'The Beginning of the End, continued'
Writers: David Tischman & Mariah Huehner, Artwork: Stephen Mooney, Inks: Stephen Thompson, Coloring: Lisa Jackson,
Lettering: Neil Uyetake, Cover B: Nick Runge
Blurb: While Angel is still busy playing in the future, discovering that life without Wolfram & Hart might actually be worse than life with them, Connor and Co. are trying to find out more about James, and run into Anne who's looking a little worse for wear...
Page 01: At Angel Investigation's new pad, the current incarnation of the team is grieving for Angel's 'death'. At least Anne certainly is... she's the only one with the tears. Gunn sits looking glum (which is sorta default mode), Laura has her back to us - but she may have a hanky out. Connor, though, he's got his mind focused on James/Myr rather than wallowing in his loss.
Page 02: Gunn has never liked Connor's taking over AI, and there is still the bitterness between them over vampire!Gunn killing Connor in Hell-Angeles. He takes this opening to tear Connor a new one by telling him he's only half the man his father ever was.
Laura, however, is forced to agree with Connor that they simply don't have time for this. She posits that Connor's new demons-to-dust that he pulled out for the Sisterhood of Jaro Hull gals may give them a tactical advantage they shouldn't waste.
Connor's new power comes as news to Anne, who seems over Angel's 'loss' awfully quick.
Commentary: I don't know. Is Anne a plant by James to screw with Connor and Angel until he can destroy them? Her survival is continuing to bug me and it doesn't make sense that she wouldn't be implanted with a demon right now. Her fainting spell last issue could be the developing demon, or it could have just been exhaustion and stress due to her big escape.
I'm hoping that she's got a demon brood developing and she's playing the spy, because otherwise I'm going to need an explanation for why she's even alive and I have a feeling I won't get it. I just hope she's saved. 'Cause if she is impregnated, it's a cruel fate and we got enough of that with Fred... we'll talk more.
Page 03: While Mr. Polyphemus pinpoints interdimensional energy that could be related to James, Connor leaves the tense room behind to go to a desk on the second floor. Gunn prods him to get with the action, rather than sitting around, but Connor is looking for something specific... a business card.
Anne wonders about all of the infighting, but Laura waves it off as their being a spirited bunch.
In the meantime, we know by Connor's voiceover that he isn't as accepting of Angel's supposed demise as he's letting on, but he's trying to focus on something else to keep from an emotional breakdown right when they can afford it least.
Commentary: I gotta go with Connor on this one. Gunn is being too hostile and, I'd even say childish. Plus, Angel has been thought to be dead before and has shown up alive. Unless Kate's CSI team can come up with human ash remains to denote Angel's dusting by fire, I can see Connor not completely buying it even if he isn't sure enough not to be frantic that his father really could be dead. And, none of that makes Myr's threat the least bit less.
Page 04 & 05: Meanwhile in the future, Angel comes across a replication of his first L.A. office that he shared with Cordelia and Doyle. He finds a virtual Angel museum, including his wrist stakes, his Plymouth, a WWII uniform (a subtle shout out to 'Blood and Trenches'?) and other paraphrenalia.
Page 06: He's taken aback a bit, and is seriously annoyed by the wax figure of himself.
Page 07: Darrow catches up with Angel, proving to be the collector which makes him seem like a creepy Angel-stalker. He seems to want to impress Angel.
He offers Angel a future!gun to help in his future!fight against Myr, but Angel goes with one of his swords from the museum instead.
Commentary: Yeah, they try to explain it away as preferences - but like with the Slayers' injunction on firearms it doesn't make a lot of sense to never-never use them. He should at least have it as a back-up weapon.
Page 08: At the same time, in Myr's bedchambers, he's apparently been unable to perform to his sister's satisfaction. She's conciliatory. He's distracted and admits to having been very lonely without others of their kind.
Page 09: Rowant turns conversation to resistance to his rule over a cigar of charred vampire fangs. Myr admits to some minor resistance in the form of W & H, but doesn't take any threat from them seriously. Myr excuses himself to attend to some minor administrative matters.
Page 10: In the past, that is the present, we see Myr's beginnings of turning Earth into the breeding grounds it will be....
Page 11: The business card Connor retrieved is for Dravot Singh. We met him briefly in at the tale-end of Issue 38 where he was looking for Angel. He works for Wolfram & Hart, and Connor has decided they need to turn to W & H's vast knowledge base since they're not getting any answers about Myr from their other sources.
Page 12: Connor gets into a confrontation with Dravot, because Mr. Singh wants to deal only with Angel. Obviously, that isn't possible. Connor doesn't share why.
Page 13: Laura explains that Connor is heading AI and has the full support of their entire team. She doesn't share that their entire team consists of three people and a glowing ball.
Laura lays Myr's being on Earth directly at W & H's feet for their time manipulation stunt that allowed him access to this plane in the first place. Mr. Singh isn't ready to concede that point, but does offer that even if that were so, that still doesn't give him a reason to share what the firm knows.
Connor confidently tells him that W & H can't kill Myr... while he can (which is mostly a hopeful bluff).
Page 14: Dravot shares that Myr is one of the really, really old ones... like Cthulhu old, pre-Universe old.
