(DH S11, my S09) Issue 5
"Time and Tide" part I
Script: Corinna Bechko, Art: Zé Silva, Colors: Michelle Madsen, Letters: Richard Starkings & [Comicraft's] Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Scott Fischer
Blurbby: When young Liam was turned into a vampire, he became exceptionally bad. Under the name Angelus, for hundreds of years he reveled in killing and left horror in his wake. In 1898, he received his comeuppance through a gypsy curse that returned to him his soul and his conscience. Now known as Angel, he has been trying to make up ever since for all that he did as a soulless, evil monster.
Winifred "Fred" Burkle is a brilliant and quirky physicist who has been through her own series of mystical events and works with her friend Angel to make the world safer. Fred shares her body with an Old One, a goddess named Illyria; it's weird, but it seems to be working out.
Plagued by a vision of impending doom that is somehow connected to his past, Angel is traveling through time with the help of Illyria, hoping that his thoughts will lead them to a point in history that might hold the key to solving his vision of future disaster...
Page 01: As Fred and Angel are traveling forward from Illyria's mistaken jaunt into her past, rather than his, the Old One makes her return, taking over Fred's body again.
Angel is somewhat relieved, as he's not sure how to direct them to where they should go after Past Illyria tossed he and Fred into a timewarp. But Illyria tells him that she was seeing images of his thoughts during the trip through the time stream, and they've arrived in a moment from his past. She asks him if he doesn't recognize where they are.
Which is currently aboard a ship in the middle of a turbulent ocean.
Page 02: Angel tells Illyria he does recognize where and when they are, but by this time, Illyria has completed the transit, and so has put Fred back in charge.
Angel tells Fred that they're aboard the ship, Galene, on a trip to England from Australia. He starts to tell her about an item that is being smuggled aboard. This item may be what they need to help understand what the threat is in their present, but he suddenly tells her to hide.
Page 03: With both of them ducked down on deck, Fred hears a woman's voice tell someone that they startled her. Fred recognizes, and Angel confirms that the 'woman' is Darla.
Page 04: As Angel and Fred hang onto the outer hull of the wooden schooner, Darla chats up a deckhand of the ship. Angel warns that Darla is hunting. He tells Fred to hang out for a moment, while he goes and checks out something.
Commentary: "Yes, Fred - you just stand on that outer hull cowling a mere two feet or so from the freezing ocean waves in that summer top and tight skirt. What could go wrong? What with Illyria's coming and going at random, I'm sure she'll save you... eventually... if you're tossed overboard."
Page 05: Darla walks with the seaman, lightly flirting with him. He offers to escort her below ships, due to the cold night air not being good for the health. In the meantime, Angel sneaks just behind them while trying to keep Darla from sensing his presence.
Page 06: Fred startles him with a tap on the shoulder, drenched because a wave - in fact - did almost sweep her away, forcing her to come aboard again, despite the dangers of Darla and Angelus.
Angel is reluctant to allow Fred to get involved with his past self, but goes on to tell her that on this trip there were rumors flying, mostly because seaman was a braggart, that there was a mystical trinket smuggled aboard.
Page 07: Angel and Fred watch Darla butter up the deckhand. Angel tells Fred that the object was supposed to be in the shape of a beetle, but he can't confirm that. He never got a look at it, because Angelus interrupted Darla before she could get the jewelry's location out of the deckhand.
But now he believes that the beetle trinket may have something to do with the insect visions he had in the future.
Page 08: However, the only way they'll know if this beetle thingie is tied to whatever is going on in the future is if he can get to the deckhand before Angelus does so. He takes off up the mast of the ship, while Darla is still being flirty.
But, presumably just as last time, Angelus interupts before Darla can be shown just where this smuggled item is and what it is. He snarks at her about whether she was going to sneak off without sharing her find with him, which she denies.
Page 09: While Darla and Angelus are having a spat over alternately her selfishness, or his boorishness, deckhand has excused himself and wandered off to leave them to it.
