The Hellmouth event that ran in BOOM!'s rebooted Buffy the Vampire Slayer titles is finished, and the team is gearing up for the next storyline. In this issue, the seventeenth of the series, the focus is on Watcher Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. In the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer show, Wesley started as a bumbling stick-in-the-mud who journeyed over to the Angel spinoff and, over the course of years, developed into one of the most complex characters that Joss Whedon has ever created. Can this rebooted take on Wesley fill the shoes of the original?
Written by Jordie Bellaire and Jeremy Lambert, Buffy the Vampire Slayer #17 tells a simple story that sees Wesley struggle with his role in the Watchers Council. Egged on by a ghostly Ethan Rayne, Wesley investigates a series of murders only to find himself pulled away from his mission and tasked with mentoring a newly awakened Slayer… who will be, everything points toward, the rebellious Faith. Wesley feels true to his character, demonstrated with humor and heart in a clever narrative device showing a novel that Wesley is working on.
The art from illustrator Andrés Genolet, colorist Raül Angulo, and letterer Ed Dukeshire is terrific, which is one area in which the BOOM! Studios Buffy the Vampire Slayer titles have generally all excelled. There is a softness, a fluidity, to the art that fits Buffy quite well, making pages showcasing the Watchers Council's library as beautiful as the sequences with vampire action.
Personally, I dipped out of reading BOOM! Studios' Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot after the first two issues. Changing the story, which still feels timeless in its portrayal of the aches of the journey from teenager to adulthood, to fit into modern times seemed like a bad idea, and the characters seemed like rushed caricatures of themselves. As a Wesley Wyndam-Pryce fan, this issue seemed like the right place to give it another crack. It could be that the series has hit its stride, or it could be the addition of a co-writer rather than a single narrative voice, but this Wesley-focused issue, which seems to set up Faith's arrival into the Buffy reboot, did not disappoint.