[DH S11, My S9], Issue 7
“Time and Tide” part III
Writer: Corinna Bechko, Art: Zé Carlos & Michelle Madsen, Letters: Richard Starkings & [Comicraft’s] Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Scott Fischer
Blurb: 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.
A vision of future doom connected to his past has sent Angel and Illyria on a mission traveling through time. Aboard a nineteenth-century cargo ship, Angel and Fred sought a mysterious treasure that might have had a connection to the future -- but finding it has instead brought the pair face to face with Angelus and Darla, and unleashed a plague of insects and zombies… in the middle of a pirate attack!
Page 01: Aboard the burning cargo vessel, Illyria is angry toward Angel for getting pissy about her throwing Angelus and Darla overboard, when they threatened Fred. She asks if Angel would’ve preferred her allowing her counterpart to get turned into a vampire.
Angel assures her he wouldn’t have allowed that to happen, but her concerns were what would’ve happened had Fred been drained and changed to herself… and an Illyria without a soul running around in the past.
Page 02: Angel is about to ask again if Illyria could really be turned, but she’s in a real snit now, and leaves Fred in her place just as suddenly as she intervened.
Fred tells Angel that he can argue with Illyria about responsibility in disaster scenarios later: Right now, they need to rescue his former self before he becomes ashes.
Angel agrees it’s a problem…
Commentary: That was a cute Fred-line, so kudos.
Page 03: But they have a worse one at the present moment: The cargo ship is ablaze, much of the crew - both defenders and pirate -- have become zombies, and the beetles causing the zombie mess are still buzzing around trying to find others to infect… and Fred is still vulnerable.
Page 04: Angel scents something, and Fred wonders if he’s talking about burning tea leaves, which isn’t as pleasant as she thought it would be, or burning zombie flesh which isn’t doing much for her, either.
But Angel shouts that they have to turn the ship around immediately. He tells her that he can smell the difference between the sea air and that closer to land. The ship is headed toward a harbor, but that would allow the bugs to spread their contagion!
Commentary: I do like the background panels throughout all of this. There is some nice backdrop artwork going on.
And I do like the problems piling up fast in this chaotic situation, with all of the choices meaning potential impacts in the future, but with little time to actually think through how to resolve them without making that future worse off.
It’s a nicely dynamic situation.
Page 05: Fred worries over Angelus ceasing to exist, and thereby making Angel cease to exist as the sun rises, but Angel is far more concerned right now about the beetle(s) not going to the bottom of the sea, as it did in the original timeline.
He tells Fred that Angelus is a determined survivor, and he believes that he’ll figure out a way to make it back to shore without a fiery death.
Commentary: Something, which you’d think he would be worried about himself. The air around them has got to be becoming rather combusty with all of the burning wood, and Fred should be gasping more than she is [though she did at least hint that she’s having some issues with breathing all of the smoke, at least].
Again though, there is a lot of extended conversation going on which seems both unnecessary, and in these circumstances, rather foolish. I wish more of this opening scene had been handled with minimal dialog, show Fred struggling with the smoke, and show Angel starting to worry over the amount of fire getting close to his ever-so-combustible body. But this might just be nitpicking.
Page 06: Further discussion about Angelus and their circumstances aboard ship are interrupted by the Captain conscripting Angel to defend the ship. And in the meantime, he puts blame on Fred for the Galene’s bad luck because women on a ship is bad luck. He orders her off.
Page 07: At the helm, they find our original infected seaman steering the vessel toward port. Angel tackles him, while the Captain takes the wheel.
Page 08: Unfortunately for Captain, a bug has spotted him as a non-minion. Fred tries to rush to him, and shouts a warning, but it’s too late for a save.
Commentary: Damn. I don’t know why, but I kind of wanted a survivor this time out, and since Hunky was off the table, I thought maybe Captain would end up saved. Probably knocked out to keep the Galene from reaching land, but… ah, well.
Page 09: As Angel fends off more zombies trying to make sure the stricken vessel gets closer to a port, Fred takes the wheel. At the same time, Captain’s beetle erupts from his forehead, conscripting him into the Great Insect Conspiracy.
Page 10: She’s quickly tackled from the wheel though, by the now corrupted Captain.
Angel has to slam him to the deck with a barrel.
Page 11: In answer, the driven zombie Captain lights his own fist on fire and then tries to punch Angel out.
Commentary: Another nice image of the flaming fist coming near Angel’s face. But this ship, still being sailable at all is starting to seem really unlikely, and uh… the heat around them should have Fred driven to her knees by now. How they’re all not combusting is becoming a distraction the longer this disaster goes on.
Page 12: The mast finally snaps, and burning, plunges through the deck. Angel shouts to Fred that they need a new plan, but she’s nowhere to be found in the burning wreckage.
Page 13: Angel finds himself backed into a corner, shouting for Fred, while burning zombies try to grab and combust him.
He’s suddenly thrown off his feet, along with his attackers, as the ship hits something and goes into its death throes.
