Angel – After The Fall (Chs. 1 – 5)
Finally, down to business.
Things start off intriguingly enough; I’m still not sure whether L.A. was cast into a separate hell dimension or whether hell was brought to earth in L.A. Seems to make a big difference, don’t you think? I mean, as much as everyone probably gets annoyed by all the ‘where are the Slayers?’ talk, it is a valid question. Something of that large a magnitude, if on Earth, would simply have to draw the attention of both the real army and, of course, Buffy’s army. If there isn’t some eventual bringing together of the two, I’m going to be thoroughly pissed (although Lynch does address this question in the letter pages of Issue 3, insisting it’ll all get worked out in the future, so I guess we just have to wait). Although, the whole beginning to Issue 4 seems to pretty much clear up that question. Guess I really should wait until I’m finished reading said issues before starting to write the reviews of them, huh?
Anyway, a bunch of demon lords have divvied up the city and it’s like the mafioso, but with, you know, demons. Cool. But Gunn as a vampire? Why does that feel so contrived? Oh, wait . . . it is.
It’s a good set-up, though; definitely has that ‘opening’ sort of feel to it, taking a few issues to get the ball rolling, just like Buffy – Season 8 did. It’s a style I generally enjoy. But . . .
. . . the artwork is terrible. Angel was always more ‘dark and shadowy’ than Buffy, but here it’s like they made that their mantra or something; whereas BS8 is big, bright and full of detail, AtF looks like it’s being done with pencil stubs and a worn-out set of watercolours. That, and Franco Urru’s ‘figures’ are the worst kind of male-fantasy comic ridiculousness. Take a look at these pictures of Alexa Davalos and Jenny Mollen, the actresses who played Gwen and Nina on the show. Cuties? Yes, but not so much in the mammary department (well, Mollen’s doing alright, but anyway). In the comic, though, Urru’s got them looking like Denise Milani and Brianna Banks. And let’s not even talk about Illyria (where did those come from?). Not to mention that every single other woman who appears is also sporting at least a D cup. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m pro-hourglass, but, in something like graphic art and comics, it’s gotta be in the proper context. What he’s done here is not suited for Angel or the legacy of the Buffyverse– it’s more Heavy Metal. Actually, it’s exactly Heavy Metal. I don’t like it, and I know Joss was adamant that this sort of thing not go on in BS8 and Fray, so I don’t know why he’s letting it go on here. Sure, the guys in the book all look really buff too, but somehow I don’t think it works out equivalently. Although the art did appear more toned down in the later issues, and there even seems to be a gag about Spike’s Amazonian army being more ‘appropriately attired’ once they’ve changed out of their bikinis, so maybe Joss had a word with them. They got a new colourist who is doing a better job, too.
Back to the story, which Lynch has done a pretty good job of laying out, even though it does feel like it’s all happening too quickly for some reason (maybe it’s just because I read these all in one afternoon). Anyway, so, yeah, Angel vs. the Big Bad Conglomeration of Lords, and . . . huh, Angel’s human now? Okay, so they found a way to do it, the big question is — are they gonna keep it that way? Depends on how close to the end of the line they’re coming, I suppose. Only reason they’d keep him human would be to send him off into the sunset with Buffy (or would they?) but I don’t think we’re anywhere close to anything like that (what with Buffy – Season 9 already being announced), so . . . odds are he’s back in vamp form before very long. They can always change him back later if they need to. Although, there was that one panel when he was fighting Illyria at the mansion and ‘time-skipping’ where he was portrayed as an old man. So maybe it’s more permanent than we’d expect.
Eager to find out how it turns out, obviously. But — First Night comes first.