harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

Angel #31 -review (main tale)


(Season 6)

Issue 31

"The Big Dustup"

Writer: Bill Willingham, Artist: Brian Denham, Colorist: Alfred Rockefeller, Letterer: Robbie Robbins, Editor: Mariah Huehner

Cover B Artist: David Messina

[Eddie Hope also has a 4-page tale that will be its own review]

Page 01: In L.A., Connor is leading the armored, ninja women on a patrol in which there is much slaying. Connor's voice over mentions that later the local news will cast it in less than flattering terms for Team Angel.

Page 02: Connor's voiceover tells us that other teams headed by an A.I. member and supported by more of the Sisterhood members were out doing the same thing.

Commentary: Interestingly, Connor refers to his own patrol teams as Hunter Killer Teams. And, he's made his plan clear that this is to deliberately reduce the overall vampire population in one night throughout L.A.

Perhaps some of that backstory coming into play -- this seems like a plan that Holtz would have made him familiar with in Quor'Toth.

Page 03: In keeping with L.A. denizens not really living in the real world, the gawkers don't flee when the battle is going on.

Page 04: One of the vampires flees and Connor sends the head of the Sisterhood after it. There is some misunderstandings in what he means by checking their cell phones for reception in case they need backup, but they do as they're instructed.

In the meanwhile, he berates the gawkers for treating the life and death battle with the vampires as a 'show', instead of getting out of there. Their answer is to ask for an autograph from "Angel".

Page 05: Connor's voiceover establishes that he's mostly trying to save the more stupid people because Angel wants him to, even when - like his current circumstance - he doesn't understand why.

Meanwhile, at Innovation Labs, Illyria is taken aback by Angel not being in agreement with her plans to seduce Connor in order to create offspring while she's entered into her mating period.

Commentary: Illyria's lines are great, here, as she not only dispassionately dissects Connor's character, but also his previous fling with Cordelia while she was under Jasmine's control. Since I've included a page scan... you should read her dialog; it's pretty funny. I also really love the artwork for her close up in that last panel.

Sorry for the tilt, that would be my scanner getting confused with the layout again for whatever reason.

Page 06: We join Spike, where he is trying to gain entrance to a home to which he hasn't been invited. Connor's voiceover informs us that he was the only one in Team Angel that wouldn't take any of the Sisterhood with him. Connor finds this a surpise.

Commentary: This is a sly reference to Spike's women/demon commandoes in "After the Fall", which actually makes me wonder whatever happened to them. This is especially true of Maria, the spiderlegged-from-spine woman. I would have thought that at least she would have become one of the support players of Team Angel as long as Spike remains in the title. I'm wondering if she comes up in Spike (where he went to Vegas) ... I haven't read that one through yet, but I do have it and will review it when reference is made to it in Angel.

Page 07: A housekeeper happens out at that time, but she's running in horror and he has to chase her down. She warns that the house is filled with blood, but he convinces her to invite him into the home as apparently now domestic servants also have invitation rights for vampires.

Page 08: Spike has been tracking down Felicia Valentine since she'd made a snack of tv-talk-show hostess, Olga on-air. She's taken refuge with her co-star on her "Sects In The City" show. Unfortunately, for him.

Page 09: Felicia is delighted to meet a fan and invites Spike to share her meal, which he declines.

Commentary: Love this page. Love it.

Page 10: Connor voices over that he was concerned about Spike. Spike, however, is fine. In fact, he's better than fine. Y'see he considers himself one of Felicia's biggest fans... at least of her work while she was alive. And now, her vampire self is quite horny since her killing spree and eating her co-star.

He's quite happy to oblige.

Page 11: Connor further is bothered that he hasn't located his missing father.

Angel isn't really missing, though. Illyria has found him, she's just not interested in helping him escape his imprisonment, yet.

Commentary: Again, I really love the last panel, artwise, of the close up of Illyria's face. The dialog here though is dull, rather than fun. Also, I think they made an error in Connor's voiceover to have him refer to 3pm, when clearly it is night, so probably should've been 3am.

Page 12: We now rejoin Laura Kay Weathermill... supposed ex-WATCHERS COUNCIL member and witch. She had told Innovation Labs that she could solve their turning-rich-folk-into-vampires-oops-they're-evil-who-saw-that-coming-? problem. Y'see she is claiming that she can ensure that souls arrive with the new vampire-turning, so there aren't any more debacles like with Felicia.