Page 14: Angel is left dangling by a burning rope over the side, and just when it appears he and Fred will be separated, Illyria’s hand appears to grab the rope and haul him back aboard: Not that it’s any safer, but Illyria has a better chance at surviving a burning, sinking wreck than Fred.
Commentary: I had thought that Fred had gone overboard already, and was wondering why Illyria had been so concerned with Fred not being killed by Angelus, but seemed to have little concern for her getting roasted to death, or drowned, so I’m glad that Corinne had her make a re-appearance here, instead.
The problem with a super-duper powered character is keeping them out of the way when you need some serious danger to the other team members, and some of Illyria’s pissy disappearances have been coming out looking contrived, but that just leads back to my much earlier arguments about her being brought back in the first place, which isn’t Corinna’s doing, so lets move on….
Page 15: It turns out the crippled ship wasn’t stopped from getting to port by running into sunken rocks, or an uncharted bit of island, but because of Illyria. She tells Angel that somebody had to do something to stop the contagion from spreading to land.
She also tells Angel that she has already punched two holes in the pirate vessel as well, to send that one to the bottom. There will be no infecting bug invasions of the coast.
Angel complains about the nature of their rescue, offering that with the sun rising, he’s a goner now too, but she tells him that he’s a survivor as well and to come up with a plan.
Commentary: Angel! You can’t drown, you won’t freeze, and Illyria can swim indefinitely… go overboard, head under water deep enough for the sun to avoid burning you, and ride out the day!
Jeezus. It’s not a trick question.
Page 16: But as it turns out, they spot an empty life boat from the ship drifting. Angel grabs a shield made from a barrel top, and he and Illyria dive overboard the burning Galene.
Page 17: Boarding the life boat, Angel shouts for Illyria, but it’s Fred who asks for help aboard. She complains about Illyria’s choices when she leaves.
Commentary: Oh, dear. Is Bechko really going to go with Angel shielding himself all day long with a barrel top as sunblock?! That may be about as good a plan as Spike’s trekking through desert with a ratty blanket for untenable.
Why, oh why didn’t she just write Angel clinging to the bottom of the life boat and using it to block the sun… HE CAN’T DROWN or FREEZE TO DEATH.
And Illyria is starting to look like an idiot, too.
Page 18: In the boat, with Angel using a combo of Fred’s body and the barrel top to shield him from the sun, Fred brings up a worry about Angel being this close to Angelus, not to mention that they’ve changed his history as well. She worries briefly about Angelus missing his soul-restoration because of their interference in the past.
[A bit late now, so what is the point of even discussing it?]
She also complains about their not getting enough information from Illyria about these specific time skips, and why they’re showing up when they are.
Commentary: Which is pretty much my exact complaint about their first hop backward, and the changes there were far more drastic than anything involving Angelus and Darla thus far!
Page 19: Fred looks for a compass in her borrowed trousers, but finds that the seaman left without one… which annoys her.
Angel tells her that he can smell when they’re near land, and she just needs to pay attention to the sun, so they don’t drift in circles.
Commentary: Again. Illyria. This is a stupid situation to leave Fred… they have no water, and she’s out in a cloudless sky in the middle of the ocean under a relentless sun.
And Angel… *sigh*… he shouldn’t even be in the boat!
Page 20: A splash comes over the side, and Fred worries about their lifeboat’s survival chances in a storm, but Angel assures her a storm isn’t nearby.
Page 21: Aboard the lifeboat, the choppy water is getting ever more violent, rocking the tiny vessel around. The movement threatens to dislodge Angel’s makeshift shield and leave him in a world of hurt, or dumping Fred into the ocean with the same result for her [because Illyria’s random ins and outs don’t bode well, I suppose].
Page 22: But they find the rocking isn’t caused by the sea, but by the zombies who have not lost their ability to swim, and are now attacking the lifeboat!
The Good: It was a bit long, but I did actually enjoy the battle aboard the burning Galene, and the dangers presented toward Fred and Angel piling up into a chaotic mess.
I also really liked the artwork aboard the burning wreckage… though Fred’s large doe-eyes are still a minor issue.
I enjoyed the short scenes of burning zombies attacking Angel. That was fun [though it could’ve been a longer scene].
The Bad: Okay, the thought of Angel surviving a full day in the sun with nothing but a barrel top to keep him from burning is just dumb on its face. It was only so he and Fred could have dialog after dialog that didn’t accomplish anything, so wasn’t actually needed.
Other Thoughts: It isn’t bad, but I was annoyed at Angel’s not going below the waves to escape the sunlight, and Illyria’s not staying after Fred gets dumped overboard. This could’ve been handled a lot better, and with less pointless dialog.
The Score: I liked this action packed issue more than our previous one. It does contain much too much empty dialog, and the scenario to keep Angel out of the sun, and Fred out of the water doesn’t work so well. But this issue at least is paced better than last time out.
3.50 out of 5 stars