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Comic Book Reviews

HELLMOUTH (2019) #1 review

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BOOM! Studios)

Hellmouth #1 is available now where all good comics are sold.

Synopsis

THE FIRST EVENT OF THE ALL-NEW BUFFY UNIVERSE STARTS HERE! Buffy Summers, the Slayer, has one job—keep the forces of hell from coming to Earth through, uh, Hellmouth. Here’s the bad news—she might have failed. The Mistress Drusilla and her ally, Spike, have found a weapon to open the Hellmouth and unleash unspeakable evil across the town and the world. With time running out, Buffy must team up with a new ally that she doesn’t fully trust—the vampire vigilante known as Angel! Can these two find a way to work together before the Hellmouth opens – or will they decide they might be each other’s greatest enemy? From Eisner Award-nominated writer Jordie Bellaire, rising star Jeremy Lambert (Doom Patrol), and Eleonora Carlini (Saban’s Go Go Power Rangers) comes the first massive event of the Buffyverse—one that threatens to shake the entire fabric of reality. This is an absolute must-read from the mind of creator Joss Whedon!

Review

Hellmouth #1 is the culmination of storytelling which began in the pages of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. But it’s also so much more. In this new version of the Buffyverse continuity this is the first meeting between the two pop culture icons.

A lot is riding on Hellmouth as the first Buffy comics event. It needs to not only bring together these two characters in a way which is fresh for its audience but also to provide a setting big enough to rival a season finale of its TV counterparts.

Thankfully Jordie Bellaire has shown such a flare for laying the crumbs of this larger story across the series, as has Bryan Edward Hill in Angel, that we’re able to hit the ground running in this issue.

Hellmouth #1 wastes no time in getting down to business, the story of this issue is told very much from the POV of the Buffy characters and picks up immediately after the cliffhanger ending of issue #8 of that series.

Angel is the cameo guest-star here but he’s still able to steal enough of the limelight to make an impact.

What’s immediately noticeable about Hellmouth #1 is the colour palette from colourist Cris Peter. The colours are absolutely striking. Peter takes the colour palette of Buffy and dials it up to eleven in this issue.

From the outset the book is filled with intense reds, blues and purples. As Drusilla looks out on the opening hellmouth the pages are bathed in such a deep blood red that its hypnotic to look at.

As the scene moves to Giles and Anya in the remnants of the magic shop the book finds itself drowning in a see of intense purples and it instantly elevates the book to become something entirely unique.

Moving on to the high school, some of the scenes are coloured in am ore straightforward style but this doesn’t last for long. As Buffy and Angel race in to the bowels of the school to find the opening to the hellmouth the book once again finds itself at the creative forefront of mainstream comic books.

On first read I almost completely forgot to read the dialogue as I was so engrossed in the imagery. Several reads later I was able to fully comprehend what I had read.

Bellaire and co-writer Jeremy Lambert are able to craft a fairly simple, linear set of sequences which deal with Buffy and Angel’s first meeting in a typically zippy, Whedon-esque style.

Dialogue is short and sharp and the two exchange minor exposition to push the story forwards at breakneck speed. The chemistry between them is instant and electric and I found myself swept up in the action purely by how fast they kept events moving.

The entire creative team has brought their A-game to this opening gambit and there’s a long way to go from here. Let’s hope they can keep it up!

Verdict

Hellmouth #1 brings some seriously fast paced action to the crossover event. Bombastic artwork matches the fantastical events of the books script and Buffy and Angel circle their first meeting. An excellent start to proceedings.

9/10

Hellmouth #1 is written by Jordie Bellaire and Jeremy Lambert with artwork by Eleonora Carlini, colours by Cris Peter and a cover by Jenny Frison.


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