"Prophet for Profit: Chapter 3 of Connorland"
Written: Bill Willingham, Additional Scripting: David Tischman & Mariah Huehner, Art: Elena Casagrande, Colors: Ilaria Traversi,
Lettering: Neil Uyetake
Cover: Jenny Frison (and nice job it is too, on Liss)
Blurb: Things haven't been going very well for Angel lately [Do they ever?]. James turned out to be anything but angelic. There's a Soul Eater on the loose and in the office. And Spike may or may not have a soul anymore. At the moment, though, he's just trying not to lose his...
Page 01: We open with 'A typical evening in the Hyperion', i.e. the lobby is in shambles and there is an evil guy confronting the heroes.
Spike is grappling with Liss, who insists to his objections, that he is an empty vessel like all vampires. Connor and Laura are holding Angel back, as Laura reiterates that nothing with a soul should be in contact with the Soul Eater... which apparently no longer includes Spike!
Page 02: Illyria takes over grappling with the Soul Eater, as Mr. Polyphemus points out to Spike that if he did have his soul then Liss would have been feeding from him due to his long exposure to her.
Spike is angered by this insistence on doubting his ensouled-ness, and insists he can still feel it within him.
Page 03: As Illyria and Spike continue their confrontation with Liss, Mr. Polyphemus opines that the Soul Eater is in a state of pre-starvation and couldn't stop herself from feeding on his soul, if there was one for her to take.
Meanwhile, Laura is instructing Angel on how he can help by avoiding direct contact with Liss and how to go run a bath that will kill her.
Commentary: I'm not going to comment on Spike's soul at this moment, simply because we don't know where they're going with this yet. But I wanted to mention the last panel... doesn't Laura Weathermill's stance with Angel look too intimately close? The way she's holding his face like that bothers me.
Page 04: As Laura instructs the others, Angel storms away unhappy at being relegated to the sidelines, filling a bathtub. Connor is sent off to retrieve a special knife. Spike and Illyria tie up the Soul Eater, after Spike manages to blind her with his thumbs.
Commentary: Okay, that was much too easy. I'm a bit disappointed after the build up of her marching so confidently into A.I. The background of panel two, with the Soul Eater's blood shooting out of her eyes as Spike jams his thumbs into them is pretty cool, though. In a gruesome way.
Page 05: Illyria and Spike drag the immobilized Liss up to one of the bathrooms, where presumably Angel has the bathtub filling.
Mr. Polyphemus and Ms. Weathermill share unnecessary dialog in an annoying manner.
Page 06: With Liss submerged, Laura instructs Angel to slit Illyria's throat so that the blood will drain into the tub water. He's naturally appalled, but Illyria gives a "it is what it is" shrug and instructs him to stop arguing.
Page 07: This is carried out, with Illyria even egging him to cut her deeper.
Page 08: Ms. Weathermill explains that Illyria's blood, in combination with the water and the Aranthia Acid that was added burns away the remaining soul energy that Liss was operating on. She's been forced into a restive state, where she is powerless to act. The plan now is to keep her submerged for several hours while she starves to death.
In the meanwhile, Spike is worrying over the status of William's soul, as he admits that he has felt odd lately. He isn't ready to buy the demon's claim, but he is beginning to wonder.
Dez has returned from her stunning and has put on a simple dress and shoes. She's sporting a wound to her arm.
Page 09: Sometime later, outside of the Hyperion, the leader of the Sisterhood has gathered the troops. She has grown concerned that 'the honored one' cannot be kept safe by following the old traditions. And, keeping Connor safe is of the utmost importance to continue the Sisterhood. They appear to be ready to storm the Hyperion.
Commentary: I mentioned last issue that we hadn't been clued in on what the Sisterhood actually is up to with this contest. It seems clear that Connor's DNA is to be put to use to create more of the Sisterhood. The only question now is if he's to be a stud, or a dead donor... since they're demons, I'm betting that it will be the latter, causing Connor and the team to have to fight 'his own'.
