Welcome to the Hellmouth…Again (BTVS, Vol. 1: High School is Hell – A Book Review)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Vol. 1: High School is Hell

Author: Jordie Bellaire, Dan Mora

Published: 2019

On Goodreads


Rated H for Gen Z hell, high school, and horrors.

Welcome back to the Hellmouth, for the first time!

BTVS returns with an interesting twist. In this graphic novel, go back to the beginning where Buffy had her start. Sunnydale. She still wants a normal life though she’s the chosen one to fight the vampires, demons, and forces of darkness. That twist, however? She’s doing it in the world we know with iPhones and social media. In a high school hierarchy where everyone can be everything. And, not all the characters we knew are as we once knew them.

 The cover caught my attention really fast. Though enveloping the BTVS fandom in a world they live and breathe, it also flashed the world as we know it. From the cellphone Buffy carries to the fashion she’s wearing. The inverted photographic color was stellar and really played on the fact that this world I was about to jump into was upside down to what I knew.


This graphic novel really reached into the epic question: What if? And, if you know me, I’m a huge fan of that. Every twisted tale or re-telling or spin on shows, movies, and classics just gets a dimensional spin that can be so fun. I can never judge or be harsh on them because of all the potential that comes with those two words-one question.

Hitting the ground running was the deal here. The characters alone were a huge flip-around. Willow is a punk. Cordy is going for class prez and crushing on Spike. Xander is dealing with depression. Anya is still quite the saleswoman but with black market occult goods. Drusilla is actually sane and excitingly the big bad that could successfully open the Hellmouth. Even Harmony had a new twist to her character that pleasantly surprised me.  But, thank the gods, Giles is still Giles. The sexy, singing, librarian that detests technology. That’s not all either! Each turn of the page was a surprise that had me laughing with a delightful, “WTF?”. Just fantastic.


As if the character up-do wasn’t wild enough, the storyline really amped it up. From a vampire given some serious uber power to Drusilla looking to open up the Hellmouth to a massive ancient bat heeling to the slayer, there was no lack of excitement. And the puns! I live for BTVS puns. There was also zero shortage of dumb decision-making that reminded me that this is Sunnydale. The town where people and supernaturals aren’t always bright. That doesn’t mean never. LOL. But, you get it.


Side Note: The Whedon Easter eggs—even though Whedon is rightfully canceled for his heinous misconducts—were appreciated. The work and the feelings created from them cannot be extinguished. He just doesn’t get the credit for that anymore. Plus, he may be the creator, but there were a lot more people that brought his works to fruition than just him.

Fresh, versatile, and funny though it hurts. The storyline did it for me. This may have gone back to Sunnydale and high school but that’s as far as it went. Of course, there’s always somebody who wants to open the Hellmouth, but I didn’t expect the turn of events this time around. I’m actually kind of curious to see if Faith, Kendra, Wesley, and even Amy and Clem make an appearance in the future.


The artwork was pretty stellar. The action scenes were like that of a hero out of DC rearing up against their villain. The ominous shadows and chilling glow that acted as the main background around the frames heightened the theme that BTVS brings to the table naturally. I do think the extra boldness behind the colorization of the volume in its entirety really enhances the present era that the authors bring BTVS into. It’s rich and intriguing and totally gives goodies.


This hit my nostalgic happy place. There were plenty of surprising twists that kept me hooked. I won’t say my jaw dropped, but it certainly fell open and my eyebrows popped a couple of times. The potential for a great story is here and I look forward to reading the next volumes to see how it develops.


“This would be funny if it wasn’t so life-threatening to humans.” (Buffy)

“I just don’t understand why this keeps happening to me! First, those creepy dreams where everything is swallowed up in a big fire pit then that dress for Homecoming that wasn’t in my size…” (Harmony)

“Spike? That hardly played in the 90s, love. I guess things always come full circle, don’t they?” (Drusilla to Spike)

More to come soon…                                                                                               


Song Today? I am not a woman, I’m a god by Halsey.

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Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!


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