Commentary: While I wasn't in a rush to revisit with Angelus anytime soon, as he tends to be overused to let Angel be scary and then angst later, I do always welcome Darla back. Okay - there was that time when she returned from the dead, and I'm like "Jezzus, another body that won't stay in the frickin' ground! And, nice trick since she was ashes on top of it." but then I liked what they did with her return, together with Dru and the evil lawyers so we were all cool in the end, she and I.
Page 10: In the meantime, though, Angel has intercepted our seaman and lifted him up into the high rigging, warning him not to yell or he'll end up splatted on the deck.
Page 11: Darla takes Angelus to task for interrupting her before she could get her hands on whatever this mysterious jewel is that they've both heard the rumors about. He's snotty and petty.
In the meantime, Angel has explained enough to the deckhand to at least get across that he's in danger with the two 'people' he's dealing with below, and extracts a promise from him to stay away from the couple on deck.
Page 12: After Angel returns to the deck, and sends the sailor off to hide away below decks, Fred comes out of hiding. She points out to Angel that he just changed history, because Angelus fanged the guy to death the first time around.
[WAIT... WHAT?!? NOW, you're concerned??]
Fred questions what they'll do now, since they're in uncharted waters so to speak. He immediately asks after which way the sailor went, offering Fred that human nature is for the man to immediately go and check on his 'treasure', which will help them find out what it is.
YOU HELPED ILLYRIA SAVE AN ENTIRE SPECIES OF DEMON THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN EXTINCT!
I'm sorry, am I just too logical? Too pedantic? Too worried about the small details? Because this whole history-changing thing is bugging the hell out of me, and I'm not even a physicist. I hope they return to "present day" just to find that the Earth has been totally screwed over by Illyria's alteration of pre-history and then have to go back and stop themselves from interfering with Old Illyria's rage-pocalypse in the first place.
But here Fred is, either way, suddenly being concerned that one sailor got saved in the past...
Page 13: They follow our sailor down a corridor to a locked door, where he slips into a room beyond. Angel tells Fred that something isn't right, because there is no way that this could be the crewman's room, up on a passenger deck.
Fred isn't worried about this, and dashes down the hallway to peek through the keyhole into the room beyond, where our deckhand entered.
Page 14: It turns out that our mystery trinket is held in a box, which our seaman hid in an empty cabin on the passenger deck... exactly where none of the other crew would dare risk entering. He takes a long look at his prize, relieved that it wasn't found by anyone else while he was busy blabbing all about it.
Page 15: After he's gone on about his business, Fred uses a piece of wire laying around to pick the simple lock. She tells Angel that she picked up a few things when they were back in Angel Investigations [Yeeah! Continuity! I do love that].
She is able to find the box, but when she opens it, she reacts with surprise, muttering that whatever she's found, isn't what she expected.
Page 16: Within, she finds the rumored beetle. But it isn't a piece of jewelry, but an actual insect. A large beetle of blues and purple with huge pincers.
Angel warns Fred not to touch it, but she wasn't about to anyway. He tells her that it looks similar to the bugs he saw in his vision of doom.
She wonders about their next step, suggesting they just take it back with them to the present.
Commentary: Yeah, okay. I did kind of like finding out that the secret prize of the crewman was just a large bug. And it does leave me wondering just where it came from, why it's in such an ornate box, and why crewman believes it to be so special to begin with.
I also keep wondering what Darla would've said if she'd actually gotten her hands on the "jewel" just to find an icky beetle waiting for her.
Page 17: Angel suggests they should know about it first. He notices a bit of dirt on the box that Angelus didn't notice before, and when he rubs it away, he sees some type of alphabet carved into it. He suggests that he let the crewman go a little too soon, and they'll need to know more about where and under what circumstances this bug came into his possession.
While he goes to pay another visit to the sailor, he instructs Fred to change out of her wet clothing, and to lock the door behind him until he returns. Fred worries about his running into Angelus, but Angel thinks it's worth the risk to get information.
Page 18: Just before he goes, and as Fred is finding dry clothes, Angel asks if she knows how to lower a lifeboat on a ship of this sort. Not really surprisingly, she doesn't. But she is curious as to why he'd ask. The answer is that this ship is about to be boarded by pirates.
