Angel (Season 6/Aftermath) #30
"The Trouble with Felicia"
Written by: Bill Willingham, Art by: Brian Denham, Coloring: Alfred Rockefeller, Lettered by: Neil Uyetake
Cover A: Jenny Frison
Where We AreConnor has super ninja demon women who want claim to want to help him and has taken over for Angel, while everyone thinks he off on a case. Illyria and Gunn are dealing with what they became during 'After the Fall'. Kate, telepathic and levitating fish Betta George and Dez the Leopard-woman are all a part of Angel Investigations. James the Angel is still hanging around as the story about the angels shifts from front to back burner. Finally, a few pages of Angel's comic are still being devoted to Eddie Hope and his crusade against humans who preyed on their fellows when L.A. went to Hell (separate review).
Page 01: We open with Spike dictating an "after action" report, in which he states he and Gunn were fighting against a Gragot Demon who'd been chowing down on denizens of the city. He's snotty about having to file a report at all, as you would expect Spike to be. His version of events also involve his playing hero, while Gunn just sort of dithered around.
A Gragot is a flying rodent/reptile cross with glowing orange eyes.
Page 02: Alas for Spike, as he throws himself off a building to land on the Gragot, a second one comes from off panel and snap his leg in its elongated jaw. Spike admits that he didn't see it, but blames this on Gunn's complete lack of warning.
Gunn's report contradicts this, reporting that he did warn Spike there were two of them. He also warned Spike not to split up and go running up to the rooftops until they had a handle on what they were facing. Which, let's face it, sounds much more likely than Spike's version.
Commentary: It is pretty funny. Spike and Gunn could end up being a very amusing odd couple, when Illyria isn't hanging around the vampire.
So, Spike's leg gets torn nearly off. He gets dropped to the ground below, where he lands in a bloody heap. Gunn does take out one of the offending demons.
Page 03: Gunn runs to Spike's aid, where the vampire asks him to shift his leg back into place so it'll heal properly. Gunn tries, but the leg is barely attached by flesh and kind of ... tears off... oops.
Page 04: Gunn has a freak out, which makes him hold onto the leg just a smidge too long... and it dusts away. Spike tells Gunn not to sweat it, as it'll grow back within several days (which is a new vampire power in the Angel comic).
Gunn's report points out that the Gragot that Spike tried to kill totally got away, while the one Gunn shot at was taken down with one blow.
Page 05: In voiceovers, each has reported that the other completely botched the mission and that they alone were able to salvage some small victory from the disaster. While also telling one another that their reports are reflecting that they cooperated and used teamwork to solve a crisis situation....
Commentary: Hah! I grin. I can't help it. I especially love Gunn's report blaming Spike for everything... from Spike, I'd expect nothing less. Interestingly to me though, is that Spike makes a note that he considers Charles a traitor still for his role in 'After the Fall', and he should be thrown out. Hmm. We should remember that Gunn was a soulless vampire in Hell, so my own feeling is he should be given a pass. But, I do like the dynamic here for storytelling possibilities.
Page 06: At Innovation Labs, where Angel is captive, he can hear someone ripping through the heavily reinforced steel walls. It's, of course, Illyria, though he doesn't know this yet.
Page 07: Illyria locates Angel, and he recognizes her by her scent. She tells him she's come to rescue him, but not quite yet... there is something she wishes to discuss.
Page 08: Meanwhile, at the offices of Angel Investigations, Connor brings a matter to the attention of the gang. He recorded an episode of some daffy entertainment talk show which featured popular starlet, Felicia Valentine.
Page 09: Felicia is there to make a special announcement to her fans. Felicia announces that she has recently become a vampire. She's accompanied by a representative... hers or Innovations', I'm not sure. But anyway, the important part is that Felicia tells everyone watching that Angel himself supervised her turning, making her one of the ensouled good guys.
Obviously, everyone at Angel Investigations finds this to be a ridiculous claim. Even, Spike says Angel isn't that stupid.
Page 10: Felicia claims that she wanted to be turn in order to graciously accommodate her fans, so they won't have to watch her get old, or be forced into supporting roles as she ages. The representative (and it must be her manager) also points out how the crews for her shows and movies will also benefit directly, because they'll get paid premium since they'll be working nights, now.
Olga, like the idiot that everyone the world over has become since vampires went public, takes this all in stride and asks her inane questions about adjusting to her new life choice. Felicia does admit that she's struggling with the blood lust that comes with vampirism... and goes into vamp!face.
Page 11: And then tells Olga how good she smells, before ripping out her throat on live television...! Before they cut the transmission, anyway.
Guess that puts paid to any idea that she was a 'good vampire'.
