Welcome back to Strange Times & Places, where we’re looking at something a little outside the usual scope of this column – Boom! Studios’ Buffy The Vampire #1-4.
How’s It Different?
We’re going to have to add yet another new category to the list: this baby is an Ultimate Universe, named for Marvel’s 00s-era reboot universe. Like Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, Boom! Studios’ BTVS series takes a well-established universe and remixes its characters and story elements into something both new and familiar.
What’s The Story?
Teenager Buffy Summers is The Slayer, the one girl in all the world to stand between mankind and that which goes bump in the night. She moves with her mother (and her mother’s boyfriend) to Sunnydale, CA, where she’s mentored in secret by school librarian/vampire expert Rupert Giles and befriends nerdy classmates Willow Rosenberg and Xander Harris. But everything is just slightly different from how it was on the show, not the least of which is that all the Scoobies have smartphones…
Best of Differences
- Anya Jenkins, a later season addition to the series, is here from the beginning. Instead of debuting as a vengeance demon that poses as a high schooler, she’s the mysterious owner of a shop specializing in mystical artifacts. It’s revealed that she acquired a vase containing a vampire killing Mayan god from the Watcher’s Council over two thousand years ago – she’s been around the block a few times.
- Willow’s out of the closet and dating a girl named Rose as a teen. Since 2019 is a very different time to be LGBT+ than 1997 was, this is a sensible change.
- Robin Wood, the young principal of Sunnydale High in season seven of the TV series, debuts as one of Buffy’s classmates and a potential love interest for the Slayer. Since his TV counterpart had some very close ties to the Slayer lineage, time will tell how this works out for everyone.
- The comic skips straight past The Master, Darla, and The Anointed One to pit the nascent Scooby Gang against Drusilla and Spike right off the bat. That’s the good thing about an Ultimate Universe – they can skip straight to the good stuff.