With Issue #44, IDW’s Angel series comes to a close. IDW has taken the vampire with a soul through a multitude of adventures during their time with him, some good and some less than good. While the final issue of Angel is not exactly the pulse-pounding ending the series deserves (and some of that can be blamed on Dark Horse’s snatching of the license), they do manage to deliver something the tortured lead character is not necessarily used to: a sense of hope.
Here’s a quick summary of Issue #44:
While Connor attempts to use his unusual powers to save Anne from the demon baby growing inside her, Laura channels her anger over the death of Mr. Polyphemus into a protection spell that is barely holding off the epically evil James. Just when all seems lost, a portal opens courtesy of the future version of Illryia, and our hero Angel comes jumping through.
James and Angel trade punches until James gains the upper hand. Using the vanishing gem provided by Darrow, Angel is able to momentarily immobilize James, but a twist of fate knocks the gem from Angel’s hand, sending it through a portal to the farthest point of the outer realms, or as James calls it, home. With the help of Connor and his new super powers, James is defeated and the demon inside Anne is born without killing her.
Back at the new offices of Angel Investigations, the team reflects and bonds over the events of the previous issues. Angel makes a final stop at Wolfram & Hart’s white room to make it clear that he’ll always be there to stand in their way. And even if he’s not, Connor is following in those footsteps. In the final shot of the series, Angel does his trademark exit down an alley as he contemplates Doyle, Cordy, Wes, and his other fallen friends. They’ve always been and continue to be his reason to keep fighting. It’s time to get back to work.
Invincible #68 just came out, and boy is it great. Robert Kirkman’s Invincible is, by far, the best comic series currently running.
For those of you unaware of Invincible, here is a quick recap: Mark Grayson is your typical, teenage boy dealing with all of the usual problems including school, girls, and growing up. That is where the normalcy ends. His father is Omni-Man, an alien who came to Earth and became its greatest hero. The series started just before Mark’s own powers began manifesting.
The series is notorious for being a pastiche of iconic comic book characters and playing with the usual conventions of the medium. Omni-Man is an obvious nod towards Superman, and his team of superheroes strikes a strong resemblance to the Justice League.
Buffy Season Eight has been a long, ambitious journey, but, as with all seasons, it has come to an end. As with other well-constructed shows, the previous seasons of Buffy featured overarching themes that were revisited in each season’s finale. While Buffy has struggled to convince its fan base that this was still possible in Buffy's venture into comics, Season Eight and its messages can now be viewed as a whole. While not flawless, the season remained a major accomplishment for the Buffy team and gave a Whedonish view of what happens when you change the world and how, despite good intentions, no one can completely hold onto the mantel of hero or villain when operating on a global level.
Eulogy for a Fallen Watcher
Once again, we gather to bury a fallen member of the Watcher’s Council.
Once again, we gather to bury a fallen friend in the never-ending fight against evil.
Rupert Giles was an extraordinary man, but he would not want to be remembered as such. He would not want us to remember the feats that he accomplished, the lives he saved, or how many times he played a vital role in saving our world. Instead, he would want us to remember what a dangerous life all watchers, slayers, and other soldiers in the good fight lead, and how he felt lucky to have the wealth of time that he did.
IDW’s Angel books have been giving me a buzz lately. That kind of shimmering excitement you’d feel as a kid when there were only two weeks left in school. The anticipation of IDW’s wrap-up is enormous and rides on three story lines (the flagship Angel series, Brian Lynch’s brilliant Spike mini-series, and the Illyria: Haunted mini-series) that will bridge the gap between IDW’s Angel timeline and Dark Horse Comics’ Buffy Season Eight. The final issue of Illyria: Haunted has arrived, and, while the mini-series itself has both moments of greatness and weakness, IDW has done a solid job of advancing the story of an interesting and difficult character.
After a great issue last month and the excitement of the coming ties to Dark Horse's Buffy Season Eight, I want to say good things about issue #42 of Angel. Sadly, this issue seems to slow the pace of the story. In addition, it contains writing that feels off for certain characters, leaving this reader feeling as if IDW has given us a filler issue when they should be making the best use of their time left with Angel. Still, there are some interesting things going on and a fairly surprising cliffhanger, so, perhaps, this issue will end up being the wind up for IDW's final punch.