WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Hellmouth #2 by Jordie Bellaire and Jeremy Lambert, available now
The Buffy and Angel crossover Hellmouth has been adding more and more pieces of the Buffyverse to the new continuity, including new takes on established villains from the original series. But while this has set up plenty of story arcs, the most powerful of them all may have just gotten his introduction into the new continuity, which could have major ramifications for the people who live in this world. Hellmouth #2 sees Buffy and Angel traveling deeper into the Hellmouth with the events seemingly being narrated by the dark entity known as the First Evil, the source of seemingly all malice in the world.
IN THE HELLMOUTH
The crux of the issue follows Buffy and Angel as they descend deeper into the Hellmouth after Drusilla, who opened it up in the previous issue. While there, the pair are confronted by a number of different demons, some of which mentally torture Buffy and others that try to kill Angel. It proves a difficult task for both of them to survive, although they keep heading further into the darkness despite the danger. Eventually, they find what appears to be a deeper core of the evil powers in the Hellmouth as a mysterious voice watches them and narrates.
It watches the events of the issue with a casual disdain. It speaks about having an implicit connection with humanity and the terrible things it does, festering on the kind of terrible things that people do both small (resenting each other out of jealousy) to large (gangsters torturing people.) It comes across as a being that is perhaps the most powerful force in the underworld, which sounds very much like one of the single most fearsome forces in the entire Buffyverse: The First Evil.
AN OLDER EVIL
The First Evil made its earliest appearance during an episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Titled "Amends." the holiday season episode centered around Buffy trying to keep Angel from killing himself out of guilt over his past actions at sunrise. Serving as the (literal) devil on his shoulder is the First Evil. The First Evil is older than even the ancient demons known as the Old Ones and is the source of much of the malice in existence. It may even be the single oldest evil being in the entire universe, always existing at the core of darkness in the world. The First Evil became the Big Bad of the seventh season of the series and pushed the cast to their limits - with some of their number like Anya and Spike not surviving the final battle against it.
Another strong hint that this is the First One is the army of Uber-Vamps, ancient pureblood vampires that are more dangerous than the usual vampire. They were the consistent foot soldiers for the First One once it was able to spread them out of the Hellmouth. Those vampires seem to appear during Hellmouth #2 as one of the physical threats that confront Buffy and Angel. They even wound Angel, potentially setting up Angel to play into the First One's plans and indicating this is the First One.
Having the First One watch the events of the issue and comment on them is perfectly in-character for the disembodied villain. In the original Buffyverse, he went on to become perhaps the greatest single threat to the world and could lay claim to being arguably the overarching threat that Buffy spent her entire young life trying to fight against. Having it appear in the new series means that things could only get tougher for Buffy and her allies as the Hellmouth threatens to open up even further around the world.
Hellmouth #3 releases Dec. 11.