Boom!Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 01, Issue 03
"Death To All Vampires"
Writer: Jordie Bellaire, Artwork: Dan Mora & Raúl Angulo, Lettering: Ed Dukeshire
Cover: Matthew Taylor
Blurb: Due to a rash action by Drusilla, Spike returns to Anya's mystic shop to find chaos and a wild creature, who wants to destroy the vampires even more than Buffy.
Page 01: We open with Spike's return to Anya's secret magical doodads shop. As he enters, he's in a chipper mood over how naive the Sunnydale teens are, after having met with Cordy.
But he's quickly shocked by the ginormous bat-creature making a hell of a mess.
Commentary: I do really like the artwork going on; It doesn't impact scoring, but I want to kudo the dark, rich coloring of Mr. Angulo and the aesthetics of Mr. Mora. I'm also really liking Mr. Dukeshire's work.
Page 02: The Bat-Creature continues raging that all of the soulless must be destroyed, including not just the fang-gang, but all demons in his targets.
For reasons unknown, the demon doesn't detect Dru and Spike still within reaching distance of him but instead destroys Its way out of Anya's shop of trinkets and into the night.
Spike wonders at Anya if that was a little extreme for shop security.
Page 03: Anya tells the vampires that their creature was supposed to be asleep for several thousand more years, until a specific time arrived when he'd be freed.
Drusilla immediately starts chick-fighting with Anyanka for both having such a creature held in her shop, and for not standing on their side against the coming supernatural-pocalypse on the horizon. Anya returns that she's tired of repeating herself that she stands neutral in the conflict, and she doesn't have to justify to anyone just what types of items she keeps.
But she offers that they don't have time now for their continued argument. She relents to give Dru and Spike the invulnerability amulets, because she's not about to clean up one of Dru's messes, AGAIN. She reminds Dru however that if the proper price isn't paid for her items, she'll be collecting both of their heads.
Spike snots about having to go after a giant monster, but Anya dumps the problem on their shoulders, anyway.
Commentary: Some interesting bits here are that Anya is her demonic self... in some portion. She's still super old, and she's not at all intimidated by Drusilla, even when the vampire starts using physical force. But, she's not in the vengeance game so much as a neutral observer. And she and Dru have a history, which includes Drusilla apparently doing unwise things that cause a great mess, such as now.
I'm liking the character bits with Anya a lot. Right now, she seems to be the most established character, even though she's a side one, thanks to the scattered writing thus far for everyone else.
Page 04: She sends the vampires off and warns that if they don't find a way to stop the creature, it'll be back to slay them.
In the meantime, Buffy is huffing her way down a block of Sunnydale, complaining to herself about Giles' unhelpful attitude when it comes to the hard looking-stuff-up parts of her gig.
Her musings on where she's supposed to look for the invulnerability jewelry are interupted by something over her head.
Page 05: This turns out to be the Bat-Creature, still cawing out into the night that all evil must be cleansed.
Buffy goes off in chase, as the Bat-Creature heads toward downtown.
Page 06: At the coffee shop downtown, Rupert is playing the guitar and singing out on the terrace. Harmony complains that teachers shouldn't be allowed out after dark, while Cordy points out that Giles is the librarian. Plus he seemed nice to her. Harms waves this off as losing interest in search of some serious eye candy, instead.
On another block, Spike is annoyed to hear an Englishman "butchering" good, English classics. His attention is also redirected, but not by eye candy. Rather, it's the Bat-Creature gliding overhead.
Page 07: Bat-Creature lands to trash the coffee shop, still exclaiming that all vampires must die.
Cordy and Harmony both point out that they live in a weird town, and Harmony mentions how many things seem to be happening to her [taking on the Prime-Cordy's role of everything reduced to be how it impacts Harmony], like the scary fire-pit dreams she's been haunted by lately....
In the meantime, Spike has made it on scene and power punches the Bat-Creature, offering that up close, it doesn't seem all that scary.
Commentary: So. Again, with the weird behavior from our characters. Now, it does definitely appear that everyone in Sunnydale is aware that they live in a weird town, with weird things happening. But - probably due to the Hellmouth - nobody feels the need to cower in their homes or abandon the town. I'm onboard with all of this, because it's a conceit to allow the series.
BUT. But, this makes issue 1 Willow and Xander's handling even more muddled and confusing in their reactions.
