[Yes, I need to come up with a Boom!Angel icon for these reviews. I haven't gotten a cover I want to showcase, yet.]
Boom!Angel + Spike
Writer: Bryan Edward Hill, Artwork: Gleb Melnikov & Roman Titov, Lettering: Ed Dukeshire
Cover: Vanesa R. Del Rey
My Blurb: Poor Angel: Once again, his title gets a co-billing co-star....
Page 01: We open in Downtown Los Angeles, where Angel has returned since his visit to Sunnydale's Hellmouth. In a car on a quiet street, is a boy in the passenger seat. Somebody tells the boy to slow down, or he'll make himself sick. Conversation reveals this is Dre, a kid on the streets and he's been giving a fast food meal by Kate Lockley. He asks after what Kate wants, as she only finds him when she needs something [presumably street info]. She denies she's there for anything other than pressing him to go to one of the places she's shared with him to get a bed and regular meals.
Whether that is truly all she wants or if she is, in fact, there to try to get information - we don't find out. They're interrupted by someone loitering outside of the car.
Page 02: What drew Kate's attention is the green fog that has developed around the car. Kate leaves the automobile and demands that the weird guy staring at her move along. When he doesn't do so immediately, she flashes her badge in warning to get along. Instead, he walks up on her.
And, she sees, he has a far to wide toothy grin. But far more disturbing is his eyes... he doesn't have any. Or rather, where his eyes may be, are scars where his eyelids have been sewn over. And that green mist is getting thicker around him.
Commentary: Yeah. I'm glad to see Kate, again, and hopefully they'll find some more use for her in Team Angel like they managed in IDW. I also like the look of our bad guy, straight off.
Page 03: Kate looks away just long enough to grab her gun from the inside of her jacket, but when she looks back, the figure is gone.
She hears Dre scream in alarm, to find that the figure had somehow gotten around her and to her car. He's currently pulling Dre from the passenger side window.
Page 04: As Kate rushes to the kid's aid, our mysterious bad-guy... let's call him Mr. Grin for now, sinks those pearly whites into Dre's bicep. Kate fires off a round, but Mr. Grin vanishes into thin air. Dre is left on the ground in shock, with blood rushing from his wound, as Kate calls in for an ambulance.
Page 05: In the meanwhile, Angel is not happy. At all.
His ire comes in the form of a certain other vampire, who for reasons that Angel can't comprehend, is hanging out with Fred and Charles. He complains that he was only gone for two weeks, protecting them from things like... Spike.
Page 06: Angel and Spike take their argument outside, where Angel asks after the game that Spike thinks he's playing. Spike tells Angel about Fred being stalked by a demonic law firm and Gunn's unhealthy penchant for trying to prove himself, and ergo constantly on the verge of being dead. Angel acknowledges he knows about the latter.
Spike asks him if he's taking in strays now, trying to form some super-hero team. He - a little nastily - reminds him of what happens when Angel tries to have friends.
Commentary: Why somebody didn't mention Lilith's intervention, which is the only reason Spike showed up, for some reason. I can see Spike not mentioning it, because he's too busy needling Angel, but you'd think that Fred or Gunn would've interrupted that Spike was sent to help them.
Page 07: Fred and Gunn follow the two vampires outdoors to point out that Spike saved Fred's life, while Angel wasn't there. But Angel insists that Spike can't be trusted. This is actually something Spike is in agreement on. He warns Angel's colleagues that all vampires are just sharks, who rend, kill and feed on anything around them. And, as he marches back inside, he tells them Angel is just the same as him.
Page 08: Spike listens from just inside the door, as Fred and Charles tell Angel that they know what Spike is, just as they know what Angel is. But that point out that Spike was helpful, and he's trying to be better. Fred senses that Spike is hurting, just like Angel hurts.
Angel decides he can tolerate Spike for now, but turns attention to this demonic law firm business.
Page 09: In the meanwhile, Kate is at a local hospital with Dre. Kate is struggling with the doctor seeing to him, considering what she'd have to admit to seeing. She finally tells the doctor that, despite Dre not showing any puncture wounds now, he was bitten by something that looked like a man.
Dre's condition is worsening, but the doctor can't get a handle on the cause. Kate tells her that she thinks his attacker infected him with something.
Page 10: The doc is called away for another patient, but promises to return.
Kate hears her name from off-panel, and when she turns, she finds a stylish black woman with unusually dark eyes. Lilith tells her that she may know someone who can help. Kate questions after her identity, but Lilith instead refers to the man with the smile under no eyes.
Page 11: Kate realizes that this stranger has seen Mr. Grin, but when she asks after her identity again, she continues to get a non-answer. Lilith hands over a business card to Kate, and tells her to call the man and tell him the absolute truth.
