'The Risk of Skipping Ahead'
Story: Bill Willingham & Bill Williams, Scripting: Bill Williams, Artwork: David Messina, Inking: Gaetano Carlucci,
Coloring: Giovanna Niro, Lettered by: Robbie Robbins
Edited by: Mariah Huehner
Cover B by: David Messina
Page 01: Eddie Hope, having gained entrance to an exclusive party for his targerts, goes on the offensive nearly immediately. Eddie shoots the help (the humans) who thought to interfere.
Commentary: So, let's take a closer look. Eddie is there to hunt down a man named Jacob Crane, who in some way was able to trade his own life for those of his fellow people when L.A. was stuck in Hellangeles. Eddie's been working his way up the ladder and is now at Crane's party. But nothing is as simple as that.
Eddie pulls out his gun and shoots dead the humans in the employ of his target, which seems a bit much... sure, one of them is named Jimmy 'Baby-Eater' McGee, so it is hard to sympathize with him. But, this is clever if their plan is to put Angel and Eddie into conflict.
Crane, the main target, sends vampires after Eddie.
Page 02: Eddie shoots one of the vampires, which slows him down a bit, but there are three more. He shucks his human to engage in his Blue Devil getup. Crane retreats while the vamps engage the devil, but really, they're massively outclassed.
Commentary: Which leads to my wondering, again, why Eddie bothers with subterfuge at all. So far, he's had no problems with going where he likes and doing what he wants when he gets there. I also don't understand why he keeps trying to engage the baddies in his human form in the first place. I understand not wanting to stand out with the blue skin and the horns and the tail, but once he gets into where he wants to be, why doesn't he just go blue, immediately?
Page 03: Eddie notes that his true target is making his escape. He throws himself out of a window so he can skip out on wasting more time with the minions, landing on Crane's engine hood.
Commentary: I love the vampire minions' lines here:
Minion One: 'Look. A blueberry demon.'
Minion Two: 'Let's eat him.'
Page 04: Eddie confronts Crane, who is on the phone reporting the problem to someone named Zhang. Crane is ... perturbed... that Eddie still has access to his devil-powers, which he was apparently not expecting.
Eddie makes quick work of Crane, but Zhang is still out there....
Commentary: Unfortunately, Eddie's powers are so great in comparison to the humans he's targeting and the vampires on their payroll that his story has become repetitive and unexciting. This is never clearer than here. Crane has been the target over the Hope arc [taking space from Angel's comic book in the process], just to be summarily dispatched with anti-climactic ease. In fact, the effort Eddie did go through seemed to be more about his stretching out his arc, then about necessity within the story.
What they needed was to have some powerful magics at their disposal or a real powerhouse bodyguard protecting Crane that would have put Eddie Hope at actual risk. There just hasn't been anything here to justify the focus on Eddie's crusade after the arc's interesting beginning.
The Good: I'm still liking the artwork.
Eddie himself remains interesting to me.
The Bad: The anti-climax is a problem, after Eddie has been spending so many pages trying to get to Crane.
Also, the lack of anything that approaches actual risk to Hope means there isn't any tension or excitement in the story.
Other Thoughts: If this is a lead-in to Team Angel and Eddie coming into a conflict, they really should have introduced it here by having someone from Angel's crew investigating the reports of a big blue demon killing people. I'd vote for Illyria or Connor [the Connor in keeping with his proper backstory, not the Connor who gets his ass kicked so much]. This would give Eddie a foe to complicate his attempt to get to his target and lead smoothly into his appearance in the actual Angel title. The way it played out though, it ended up being so dull.
The Score: Sub-par for the interesting start it had: 2.75 out of 5