Fred asks what happened to the beetle the first time, and Angel shares that Darla and Angelus escaped to the pirate ship, but the bug presumably went down with the ship along with her crew. Angelus and Darla then made sure that the pirates kept them fed until they could reach a shore.
Commentary: This is a good enough explanation for me on why Angel wouldn't be so concerned about saving the guy earlier, or about how taking the bug off of the ship would only help, since presumably everyone aboard this vessel were already dead in the coming pirate attack. So, I'm good with this.
What I'm annoyed by though, is that Angel chooses only now to inform Fred (and us) that what they do here - except in relation to the insect - won't change anything in the long run because of the pirate attack that dooms the travelers.
I mean, you'd really think it would've come up when Fred was worried over change the future... suddenly....
Page 19: Angel slips out to find our sailor for a Q&A. Fred, of course, doesn't immediately lock the door behind him as she was very clearly warned to. Which is why when somebody comes in behind her, she utters a shocked, "Oh, no...".
Page 20: Because, it isn't Angel unexpectedly returned immediately, but it is Darla!
Darla has come because she was finally able to ditch Angelus, and she's just as interested in the sailor and his mysterious prize as anyone. How she thought that he'd come in there, and yet not notice Angel looking exactly like Angelus coming out of the room is left to our imaginations.
She tells Fred to hand over the box.
Page 21: The vampire makes a leap at Fred, with Fred making a successful dodge. But that doesn't help her move fast enough to avoid Darla's grasping... uh - grasping. They both end up trying to wrestle the fancy box out of each other's hands.
Darla spots the insect for a moment, but is surprised enough that it wasn't a piece of gold jewelry that Fred is able to snatch the box from her and slam it shut.
Commentary: Somehow, despite Darla's superior reflexes [which I can put down, I guess, to the dress Darla has to sport] and her physical strength. But, okay.
Page 22: As Darla is demanding answers that Fred doesn't yet have, someone comes in behind them. He asks what is going on, which leads Fred to think it's Angel... but of course, it's Angelus, having tracked down his paramour for his own answers as to what she's found. Which is kinda bad news for Fred... or for them, depending on what Illyria is up to.
The Good: First, artwork doesn't impact scoring, but that cover gets a kudo. I really like it!
I do like a revist with Darla, even if we have to deal with Angelus, too. I also liked seeing the cracks in the Darla/Angelus relationship, that will drive her back to The Master eventually.
I'm also going to give a thumbs up for including a pirate attack in the ship's fate, so that changing the future isn't such a big deal here.
The colorful beetle is making a good McGuffin, with a bit more interest generated by it being something that you'd think would've gone down with the ship, and not been able to do whatever it was going to do to cause the bug-pocalypse that Angel saw in it's (the beetle's) future.
The Bad: Oh, c'mon! Fred is going to cling to the outer hull of a ship on high seas!?!
Fred! Fred and picking weird things to worry about changing the future over, while not even being aware of the doozy that she did in the pre-history past, which actually had clear impacts in her present... *sigh*shakeshead*.
Other Thoughts: I'm not sure where from, but I swear I know this comic-drawn sailor's face from somewhere! I'm not crazy, this guy looks like somebody... maybe even a past comic character from somewhere - A minor character....
I got the feeling again like the story maybe only came to 19 or 20 pages, so some things had to be stretched out so that the plot wouldn't be resolved without a cliffhanger. But I do like that this issue has more of a goal in mind that actually has to do with their ultimate problem in the future, rather than a whole issue that is a personal side quest for Illyria.
The Score: Ultimately, there are better things going on in this issue, than last. The writing though, isn't really giving a sense of urgency to any of this, and that is a bit of a problem. We need things to be far more risky going forward through this mystery. Maybe the next time they pull the magic bowl communicator from Angel's trousers, the Fairweathers could complain about the rash of bug attacks going on across Magic Town and entreat Fred and Angel to stop their sightseeing and get home already. OOOhh, and maybe we could get our cameo by Leah or Satsu, come to help!
I don't know, we need something, though. For this issue's score as is: 3.25 out of 5 stars