"Prophet for Profit: Chapter 3 of Connorland"
Plotter: Bill Willingham, Writers/Additional Plotting: David Tischman & Mariah Huehner, Pencils: Valerio Schiti,
Inks: Serena Ficca, Colors: Arianna Florean, Letters: Neil Uyetake
Cover: Jenny Frison
The Blurb: Story so far... Team Angel is down a member, but then so is Team Creepy Bad Guy now that Angel has dispatched the Soul Eater. Unfortunately, James has opened a demon portal so he can really start his demon farming. Spike may or may not have a soul and Connor has gone missing. So basically, just another day in L.A. post The Fall...
Page 01: We open at the Hyperion, where Angel is spinning some cock-n-bull story to somebody over the phone about wife and he getting free tickets to some play, before he gets hung up on.
This was a ruse to allow Spike to trace the call to the cell Angel was speaking to.
Spike insults Angel's ability to ruse, and this causes him to shift into vamp-face.
Commentary: So, first: Wouldn't their resident used-to-be-Watcher be the one to initiate phone traces? Does this seem like something SPIKE would be doing? Second: I think Angel is meant to be on edge over Connor's disappearance, and that we can infer that he and Spike have been on one another's nerves all night since the Soul Eater's defeat and the search for Connor began.
But this set up was really clumsy, just so we can have a fistfight on page 2.
Page 02: Angel punches Spike out and knocks him to the floor. He, again, brings up Spike's questionable soul status but admits to himself this is more about his worry over Connor. He simply doesn't have the time to waste on slicing through Spike's sense of snark and he needs to know if he should worry about what this-Spike is up to.
As you might imagine, Spike doesn't react well. Going into fangs-mode himself, he throws all of Angelus' actions in Sunnydale in Angel's face (*sigh Jenny*) and tells him that at least he, Spike, doesn't want to end the world.
Page 03: This is followed up on by a leap across the room and into a quarterback tackle on Angel's ass. There is more immature vampire fighting.
Spike insists to himself that he knows he's been acting a little erratic lately, but that he can still feel the soul burning away -- the Soul Eater, he's convinced, is lying. He calls Angel out on making him his punching bag.
Illyria intervenes to stop Spike and his makeshift stake.
Page 04: Illyria is clearly on Spike's side in this (and her intimate stance nicely suggests her uncanny behavior toward him in After the Fall). Angel apologizes; Spike doesn't care.
Laura Weathermill shows up and her and the Floating-Ball-of-Convenience suggest that Spike is correct that his soul is intact, but that Angel is also by pointing out that something is wrong. They've been researching possibilities.
Page 05: With a lull in the Angel/Spike conflict, Illyria brings up their other pressing problem -- James, and his responsibility for killing Dez. Angel assures her they're going to deal with the demon, but not until they retrieve Connor.
Spike snarks they should do so before he gets tossed into another dimensional rift -- which just seems bitchy.
He also decides that since he doesn't have Angel's confidence, he's staying behind with the "Know-It-All-Ball" (thank you, Spike, I love you) and the ex-Watcher.
Angel explains the cell phone call -- it was Connor's, but Ragda answered meaning the She-Demon Army has him. The fact that she's answering his son's cell doesn't fill him with confidence.
Commentary: I don't know about this last one. I'm not really seeing why Angel would suspect something afoul going on, when Connor's sudden disappearance could have just as easily been "his" She-Demon's summoning him with an urgent call. It would certainly be far more plausible than that they're up to something nefarious and managed to nab him, silently, from the Hyperion. This seems like convenient plot-development, rather than entirely sensible. I would have expected Angel to just ask if Connor was available, and then get a bad sense when Ragda tried to lie or forstall him. On the otherhand, maybe the fact they are She-Demons who mysteriously appeared and they don't have any information on why already has him enough on edge about their presence to suspect them right off the bat... I'm just not sure this entirely works, but it doesn't not-work.
Page 06: Illyria is reluctant to leave Laura with Spike, just in case he is evil again, but Laura is overconfident in her ability to kill the vampire if necessary. She goes with Angel to retrieve Connor.
Spike, Laura and The Ball discuss possibilities.
Page 07: Since so much of this issue revolves around Connor, perhaps we should check in with him.
He's currently been chained to an X-cross in a singlet. The head of the Jaro Hull Sisterhood mentions that Connor's human blood will be sacrificed so that the Sisterhood can be reborn.
Page 08: Ragda has won the contest that the Jaro Hull cult were running, so she gets the first cut with a sword on Connor's body. He's a bit worried about this sort of thing, but he's assured that his true powers are yet to be tapped.
Ragda also promises they will protect his city from the uprising to come, even though he has no idea what they're talking about.
Page 09: No time for that explanation, though, we've got a ritual started.
Ragda skewers Connor with her sword. They all find Connor's blood on the outside of his body beautiful. No comment from Connor on this.
There is much ritual chanting....
