Angel: After the Fall
Plotted by: Joss Whedon & Brian Lynch, Scripted by: Brian Lynch,
Lettered by: Robbie Robbins, Betta George Illustration: Tim Kane,
Spike Illustration: David Messina, Colors by: Ilaria Taversi,
Connor Illustration: Stephen Mooney, Colors by: Lisa Jackson,
Lorne Illustration: John Byrne, Colors by: Leonard O’grady [sic],
Edited by: Chris Ryall
Cover (B) By: Joe & Rob Sharp
The Situation: Angel, his team and his acquaintances have been pulled along with Los Angeles and its environs into Hell. Last issue Angel was in the fight of his life to overthrow the current Lords who’d divided Hell Angeles between them. Fortunately, his friends weren’t about to let him get his butt kicked and so jumped into the fight with him. What they don’t know, is that Angel is currently mortal – Shanshu as punishment, thanks to W & H. What they also don’t know is that Illyria is having her own issues, namely that she turns into Fred with all of her vulnerabilities whenever she has an unaccustomed human emotional reaction to events – something that the sudden appearance of Wes’ ghost triggers at the worst time. Wesley himself is bound by his perpetual contract to Wolf, Ram and Hart and is now acting as their liaison to Angel. Alas, we are taking a break from the action in an ill-timed three issue “First Night” limited series within a series….
Page One: We see Betta George (a floating, telepathic, air & water breathing fish-demon) in happier times. Currently he’s held prisoner in Gunn’s fortress. Gunn, himself, was yanked from the alley and turned into a vampire. He has his own grandiose plans which involve “saving everyone” from Angel’s mistakes – except that his version of ‘save everyone’ seems to involve a lot of biting of necks and leaving corpses behind.
Anyway, Betta was happily doing his thing – entertaining the rugrats in a water theme-park and not killing anyone, when suddenly L.A. turned into Hellsville.
Page Two: We start Spike’s story here. He’s fighting the demon horde in the alleyway (Not Fade Away), when suddenly his attackers vanish. Along, I’ll also note, with his injuries.
Page Three: Spike immediately recognizes that he’s in Hell. The sun and moon are sharing the sky, and yet he’s not bursting into flame. In addition, the sky is quite red, and tentacles are springing from some of the buildings. Spike has a laughing fit.
Page Four: He’s laughing because he’s managed to survive is second “biggest bad since Eve bit the apple”… obviously referring to the First Evil and now W & H.
He figures, briefly, he’s done enough for the cause and can sit out whatever is going to happen next. Until he sees a damsel in distress.
Page Five: The damsel he sees happens to be Fred. She’s lying in a circle of flames. She weeps with joy to see a familiar face, though he remains confused about how she could be back.
A scream interrupts their tender moment….
Page Six: Well, Spike (despite his “I am now a retired twice-champion” plans) intervenes to save two passing civilians by looks like human-faced, fat spiders. They’re some hideous beasts, for sure.
Page Seven: As Spike fights, Fred comes into view – Spike warns her away while he Champions, but she doesn’t seem to hear.
Fred transforms into Illyria (which we’ll see her do a lot back and forth) and rips one of the spider demons in half. Spike is disturbed… he thought maybe W & H had healed Fred, just as they’d healed him of his injuries.
Page Eight: The two save-ees ask if they can hang with Spike, since he’s obviously a fighter and can offer protection. He sadly tells them sure – he was retired, but it got boring after a while.
In the meantime, Illyria single handedly takes care of the rest of the beasts. One of the women they just saved tells him she doesn’t look like she needs protection, but he tells her that “she really does”….
Part II Review will continue with Connor’s tale.
The Good: The artwork is pretty gorgeous.
We get to see how Spike and Illyria ended up staying together when the rest of the team has been transported all over Hell.
The spider-demons are pretty icky, as is Illyria’s ripping them in half.
The Bad: The tale is so short! And, there’s really nothing to it; in fact, this part of Spike’s tale should have just been included in his own 4-issue series.
The Score will be included at the end of Part III of the review. And, by the way, it's difficult to come up with Commentary when things are so short!