What is more interesting to Connor though, is that W & H are "concerned" about Myr's exponentially fast breeding of demons.
Commentary: So, I've already stated my like of the 'James' and Rowant characters (once James' story wasn't sitting like a lump in the background and he was still pretending to be an Angel for no apparent reason), but one of the issues with the "Great, Old Ones" story is that you then have to explain why they seem to want such human things like power, riches, etc. Why are they bothering with these petty mechanations if they're older than the universe, for crickey's sake?
It also has another problem... the whole, "I'm beyond the most powerful thing ever, but I'm gonna take on a human form so I can be nice and vulnerable" logic-bomb.
Now, like I've also stated, I haven't finished reading IDW's wrap up of Angel, S6 so I don't know what sort of explanations (if any) we'll get other than "I'm bored", which is never satisfying or much of an explanation. So, I'm not commenting on how this is handled, but just offering a bit of advice: If you want to include a universe-spanning/all destroying/power incarnate plot -- you really need to think through WHY, WHY and WHY or it really won't work.
See the issues BTVS: S5 ran into during the Glorificus arc, when she too was shoved largely into the background to keep her from squashing Buffy.
Page 15: Laura's smooth spiel seems to work on Mr. Singh, as he becomes more cooperative. In fact, he becomes so cooperative that he's willing to help AI by giving them an off-screen McGuffin that leaves them awed.
Page 16: In the future, Angel and Darrow are on the streets and on the move. Darrow is something of a history buff... especially when it comes to Angel... he's got more than a whiff of fanboy about him. He peppers Angel with a bunch of questions about his personal history.
Page 17: Angel notices Darrow seems much more afraid of the police than any W & H employee should be. He explains to Our Lunkhead that Myr controls everything, including the police (well, duh... Blockhead). They're out after curfew, which means they can't afford to be seen.
Commentary: Again, duh. This page is coming much too late in this tale. Angel has seen enough to make this deduction already, and the very fact that Darrow went to all of this trouble to timetravel him here should tell him everything he needs to know about Wolfram & Hart's current position in this world. It's wasted space.
Page 18: Darrow leads Angel to a hidden entrance into a building interior. They're briefly confronted by a demon who is half-starved and on drugs, which Darrow takes care of with that gun that Angel won't carry.
Page 19: Darrow shares tidbits of his prior personal history as being born via one of Myr's baby-factories and he'd had actually known their attacker. They'd been batch-mates. They had escaped together, but where Kohl wasn't able to do anything with their freedom, Darrow had made it to law school and joined W & H. He'd managed to rise all the way to being the first demon partner in the firm.
Commentary: How. I don't understand this world, or why Myr would allow life to go on as usual with things like law school and rival law firms. It makes no logical sense, considering the nature of Myr and Rowant. This type of dystopian future!world could work just fine if James/Myr wasn't the character that he is with the very clear goals that he apparently has.
He's just the wrong character to think that Earth would be allowed to go on pretty much as usual, just more crapsack.
Page 20: Angel follows Darrow down into an utility access tunnel that will lead into Myr's building.
But, Angel quickly finds Darrow unconscious on the ground, right before he gets a hard blow to the face. He's also rendered unconscious with ease.
Page 21: The attacker stands over him, and tells him it is good to see him again while also apologizing that the circumstances weren't better. The attacker appears to be Illyria with a new land-octopus companion.
Page 22: Meanwhile, back at AI HQ, Gunn and Mr. Polyphemus are watching over the sleeping Anne. The Ball - now with glowy powers - reveals that he believes that he's come up with what happened to Connor during the Sisterhood confrontation.
Mr. Polyphemus believes that Connor is destined to be a Power himself, but that his transformation has only begun due to the Sisterhood's ritual. In fact, Connor - physiologically speaking - could be considered nearly identical to Myr. This is more than enough for Gunn to decide that they can't allow Connor to evolve, which means Gunn may have to kill him again....
The Good: I like the continuing accept/hate relationship between Gunn and Connor.
I also like the Darrow and Angel interactions, for the most part.
Myr and Rowant are delightfully twisted, which is evilly fun.
Wolfram & Hart's interest in the present (where they must fail to stop James with Connor's help) and the future resistence on Angel's side is neat.
The Bad: The future!world is still really illogical for the designed purpose of Myr's use and his 'power-level'. It just doesn't make sense that the world wouldn't be a lot more of a charnal house, unless we get a lot more indication that there is ongoing plots against Myr's control, worldwide.
Other Thoughts: I'm still ambivalent about Anne's survival, but I'm withholding judgement to see if it comes to anything that would offer an sensible explanation.
I'm hopeful that Illyria's involvement will be something cool, like maybe she'll stand against Angel's changing the way the world is now, but again, I'll have to reserve judgement until I see what is done with her.
As to the Gunn-killing-Connor bit... well, has anyone in the Buffyverse not tried to kill each other at this point. Unless you're going to do something really shocking, or at least follow through with logical consequences (like Gunn's ouster from the group for good), I don't really know why we'd go there. But, again, reserved judgement since I don't know where it goes since I haven't read the following issues yet.
The Score: 3.50 out of 5 stars
Up Next: Angel #42