Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Riley One-Shot and Angel #36 Review (SPOILERS)
It's Wednesday (or "Hump Day" if you're an office dweller) and, for those of us who are nerd with the most capital of "N's", it is thought of first and foremost as "New Comic Book Day". For those keeping score, there are two comics for Whedon fans to get their filthy paws on and I've got both of them. I'll be talking about them in detail so, if you're feeling the fear of knowing before you know, then scatter yourselves to the wind. If not, then seek onward, Whedon solider, seek onward.
Even though it's been meant to be kept under wraps, there is no denying that there's a gradual changing of hands on who is writing this book. Open the cover and plain as day it reads "Additional Scripting: David Tischman and Mariah Huenher". There's a lot I could say about that but, to be brief and fair, I think of this as the first issue of David and Mariah's story even though the story they penned on their own doesn't begin for a little while yet.
Let's talk about the issue in hand, though. We last left off with the revelation that Spike (apparently) is soul free in '93 and this issue picks up right from there. The whole affair is very fast-paced so there's not a ton of time to deal with Spike's current status other than for him to defend himself and for everyone to silently agree that they've got bigger fish to fry. That fish, by the way, is the soul eater who is one nasty little bugger. Most of the issue is dedicated to fighting her and, ultimately, (and this is a huge spoiler) she kills Dez before Angel finally finishes her off himself. Connor gets pulled out of the action to help the Sisterhood of the "sexy demons what wear armor" brigade, and James decides to pay a visit to a long lost character, Anne. It's all a big setup for a full on demon attack coming, presumably, in the next issue.
So! Lots to talk about here. The reason I made such a fuss about the scripting is that it's clear (at least to me) that this is a very different book with new and more capable people writing the dialogue. Is it perfect? No. I still think Illyria is a little more... colloquial than she ought to be but it's not easy to figure out where she fits or who she is now, if we're being totally fair. Laura gets a lot of page time which is great for me (I like her) but frustrating for those who want more time with the characters from the show and less with the newbies. Angel is very Angel, though and, while I'm sure not all will agree, Spike has sounded more like himself than he has in nearly a year. The action clips along at a solid pace and Elena is very good at expressing motion form panel to panel. If I might ask, though? What the hell is the soul eater wearing? Is she from the 90's? DO NOT WANT. Thank goodness she's dead.
Remember that thing I said about Dark Horse getting all mea culpa with the fandom? Well consider this to be part two of that particular tune. Spike standing up for himself, Angel taking action, Dez biting the bullet... all these things were done to get the show back on the proverbial road. Connor is off dealing with his destiny, who knows where Kate is, and the Bill Williams' side story just got a guest appearance from two vamps wot have the souls. The chickens are coming home to roost, fully roasted and it's clear that the folks at IDW are looking to get the more opinionated fans back on board before the next arc begins, the Spike comic starts, and Illyria gets a book of her own. It's several steps in the right direction but Rome can't be built in a day. It's nice to see we're getting to the goods and getting our focus back on the folks that matter. In short: the title of this issue should have been "Angel: Let's Ge tthe Show Back On the Fraggin' Road". If this is what Mariah and David have in mind, then I think IDW is going to finish out 2010 with a bang.
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