Before we get started, do yourself a favor and take a look at Scott Buoncristiano’s variant cover for this issue. “Hush” is by far my favorite episode of this series, and Scott does an incredible job of portraying the horror that these bald-headed, grinning, creeps in suits induced in anyone who watched that episode.
Now, the issue at hand: Buffy #3. I know I should be used to this by now, but writer Jordie Bellaire continues to prove that she knows Buffy Summers, inside and out. I am blown away by the ease that Bellaire switches from terrifying monster reveal of Camazotz, to the biggest threat of the moment being that Buffy’s favorite coffee shop is in danger. This issue is full of more big reveals, and Bellaire knocks them out all within a few panels. Giles plays guitar, Cordelia is mean sometimes (not that big of a surprise to fans, but it’s a 180 from her first appearance for new readers). Buffy meets Spike AND Drusilla and reveals that she is the slayer within a matter of seconds.
All of those moments were so ingrained into my memory as a fan, and each of them got so much build up in the show, that giving only a few bubbles of text to the fact that Giles plays guitar felt like I was being robbed of this momentous occasion. But, Bellaire gives you something else to love, in this new Sunnydale, folks already acknowledge that things go bump in the night:
“That’s right. You’re not from Sunnydale. It gets a little weird sometimes.”
These three sentences might not seem like a big deal, but to readers who are familiar with the story, just the idea that someone like Cordelia Chase thinks a giant talking bat is commonplace for her town, was such a delight. Combined with this new, bigger and badder Drusilla, this reimagining is bringing elements to the table that I am excited to see develop.
Dan Mora’s art has been my favorite thing of this whole run so far and this issue is no different. Each panel has exactly the right amount of detail to make your eye focus on what is necessary. City street scenes have been thought out so much so, that no matter where you look there is something to see, down to the shop sign in the smallest corner of the panel. Yet, when the action starts, we’re given only what we really want to witness, two beasties facing off, surrounded by clouds of dust from debris. Mora’s character work is another thing to be praised. To convey emotion in a character with just a few changes of the angles of a mouth, or an eyebrow is one thing, but to convey emotion in a vampire killing bat is an entirely different beast to tackle, if you will. Mora is able to give Camazotz such a wide range of emotions, that I felt endeared to this monster by the end of the issue. Once again, colorist Raúl Angulo knows exactly which elements to lean into to really make the beats of the story land.
That isn’t to say it’s all great, though. The pacing still feels off. The previous two issues did so much work setting up Scooby Gang, the Big Bads, 2019 Sunnydale, the Slayer, and the ways each of these characters interact with each other. This issue, three in and ready for bigger stakes (heh), felt like it was doing a lot more of the same, with the added big bat monster fight. I’m curious to see if this reimagining will follow the monster of the week format that the show stuck to for most of its run, or will we be introduced to a more overarching evil, like The First. Nevertheless, one thing I can say for certain, this team knows how to deliver a sassy slayer, and that’s really what I want in a Buffy comic.
Overall, a fine but not spectacular issue that’s setting up some great stuff to come.