Willow is running away from Sunnydale after the events of Hellmouth. But where do you go if you have no direction? Willow find herself in a dangerous situation and must rely on her instinct and magic in WILLOW #1 by BOOM! STUDIOS.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: WILLOW #1
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Natacha Bustos
Colorist: Eleonora Bruni
Letterer: Jodi Wynne
Editor: Jeanine Schaefer
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July, 8th, 2020
Previously on Willow: Willow has been a stable character in the Buffy universe for a long time. She is a witch with inherent magic abilities that she begins to study and continues to gain more and more power. Often depicted as tomboyish, nerdy, and with low self-esteem, she becomes a force to be reckoned with as the series progresses. After the events of Hellmouth, Willow goes to England to study but as she returns she finds she doesn’t want to go home to Sunnydale quite yet. So where does she end up?
WHEN YOU HAVE NO DIRECTION
Willow begins with the title character reminiscing on how she got to where she was. She talks about the Battle of Hellmouth, her girlfriend whom she ended her relationship with, and references of her going to England. When she returns to Sunnydale, the story finally starts. She decides to hop on a random bus instead of returning to her parents. During one of the pits stops, she enters a convenience store and is immediately met with hostility. When she leaves the store, the bus has driven off without her and is unable to get cell service.
Willow decides to wander a little bit and finds herself in a small town known as Abhainn. While getting a meal she is approached by Aelara. After some small talk, Aelera invites her to a bonfire during the full moon tomorrow night. Willow finds an inn and finally finds a little bit of rest. However, there is no cell service, internet, or phone anywhere that she can find. As she falls asleep, the postcard she was trying to write throughout the issue spontaneously burns to ash.
A WITCH TRYING TO FIND HER IDENTITY
Willow seems to suffer from PTSD and she responds to this by further isolating herself which leaves her open for manipulation. It foreshadows an abuser coming in and taking advantage of a young girl. And then Aelara appears. What is Aelara’s role in the story? Is she this manipulator that the story seems to be foreshadowing or is the story going to go in another direction. This is the subtle hook that the story is bringing up that is accompanied by Willow’s inner monologue. I loved the subdued writing of the story and while some of the flashback scenes were boring (but necessary); the comic works well.
The art was visually stimulating as well. The colorist used a lot of purple within the artwork and I wonder how intentional that was. Purple is often a color to represent corruption and at this point, Willow has already become Dark Willow and has a deep fear of her power. I think we may be given a clue that Willow is going to lose control again and that is going to be spectacular to read on the comic page.
BOTTOM LINE: A WELL THOUGHT OUT BOOK
I really enjoyed the book. I’m not really familiar with the comic book universe but I remember Alyson Hannigan’s portrayal of the character well and enjoyed the coming-of-age story. I enjoy the subtlety in the art, the writing, and the intellectual approach to the story. I’m kind of on board to read the entire first arc and will be returning to the series for the next issue. 4.5 out of 5 stars for WILLOW #1.
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