The Story so Far: I am reading and reviewing the Buffyverse comic series’ that are canon with the television shows they are based on, including Buffy Season 8, Fray, Spike, Angel & Faith and Angel: After the Fall among others. I will post a final reading list when I’ve caught up to season 10.
I’ve included links to my previous posts in this reading marathon at the bottom of the page.
This Week: I finished reading the Angel comics that are confirmed canon and one that is subjective.
The best of the Angel: After the Fall series! One of the greatest losses in the fifth season of Angel was the death of Fred. It seemed she was lost for good, but this volume offers a ray of hope. Fred isn’t the only familiar face from the show to reappear. You won’t get any spoilers out of me, but trust me. It’s good!
Part two (issue #9) opens with a dream sequence that is right out of the old Adam West Batman series complete with Spike as the masked avenger and Connor as his boy wonder. Comic book Connor is growing on me. He was my least favorite character on the show, but in the comics he is considerably less whiny. Oh, and he’s dating someone is his own age! Huge step up, Connor. Huge.
This volume is also the first of the After the Fall series illustrated by Nick Runge. I liked Frank Urru’s work in the previous volumes, but I prefer Runge’s style. The characters look authentic and the covers are simply beautiful.
Thematically, the lines between good and evil are becoming blurry in this volume leaving many characters questioning where they stand. Brian Lynch’s narration and dialogue continue to amaze me. He writes the characters as well as Whedon himself and has a knack for making me laugh out loud with his witty dialogue.
I highly recommend this to fans of the show or to anyone looking for a good apocalyptic read.
The ultimate showdown: more dragons, a Pegasus, sword fighting, a telepathic floating fish, and a T-Rex!
Illustrating, is Frank Urru, same artist from the first two volumes and Spike:After the Fall. He does a fine job but, after seeing Nick Runge’s illustrations in volume three, it’s hard not to be disappointed. Urru’s versions of the characters are not as detailed as Runge’s and are sometimes difficult to recognize.
Then there’s the ending. Wow. I can’t say much without spoilers, but suffice to say I felt cheated. It is not a total who-shot-JR-ending (man, my references are getting old), but it does create an epic build-up only to fall flat. However, I am grateful to have Angel back in the real world. Hopefully, this will lead to issues and conflicts more reminiscent of the television show.
I recommend this volume to anyone who has read Angel: After the Fall volumes 1-3 or anyone interested in reading Angel & Faith or the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics. This volume concludes After the Fall, and is the start of some massive changes in the Buffyverse.
I had my doubts about Last Angel in Hell. It is not confirmed canon but many fans argue that it should be. I finally decided to go ahead and read it to see for myself. This volume includes four stories: an epilogue to Angel: After the Fall, a two-part Drusilla tale, Boys and Their Toys, and Last Angel in Hell. My conclusion is that these stories are largely unrelated and do not affect the canon Buffyverse. If any of these stories sound interesting to you, then I would recommend hunting down the comic for that particular story as opposed to spending money on this hardcover volume.
Angel After the Fall: Epilogue (Issue #23): brings closure to anyone wanting to know what happened to Gunn and Illyria at the end of After the Fall. Currently, this issue has no direct connection with the rest of the Buffyverse, so you can skip it and not miss out. It’s a slow read and I would only recommend it to anyone wanting to continue on with the non-canon Angel comics as this issue sets up Only Human.
The Drusilla story (Issues #24-#25): interesting because Juliet Landau (the actress who played Drusilla) co-wrote it with Brian Lynch. It’s a neat bit of fandom and there are photos of Landau included at the end of the comics. Urru returns as illustrator though the result is disappointing. Vamp face aside, Drusilla scarcely resembles her television counterpart. However, the coloring is impressive, featuring a desaturated look to emphasize the red blood and the blue of Dru’s dress and eyes. I wanted to like these comics more than I did, I do love Drusilla but there is very little story here. Unless you are a die-hard Drusilla or Landau fan, I’d skip it.
Boys and Their Toys (Issues #26-#27): a fun geek fest. Angel and Spike search for an important artifact at a comic book convention. There are loads of fun references to all things geeky. Also, an epic zombies verses vampires verses kung fu master fight and Angel in drag. These issues are good for a laugh but I thought the characters, particularly Spike’s friend Jeremy (from Spike: After the Fall), were inconsistent with the established storyline.
Last Angel in Hell (Angel Annual #1): the comic adaptation of a fictional film loosely based on Angel’s exploits in Angel: After the Fall. While the confirmed canon (Brian Lynch’s Spike Series) references the film, you don’t need to read this issue to follow the Buffyverse storyline. But highly recommend that you do. Last Angel is a hilarious parody of action films complete with Michael Bay style explosions on every other page and loads of movie references. Nicolas Cage plays Angel, Spike is a woman, Gunn is Jorge Garcia from Lost, and George is the dog from the I Am Legend movie. Lynch has fun with classic movie clichés like the lone-wolf-loose-cannon cop. He also pokes fun at his own work, particularly Angel: After the Fall. “Kind of a cop-out wasn’t?” said one character about the ending. Yes. Yes, it was. I also loved the fictional ads for the Last Angel in Hell cereal and the Doublemeat Palace kid’s meals. Last Angel is a must-read for action movie fans or anyone looking for a fun read!
Brian Lynch’s Spike series!