Season (9 or 11), Issue 8
"Time and Tide" part IV
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 vmapire, 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 knows 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 trhough 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.
Time traveling to find the source of a vison of impending doom has led Angel and Fred to a nineteenth century cargo ship at sea. On board, a mysterious beetle - possibly with a connection to the future - has turned the entire crew into zombies amidst a pirate attack. Out of options, Angel and Fred have taken to a life raft on the open sea... But they aren't finding it much safer!
Page 01: Aboard the tiny row boat that Angel and Fred retreated to after the ship they were traveling on caught fire and sank, both are hardly out of danger. For Angel, the big risk is the sunlight that threatens to find him, crouched down behind a barrel top he's using for a shield.
For Fred, it's the attacking bug-infected who are attempting to climb into the boat. It's especially perilous for her, because Illyria is in a snit and so her appearance isn't guaranteed if things go badly.
Page 02: Angel gets the danglers off, but takes a few smoking hits by sunlight to do it. The infected, however, are quite persistant.
Page 03: To deal with the devils more directly, Angel leaps overboard, taking a few scorch marks by the sunlight for his troubles, but diving under their boat. He grabs hold of the bottom of it, and starts powerswimming Fred away.
Commentary: Exactly what I've been yelling at him to do... get in the water! Although, now that he's finally done it, that salt has got to sting.
Page 04: When Angel gets them away from the zombies, he asks Fred for some more sunblocking.
Page 05: With our twosome safe for the moment, Angel wordily tells Fred that he smells a volcanic island nearby with a large bird colony. He decides he'll guide the rowboat in that direction, which should be far from any population centers where the infected could cause more trouble.
Commentary: Except that this took two pages, nine panels to get to the point. It feels like this issue is going to pad things out.
Page 06: As Angel goes under again to powerswim the rowboat toward the island, Fred dozes off under the beating sun.
Page 07: Near sundown, Angel wakes Fred up. He warns her that the zombies have tirelessly swam after them, but they're near to the island now.
Page 08: As Angel directs the boat toward shore, Fred spots another lifeboat smashed on the rocks. She immediately intuits that Darla and Angelus had also scented dry land, and are lurking somewhere nearby.
Page 09: With night fallen now, Fred and Angel can talk without his combusting. Fred starts having a bad feeling about their just happening upon a volcanic island, and Angel asks why. You might think it was because she's afraid of being swamped with hot lava, but no. Her concern is that she has noticed echoes of the past continually cropping up in their travels.
Illyria's volcano in the past, and now they're finding another one. The ship's crew being killed in the past, and then being killed 'now', despite their attempts to save them.
Fred tells Angel it feels like they're able to change individual events, but that the course of history continues to march forward toward the mutant plant, and plague beatles they're trying to stop.
This is extremely disconcerting for Angel, who has thwarted 'fate' before and doesn't like the idea that nothing they do can stop them from losing in their real time.
Commentary: I liked this observation by Fred here, and it caught my interest that whatever happened in the present, isn't something that could be stopped in the past, despite Illyria's jog through time.
The last few pages have been needlessly drawn out to get to the island for the final zombie attack (presumably), so this little bit of worry that it's all going to be for nothing after everything was a nice bit of tension.
Page 10: Fred offers that maybe History is taking the path of least resistence, and that if they study patterns and then apply the right force in key moments, they can force it to take the harder path.
Further discussions on this point are interrupted by the infected catching up with them however. They set to climbing up the hopefully dormant volcano, while trying to avoid a beetle which has also been tagging along behind them, looking for someone to infect.
Page 11: Fred and Angel make it to a ledge, and with some teamwork, send a large boulder down the volcano's face to smash some of their stalkers.
They're ready to feel a little relief at their relatively secure position, when that is interrupted by rocks being thrown at them.
Page 12: The stones were being thrown by Darla and Angelus to catch their attention, so that they can demand to know who Fred and Angel really are. Something which both decide they can't reveal, despite our evil vampires' bad moods.
Page 13: Angel whispers to Fred about calling up Illyria to deal with the remaining zombies, and watching their backs from himself and his paramour. Fred tells him that she's a no-show right now, because Illyria senses that she has a difficult task coming up soon, and she's trying to save her energies.
