Christopher Cantwell brings his version of Angel to a close in a bittersweet and ultimately kind of familiar way. It’s got rollicking action tempered with a couple of sweet moments between a few of the characters. Cantwell’s run is perhaps the closest the franchise has felt to the spirit of its TV predecessor in a very long time. In just 8 issues, Cantwell and Co. have given us a crew that feels familiar but could ultimately serve as a total reboot to the franchise. The ending even pays homage to the original in many ways, while subverting a few “givens” when it comes to certain relationships. It is in these ways that Cantwell’s iteration makes the argument for how a reimagined series can be successful while respecting the source material. Reboots and reimagined series are often criticized for not presenting any “new ideas,” which I personally feel is missing the point. A reboot doesn’t necessarily have to be “all-new” all the time. Rather, I feel like it should honor the original (which was apparently good enough to be worthy of a retelling in the first place) but find new ways to tell stories that stay true to the ethos of the original. Ultimately, most stories are very similar, but it’s the details that matter. Those details, especially those that haven’t aged well, that’s where reboots/reimaginations can truly make a difference. #StoriesMatter because they’re for all of us, so increasing inclusivity is one of the ways in which stories should be updated.
The art team of Daniel Bayliss, Patricio Delpeche, and María Agustina Vallejo finish off the series in great style. The artwork has it all: drama, action, romance, farce… you name it. Bayliss’ linework looks incredible here, and if you dug his style in the previous issues, you’re in for a treat with this issue. His rendition of a particular character is the only one that’s actually tried to capture her likeness in a very long time… it all comes down to that magnificent nose. Both Delpeche and Agustina Vallejo’s colors just elevate the artwork here, seemingly being effortless with communicating the vibe and emotional background of each scene. Becca Carey’s lettering has been a major contributing factor to the feel of this series, and I don’t think letterers often get enough credit for how much they influence how a book looks and “sounds.”
Overall, in retrospect, I really wish that this was the Angel series that we had gotten with BOOM!’s reboot. By dialing down the scope and keeping a finite end in sight, Cantwell et al. have given us two solid arcs that feel fresh without having to reinvent the proverbial wheel.
Creative Team: Christopher Cantwell (writer), Daniel Bayliss (artist), Patricio Delpeche and María Agustina Vallejo (colorists), Becca Carey (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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