Page 10: We skip ahead to 5 hours after the initial holding down of Liss in the bath. Everyone puts the disposal of her body aside so they can discuss the matter with Spike (Yeah. We waited 5 hours to decide to discuss Spike possibly turning evil and murderous again.) and the state of William's soul.
Spike insists the bugger is still there, but Angel points out Connor's reports of his acting strangely. Spike has to admit he blacked out during his tryst with the vampire actress in Issue 31.
Angel brings up the possibility of babble-Spike from BTVS: S7 making a return.
Commentary: You know how I love continuity. Hearts.
Page 11: Spike and Angel argue a bit more, but then Dez interrupts with the observation that Liss isn't quite dead enough.
Page 12: Liss springs up out of the bath, and alas for Dez she's standing in the way... and is ensouled. The Soul Eater fixes that latter part quickly and mindless Dez falls to the bathroom floor!
Commentary: Hey, I'd have preferred her to just go home to South America, but whatever writes her out of the title works for me.
Page 13: Illyria warns the others that she's still recovering from her throat slitting, and this allows Liss to shove her into the wall.
Spike tries to regrab her, but he had Illyria's help before. This time, he gets a blood-flying punch to the nose and goes down.
Mr. Polyphemus is next, being swatted away like the volleyball he so closely resembles.
Laura spends valuable seconds shouting after The Floating Ball's welfare, which lets her be grabbed up by Liss. Fortunately for Laura, the Soul Eater feels the need to gab, which allows...
Commentary: I like these last two pages... they were exciting and made the Soul Eater actually appear threatening.
Page 14: ...Angel to cut off her head with a sword and then follow it up with a stab through the back. This actually works better than the bath.
Page 15: Mr. Polyphemus recovers quickly, but Illyria has to report that Dez is dead. Angel says that they'll mourn her, but also intuits that James/Myr must have sent the Soul Eater against them.
He then notices that Connor is actually missing at the moment.
Page 16: Speaking of James/Myr... He's currently with a character we know quite well... sort of... Anne/Lilly/Chanterelle/she of the teen center.
She's thanking him for his assistance in providing meals to her rescue teens, but we see the homeless youth suddenly choking and coughing.
Page 17: James has to point out to Anne that he's actually a very powerful demon (perhaps they should have made him a devil, since they've already introduced this concept with Eddie Hope). He's fed the youth some mystic-babble ingredients so that the demons will be able to mate with them.
Anne puts up a brave front, but he informs her that the evil she dealt with before were amateurs.
Page 18: James opens a convergence portal, allowing differing races of demons to swarm into the Teen Center. James tells Anne that he's going to help humanity evolve into new and fascinating demon forms. The whole world is about to be transformed through painful enlightenment and alteration....
Commentary: Surely James has picked this particular center on purpose as a dig against Angel. Does this mean he knows already that the Soul Eater failed? Or is it just a dig against him for general purpose?
The Good: I like the brutality of the fight against Liss.
I'm glad we're getting into resolving the Sisterhood's goals and they're 'serving' Connor and what that is all about.
I'm also glad that one of our extraneous characters is gone, though Dez' death seems really casually handled.
I liked the Soul Eater's design and powers.
The Bad: Nothing grating.
Other Thoughts: Spike's dialog was a bit repetitive.
The casualness of Dez' death is a bit... just a bit... off-putting.
The first fight against the Soul Eater was a letdown. She was subdued really easily, which made her seem tactically stupid. Her character had more potential than they used.
Yay, continuities. I especially like Anne being dragged into the supernatural goings-on again, due to her relationship with Angel. I just hope she doesn't make an unpleasant and sudden exit, too.
The Score: This isn't a bad issue, but it's got the feel of a middle-of-the-arc story and the Soul Eater was badly used.
3.50 out of 5
Next up: Gunn vs. a devil. And, Angel and Eddie finally intersect!