Angel (S9/11), I10
"Dark Reflections" part II
Script: Corinna Bechko, Art: Geraldo Borges & Michelle Madsen, Letters: Richards 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 doom that is connected to his past, Angel has been traveling through time with the help of Illyria, hoping to prevent the coming disaster. Fred has lost faith in their ability to change the larger course of history and wants to return to the present, but Angel has been captured by the thought of how he might change his own past... With Illyria weakened from the stain on her powers, Angel forced the time portal to take them to a crucial point in his human past: 1753, Galway, Ireland.
Page 01: Angel tried to greet his father as someone who regrets what had been between them, but of course, his old man is speaking to current Liam in return. And all he sees when he looks, unknowingly, at Angel is the disgrace that he holds Liam in.
Page 02: Angel tries to apologize, but he's quickly interrupted for more berating by his father for not taking responsibility for his own actions, and always trying to make his upbringing as some sort of excuse for being a lout.
Angel finally tells him that he wins, but his sister has come out of the house and begs for Liam not to run off, again.
Page 03: Kathy is overpleased to see her brother, but their father will have none of it, warning 'Liam' that he'll not let him corrupt his sister, with as scowling a manner as a human face is capable.
Page 04: As father and sister return to their home, Angel loses himself in a memory of when he was younger, and still in the good grace of his pa.
He's interrupted with a start by Fred, having caught up with him.
Page 05: Fred tries to sympathize with how hard it must be for Angel to know he could intervene in saving his family, but reminds him that for every change they make, a break is happening in the present they knew.
Angel tries to argue that maybe none of this was supposed to happen in the first place, but Fred urges him to not drive himself crazy with those thoughts. She brings up that if he stops himself from becoming Angelus, it won't just be his life impacted. She reminds him that Connor will never be born without history following its course.
Commentary: Sorry about the lack of comment again - This is another rehash of the argument they've been having about changing the timeline, and I've already made all of my points about that.
This is all heart breaking for Angel, but what has to happen, has to happen so all I can feel is that Angel did this to himself by dragging Illyria here when he didn't have to. He must KNOW that the goddess isn't going to allow him to change anything as drastic as his own history - if for no other reason, than that she'd still be hidden in the Deeper Well if not for Angel's tenure at Wolf, Ram & Hart.
This is all just flogging his wounds -- which, again I have to admit is well within character.
Page 06: Angel retorts that Connor's life has been full of pain, in fact, so much suffering could be avoided right now if he takes this chance. But Fred reminds him of all of the good he's done, including literally saving the world, and of course also saving her from Pylea.
Page 07: Angel puts the point aside, by pointing out that neither of them have had sleep in who knows how long. They find a place where they can hunker down, with Angel telling Fred that they'll wait until Illyria is rested enough to send them home.
Page 08: He leads her to his father's barn. Fred worries about the safety of being in such an easy to find location, but Angel remembers the times that Liam found plenty of privacy with the local ladies and states they'll be safe enough.
Page 09: If you thought it weird that Angel suddenly gave up on his argument, it's because he hasn't. After making sure that Fred was, in fact, well asleep, he sneaks out of the hayloft.
Angel runs to his sister's window, and taps on the glass.
Page 10: Angel wants to see Kathy once more, as he evidently intends on stopping Liam from meeting with Darla still, and doesn't know how the future will play out from there. Kathy offers he'll see her again at breakfast, and he's being silly over his latest row with their father.
She gives him a ring from her finger to put around his watch chain so they'll never really be apart.
Commentary: I did like the moment where - before she offers the ring - she offers him her cross necklace. His refusal, you can tell, is due to the protection it could offer against Angelus. But he must know that it won't help her, because it didn't before. It's just a... human moment of illogic, that I find a touch poignant.
Especially since he's obviously planning for Angelus to not come home at all, so really, Kathy won't need the necklace anyway if he's successful as he plans.
Page 11: Angel says good night to his baby sis, and then rushes off to intercept his mortal self.
Page 12: Liam hears Angel's stalking, but convinces himself it's just the wind.
Page 13: As Angel vamps out [OH! He's planning on killing his younger self!], Liam suddenly gets the feeling that he's being stalked and is in danger.
Angel rushes for him, snarling with his fangs out...!
Page 14: Before he can strike Liam down, though, he's again tackled hard to the ground. Illyria had noticed him leaving, and she's not going to tolerate Angel's destroying history.
