"Immortality for Dummies", Part II
Written by: Bill Willingham, Art by: Brian Denham, Colored by: Alfred Rockefeller, Lettered by: Neil Uyetake,
Edited by Mariah Huehner
Cover 'B' by: David Messina & Giovanna Niro
Commentary: I just want to point out again the cover. This artwork is beautiful and the team of Messina/Niro should do more together.
Page 01: We join Angel on a gurney, where he has been wrapped tightly mummy-like. He's in the evil corporation of 'Innovation Labs', where he's been connected to tubes.
Page 02: We flashback to 13 days ago. Angel tells us that his problem has been the fame he's acquired since 'After the Fall' ended. He's been trying to downplay the fame in order to continue with his job, but everyone wants to cut themselves in on his sudden noteriety.
Page 03: Angel reflects that with instant messaging and the star-obsessed culture of L.A., he's been unable to go anywhere without a crowd waiting to photograph him and pepper him with offers.
Commentary: I do like that they're addressing the modern realities of the world. Buffy and Angel in their respective series were always behind the 'real world' ... how long did it take everyone to get a cell phone of any kind? And, even though Sunnydale had the best damned internet in the world, apparently no one posted about all of the funky shit happening in town on the forums, or ever got a photograph of Buffy fighting monsters, or ever took a picture of the giant mayor snake, even though they were at a graduation ceremony, where you'd think cameras would have been ubiquitous. These realities do create storytelling challenges in the larger supernatural universe of these tales but I appreciate their grabbing the bull by the horns in the two comic titles [although, I think Angel: Aftermath/S6 handles it better].
Page 04: Angel can barely brush off one person, when two more take his place. All of them looking to be part of Angel's new spotlight ... and in search of being made immortal, which is really the crux of the problem when the undead become public knowledge.
Page 05: Angel's trip to a coffee shop for a cup of coffee becomes a huge thing, as his very presence is causing everyone to assume that there is a killer demon in the crowd and no one is listening as he tries to tell them he just came for a coffee.
Page 06: Things quickly spiral out of control and there is stampede, with one dead and 8 others injured from being trampled....
Page 07: We jump forward a few days to nine days ago. Angel is in a park fighting a pack of vamps, in flashback. In the present, he's bound by the steel-reinforced medical plaster on the gurney. He also lets us know that they've been draining his vamp!blood from him.
The park vamps call him Angelus and wonders why he's persecuted them. Although, why they're not just running is the real question... in fact, why they're not traveling far away from L.A. is also a legitimate question. Ah, well.
Page 08: Unfortunately, there are complications because the 'victims' didn't run as he engaged the enemy. Instead, they decided to take pictures and phone their friends.
People are stupid.
Page 09: The evil vampires offer to follow Angelus and to create an army around him. He declines. In the meantime, the few people who should be running but aren't, are turning into a crowd of spectactors. Once guy complains that the dusting effect of the vampires being staked look 'fake' because they're not exploding dramatically, like on TV.
Commentary: The only fault I'll lay here is how verbose Angel is being with the bad guys. His attempt at banter is lame and much too wordy. The offer of the vampires that they're looking for him to lead them in a demonic army is a little interesting, though, considering Angel's glimpse of his future doing something very like this.
Page 10: Angel has to admit to himself that the last two vampire stakings were more flashy than necessary - playing up to the spectator's cameras than actually being about staking the bad guys. He also knows it is a dangerous mindset and chastizes himself not to trust fame.
Commentary: The image is quite beautiful on this page, but I'm not sure what it is supposed to be symbolizing. He manages to look like he has a halo, and the dusting vampires manage to look like wings. An image of an Angel over Angel. But, he's also thinking to himself that he has to watch what he's doing and not get caught up in the fame surrounding him. So, what is the Angel image stating here -- anything? Was it just a cool image? Is it foreshadowing that the angels that Angel is dealing with currently aren't to be trusted either? Was it just playing on the Angel name with the image for no special purpose?
