Published on October 23rd, 2021 | by Richard Banks
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Hellmouth Deluxe Edition Review (Boom! Studios)
Summary: Boom! Studios latest retelling of the slayers first years is a fun ride, but more often than not, it's an uneven and bumpy reboot.
Not enough bite
Boom! Studios ‘reimagining’ of Buffy’s formative years is a strange beast, a concept that on the surface should work, but one that can’t quite stick the landing its weird premise promises.
This is the second bumper collection in this latest Buffy run, collecting both Buffy and Angel comics, as well as issues that are part of the Hellmouth crossover event. Probably the most interesting part of this new Buffyverse is its modern-day setting, taking The Scooby Gang from pagers and fat-backed computers to laptops and WhatsApp, and for the most part, it feels fresh. The characters, while feeling very familiar are not the same characters we remember from the TV show. Giles is still uptight, Xander is still, for the most part, an idiot (despite now being half-vampire) but Willow, in particular, has received the biggest character alteration. When compared to her TV show counterpart, Willow is already a confident young person, a huge detour from the meek and shy witch witnessed in the Buffy show.
But while the characters are interesting takes on the source material, it doesn’t always work. It moves at bullet speed, not giving any of the shows background characters room to breathe, leaving you with far too many questions and not enough answers. The storyline is also the same, the endgame is fine but the build up feels like a Buffy series; a great storyline with some bumpy filler spread throughout, but with none of the character development the series is known for.
Despite the issues, the book looks great overall, with character designs that feel familiar but fresh, a colour-popping palette and just enough gruesome to make this feel like an adult take on the slayer and her chums.
While not the best Buffy Universe entry (for example novel Slayer manages to blend the new and old much better), it’s still a great idea and a decent execution. Either way, issues aside, it’s good to see the Scooby Gang getting the attention it deserves.