Unless, the vampires are just brand new but other things still happen that are unexplained/ignored/forgotten.
I could also accept this in broad terms, but the establishing writing around the subject has been badly handled in the universe-building.
Page 08: Spike, stupidly, turns his back after his haymaker to call Drusilla and let her know he's found their target, when Bat-Creature recovers and knocks him down. The Bat-Creature recognizes Spike as the not-human he is, and goes for the kill.
But from behind him, Cordelia has grabbed up some strings of light and tosses them over the Bat-Creature's neck in order to restrain/distract It. Spike recovers near instantly and stands at Cordy's side to offer his vampire strength in garroting the monster.
Cordy comments on Spike's clunky accessories and he offers that she should be a lot more panicked at the giant, talking bat right now. But Cordy smiles at him and tells him that he'll get used to weird things in Sunnydale.
Commentary: I might be liking this Cordelia/Spike thing -- despite the extreme clumsiness of the set up. There might be a weird dynamic to play with, here, especially if Spike starts pulling away from Dru to protect Cordelia in place of his obsession with Buffy in the prime-verse.
I'm not hating it, so... yeah, let's see where this relationship is going.
Page 09: Buffy now arrives, but with the Bat currently tangled up in lighting, her focus is on the flattened Rupert. He turns out to be alright, but Buffy continues to be distracted by finding out that he plays the guitar.
Rupert reminds her there are other civilians still endangered, but they can discuss personal lives later.
Page 10: Buffy rushes in with a power punch of her own to the creature's midsection and follows up with yanking on the string of lights to cause the creature to (too cartoony here) spin around dizzily.
The Bat-Creature reacts with hurt confusion over the Slayer hurting him.
Buffy reacts with confusion of her own.
Page 11: The Bat-Creature has a name: Camazotz, and offers that he has always helped the Slayer fight the vampire hoards. Buffy compares Camazotz to her very own Pegasus. A reference, he doesn't get.
Page 12: With the battle in a momentary lull, Cordy shouts at Buffy from behind that she had nice moves. After Buffy shows distaste on her face at having to talk to Cordy, she turns in her direction with a fake smile and offers she had nice moves, also.
But then she notices Spike, and is not so faux-friendly. She warns Cordelia that she should leave fast, but Cordy offers a big 'no'.
Page 13: Buffy also notices the gaudy necklace and asks Spike where he got it. In the meantime, Camazotz has relocated to a water tower on a building and screeches out into the night that all vampires must be slain.
Camazotz using Buffy's title out into the night is the first indication for Spike that they have a Slayer in their midst.
Buffy offers a 'Welcome to Sunnydale', as she gets ready into a fighting stance.
Page 14: Buffy feints at punching Spike, but instead swipes the necklace from him. He complains about her not doing the fisticuffs thing, but this is interrupted by Drusilla's arrival from behind Buffy, where she grabs her around the throat.
Page 15: Despite his purpose specifically being protecting the Slayer and killing demons, Camazotz doesn't intervene in any of this. (Okay. Nice handling-- NOT.)
Drusilla holds Buffy with her claw-like nails at her throat and she jokes with Spike over Cordelia's seeming to be a new friend of his.
Cordelia offers to Spike that she's feeling uncomfortable suddenly, with all of this. Dru snarks that 'Spike' hardly made a good knickname in the 90's at her paramour, but then turns attention to the fact that she has a nice Slayer ready for dining.
[Yeah. Camazotz does nothing, now. Rupert is also MIA during this confrontation.]
Dru speaks in Buffy's ear that the Hellmouth is such a lovely place to dine, as she leans in to bite our heroine, who does nothing except flinch at the coming bite.
Commentary: Whoo-boy. I'm trying. I AM. But this is annoying. They could've easily skipped the banter with Giles over his guitar playing to have him knocked out [as is his habit in the prime-verse], so his not helping fight the vampires wouldn't be glaring. And Camazotz is clearly a plot device, who is unable to act in any way once he'd logically do so. *Sigh*
And I do love Buffy -- not under any sway, as far as depicted -- doesn't even bother to resist Dru's impending bite. Not even a headbutt.
Page 16: Thankfully, there is a sudden 'PANG' and an 'Agh!' from Dru, as she takes a shovel strike to the back of the head. Buffy spins around to find Willow Rosenberg and Xander Harris - he of the shovel - action posing.
