"A Devil Walks Into a Bar..."
Part I of an introduction to new character, Eddie Hope. This is only 4 pages long, so don't expect a lot of commentary other than, "Why?"
Written by: Bill Willingham & Bill Williams, Script by: Bill Williams, Pencils by: David Messina, Inks by: Gaetano Carlucci,
Colors by: Giovanna Niro, Letters by: Robbie Robbins
Page 01: We have a voiceover telling us that the barkeep is number 12 on a list, being kept by presumably Eddie. The barkeep tells Eddie that they're closed when he unexpectedly appears and further tells him that there isn't anything to steal as the cash drop had already taken place, so he's too late to get anything.
Commentary: Again, (see the Angel review) I love this artwork - both pencils and inking.
Page 02: Presumably-Eddie bribes the barkeep with a $20 for a soda. He starts to tell him a 'joke' about a Devil walking into a bar, but then reveals that the barkeep should already know this one.
He points out that the barkeep was a 'devil in training' during 'After the Fall'. The barkeep takes exception to this, threatening Eddie with a bottle and telling him that the whole 'L.A. went to Hell' never happened.
Page 03: Presumably-Eddie gets a bit pissed at this assertion. He assures him that it did happen, and so did the things that the barkeep had done. Including, apparently, cutting up some twins' faces so people could tell them apart.
Eddie then transforms into his real form.
Commentary: I'll admit when we returned to the "After the Fall" theme that seems to be an obsession for IDW's Angel writers, I rolled my eyes. But, this is an interesting twist on things. Eddie appears to be hunting down regular people who did monstrous things while they were in Hell, even if some - like Mr. Bartender here, want to pretend they didn't turn evil while there (which immediately reminds me of my new kinda-love, Supernatural, and Dean's time in Hell - so I am immediately liking Eddie's story but your mileage may definitely vary).
Page 04: Eddie uses a spell that icily freezes the bartender through. A super-powered punch, and the guy shatters into pieces. Eddie tells him beforehand why he's doing this.
Commentary: And, that is it. I told you, it was only four pages. And, I actually have quite a bit to comment on, so that shows me, I guess. First, this was a good hook. Second, do I think it was worth a seperate story, rather than just incorporating it into Angel? I'm not sure. But I do think it was a bit much to take pages away from Angel in order to feature this character. Obviously, he's being introduced already as a possible spin-off title character which I always find to be annoying, personally. But Third, I do like this beginning, so it worked. Plus Eddie is a hunk in both his forms, which obviously won't do much for a lot of you.
The Good: The artwork.
The introduction of Eddie's personal crusade makes the return to 'After the Fall' ... again... more successful than past stories doing the same.
The Bad: Nada.
Other Thoughts: I will admit that I don't think Angel should be shortchanged in his own title just to introduce this character. If they were going to handle it this way, they should have removed some of their ad pages and provided this as a bonus tale, or they should have given Eddie's introduction a few panels over several issues so he doesn't seem so much a focus in somebody else's title. It just strikes me as rude.
The Score: Surprisingly, for such a quick and introductory story, this was actually a good hook into Eddie's ongoing story. It was absolutely superior to the last time this sort of quick-tale was attempted in the "First Night" segments. I gotta score this much higher than I expected....
4.0 out of 5