossible right now to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Buffy is still young and not fully in control over her emotions. Emotions which have allowed her to play right into the hands of the big bad.
From the start of this issue they had no problem throwing us right into the sense of urgency now surrounding Buffy when the Hellmother has taken over the body of the worst vampire anyone would have to deal with, Angelus. It was a tough spot to see Buffy in, but these are the moments where you fall in love with her as the hero all over again. The strongest quality to Buffy is the fact that she does not give up. That willpower of hers makes her so damn stubborn that even in the face of an army she still stands tall in defiance of the end.
If there is one thing I gave positives for most, it was the fact that Hellmouth carried its own tone that was darker than the influences it put on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel as tie-ins. That is not to say that the others weren’t pretty dark themselves, but they did not go to the same place of horror and terror. The first part of this finale did start off hopeless, but out of nowhere the story took on a bit of entertainment. This was a big change, yet also one you couldn’t argue with. At the end of the day, this is a hero’s tale. Meaning at some point you have to see some light at the end of the tunnel. For Buffy, that was the cavalry coming in right at the moment when she needed to feel alone least. The whole thing was fun because not all of them who sprang into action were even the type who you would pick to fight with you as first choice. You could guess how it all ended on your own, though getting to that point in the battle was still intense for everything which happened between.
This brings me to where this story hits a crossroads between itself and the tie-ins. Up to this point you could have easily read each one of them individually and not had to read the other to get what was going on. However, in the case of Hellmouth #5, it is recommended that at the very least you are up to date with what has occurred in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Now the aftermath was definitely heartbreaking. This was a win, but not without taking a big hit in the form of a friend’s sacrifice. For better or for worse things are going to be different in the Buffy series moving forward. Undeniably the changes will be welcomed since they will take us further into the area of new content since a lot of this is not what happened in the live-action series. In general all pretty normal after an event.
Overall as the villain, The Hellmother was okay as one considered the biggest bad of them all. Part of me feels like there are some out there that an older Buffy has faced who created more dire situations, but you have to give credit where it is due that none of them twisted the world around the quite like the way the Hellmother did. None of them shared the same chilling presence either as a big bad whose voice carries the way hers did.
The best work from this art team came with this finale. They did not hold back when there was so much excitement to draw out of this final confrontation visually. Off the bat, the action scenes were much more fluent from one panel into the next. They had a bit more fun with perspective as well which made the action jump out right at you. The expressiveness of the characters was also on point too with so much that was at the same time compelling about certain character interactions. Though aside from that, the consistency in quality was great from the first page to the last. The color work as well catches your attention quickly. If it wasn’t the perspective that makes the art pop, it was the explosiveness of them too. They were both bold and stronger when the action really got intense. A lot warmer colors used which goes hand in hand with the urgency these heroes were facing.
With the conclusion of Hellmouth #5, BOOM! Studios and this creative team nail their first major event for the Buffy franchise. If you told me this is where we would find ourselves a year later after the debut? I would not have believed you. So far this franchise is in good hands with creators who know how to satisfy us with familiar content, while at the same time introducing us to so much more that is new territory.