‘Angel & Spike #16:’ Comic Book Review

Quick recap time: Well, Team Angel has really stepped in it now, and I don’t mean dog poo on the sidewalk. Gatecrashing a werewolf den is probably not the best idea, at least without grandma’s entire set of the good silverware.

Things move at a pretty good clip in this issue, with Angel finally coming face to face with Wolfram and Hart. Things take a wacky turn as Fred finally comes into her own as she deals with Baphomet and then pulls an Illyria of sorts. Things really do seem set up for some interesting new shenanigans, but… despite the new direction that Issue #16 lands us in, this is indeed the final issue of the series, as confirmed by writer Zac Thompson in a series of tweets. As is apparent in Thompson’s aforementioned tweets, the ending of the series came as a surprise, while some rejiggering naturally had to happen. The timing and ending couldn’t be more peculiar, as the arc literally ends on a helluva cliffhanger and so far, and at time of my reviewing this issue, there has been no announcement or clarification from BOOM!.

It's a shame to see the series end in such an unnatural way. The creative team of Zac Thompson and Hayden Sherman achieved quite a bit in their 3-issue run. Aside from the totally new art direction, I’ve entirely enjoyed the bi subtext between Angel and Spike here, and it’s played up quite a bit. I liked the addition of Oz into the mix and would have liked to see him grow into part of the team. While this is totally not the fault of the current creative team at all, it does smart a bit that we never saw Team Angel really coalesce. In retrospect, because of the truncated run, it now feels like too much wheel-spinning happened earlier in the series which resulted in a more muted payoff. And perhaps, just like in real-life, this is why #StoriesMatter because hindsight is always 20/20 and we learn by looking back and reevaluating past data.

Hayden Sherman’s artwork does frenetic action really well. The team against the werewolves has a real dynamic feel to it. There are also some awesome frames that are a stark reminder that this is still a series where the heroes have some true darkness within. Roman Titov’s colorwork is totally a mood, which is to say that it’s bold and expressive as ever. As this is the last time I’ll be writing about Ed Dukeshire’s contribution to this series, let me just say that Dukeshire’s lettering has truly been one of the most consistently great things about this series. Good letterers are crucial, and great letterers are indispensable.

Overall, things end with some tantalizing new directions, but, sadly, that’s where we say goodbye.   

Creative Team: Zac Thompson (writer), Hayden Sherman (artist), Roman Titov (colorist), Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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