Buffy and Angel are still down in the Hellmouth, not quite sure where to go – when they encounter Drusilla, chained and captive. Which is an odd place for her to find herself, considering it was her actions that opened the Hellmouth in the first place!
As it turns out, though, they all have much bigger problems to worry about…
During the so-called Hellmother’s assault, Buffy and Angel get separated. Buffy and Drusilla face more twisted versions of Buffy’s friends and family, but Angel meets a strange little demon named Augie…
Augie, though, has a major revelation for Angel: the secret to becoming human again! But will the price be too steep?! And what will happen once Buffy finds out Angel is actually a vampire?!
Hellmouth keeps dragging along, as for the second issue in a row, Buffy and Angel find themselves running amok in Hell without any real sense of direction. The same could be said for this miniseries: three issues in, and the plot really hasn’t gone much of anywhere. Oh sure, there’s the addition of a kaiju-sized mama demon, and the wrinkle of Angel discovering how to become human again. But beyond that, the plot hasn’t gone anywhere. The final page stands to shake up the state of play a bit, but with only two issues to go, is it too little too late?
There’s no real sense overall as to where Hellmouth is heading, other than a generic “Buffy and Angel have to stop bad stuff from happening.” Instead, no real ground is gained here, and in fact, writers Bellaire and Lambert even recycle a plot point from last issue (Buffy fighting nightmare versions of her friends), for what appears to be no other reason than to give Buffy something to do while Angel is getting the good word on re-humanification, and then ultimately see that Angel’s a vampire. Couldn’t this have happened six or eight pages into the issue instead? Did we have to spend so much time spinning our wheels? Yet spin its wheels it does, because at the end of the day, this is a series that’s going nowhere fast. Which is sad, because it could – and should have – felt like a monumental event: Buffy and Angel meeting one another for the first time, 2019-style! Instead, they’re stuck running in circles and apparently squaring off against a boring, one-dimensional giant demoness whose motivations, while not known, certainly aren’t very deep. Or interesting.
On the show, he best Buffy villains worked because they were multifaceted with believable motives. But not only that, they provided excellent foils for the Slayer because to one degree or another, they were dark reflections of some aspect of our heroine: Angelus was the personification of a good boyfriend who turns out to be bad; the Mayor was the embodiment of the establish that Buffy at its core disrupted; Faith was a dark reflection of Buffy herself; Glory gave voice to Buffy’s more selfish desires to do her own thing and abandon her heritage; even The First was the yawning void yin to the Slayer lineage yang. Even Warren and the Trio were the face of refusing to grow up in the face of dawning adulthood.
This so-called Hellmother, though? She’s a big angry monster. That’s it. She’s boring, uninspired, and – to borrow a line from the Slayer herself: “You’re beneath me.”
Bottom line: Buffy – and Angel – deserve better than this. Same goes for the art. While Eleonora Carlini is serviceable enough, there’s nothing particularly inspired, detailed, or interesting in her linework. I could go on, but what’s the point? Hopefully, this miniseries is able to focus up for the grand finale, or else there will be no choice but to put a stake in it.
As open-minded as this lifelong Buffy fan has been about Boom's reboot, Hellmouth puts a big red flag on the fact that there are serious problems in Sunnydale that extend far beyond vampires and werewolves. It's coming to a conclusion in just two more months, but by that point, will anyone still be reading to care?
Hellmouth #3 (of 5): Come to Hellmother
Writing - 5/105/10
Storyline - 4/104/10
Art - 5/105/10
Color - 5/105/10
Cover Art - 6/106/10
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