"Letters Home: A Jamesian Interlude"
Written by: Bill Willingham, Art by: Elena Casagrande, Coloring by: Ilaria Traversi, Lettered by: Robbie Robbins,
Edited by: Mariah Huehner
Cover B by: David Messina, Giovanna Niro
Page 01: We open at The Hyperion.
Ms. Weathermill has set herself up with Angel Investigations. As we've learned, she is a former Watcher with the Council who escaped its destruction. She has a particular interest in James, the supposed Angel of the Lord.
Page 02: Ms. Weathermill opens by asking James who is actually is, because she is aware that he is no member of the Host. He tries to protest, but she informs him of her years of experience in this sort of thing. For one, she's been alive a lot longer than she appears. For two, she has access to super library, Floating Ball of Convenience. For third, she happens to have specialized in a WATCHER tome all about the Celestial Principalities. She can spot a fake straight off.
Commentary: Wait a minute, are we actually getting back to James' tale?! We actually going to have movement on the 'renegade angel' plot? FINALLY. (That just leaves Dez.)
Page 03: Well, Ms. Weathermill may be brilliant and experienced, but she's also an idiot.
James admits to his ongoing deception in regards to the angel thing, but then he grabs her up pretty easily by her throat. She claws at his hand, drawing blood, but he doesn't appear to be bothered by this. At least when he cuts off her oxygen, she has the decency to look shocked at her severely bad judgement in doing this alone.
Commentary: I'm hoping on his way out, he'll crush the Convenient Watchers Library Contained In A Floating Sphere as well.
Page 04: Angel is in the lobby, having coffee and reading the paper. This is interupted by Ms. Weathermill flying through her office window, over the bannister and crashing to the lobby floor.
Commentary: And, yes... it was awesome.
Page 05: Laura is lying on the floor, but I can't tell if she's immediately dead or not.
James jumps over the bannister, landing in front of a confused Angel. He asks James if they're under attack, which James answers with a high kick to his face.
Commentary: And, yes... it is pretty cool, too. Mostly because James' story appears to be a focus and I'm so glad he isn't just hanging around in the background anymore.
We also find out that James is really Myresto Mor and is dictating a letter to his sister, so this appears to be a flashback tale, meaning James is going to get away. He and his sister have multiple wordy titles, so even though he isn't an angel, he is certainly somebody high up in the evil squadron.
Page 06: Angel recovers, but finds that James/Myr is easily as strong... probably more so... than Hamilton was. He's quickly pushed aside.
In the meantime, in the voiceover letter to his demonic sister, Myr reports that he's interested in Earth as an investment property.
Page 07: Myr tells Angel to back off, as he doesn't want to waste the expense he went through to grow his beautiful, humanoid body. Angel, naturally, ignores this. The battle is woefully one sided.
In the letter to his sister, Myr informs her that he sees great investment opportunities in turning humanity into breeding farms for all sorts of new and pestilent demon forms.
Page 08: As Angel and Myr continue their hand to hand, the major evil admires Angelus peeking beneath Angel. He tells Angel that his counterpart has such potential.
Meanwhile, the letter to dear Rowant reveals that she actually claims ownership over Earth with a deed and everything. But she's looking to sell it off, at a profit and she's chosen to offer it to her dearest, most darling, brother.... But, not cheaply.
Page 09: With James having grown bored and with his plans to consider, once he's completed purchase of Earth, he disables Angel. BY TEARING OFF HIS HANDS AND FEET!
We can also see that Laura is still lying on the floor, where she was left. We still don't know if she survived.
Commentary: That was some pretty shocking injury to Angel, and I like James/Myr's cool, business-like persona. I'm less inclined toward the Earth is really a demon holding the entire time... we just never knew about it... and all of the other plots to own/destroy the world were never acted against by the 'owners' 'cause...? But, I'm so pleased with 'James' doing something, that I'll happily coast with this development.
Page 10: In a dark realm, we now meet Myr's sister, Rowant. She's responding to James' demand that she lower the price, or he'll have to move onto other opportunities. She starts by apologizing for flaying his couriers and acknowledges it's not taking care of his property. She hopes she can forgive him, and of course, offers he can do the same to hers in a spirit of fair play.
Page 11: Rowant is a savvy businesswoman of her own, and sees right through Myr's attempts to downplay his interest in owning Earth.
Commentary: I do like the design of her hooka-pipe; note the skeleton bones in it being cooked over fire. Is that the starting point of her drug... or the ending result... ew, either way.
Page 12: In voiceover, Rowant's letter continues to her brother that not only will she not be lowering her price for the property but now she'll also have to demand another piece of his real estate as well... a penalty on the transaction for his attempts to trick her.
In the meantime, at The Hyperion, Angel has been moved to a bed. We find out from Kay that Laura has survived and was rushed to the hospital. Connor asks after his dad, and Angel says he feels better than he should under the circumstances.