Page 11: After the battle in the park, one 'Alex Roman' gives Angel a $5000 check for one hour of his time.
Page 12: In present time, Connor begins his leadership of Angel Investigations, with a reminder about the warrior women who saved his life a few days ago.
Page 13: Spike is smart-assey, Gunn points out to Connor that Spike is yanking his chain, Kate is less interested in Connor's warriors than she is in Angel's current whereabouts and James the angel is still there with his problem to sort out.
Connor seems uncertain, which is also not helping to keep the gang focused.
Page 14: There is more discussion about Connor's plans to command his new warrior army to scour the streets for Angel's location, but ultimately it's decided to do so. Spike, though, remains suspicious and asks Connor if he shouldn't be more concerned about what they really want from him.
Page 15: Nine days ago, Angel went to Innovation Labs to hear out Mr. Roman's proposal, which is to grant immortality to the rich. Un-surprise!
Page 16: Alex also fills Angel in on the plans to not just make people vampires, but to make more vampires with souls, so that they won't have an army of monsters running free.
He tells Angel that they're already scouring the world for the most powerful witches and will spare no expense to get them.
Comments: This is actually a clever business plan. Should be quite lucrative, too, though I have no doubt Angel will decline.
Page 17: Angel declines of course, not only because immortality isn't a 'cure-all' for everyone's personal problems but because even if he was of the mood to create vampires for re-souling, Angelus' continued return has shown him how quickly those souls can be released again, letting the monsters roam.
Naturally, Alex Roman has an alternate plan....
Page 18: Alex' second plan is to simply purchase a regular supply of Angel's blood, which he also declines with threats to shut down Innovation Labs plans violently if they don't stop pursuing creating more vampires in the world.
Naturally, Alex is ready for this decline as well. He shows Angel a new product designed in their labs -- Vamp Doze -- which is how Angel ended up trapped.
Commentary: And I guess I'm just too cynical and suspicious, but I find Angel to be a complete dumbass for a) going to this office without back up and b) not thinking, apparently, for a moment about how this could be some sort of trap and c) not recognizing that when high sums of money are involved and dependent on your cooperating that the offer-er of said money to you might not simply take 'no, thanks' as an answer. Idiot.
Also, Angel's dialog feel really off to me here, though I can't really explain it. Like with the vampires he was fighting, he just seems to be too verbose and the word choice feels off somehow ... like he's suddenly channeling Giles or Wes, instead of speaking in the cadence of Angel. It makes the last two pages off....
Also - We continue Eddie Hope's tale, so we end with page 18. Eddie's review will be next....
The Good: Well, it doesn't affect the scoring - but I continue to really like the artwork.
I really like how they continue to explore the ramifications of Angel being a celebrity now and vampires being out of the dark - so to speak.
The Bad: What I don't like is how James is in this issue, but the killer-angels running around L.A. isn't even touched on. It's like that whole meandering storyline kind of petered out, because somebody didn't know where to go with it.
You can also add Dez to this. We see her, but she has no real continued reason to be there without addressing why she doesn't want to return home, since supposedly her mission: Finding animals changed into humanoids and returning them to their natural form, should now be resolved. She's also looking for her sister, still -- I think -- but again: Completely unmentioned.
Other Thoughts: There is a business with Angel's dialog, as well, but your mileage may vary on that one. I do like the 'use Angel's blood for more vampires' though, and it should provide a reason why all of Angel's friends don't just get turned into souled vampires by him in order to 'grant eternal life' to them. I'm sure that this experiment will fail hideously, which is good.
The Score: This is a relatively ordinary issue, but it has good writing and I'm interested in Angel's predicament. Connor's doesn't do much for me, and I'm tired of James' plot so I'd like to just see that resolved and done. I'd also like to see Dez' reasoning for being there still addressed with more dialog or internal thoughts, but I liked this one overall:
3.25 out of 5