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03 January 2013 @ 01:43 am
Review: Angel #44 - the wrap up issue for IDW  
A44

Angel #44

Writers: David Tischman & Mariah Huehner, Artwork: Elena Casagrande, Coloring: Ilaria Traversi, Letters: Neil Uyetake

Cover: Nick Runge


Blurbage: It's all led to here. The Fall, The Aftermath, every moment has been leading Angel to this. Will he be able to save his son and the world... or will he have to make a sacrifice?


Commentary: First, I want to give Nick props for that beautiful cover for the last IDW issue. Second, I also want to give kudos to Elena and Ilaria for their interior artwork -- they really provided some beautiful images in this issue. Lastly, I want to give Neil his due: the letterer is an unsung hero in comic books, because unless it is a complete mess, you don't notice the work that was involved in transcribing dialog onto the page. He has worked hard to make the comic book what it was, and all the letterers should be acknowledged more.

Next, I want to mention some of the weird page copies that are going to be below. My scanner was once again insisting on severely tilting the frames for no explicable reason, except perhaps to drive me to break it. I resisted. But, I did have to copy with the book lying crossways on the scan plate, meaning that the top and bottom of the pages were cut in order to fit the middle of the page correctly. I don't think it is too bad, but yes, the dimensions of the resulting scans may look off. Sorry about that.

Now, onto the issue itself:




Page 01: We open a few seconds prior to the last page of last issue. Laura is using her anger to power a mystic shield to hold off James/Myr temporarily. In the meantime, Gunn is consoling Anne that Connor is going to save her. Connor is attempting to use his new mega-power gained by the actions of the now defunct Sisterhood to smite demons to remove the demonic baby within Anne before it tears her apart 'ALIEN-fashion'.

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We see his eyes start to glow, as last issue... but Connor insists that he isn't doing anything.


Page 02 & 03: Connor's correct. The eye-glow isn't coming from him, but is a reflection of the light from the portal that Angel is using to leave the future and arrive in the present. James is less than happy to see him port in, when he was supposed to have been dead in a fiery car wreck.

Angel and Connor have a bare moment to greet one another.


Page 04: Angel reports when he's been, but is a bit bummed that Illyria didn't follow him through the portal as she could really have been used in facing off against Myr.

He doesn't have time to go into detail with the gang about what happened in the future though, because Myr is intending on still killing them all.


Page 05: Angel faces Myr in hand to hand, complaining about the last time they did this when he had his hands and feet tore off by the false-angel.

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Myr promises more of the same this time.


Commentary: I'm going to go ahead and kudos right here to David and Mariah who really managed to make this issue a fun ride. Their dialog between Angel and James is darkly humorous and they really managed to wrap up IDW's run on the title far more graciously than Spike's issue 8. I left Angel S6 pretty pleased with the wrap up.


Page 06: Angel finds himself thrown across the room, as he often is because it creates cool visuals. When he hits a stone column, he feels something in his pocket.

It turns out that Illyria slipped the all-powerful god-killer stone into his pocket before his leap through the portal.


Page 07: Angel interrupts James' snark about how much death his friends and son are in for by unleashing The Vanishing Gem against him.


Commentary: Love this pages' artwork. Love It.

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Page 08: Myr is far from out, despite his being sucked dry by the Gem, though. He's able to open the portal, threatening to suck everybody but him into the far reaches of the universe for a quick, brutal death. And, hopefully, taking The Gem with them.

Angel shares that he's the one that keeps dying... first in the future by his sister, and now here by Angel.


Page 09: While most of Team Angel is hunkered down, Connor is standing to fight, which is why he's the one to get sucked toward the portal. This allows him to hit Angel, which causes him to lose The Vanishing Gem, which ends up in the portal, which sends it on its trip to the Outer Realms, where W & H can find it in the future.

Angel worries that he's not going to stop the timeline from playing out after all. He's able to grab Connor though, before the kid goes tumbling out into nowhere.

In the meantime, Myr is a bit pissed off that Angel spread that horrible lie about dear Rowant.


Commentary: See my comment last issue about Connor's continuing status as the buttmonkey. Is there really any reason why Gunn or Laura couldn't be the one to plow into Angel? Why is poor, superstrong Connor always the one to be so easily bolloxed?

I really hope that Dark Horse will give him more of a break than he's gotten from Mutant Enemy or IDW.



Page 10: With the gemstone gone through the portal, it closes for the moment to recharge. This allows Angel to order Laura, Gunn and still preggers Anne to get out of there, while Connor and Angel team up to fight Myr.

In the meantime, Myr ditches the human-look in his anger at Angel's insult against his sister. He's gone fully shadow-man, with wings and horns and clawed feet... basically, he's become Luciferesque.


Page 11: Angel makes a cross room leap at Myr, but he's intercepted with a fist in mid-flight and sent to the ground with a rake across his face.

James promises Angel that his death will be like no suffering ever... blah-blah, villain boast. However, his first item is to finally kill Connor and he picks up Angel's son by the throat.

Connor responds with genuine eye-glow. At first Myr laughs this off as only tickling, but it soon turns to screaming in agony as a field of light emanates from Connor and surrounds him.


Commentary: Again, these two pages are really nicely written and the artwork is wonderful.


Page 12: Outdoors, Gunn, Laura and Anne are trying to pull themselves together, but the sand is rumbling under their feet. A huge windstorm of sand assaults them, as they try to find a way to escape what is happening below them.