Xan offers to Buffy that she looked like she could use a few friends right about then.
[Alas, Xan used the flat of the shovel, rather than implanting the shovel blade through her skull.]
Page 17: While Buffy runs over to her friends, Spike helps the stunned Dru to her feet. Buffy tentatively tells the others that she's glad to see them, which Xan reacts to with obvious annoyance to her not sounding all that appreciative of the save.
Buffy offers that she's not used to having help with this part of her life.
Spike shouts out an insult about the Slayer usually being independent and respectable.
Giles interrupts any further confrontation, by shouting out to Willow whether she was able to find the charm that he'd been busy calling her to gather during the earlier fight [Okay... he's forgiven].
In the meantime, Spike takes the distraction as the opportunity to vanish with Drusilla.
Page 18: Willow confirms with a vial of red pixie dust. The Watcher tells Camazotz that he's a fascinating creature, and that he was glad to have met him, but that it isn't yet his time. He commands Camazotz to return to his deep slumber until his prophesied time.
The Bat-Creature disappears in a fog of pixie dust, and is captured in the vial.
Buffy is bummed over her not having her Pegasus, after all.
Page 19: With the vampires missing and Camazotz no longer destroying the architecture, Cordy rants about always trying to be nice to everyone, but that this group has reached the limits of her tolerance for weird. And furthermore, she accuses Buffy of maybe getting everyone killed with whatever she thinks she's doing.
Page 20: Buffy looks at the retrieved amulets [including Dru's she grabbed during the shovel distraction], and offers them to Rupert, with apologies that she wasn't able to learn where they'd come from.
Giles apologizes to Buffy in return for being too hard on her, lately. He offers that she did very well tonight.
She jokes with a look of revulsion that there is too much sincerity.
Page 21: Back in their temporary crypt-home, Drusilla is raging over still being no closer to discovering the power she's brought them here to retrieve [so, not the clunky amulets].
Spike offers that maybe the power Dru's been seeking is just a myth, but she angrily shouts at him that there are no myths, only legends and prophecy. He acquiesces, but is clearly not happy at being shouted down.
Dru gets a hold of herself, and offers next that there are other more immediate issues to deal with though: The Hellmouth, The Watcher and The Slayer.
Commentary: I like this Drusilla, but uh... not as much as DH's version of her. But it's interesting to see her having not suffered her mental breakdown in this universe, and I like the underlying tension between her and Spike - especially with this strange chemistry between him and Cordelia.
Page 22: Spike suggests dealing with Buffy by going through her freinds. Drusilla pulls out the Slayer's phone that she nabbed at some point, which Buffy doesn't realize she's missing.
On the screensave is a picture of Xander and Willow. Dru offers to Spike that she can work with friends....
The Good: I liked the interaction in this issue between Anya and Drusilla, and the hints at a deeper and antagonistic relationship between them.
I also sorta-like Dru always referring to Spike as William, and even showing a bit of disdain toward his chosen knickname.
There is something that might be interesting between Cordelia and Will, that I'm left wanting to see more with.
I did like Giles finally complimenting Buffy's performance, and her sarcastic reaction.
The Bad: I'm still having problems with dialog, and unnatural reactions happening. Buffy and Giles taking an entire page to talk about his guitar; Cordy and Harmony's interaction that just makes Wills and Xan's reactions in the first issue even more badly written in retrospect; The complete sidelining of Camazotz and Rupert during the confrontation with Dru and William. There so many instances when I'm stuck going, "Wait, what are you doing?"
Other Thoughts: I was really interested in Camazotz, until they then did nothing with him.
The bitter undertones of the Drusilla/William relationship caught my interest. It'd especially be nice if it played into Will's growing an unexpected fondness for Cordy Chase, that sees him protecting her from Dru at some point.
I also find it cute that the invulnerability amulets are so vulnerable themselves to being yanked off, that they're all powerful -- but easily circumvented.
What is up with Xander's snottiness? I'm not liking his entirely lack of humoress gibes.
The Score: This issue left me feeling much more positive overall, despite the continued weird dialog and clumsy plot mechanics going on. At least the title is improving issue upon issue.
3.50 out of 5 stars
The Sunnydale Sentinel reveals that Jesse does exist, and he writes columns for the school paper. Ms. Calendar is also a presence at SHS, teaching computer science.