"Prophet for Profit: Chapter 2 of Connorland"
Written: Bill Willingham, Art: Elena Casagrande, Colors: Ilaria Traversi, Letters: Neil Uytake, RI Virgin Cover: Jenny Frison
Blurb: Things have been a little weird in Angel-land. First, James is not an angel. At all. Second, he has a really creepy sister and plans to start demon farming on [E]arth. And third, Angel and crew had a really passionate evening because of Illyria's hormonal overload. But everyone's promised never to speak of it again. Ever. Meanwhile, things in L.A. are getting... tense...
Page 01: We open in Burbank. Spike is standing at the front of a room full of unemployed screenwriters, which he's set up to interview/hire on the cheap.
Page 02: He has hired these writers to produce Prophecies about himself... in keeping with last issue's obsession in regards to who gets an important prophecy and who gets to create these things.
The screenwriters are less than pleased with the hiring wages, but that is why Spike advertised only for out-of-work writers. They can't really afford to turn down the work.
Page 03: Meanwhile, over at the Hyperion Hotel, Connor is meeting with a former client who is past due on payment to the AI team: Mr. Hubble, he of the suffering-a-horrible-fate of last issue. With him is the worst undercover demon, ever.
Mr. Hubble has the glazed eyes of a half-dead guy. The Soul Eater introduces herself as Mr. Hubble's daughter/trophy wife/mistress, whichever seems the most believable... yes, she uses that phrase.
Amazingly Connor tweaks onto the wrongness. We do find out that the Soul Eater may be named Liss.
Commentary: This was an amusing bit, and I like that drop of sweat that they used to denote that Connor isn't being fooled even as he speaks as if he's buying into all of this.
Liss, in her completely unsuspicious way *cough* insists that before they settle the account, she must see Angel and Spike... and only at the same time.
Page 04: Elsewhere in the L.A. area, Baeden - one of the Sisterhood of Jaro Hull, is being confronted by the local police. The Sisterhood are the demons that, obstensively anyway, are serving Connor. He has them patrolling for demon trouble. We've learned, also in last issue, that they are actually involved in some sort of contest amongst themselves and are earning points in a variety of disciplines toward a goal of which we still know little.
Page 05: The LAPD is less than reassured by this development on their beat. Especially, since the Jaro Hull order carry around lethal looking blades and are in full body armor. The police insist that she must place her blade down and accompany them, which she refuses as "an unpardonable dereliction of duty".
Commentary: It's nice that the people of L.A. are being at least partially treated like their actual... y'know... real people. At least some of them. For a change from the "nothing phases us, we see nothing weird, ever" sorts that we're bombarded with in every other instance of seeing the denizens around Hollyweird.
Any comments from L.A.-folk? Would even demons really pass without any notice? Or is this more an affectation -- because it seems like New Yorkers insist that nothing otherworldly would be noted, too. Is this a rivalry between which coast is the most unobservant? 'Cause that seems a bit of a weird thing to be rivals over.
Page 06: Baeden continues to defy the local authorities, but more, she also tells them in no uncertain terms that Connor has taken over the city as the only authority, and that the local constabulary are now reduced in role to the junior agencies... which I'm pretty sure wasn't the intention of Connor, himself.
Worse, Baeden informs them quite clearly that any attempt to lay their hands on her will result in the loss of those hands. And... she has a complete dossier on both officers, including intimate details of their personal lives.
Obviously, this is more than a little disturbing and is starting to swerve sharply into dangerously confrontational for Connor....
Commentary: And, I'm suddenly hoping that we're going to get some Angel Investigations vs. some Local Slayers, though obviously Buffy and Faith are probably off the table for a guest starring role in an IDW title. Darn It.
Page 07: The police officers are left confused about what to do with this volatile situation, but Baeden takes it out of their hands but cutting short their "collegial shoptalk" ... which included threats at them, remember ... to run off and deal with a demon threat she suddenly detects.
Page 08: Over at the rented conference room, Spike goes on with the writers' instructions as to what they're being hired to do. Basically, they're to make crap up, in which Spike is the named Prophecy Dude to is to save everyone from any further Apocalypsi and Angel is to be made a poncey git who is the bad guy. He specifically makes reference to calling Angel "Dusk, or Sunset, or the Fall Of Darkness".
His point is to impress a very specific girl, since he's apparently learned from Laura overnight that there aren't any hard and fast rules about who can create Prophecy... though I'm pretty sure that making up your own isn't really legitimate.
