"Hellmouth to Mouth" Part 1
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artists:Cliff Richards(p),Will Conrad & Joe Pimental(i),Dave McCaig(c)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Scott Lobdell takes over the Hellmouth in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. May his reign be a long one. Joss Whedon has gone on record to express his dissatisfaction with the comic book spin-offs. He has said that he wanted Dark Horse's talent to do their own thing with the characters not mimic the series style. Make the series in other words like a comic book.
I've found generally speaking a high level of quality in the comic book spin-offs, but I must admit Lobdell beautifully brings to the world of Buffy a comic book style. Spoiler Ahoy! Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! Spoiler Ahoy!
This issue of Buffy is a World's Finest type crossover. We do not see Buffy when we open the pages. Instead, we see Angel in disguise and Cordelia vamping it up as his floozy. As the vampire is invited into the abode, we see also notice a definite adult look to the book. Exotic demon strippers abound, and Angel's current case involves a supernatural drug.
Lobdell characterizes Angel and Cordy extremely well. His disguise amusingly seems reminiscentof one Matches Malone, but this humorously keeps in sych with the many Batman motifs in the television series, and his dialogue with its unpolished "yas" and "ya'ds" serve to really keep the vampire with a soul hidden. Cordy pipes in with funny one-liners that also express her character's wide-eyed lack of experience with such matters. Of course, by this time, Cordy has become a super-hero in her own right, and her understanding of esoteric matters surfaces later in the James Bond-like opening.
Humor can also be found in the hilarious antagonist--a headless demon who has lived too long and in that immortality has become complacent. It's not his arrogance that leads to his defeat but his finally encountering a challenge he was probably dying to meat when he was younger.
A visit to an old-friend brings another old friend into the mix. Personally, I would have preferred a permanent visa for this character, as I think the guest received a raw deal. This scene is however plausible. Judges have oodles of power and can make such unusual requests. Lobdell really brings out the bond our guest-star and Angel share, and Cliff Richards' depiction of the guest and the guest's many moods is superb.
His rendering of Buffy startles the reader. We knew that the creative team would get around to bringing her out of hiding given that she's the star of the book, but we never expected to see her this way.
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