She insists here that for her service, she needs to be alone because their natural scientific skeptiscm is ruining everything, and that is why they're use-Angel's-blood plan isn't creating vampires just like him.

Commentary: One can certainly understand thinking she's trying to pull a scam of some sort, but this is really about her looks. Last issue I mentioned that she was drawn to remind us of Willow. Well, this issue, she looks just like Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully, which is ironic under the circumstances. I have an instant dislike for her, but that just be her whole "I can't be watched, 'cause it throws off my vibes" deal. It just sounds like a crock, and at this point, I'm not sure if it is meant to sound like a crock because it actually is.

Page 13: As the head of Innovation gives into her demands, she tells them not to open the secured door until she tells them to - including the phrase to let them know she isn't being coerced.

Page 14: Meanwhile, in the pre-dawn sky, Felicia is fit to be tied (HAH-hah!). No, really. Spike tied her up pretty tightly. He is redressing and for those who must know, Spike is a boxers man, wearing ones with hearts on them, when he isn't going commando {Oh, and her last name is Valentine... hearts on shorts... Valentine... ew.}

Page 15: Spike gathers up the bound Felicia to bring her back to HQ. He believes that she can be 'persuaded' to give up where Angel is, since it was his vamp!blood that allowed her to be turned in the first place.

Page 16: Oh, Miss Weathermill was a sly one. She wasn't there to actually ensoul Innovation Labs' clientele. She is there to exterminate them. Which she does with a good old stake and under the watchful eye of her 'partner', a blue and talking hovering ball, Mr. Polyphemus.

Commentary: I still don't like her. She uses phrasing like, "taking corrective measures", for staking the vampires. That's already trying too hard to be clever, but then she pulls out that stupid sentient ball, and somehow it's an even worse character design than the ridiculous floating, telepathic, air-breathing fish.

Page 17: In the corridors, lead scientist is highly skeptical of Laura, as it turns out he should be. But, head of Innovation is sick of the incredible blunder that has happened with the whole premature release of Felicia Valentine. He makes everyone get out of his sight and write up a report on why they shouldn't be fired.

When he returns to his office, he finds someone waiting for him (who we don't see yet) and wonders how whoever got in there (I'm hoping for Dru and a good slaughter).

Page 18: Waiting for him in his office is the finally-released-by-Illyria Angel and the god-king. Angel is sitting in his bandages and black boxers. Illyria is standing at his side. They're both looking less than in the mood for Exec's imperious tone.

Commentary: Excellent work done on Angel, here. He does look like he's been drained for days with the artwork and the coloring, especially. Even his face looks like he's put on some age because of the blood drain. I do have to wonder about his crotch area, though, because I could swear that they snuck in a huge penis into the contours of his black underwear.

[And, as mentioned, the last four pages are Eddie's tale, which will be reviewed separately.]

The Good: I really liked the Angel-as-unwilling-Sire storyline.

I also really liked a lot of the artwork and loved Illyria's slightly insulted tone when Angel didn't immediately give his consent to seduce his son to make mini-godlings with.

I like the little throwaway panel showing Spike moving at prenatural speed when he chases down the panicked housekeeper.

The Bad: Mr. Polyphemus: first a levitating fish, now a levitating ball.

Connor's voice over is clumsily done. They should have made it consistent throughout the issue, used it only in pages on which he appears, or simply forgone it completely. It doesn't really work for pages 4 & 5, because it just suddenly stops and by the issue, you can't tell that we're in flashback [which is what his VO seems to suggest] or in real time [which is what the rest of the issue seems to suggest about Connor's role in the story].

Other Thoughts: I wish I was more engaged with Connor's new and mysterious minions, because I like the way Connor's character is written in the comic. But, his sudden army is hard to get into as characters, because they're all in identical armor and they don't have different enough personalities to get engaged with. Miss Weathermill certainly does have a personality and though I'm cool toward her, I do appreciate her introduction and her very confident style. I just hate that her partner is a ball... that talks... and floats....

The Score: 3.50 out of 5

Tags: angel s6 review

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