Liam is left to rush off into the night, with a fright... [and very possibly rushing to the bar with his freind, BECAUSE he needs to get over his nerves, which is going to lead to his being led into that alley by Darla].
Page 15: Angel glares at Illyria, but she tells him she understands what he's feeling in wanting to spare others from the pain his counterpart will cause, as she also feels regrets. She offers that she doesn't want to go on fighting with him like this.
Commentary: Okay, I did really like that. It caught me off guard, as I thought he was going to try to dust Darla, not kill himself. But it makes so much sense, that he'd feel so disgusted at who he used to be [something touched on during his emotional breakdown with Buffy in 'Amends'], that he'd feel that just stopping Angelus wouldn't be enough to make up for everything.
The more that I think about it, in fact, especially with it coming on the heels of his father accusing him of endangering corrupting his sister with his lack of morals, the more I love that his intention was targeting Liam, rather than Darla.
Page 16: Angel and Illyria have a staredown, and she asks him if he's ready to agree that interfering in the past any further is a poor idea. His answer is to make a dash to catch up with Liam.
He can't outrun Illyria though, and he asks if she wants a fight after all. Her response is an emphatic 'no'.
Page 17: And she doesn't need to fight him. She has enough energy stored now for a very brief and quick skip... enough to put Liam and Darla beyond his ability to catch up with either one of them, until tonight's tragedy is completed.
Page 18: Angel is momentarily relieved when he sees that they hadn't actually traveled away from the village, and he still has time. But Illyria implies that she did move them through time however. He brings up her previous warning that traveling over the same time/space multiple times was dangerous, and she agrees. But sometimes consequences of not doing so is more dangerous than the risks of doing so.
Angel suddenly seems to understand what she just did, and rushes to the little cottage of his family.
Page 19: And confirms that Illyria moved them forward to after Angelus awoke, and visited his mortal family.
Angel shouts that this time, she's responsible for killing his family. Which she accepts as being the only choice he left her.
She tells him that they must go, as the villagers have found the evidence of the other places that Darla and Angelus have visited.
But Angel is in despair, and chooses not to bother running away, letting the villagers pin the blame on him and doing what they will.
Illyria tells him that won't happen, even if she has to kill the lot of them, to save him.
Commentary: Which... I'm not sure is the better alternative. I'd like to think that Illyria would stop herself at disabling them, since we're not solidly concerned with changing the timeline any further. I'm choosing to read that Illyria is lying about her willingness to kill any attackers, just to get Angel moving.
Page 20: Angel and Illyria hide out until the hunting party for the murderers passes safely by. Angel then turns on Illyria for interfering when they made her past better by stopping her from wiping out Arev's people. She freely admits that they did, but implies if she knew then what she knows now from Fred, she wouldn't have done so.
She tells him that when they return to the present, she won't be so impulsive with her time powers. But that is for later. Right now, he is in need of comfort.
Illyria shocks Angel by putting her arms around him in a comforting hug.
Page 21: Illyria shares that she has realized that what they did before has made them who they are now, and she offers that she is a better being because of Angel. She impresses on him that the past must be allowed to be the past, and that his bumbling attempts to change everything may only get them all killed.
Angel's shoulders fall, and he tells Illyria that he just wishes so much that none of this had happened. Illyria offers that she shares in those feelings.
Page 22: After some staring, they fall into one another with a kiss... (EW!!).
The Good: The meeting between Angel and his father was as unpleasant as you may imagine. Good writing.
I really liked the scene with Angel and Kathy at her bedroom window, too.
And I loved that Angel decided to kill Liam, before Darla could do it, because after all -- he's never felt that he was a righteous man.
I also liked Illyria's solution being to move them past the point where Angel could save his family. That was harsh. But also necessary.
The Bad: It's minor, but I think I do need to put it here: The constant return to the same argument of changing the past because it was bad, and not changing the past because it is too dangerous has been repeated and repeated. It's just worn thin, now.
Other Thoughts: That uncomfortable moment when Illyria suddenly embraced Angel was nice, but then it was ruined with that fiery kiss.
The Score: This one had some real emotionally affecting panels to get over the repetitive argument with Angel, and I really liked Angel not resolving the situation the way I had thought. How any of this is supposed to tie into Giant Man Eating Plants and Mind Raping Bugs, though...?
3.75 out of 5 stars