Written by Mariko Tamaki
Illustrated by Natacha Bustos
Colored by Eleonora Bruni
Lettered by Jodi Wynne
Reviewed by KrisK
Willow, in my humble opinion, stands over the cast of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer as the best character in the series. Not only for her huge influence and impact as an LGBT character in the dawn of the 2000’s, but because she manages to carry so many layers, while remaining absolutely lovable. She starts out the show so shy and unsure of herself, but by the end, she wields magical gifts without losing her humble charm.
If you aren’t familiar with the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer TV show, it’s about a vampire slayer named Buffy. (Shocking, I know) She fights with a small gang of friends consisting of the school librarian, Giles, a perennially lovesick boy, Xander, and timid nerd and blossoming witch, Willow.
The Boom! Buffyverse modernized Willow by having her know from the beginning that she loves women and in fact, dates them. She started the Buffy comic series dating a girl named Rose. Through the recent hellish events of Buffy, Willow and Rose have broken up. Her best friend, Xander, died in the battle against evil, leaving her alone. She still has Buffy and Giles, but she can’t bear to see them.
She leaves to study abroad over the summer, heading to England. She thought it might cheer her up, but instead, she just lived abroad depressed. When the semester is over, she returns to Sunnydale, but instead of facing the Hellmouth, she empties her bank account to buy a one way ticket out of town. Destination: anywhere.
She ends up in a town called Abhainn. The gas station refuses to serve her, and she ends up roaming the woods to the town. She eats at a town, where she sees a vision and then a mysterious, older woman. The woman, Aelara, invites her to a bonfire the next night. A detail, of possible importance, all the patrons of the diner all female. Not a man in sight in the town proper. The comic ends on an ominous note, that I will leave the reader to find on their own. (I have spoiled enough.)
Mariko proves again and again she can write a great character. Her time in comics ranging from Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me to Tomb Raider show her mastering the characters in her tales and great pacing. These skills make her perfect for a comic like Willow. She displays a firm grasp on the character from the start.
The art by Bustos and Bruni fits nicely with the other Buffy books, while adding a psychedelic touch when needed. And when its a witch story, you know it will be needed. The letters by Wynne stay in the background until the emphasis is needed, driving the tone of the world or the importance of the sound into focus.
Buy! If you are a fan of the Buffy show or comics, this book delivers some much needed Willow. If you want to dip your toes into the Buffy pool for the first time, WIllow serves as a great jumping point. It will spoil some of the events of the main comic, but one can pick this comic up with no prior knowledge and read a fun witch story.