Page 12: Out in the city, Angel is patrolling from the rooftops. Spike joins him, warning him that the sunrise is closing in fast. Angel asks if he thought about greeting the daylight and letting it do what it does, and Spike admits to occasionally having the thought.
Angel warns Spike that if he hurts either Fred or Charles, he'll tear him apart. Spike points out that Angel is beeping. Angel is shocked to find that he has a phone in his pocket.
Commentary: One of the characters I've been intrigued by is Lilith, but that can quickly wear thin without more information about why she's doing what she's doing. I don't need to know everything, but just some clue as to what the end goal is for her, to show up and help Angel so completely, would be nice. Especially, since she seems to be able to command Spike, so why isn't she able to command the things that she's sending Angel after? And since she has enough power and/or authority to frighten Spike, why can't she use that same authority over her unruly 'children'?
I mean, I'm fine if there is some End-of-Days reason that she can't have more direct intervention -- Supernatural did fine with the God/Devil stuff (sort of, mostly). I just would like something articulated.
Page 13: When Angel answers, Kate stumbles through telling him that a woman gave her his number and said he could help. He tells her that she has the wrong number, but Kate mutters to herself to be honest. She then gives a description of the eyeless thing that smelled like death.
There is a moment of silence.
Page 14: Kate insists that she's not crazy, and Angel assures her that she isn't. He offers to meet her at the hospital, but on the parking roof - and only if she's alone. While Kate agrees this to this, we see her checking that her gun clip is full.
Page 15: Once Angel hangs up, Lilith appears. He jokes that he hopes she set up his calling plan for unlimited data and a roaming plan. She assures him that he's set up on her family plan. But she's there to make sure that Angel takes this meeting, as she believes Kate will play an important role in the overarching situation.
Angel wonders what the situation is, exactly, but turns attention to the fact that Spike will be hanging around. He assumes that Lilith arranged for him to be underfoot. She tells Angel that Spike wandered in, and she simply made use of him. But, she also tells Angel that we're in the 'Age of the Hellmouth', proving that Sunnydale's big blowout wasn't the end of the trouble the world is facing. She tells him that this isn't the time for old grudges.
He next asks what Lilith told Kate about him. Lilith informs him that she only said that he could help... so, he should run along and be helpful.
Page 16: Before her meeting with Angel, Kate returns to Dre's room, where the boy is sickly. He asks her if she saw what he saw, and she assures that she did. She offers things are going to be alright.
Page 17: Forty minutes-ish later, Kate is standing alone on the rooftop parking structure waiting. She flashes onto a childhood memory of being afraid in the dark, which Lilith had brought up as if she had first hand knowledge.
Page 18: Kate hears footsteps, but these turn out not to be the man offering help, but the very thing that attacked Dre.
She pulls her gun, and demands to know what the stranger is, and what Mr. Grin did to Dre. She gets no response.
Page 19: Mr. Grin gives her his too wide smile. Suddenly, Kate's gun clatters to the cement. She starts shuffling toward Mr. Grin. Entranced, she confirms that he wants her to dance. Mr. Grin's smiles even wider, as Kate starts to shuffle her feet to some impulse.
A hand suddenly grabs hers, interrupting...
Commentary: Interesting, but also kinda-weird. So, Mr. Grin seems to like playing with Kate - but why is what I'm wondering. It's true we didn't see him playing around with Dre, but I guess that doesn't mean he didn't pull some sort of mind-whammy on him before he met Kate in her car. Maybe this is the modus operandi for the creeper?
Page 20: Angel asks Kate if she minds if he cuts in, staring down Mr. Grin, who is less smiling now - and more full on gaping maw.
Commentary: Hmmm. Only 20 pages on this one. Should we feel gypped? Or glad that they'll adjust individual issue lengths to make a part of a tale more focused?
The Good: I like Mr. Grin's design with his dark, grey skin and the eyes sewn shut and the 40's business suit look.
I liked Kate's struggle with actually saying out loud just what happened and what she experienced during Dre's attack. I'm also happy to have Kate's character reset, and I hope that she'll get a bit more character work done going forward.
The Bad: Nothing.
Other Thoughts: I'm always ambivalent about Spike showing up in Angel's titles, because he tends to pull oxygen. Writers love his character (for understandable reasons), so he tends to get more attention, than he should. But DH made it work when he showed up in Angel & Faith, so I'm reserving judgement. I am equally ambivalent, however, of his seeming to be starting as more willing to work on Team Good without any of the character growth that led him slowly to that point in BTVS' television run. [More short-cutting, because we know the character and like him... except that was in a whole different 'verse, so this isn't the way to handle these things... IMO.]
I wasn't thrilled that the argument over Spike could've been shortened quite easily, if he'd just brought up Lilith's appearance and her drafting him immediately. So, of course, no one mentioned it.
The Score: This was an okay issue. It's the start of a new threat/mystery, and feels like the arc set-up, but there were interesting tidbits.
An average 3.0 out of 5