Commentary: Yes, we're talking quite cleverly about "Twilight" over in BTVS: S8 --- which almost shoots down my whole 'Angel S6 occurs before BTVS S8'. But not actually, yet, so I can still make this confused timeline work. Which is probably far more important to me, my being anal retentive about this continuity thing, than it will be for all of you. I apologize for continuing to bring it up, but this is my review series after all.
Page 09: Elsewhere, Baeden is slaughtering some Sturgal Demons. But, there is something unusual about the particular ones as they're dissolving when she kills them, and they aren't supposed to do that.
Commentary: And, you'll recall that James is very interested in biotech-ing/breeding new forms of demons so this suggests that we're seeing some of James' work, while Angel and crew continue to search for leads on his whereabouts.
Page 10: Things get even weirder for Baeden. She decides to take one of the demons in alive in order to have the Sisterhood study the creature. But, she finds that its blood on her blade eats through it. We also find out that the Jaro Hull's blades are organic, grown and trained to assist them in battle.
She's quite annoyed at her sword's 'death' in contravention to the Sturgal Demons' usual modus operandi.
Page 11: At the Hyperion, Angel and Laura Weathermill return from an obvious demon slaughter... judging by the blood on Angel's coat and shirt. Connor reports the weird clients in the office. He also points out that Liss has specifically stated that "just one of [them] would be a waste of effort" in relation to how she must see both Angel and Spike at once.
Laura is relatively confident that she can identify the demon waiting for them.
Commentary: Also, her casts have mysteriously vanished overnight from James' assault without explanation. Magic? Fast Healing? Potions? Continuity Issues? The Blurb makes it clear that we're only one night removed from the 'really passionate evening', where she was recuperating.
Page 12: Laura goes in to converse with their "client", whose daughter continues to speak in a manner strongly and suspiciously inferring that she's there up to no good.
The ex-Watcher is able to tell Angel and Connor that she is almost assuredly a Soul Eater.
Page 13: As Angel keeps an eye on their 'guests', Laura pulls Connor aside to update him on everything she's found out about the Sisterhood's history. They were pleasure slaves, they rose up ages ago, they killed their masters.
Page 14: Since the great uprising, they've dedicated themselves to the martial disciplines.
Page 15: She advises Connor to extreme caution when dealing with his new army.
Meanwhile, Spike returns to the hotel from his fruitful night in hiring on his new Prophecy writers. He apparently has a 'partner' who he is excited to share all this with.
He's informed on reaching the lobby about the new situation, that is almost assuredly is going to be leading to a fight.
Page 16: When Angel and Spike walk in to meet with Liss and ascertain whether her visit is for nefarious purposes as expected, her actions point dramatically to being a huge-ass 'YES'.
Spike and Angel are sent through the office wall -- both pierced a bit too uncomfortably close to their heart with shards of wood from the wall.
Page 17: Unsurprisingly, things turn quite quickly more violent from there. The Soul Eater is able to stun Dez with a wall-slam, and Illyria with a headbutt.
She closes in on Spike, letting him know that she'll be dining on his and Angel's souls this evening.
Page 18: But, she is extremely unhappy at being cheated ... and we're extremely shocked that Liss doesn't sense a soul in Spike at all!
As he says, "What?! You take that back, you slanderous bint!"
The Good: I really like the writing on this one, especially the horrible job of Liss trying to be nonchalant about her wicked planning -- I was amused.
We also get some needed history building for the Sisterhood, which was nice.
I also like the implication that James is moving forward with his 'business' in the background.
The Bad: Well, there is the continuity issue/unexplained insta-recovery of Laura. What is up with that? And, of course, Illyria gets her ass taken out rather too conveniently quickly... AGAIN.... Also, convenient that super-telepath Betta George is mysteriously out without a word of explanation when his powers would confirm Liss' diabolical plans a bit too quickly.
Other Thoughts: I am a bit bored by Spike's sudden interest in finding a way to impress Buffy, since we know she can't appear in this title.
I also really wish that Dez was given a line or two about why she's still hanging around when her storyline pretty much wrapped up. And, since she is, if they could find something for her to do, other than stand around in the background and quickly be dispatched, that would be good too.
The Score: I like the flow of this one. Spike's bit is a little dull, but the issue as a whole isn't bogged down. I like how the disparate things that have just been sort of hanging there (excepting Dez) are now being addressed and moved forward. And, I'm even getting used to Laura Weathermill.
I still don't like the Convenient Ball of Know-It-All, though.
3.50 out of 5
Next up: Eddie Hope, still off in his own bit and leeching off Angel's title.