BOOM! Studios’ five-issue event Hellmouth is at the midpoint now and things are getting intense. Writers Jordie Bellaire and Jeremy Lambert, artist Eleonora Carlini, letterer Ed Dukeshire, and colorist Raúl Angulo have brought the new Buffy-verse to a climatic edge with Drusilla opening the Hellmouth and bringing together Angel and Buffy while their respective group of characters has their own adventures in their solo titles. In Hellmouth #3, we pick up where the last issue left off with Angel and Buffy getting closer to Drusilla to close the Hellmouth.
The best part of Hellmouth #3 is the moment that we knew was coming all along: Angelus. Up until now, Angel and Buffy have had some friction but there was a trust being built as Buffy experienced her first loss of life. But when it’s revealed that Angel is a vampire, you know it won’t be okay. The ending of the issue shows that even though we’re in the middle of the event there is still so much more to come. While Bellaire and Lambert nail the dialogue again, Carlini’s work is breathtaking.
In the heaviest action of the issue, Carlini’s work is emotive and dynamic with pages of action that all work perfectly and is highlighted by Angulo’s colors. Blends of reds and yellows as they confront Drusilla and the ground of the Hellmouth splits, with Dukeshire’s lettering on point and delivering a powerful action punch. Carlini is the perfect artist to capture the action, the emotive faces, and of course the creature designs of the demons that the two encounter on their mission.
Another standout sequence comes when Buffy uses a chain to fight off fiends. In two pages, Carlini is able to capture a battle that is fit for an anime—alá Trevor Belmont. Buffy is powerful, athletic, and truly the Slayer, more so than I’ve seen in the last five issues of her solo-series. I cannot give Carlini’s work enough praise.
There is a weight to the event that you can feel building, as Drusilla taunts our two leads, as they talk to each other, and as Angel receives information from a little imp-like demon in the belly of the Hellmouth. The tension building is palpable and ultimately it’s achieved in just the right amount of dialogue, allowing Hellmouth #3’s artwork to do some of the heavy lifting without making it carry the issue. Additionally, the characterization of what appears to be Drusilla narrating in the opening of the book brings a fantastical element with just the right amount of horror, as we see her feed on Xander, watch moments of each character’s story so far, and more (featured above).
I am in love with everything about this event. From the way that Bellaire and Lambert have built our Angel and Buffy’s fledgling relationship, to the choice to leave the rest of the characters in the solo-titles while we focus on the main two in this event. There is an understanding of the Buffyverse that is extremely noticeable but never repetitive. As a life-long Buffy-verse fan I can’t predict where this event is going to end, who is going to end it, or even if I’ll get to see Angel and Buffy romantically linked, but with Hellmouth #3 I’m excited to keep reading to find out.
Hellmouth #3 is available where physical copies are sold.
As a life-long Buffy-verse fan I can’t predict where this event is going to end, who is going to end it, or even if I’ll get to see Angel and Buffy romantically linked, but with Hellmouth #3 I’m excited to keep reading to find out.