Page 13: Now, as we're aware, when Spike's limbs were amputated by Dana they didn't immediately dust and were able to be reattached. In Angel's case the limbs have dusted away, which we also saw in Angel #30 where Spike's lower leg was lost and dusted. We learned there that vampires can regrow limbs if they're removed.
Commentary: Which was much, much too conveeeeeeenient. And, will be here now as well. I can see this new power being abused where we see Spike and Angel's limbs falling off at the drop of a hat. Not a fan of this particular 'power'.
So, already, Angel's fingers are budding as his limbs begin regrowing. Kate spotlights the new vampire powers (which is appreciated; at least their addressing it in story), and the fact that their limbs didn't used to turn to dust (even though they always should have... I had always just taken it for granted they would, until "Damage").
Illyria tells them that in a long gone time, they did. She says the first generation of vampires had these effects and abilities but it hasn't been so in 'many centuries'.
Mr. Polyphemus reveals that he and Ms. Weathermill wondered the same thing and had been working on a few theories.
In the meantime, the voiceover letter from Rowant to Myresto cautions him about the sheer amount of prophecy and destiny surrounding Angel/Angelus and she urges him, his own attraction withstanding, to eliminate him.
Page 14: Polyphemus puts forth two theories: That the vampires shifting abilities are cyclical in nature. The more disturbing is that something far older is in play and that the vampires are reverting in nature back to when they first appeared because of this Elder Being. He further explicates that he can't say right now if James/Myr is a part of this Elder presence, or if he is simply an unrelated problem.
Meanwhile, Rowant continues in her letter to try to convince her brother not to allow his fascination with Angelus to blind him to his group's impressive success rate against "previous claim jumpers".
Commentary: I do like this development in the plot and the way they're at least trying to explain changing Angel and Spike's healing powers. I'd also like to think that Illyria will be given some real knock down/drag outs against Myr and will ultimately be the ass kicker... but she's tended to be put into the background, so Angel can be the hero.
Very much like with Connor -- her badass-ness is very much dependent on convenience.
Page 15: Angel reports that his limbs should be completely ready for use in the next hour. He tells the crew to be ready to hunt down James (I note Dez has not appeared at all, again, have her stay with an explanation, or have her go). He reminds them that even though Laura was new to the team, she was in the team. That means she gets hurt, the crew hurt whoever did it.
Page 16: Elsewhere in the city, Myr has responded by letter back that he feels that she's probably right in all things. He first has agreed to her more expensive trade, such is he looking forward to turning humanity into breeding stock and demonic experiments. But, he also had come around to believing Angel and his ilk should probably be killed, despite how much he was looking forward to meeting with Angelus eventually.
But he also assures her that he need not risk himself to do so, as he has an agent.
We see that there is a woman's body lying on the floor, from which grows a massive tumor that reaches person-size...
Page 17: ... From this, bursts a naked woman-form. We find out in his letter to his sister that Myr (who is still calling himself James) has grown a Soul Eater.
Commentary: One of the major points for James not simply battling Angel right now himself, is that he's an extreme miser. Apparently, it is quite expensive to grow a new human form for his kind, whatever that is, and he doesn't want his current outfit getting ruined.
I also really like James as Evil, rather than the more boring James as pretend-angel. And, he's looking pretty hot sitting there welcoming the Soul Eater.
Page 18: The Soul Eater manages to look like Courtney Love, when she's photgraphed after a bender. 'James' is quite enthused with her arrival and plans to turn her loose against both Angel and Spike.
The Good: FINALLY, James' tale takes off!
I like how quickly James just reaches out and dispatches Laura when she's being so self-assured and confrontational toward his angel-status.
The artwork was great, especially the two pages with Angel's ineffective battling against James/Myr.
Rowant's pipe. EW.
The Bad: This is only barely tipping into the bad, and only because of what it does to retro-continuity. I just find it really hard to believe that so many apocalypes have nearly taken place, if there is some sort of cosmic ownership claim over Earth. It isn't credible in retrospect that we've never seen more bad guys vs. bad guys, if there is this claim. I have to believe this is more bogus demonic junk in order to buy this development. Although, it is also interesting in that we're going all the way back to "Welcome to the Hellmouth" where Giles did tell us that the Earth didn't start as a Garden of Eden and it has been mentioned on many, many occasions (not least of which with the character of Illyria) that the demons did run the planet before we... somehow... managed to get an upper hand.
Other Thoughts: At first, I didn't really like the whole letter-writing-voiceover thingie... but I warmed up to it, because of the personalities written into the Myr/Rowant relationship.
The Score: Well, it's moderately interesting and it has some great visuals. James is going to end up being too powerful, though, making his "I'll just send these minions out" uncredible. No, I'm not buying the "I don't want to mess up my suit" excuse. Oh...
3.75 outta 5