In the meantime, Angelus has been guessing at the identity of his doppleganger, catching Darla by surprise.
She tells him that it couldn't be true, but then goes on to say that even if it was, that would only mean that the visitors can't hurt them, but they can still do whatever they want.
Commentary: Look, I'm really sorry guys. There isn't a lot in this issue to comment on, because I've mostly already commented about the same things last issue. There is a lot of dialog in this issue that is striking me as unnecessary for us to actually see, and despite the problems of the infected, the beatle(s) still buzzing around, and now Angelus guessing at Angel's actual identity - there just isn't much forward momentum in the main plot about saving the future from calamity, or not being able to change things.
We're just puttering around.
Page 14: In the meantime, while Angel and Fred have not been beaming zombies with rocks, they've been allowed to climb up after them.
Angel shouts to his counterpart and Darla that they're coming up to join them. Darla takes the opportunity to confront Angelus' doppleganger on who Angelus thinks he is, but the beatles are now reaching the group, putting that conversation off.
Page 15: As Darla notices that there are a lot more beatles than one would've thought, the zombies being climbing up over the ridge, covered in the insects looking for someone to infect.
Page 16: Angel and Angelus wrestle with the infected, as they continue to have more beatles swarming around Fred.
In the meantime, she notices that they're standing next to a lava tube, and gets a plan.
Page 17: Angel calls to Angelus that Fred has to be kept safe until she can get them out of this. Darla tries to warn Angelus that it could be a trap, but he replies that whatever is going on, it surely isn't a well coreographed snare.
Commentary: I don't know why, but I did like that line from Angelus. And I also did enjoy the panels of Angelus, Angel and Darla all fighting together.
Page 18: Fred's pleading with Illyria results in her arrival, with pretty much the same plan in mind as Fred: summon the lava, the way she did in the past (another echo through time) to fight an enemy.
Page 19: Illyria summons lava from the caldera through the lava tube, sending torrents of molten rock onto the infected.
(And nearly taking out the vampires with them.)
Page 20: As Angel is second guessing this plan, the beatle producing infected is consumed in lava. The beatles around them instantly fall dead, also.
In the meantime, Illyria tells Angel that Fred thought it important to close the loop left open when Illyria had stopped the eruption in the past that was meant to have occurred.
This time, the eruption will go ahead. She warns Angel that even if she wanted to, she couldn't stop it.
Of course, that leaves the highly combustible vampires in a mess.
Commentary: Fortunately, hot lava doesn't actually radiate scorching heat, so it has to touch you to burn you... *ahem*.
Page 21: Angel points out to Illyria that they really need to time portal right about now....
Page 22: Illyria warns Angel that this trip will be unsettling, and she can't know what the effect will be of transporting Angel and Angelus together, but since they don't have options....
The Good: It's nice that Angel finally caught up with me on getting under water to avoid the deadly sunlight, instead of holding a piece of wood over his head.
I did like those few panels of Angel and Angelus fighting together against a common threat.
I also liked the idea of echoes from Illyria, Fred and Angel's interference in the past coming forward, and overtaking them as they travel, causing patterns to repeat until they break the cycle. I'm not clear on how much they'll deal with this [like, the fact that they saved a whole demonic race that was supposed to have perished], but the idea is interesting.
I'm going to give a kudo to the artwork for the lava eruption panels toward the end.
The Bad: The pages of rowboat conversation really did drag the beginning of the issue down with conversations that we, as the reader, didn't really need to witness.
Other Thoughts: It's not in the bad, but I did find the zombies being able to swim fast enough to keep up with Angel a bit ridiculous. I guess Angel could've been deliberately leading them by not swimming too fast, but that wasn't clear.
I was annoyed by Angel and Fred commenting on how they could hold their position, and then immediately getting into a chat-fest with Angelus and Darla, so that they didn't hold their position. Is Angel too much the dullard to talk over his shoulder, and throw rocks at the infected at the same time? [That was rhetorical. Although, sometimes I do wonder about him.]
The Score: This one was okay, better toward the back end. The beginning was just draggy with too much inconsequential chatting, so it dragged down the scoring:
3.0 out of 5 stars