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‘Angel #2:’ Comic Book Review

A quick recap of Angel #1: After losing his human protégé, Helen, in Los Angeles, Angel finds himself in Sunnydale. In a flashback, we learn that Angel(us?) used to be the leader of a marauding gang of vampires known as “The Riders.” In a fateful encounter, a young female warrior (Possibly a slayer?) known as Mara falls under his thrall and is sired. As half the issue is dedicated to this dark moment of Angel’s past, it’s very likely that Mara and the rest of the Riders will feature in his story moving forward. In the present, Angel meets up with an old friend, Francis (A nod to Doyle?), and the intriguing Lilith, presumably the mother of demons as per most pop-culture mythology. Lilith warns Angel of a dark force that “feeds on the living,” presumably on human narcissism, envy, and insecurities, driving its victims to do terrible things in return for instant validation. Interspersed with that reveal is the fact that the latest victim is none other than Francis’ daughter who sets her family on fire, killing them all. Pretty dark first issue, huh?

Issue #2 follows much of the same formula as the first issue, with a long scene dedicated to B-plot advancement and some metaphysical exposition about the nature of vampirism… pretty old hat if you’re a long-time fan of the Buffyverse. The A-story then gets going, picking up right where Issue #1 left off. Lilith drops some cryptic hints about the identity of the evil she had warned Angel about, but stops short of really making things simple for him. Meanwhile, the dark presence strikes again, this time leading to the surprise reveal of an old fan favorite in a mental hospital. I won’t spoil who this is, except to say that some elements of her introduction are similar to her introduction in the original show.

Tonally, I think that Bryan Edward Hill is knocking it out of the park… but as a reboot goes, it may be worthwhile saying that perhaps things are playing too close to the original right now. Angel is still a broody Handsome McGallantpants with a few hundred years of moral baggage to atone for. He’s still largely a loner, and his volition seems largely driven by seers instead of any real personal drive, at least for now. The present mystery does seem to be a more contemporary take on some of the issues that drove the early episodes of Angel. While I’m enjoying the return-to-noir roots that Hill writes really well, I’m hoping to be surprised by some fresh elements soon. Considering that Angel is currently in Sunnydale and that there have been some pretty not-so-subtle hints scattered about, it’s pretty likely that Angel and Buffy will officially meet soon, and perhaps the fresh element coming might be in their dynamic (i.e., Will we see Bangel 2.0 or perhaps something entirely different?).

In accordance with my previous review for Angel #0, I’m a fan of Gleb Melnikov’s linework and Gabriel Cassata’s colors. Melnikov’s Angel bears just the slightest resemblance to a young David Boreanaz, but I’m honestly not too fussed about it. It’s a reboot, after all. On the other hand, Melnikov’s composition hit all the right spots for me, with panels that really seem to move in a very natural way. Cassata’s colors complement the lines beautifully and really enhance the atmosphere. The lettering is also pretty effective, with offscreen thought/speech boxes being consistently color-coded. Kinda telling that Angel’s boxes are colored gray…

Overall: While still not overly fresh, Angel #2 is an enjoyable take on the character, and the introduction of another fan-favorite character may indicate some intriguing, new directions soon.  

Creative Team: Bryan Edward Hill (writer), Gleb Melnikov (artist), Gabriel Cassata and Gleb Melnikov (colorists), Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Click here to purchase.

Wenxian Tan, Fanbase Press Contributor



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