Commentary: The artwork is really good in this issue, and I especially like page 10 & 11 for the vamp face and the gruesome blood effect of Olga's messy exit.
Page 12: At Innovation Labs, Angel is impatient to be rescued (which Illyria can apparently hear... I don't remember her being able to read thoughts, so I don't know when this happened), but Illyria will not have her say denied... plus it isn't quite sunset yet, anyway.
She tells Angel that she's sick of everyone around her wanting her to become Fred again. It isn't going to happen, and they need to get over it. But, she's taken a vow to try to be good... or as good as a demon-god can be, but she wants his help to guide her, because the concept of good and bad is so foreign to her.
Commentary: I wish I knew where it was revealed that Illyria's powers included reading Angel's mind. This is now two beings who can telepathically access Angel's "vampires' minds don't reflect any thoughts and can't be read". I also question why there is no reaction from Innovations to this intrusion or Angel's rescue. We know that Illyria isn't going down easily, but you'd think that if they were going to kidnap Angel, they'd have some sort of countermeasures ready to hold onto him... even against Illyria. And if so, you'd think they'd have responded by now, while she was rambling on.
Page 13: Connor gives a one night pass on the demon killing, unless unavoidable, so that the team can focus on taking out vampires because of their increasing number. Everyone chimes in on a catchphrase, and Spike and Gunn have another amusing argument over it.
Commentary: I've never liked Betta George, but he was at least kinda pretty in a fishy way. Until now, where he looks like goofball. Ugh, please don't show him again except from a distance, Brian.
And, would somebody give a reason as to why Dez is even hanging around yet, after her utter and ill-handled abrupt ending of her whole point for being in L.A.?
Page 14: Next, James and Spike being an argument over which of their catchphrases is more apt. Kate and Connor cut in. Connor has also ordered that any celebrity vampires should be considered prisoners and taken into custody, so they can find out information on Angel.
Commentary: Okay, Brian did fine with George, when he's in profile.
Page 15: Spike calls dibs on A-Lister, Felicia, as he intends to seduce her into surrendering and giving up everything she knows. Kate is both amused and exasperated.
Commentary: Oh, oh. George is in 3/4 front facing, and looks like crap, again.
Page 16: In the boardroom of Innovation Labs, the director is yelling about the disaster that was Felicia's performance on nationwide television. The scientists insist it wasn't their fault, as they have to depend on the witches when they state that the vampires are ensouled. They deplore their sense of ethics over the money they're paid for successes.
Page 17: Which is when a new woman shows up, meant to remind us of Willow. But, she isn't. She's Laura Kay Weathermill.
Laura reports that she was a top magical researcher in the WATCHERS, before they became defunct. (And, well, if I have to tell you how that happened then I question why you're reading this... oh, is it me?! Tell me it's all about ME, ME, ME!!)
Anyway, Laura has gone from the "betterment of mankind" to the "betterment of my bank balance" and promises that she can provide measureable and verifiable results rather than depending on the hodgepodge patchwork of spells they were using up until now.
Commentary: And... somehow... no one appears aware of Illyria YET?! She's been there for an hour or more and she ripped through a steel wall to get there!
Page 18: In Angel's holding room, Illyria disputes Angel's claim that he can't act as a moral conscience with examples of his doing just that via his "behave in this way or I'll kill you" stance on demons. He has to admit to that much, which pleases her.
With this out of the way, she next turns her attention to a second condition of releasing him from capture. Illyria has entered an optimal breeding period and in order to take advantage of this, she wishes to have a breeding partner.
And, before you suggest Angel - she makes it clear that would be ridiculous. And, it isn't Spike either. She asks Angel for permission to seduce his son to father spawn with her.
The Good: The dialog was good throughout, especially the catfighting between Spike and Charles.
Artwork was excellent, except for those few George panels, mentioned (but artwork doesn't generally affect scoring, and doesn't here).
I find the 'using Angel to turn rich clientele into vampires' fascinating, especially when added to the attempt to ensoul them as well. It, on the surface, seems like there would never be a better time to be wealthy... except, it didn't work.
The Bad: Just the fact that James' story continues to sit there unresolved and unfurthered in any way.
Other Thoughts: I'd also like to know what the hell Dez is still doing there, particularly since she doesn't appear to be doing much at all, anyway. Why keep her in the title?
I'm also really iffy on this sudden desire of Illyria's... especially for Connor... maybe if it was Gunn. But, I'd rather just not have the Illyria character want to have sex at all... I'll withhold judgement, though, until we see where they're going. I did find her utter disbelief that she'd consider Angel as a breeding partner amusing, though.
The Score: Not much else to say... 3.50 out of 5