As they stumble away from the underground entrance, it is being sucked down into a sinkhole of doom.


Page 13: From this sinkhole, erupts a solid column of light. Within the light, Connor and a crouching Angel float. Gunn and Laura stand transfixed in awe at Connor's power moment.

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Page 14: When Angel and Connor land, we find out that they were able to defeat Myr by hoisting him with his own petard. Connor managed to use his new power to transport the baby within Anne into Myr, just as it burst forward into birth. That along with his already being scorched by Connor's demon-burning power was enough to defeat him for good.

The baby is adopted by Anne, as it looks mostly human.


Commentary: Yeah, okay... this part bothers me as far as the writing. Everyone seems to take their suddenly having a demon-child to care for in stride. You'd think Anne herself would be feeling a LOT more ambiguous about all of this, considering. Not to mention Laura Weathermill... the WATCHER... you'd think she'd be looking on the infant with a deep frown at this turn of events... but no.

I guess it's okay, since we need to wrap things up neatly for IDW... but... it's not entirely convincing to me that we'd be all smiles and joking about getting diapers, etc.

Angel's naked abs helps the panel out.



Page 15: The following day, Connor is proudly showing off the changes made to Angel Investigations with his moving the organization to an actual office building. The windows have been provided with that U.V. glass that W & H had. [I always found that to be a bit too convenient, but eh.]

Angel assures Connor that he made a good decision with his CEO power.


Page 16: In the lounge, the gang get caught up on Illyria, the demon baby and how Laura is coping with the death of the Convenient Ball of Know-Everything.

Angel is a bit weirded out that Anne is keeping the little monster.


Page 17: Anne has decided to give the baby a chance. She's named him "Polyphemus D. Steele" in honor of Mr. P's sacrifice. The 'D' stands for Darrow, making one wonder if perhaps he'll be related to Anne in the future [Maybe he'll call himself Darrow... lord knows 'Polyphemus' is a mouthful. A grandchild? Great grandchild?], confirming that the baby won't grow up to be a murderous, evil world-destroyer... maybe....

Angel says good-bye to the gang to take care of some personal business, now that they've saved the world... again.


Page 18: Angel has gone to the new W & H's office in Los Angeles to meet with the representative in the new White Room.


Commentary: And, this hints that there is a conduit in each of W & H's offices, as Spike was also in a White Room in the Las Vegas office in his series.


Page 19: Angel reads W & H the riot act for incompetently trying to manipulate him into turning evil, having to turn back time (from After the Fall) and then allowing Myr and Rowant into the world through the time-rift created as a consequence. He warns W & H that he's not going to allow their Prophecy to come to pass [the vision that Angel received of his leading a demon army to control the world] and that even if they found a way to stop Angel from fighting against W & H's further plans for him, Connor has proven himself capable of stepping up.

He basically tells W & H that they've become impotent. Another tie-in to their ultimate fate in Spike, where W & H is being forced to leave Earth completely due to TWILIGHT's manipulation of them into fulfilling its own plans.


Page 20: With W & H rep taking on Lila's form, she casually tells Angel that she has loads of work to do if he's done. He isn't... quite. He tells the firm to pack up their bags and get out of L.A.

They're over, and he's done with them.


Page 21: Connor has followed Angel to W & H. He waiting on the sidewalk when Angel leaves to make sure that things went okay. Angel confirms that everything is now fine. He further tells Connor how proud he is to be the kid's father.

Connor hopes that Angel isn't going to vanish on him, as he'll need some support dealing with his new powers. Angel promises he isn't going anywhere.


Commentary: As we know, this isn't quite true. We'll not see Connor being involved in the TWILIGHT mess and later in Angel & Faith, he'll mention that Angel has been a no-show for some indeterminate amount of time.

At least with the same company, they can now interact again. But, I remain wishing that IDW had both licenses.

Also note that Connor trades in the Hummer for the Plymouth GTX that was in the future!Angel museum room.



Page 22: Angel takes a walk around L.A., enjoying feeling freed from W & H's destiny-crap and reflecting on the friends who helped him along the way that are no longer in the picture: Wes, Fred, Cordelia, Lorne and Doyle.


Commentary: This was a really nice way to wrap things up and is much appreciated. The inclusion of Lorne confused me, but the Buffy Wiki was there to explain why he'd be included in the 'friends-gone' montage.

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The Good: The artwork and cover was really on the game for this final issue. Kudos, kudos, kudos (but it doesn't affect scoring).

I really liked the entire fight against James/Myr... it was kinetic, exciting and had momentum from the first page to the defeating of him.

I liked the wrapping up with Team Angel at the new Angel Investigations with Connor still in control as well.


The Bad: Nothing was badly done.


Other Thoughts: The demon-baby issue was a bit too pat with no one worried at bit about one of James' creations being allowed to live. You would think that'd at least be a question hanging over the team, but no one even suggests that they're ambiguous about it. This is especially jarring for Anne and Laura, who you'd think would have some strong reservations about trying to raise the monster-child. I suppose killing the demon-infant would be a really dark place to go for the light-hearted ending of the series, but it seems like it should have at least been broached.

Which, speaking of... the scene with W & H wasn't really needed, so those pages could have been spent discussing the above instead.


The Score: I really thought that IDW did a great job of wrapping up their run of Angel with this issue.

4.25 out of 5


--end--

Next Up: SUPERNATURAL's "Bloody Mary"