While Buffy is stuck in the Hellmouth, this issue could be a game-changer for the revamp.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 12
Written by Jordie Bellaire
Art by David Lopez

The first crossover between Buffy and ANGEL is wrapping up, keeping the titular stars out of their main books and in the Hellmouth miniseries. There’s no shortage of action in BOOM! Studio’s first Whedon-verse series, though. And this issue is going to have some serious ramifications as the series continues.

The BUFFY TV series was always at its best when it was giving you an emotional gut punch. And that’s why this issue was so great. The series as a whole has been amazing, but the final issue of its first year stands head and shoulders above it all, because of the emotional hit the reader takes at the end.

With Buffy stuck in the Hellmouth and all the men having been taken over by the Hellmother, it’s up to the Scooby women – and half-vampire Xander – to find a way to survive. Led by Anya, the gang holds off the marauding hordes of man at the fast food fish joint where Cordelia works, and where Anya secretly hides her stash of weapons.

Cordelia, by the way, has been given so much more depth of character in the series’ first year than we got in the first year of the TV series. She’s been one of my favorites the whole series through.

Anya drops the information bomb on the group – consisting of Willow, Xander and new Slayer Kendra – that Buffy is still alive. The only reason Kendra was called was because she left the mortal plane to go into Hell with Angel to defeat the Hellmother. Kendra notes that she felt something weird was going on, but didn’t say anything. Teenagers can be a cryptic, obnoxious bunch.

The final gambit to save the kids at the fish restaurant includes a rescue from Jenny Calendar and bat-demon Camazotz and Anya pushing Willow to use her magic. Considering that she gave half her soul up to save Xander from going full vampire, Willow is susceptible to losing herself to the evil magicks. It gives Xander a heart-wrenching choice to make: save Willow or save himself.

The build to the final pages, as Anya pretty callously chooses to sacrifice one of the Scoobies in order to save her own skin, was perfectly structured. From the first panel, it was clear something bad was going to happen. Writer Jordie Bellaire has the tone and feel of Buffy down so well, it’s not hard to forget that Joss Whedon himself isn’t writing this.