Page 10: The rest now take turns stabbing Connor up and
Page 11: Meanwhile, Spike is with Laura where she is performing word-association games that will apparently help to define where the root cause is lying of Spike's apparent problem: Mystical, Magical, Inter-Dimensional or Quantum.
Page 12: Spike is stuck sitting bored, as Laura and Mr. Polyphemus discuss and discard possible causes of his behavior lately.
Spike snarks they should get a room.
Page 13: The Monasterenser Magnaserm is nonplussed by this statement. Laura is indignant. There are indications that there may, in fact, be some sort of emotional affair between Laura and Mr. Polyphemus that neither wishes to acknowledge. I don't care.
Spike seems to want to push the point, which makes Laura wonder if it is an attempt at diversion to keep them from closing in on the answer to what is happening to him, possibly unconsciously.
When Spike brings up possibly her thinking about Mr. Polyphemus during their tryst due to Illyria's mating pheremones, this gives Laura an idea.
Page 14: Laura brings up a specific parasite that could have latched onto William's soul when Spike was brought back as a ghost by W & H. Polyphemus confirms that the parasitic intruder could have lain dormant until the return of some of the more ancient magicks activated the little bugger. The return of these magicks are explaining the vampire's sudden ability to regrow lost limbs (as well as the hacked off one dusting where they didn't before) and are tied to James/Myr's presence, presumably.
Commentary: And a simple spell is going to 'fix Spike' just like that? This feels like possibly an aborted plot? Maybe it was around here that IDW learned that Angel's license had been granted to Dark Horse, rather than renewed?
It seems unfortunate to me that more couldn't (or simply isn't going to) be done with this thread.
My feelings that this may be wrapped up quickly due to real-world issues is reinforced by the fact that it appears Spike's whole 'false-prophecies' plan is going to go nowhere as well. That seemed like it was going to be a 'thing', where here it is just dismissed out of hand.
For this reason, I'm not going to 'mark down' for aborted subplots from here forward, because IDW may simply not have had time enough left to resolve these things properly. They needed to focus on the Jaro Hull and especially on James' world domination/transformation arc.
Page 15: Over at the Sisterhood's warehouse HQ, Connor is near death from his violent bloodletting. But the Jaro Hull sisters are feeling re-energized and ready to take on a "coming darkness" (James, again? Or something else?).
Page 16: Another call comes through on Connor's cellphone and the Chief Sister reports it as a 'private' caller. Ragda advises not to answer it, but Chief Sister has been corrupted by the Curse of the Cell, in which any ringing phone must be immediately answered as it could be important. She can't resist.
The caller reports that there is a demon nest 40 minutes away in Westwood. The sisters must call off their celebratory fighting among themselves and go back to work.
Chief Sister and Ragda lament that they couldn't put off Connor's blood letting a few weeks so that he could have survived being hacked up.
Page 17: They head out as a unit to protect Los Angeles in Connor's name.
Of course the call was from Angel and Illyria to get rid of them, so they could mount a rescue without the fight in which they're outnumbered (and presumably Illyria is still in recovery over her blood loss from Angel's slitting her throat).
Commentary: I do like the power-stride of the Hull Sisterhood down the street with the blazing sword. It both calls to mind similar scenes of Angel's group power striding, and kind of mocks it as well, due to their being-demons-who-just-blooded-Connor-to-n
Plus the sword is doing a power-lightning thingie that calls to mind similar images for Voltron's sword, and Lion-O's of Thundercats.
Page 18: Meanwhile, Connor is lying on his X-Cross when he glows. A lot.
Suddenly, all traces of his being butchered are gone....
Commentary: Yes, I've noted the 'Christ symbolism' surrounding Connor's 'chosen one' status and now his 'crucifixion'. I just don't have anything profound to say about it, since this particular imagery is, seemingly, everywhere when it comes to heroes-tales. I'd almost call it cliche-by-now, it's so ubiquitous.
The Good: It's nice that somebody is still interested in Dez (Illyria seems like a weird choice, but okay).
I liked the Jaro Hull parts and Connor's fate is nicely gruesome (with a minor caveat in Other Thoughts).
The Bad: Nuthin' as far as I can see.
Other Thoughts: So, about Connor -- once again, the raised-in-a-demon-dimension, super-powered kid gets nabbed quite easily. There isn't even a fight scene involved. This character just cannot catch a break with how he's used by IDW.
Speaking of which, Spike, Laura and Ball's scenes were relatively pointless and not humorous enough to justify the cuts to them. That space would have been better used by showing Connor putting up a decent fight before he was overpowered instead. Or... bringing Eddie Hope into the main title and doing away with the annoyance of his 4-pages per issue format.
The Score: I don't have much commentary in this one. It was an okay issue, with a few bright points and nothing that pissed me off.
3.25 out of 5 stars
Next up, review-wise: The Angel Investigations team fight Eddie Hope over Charles Gunn.