Writer: Sarah Gailey
Art: Michael Shelfer, Valentina Pinto and Riccardo Giardina
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Release Date: April 20th, 2022
The Vampire Slayer #1 introduces a new universe and a new Slayer! The concept of a multiverse, introduced in the last storyline from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is explored here, as we’re plunged into an alternate universe where Willow is the Slayer, Buffy is her timid assistant, and Xander is…still Xander! It’s a whole new take on the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it starts here!
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A giant crab monster (that looks like it skittered straight out of an old Roger Corman flick) attacks Sunnydale as The Vampire Slayer #1 begins.
We’re instantly introduced to the dynamic of this alternate world, which is similar in some ways to the existing Buffy world we all know and love (which I’ll call the TV universe), but with some major differences too. Giles and Xander seem pretty much the same (Xander is still the king of bad puns and awful jokes).
Willow is the Slayer here and she’s a badass. She’s a double threat, having the savage fighting skills of our Buffy coupled with her spell-casting power. This isn’t the humble lovable Willow from the TV universe, this is a confident woman who is a peer to Giles and takes command in every situation, rocking a black leather jacket, a gold Doctor Strange-style amulet and hip-hugger jeans. Willow has always been my favorite character from the show, so seeing this alternate version of her is fascinating. Sure, we’ve seen Dark Willow and Demonic Willow, but we’ve never seen Boss Willow.
She’s not infallible, though, and we get a couple scenes where she and Giles argue over the best course of action. We also see a hint of our Willow in another scene with Giles that’s kind of touching, as she tries to get his reassurance.
This world’s Buffy is timid and unfortunately, kind of useless, having to resort to being a caddy of sorts for Willow’s weaponry. She and Xander wield crossbows that seem terribly weak, and she’s constantly questioning herself. She’s written very much like first season Willow from the TV universe, very unsure of herself. It changes the whole dynamic of the team, since Buffy in this universe is less of a team player than Willow was in the TV universe. It’ll be interesting to see what grows out of this dynamic in the coming issues. I can see Buffy and Willow coming into conflict in the future.
The end battle with the monster is fierce and fun, with a resolution at the end of the issue. I hope with this series, we get the same season-long “big bad” story arcs we got with the TV show, but with this issue, it’s just a good old-fashioned knockout drag-out fight with a huge monster and a great ending.
Michael Shelfer’s draws great versions of the characters in The Vampire Slayer #1. His portrayal of this new Willow is especially great, imbuing her with the confidence and swagger she never had in the TV universe.
The crab monster is B-movie perfection, looking like it lumbered out of an old 1950’s film, and the action scenes (especially when Willow casts spells) are dynamic.
The Vampire Slayer #1 gives us a new Buffy universe with some great twists and a new team dynamic. There’s a great amount of action and by the end of the issue, we know how different these characters are (including their personalities), a couple of good tense moments between Willow and Giles, and a great resolution. This is going to be a fun series and it’s highly recommended.