Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Natacha Bustos
Colorist: Eleonora Bruni
Letterer: Jodi Wynne
Editor: Jeanine Schaefer
I was excited to read Willow, a newer take on one of the Buffyverse’s most important heroes that immediately puts her at the center of attention and provides a breakdown of the character. If you’ve been made aware of Mariko Tamaki’s recent Eisner win and are not sure where to start with her writing, this would be a great place – even if you’re not so familiar with Buffy.
Willow begins after the events of the Hellmouth arc. The titular character is left feeling alone and directionless after enduring the trauma of the whole event and ending a relationship with her longtime girlfriend. Tamaki was a great author to write Willow. I felt myself enjoying the character more than I usually did, she felt more three dimensional and her anecdotes seemed to make more sense.
After a long study trip to England, we find Willow alone and isolated in her new environment. She had left Sunnydale to meet new people, discover new things and be in a new environment, but quickly realized she had to deal with the same problems wherever she went. The minimalism in the art style and the prose that Tamaki uses to describe Willow’s thoughts shed more light on the character than I’ve ever seen.
The inner monologue, to me, made the entire comic worth the read. It was fun to explore Willow as a separate character from Buffy. Tamaki does a great job of portraying Willow’s PTSD and foreshadows what may happen next in the comic. As Willow is shown vulnerable throughout the issue, it almost alludes to her being open to manipulation – this is shown when a new character, Aelera is introduced.