Boom!Angel & Spike
Writer: Bryan Edward Hill, Artwork: Gleb Melnikov & Roman Titov, Lettering: Ed Dukeshire
Cover: Dan Panosian
Page 01: We open with a possessed Charles Gunn finishing his axe downstroke at the not-helpless Kate. She throws herself out of the bed in time to be missed. She goes for her gun, on the floor next to the bed, but it gets slapped out of her hands before she can train it on him.
She has to throw herself backward into a closet in order to avoid another axe swing.
In the meantime, glass crashes.
Page 02: It's Angel smashing through to the rescue! He shouts at her to run.
Page 03: Angel is able to knock the axe from Gunn's hand, and tries the 'I know you're in there' line. But he also tells him that although he doesn't want to hurt him, he also has to stop him. Gunn stares at him with solid white eyes, and then charges him.
Page 04: While Angel is catching a tackling Charles, Spike shows up to tell Kate that she should really be retreating right about now. Kate asks Spike why it wants to kill her so badly, and he tells her that it can sense her goodness - just as he can.
Commentary: "Sense her goodness...": Ugh. Whatever. You should've just said, "Don't know, not important right now."
And if your comparing your senses to the thing that is trying to axe murder her, when not trying to burn her alive was supposed to be comforting, I think you misread.
Page 05: Angel tells Gunn that he has to try to fight his possessor, but Charles' body is being so stretched out into a taffy-fingered, huge-mouthed inhuman thing that this seems unlikely.
In the meantime, somewhere Lila is telling Fred that she needs to stop fighting and to embrace He. She hands Fred a dagger to cut her palm in order to summon some blood magic.
With Angel, he tells Charles that he's really sorry...
Page 06: ... and then proceeds to snap his elongated arm at the elbow! Angel gets slapped away by his other, and as the vampire is recovering from that, Charles-Demon snaps his arm back into place as if it a minor inconvenience.
Lila, meanwhile, tells Fred that her blood will allow her to join Baphomet.
Page 07: With Lila, Fred levitates. Lila calls out to Baphomet that Fred is on her way to join him.
With Angel, Charles suddenly stops attacking and is standing still. Angel questions if he's back, while Spike recommends that Gunn be killed while there is still time.
But they're not alone, as Fred is suddenly with them as well. Or at least her body is with them. She makes it clear that she isn't Fred, anymore than Charles is himself.
Page 08: Actual-Fred has found her spirit/mind plane-shifted. There she stands before her benefactor. Baphomet tells Fred that she's in the Inbetween, where the demon actually resides. He asks her what her will is, and when she replies it's fighting evil, he gives her permission to use his power to do so. He tells her that she must yank her foe into the real world, in order to destroy him. He points out her target standing in the distance in the Inbetween.
Page 09: Fred thought-projects/mystics herself into a suit of battle armor and carrying a huge blade. She thinks to herself that she knows she should be afraid, but she's not. She sees into the eyes of the demon, and she knows that he is the one who is afraid. She admits to wanting this strength and power.
Commentary: I was a much larger comic book collector in my younger days, and Fred here reminded me so much of Illyana Rasputin, aka Magik, from Marvel's 'The New Mutants'. Summoning the armor, having a blade, feeling powerful even as she knew that the power itself was coming from a demon realm. The only change is that Fred's power isn't actually hers, but Baphomet. And it would be wise if she actually remembered that.
Page 10: Fred attacks the demon, and with Baphomet encouraging her, she's able to drag the demon toward a light/portal [huh... like Illyana's stepping disks?].
Page 11: While the demon tries to cling to the ground of the Inbetween, Fred is able to fling him easily into the air. He flies into the portal waiting. Fred follows, slashing at him with her new blade.
Page 12: Fred tells herself that her heart is burning like a star, as she lands on the ground, with the demon entering the portal in the sky. She tells Baphomet that she accepts his power, and he tells her that her Destiny has begun.
Commentary: Interesting. I like what has been done with Fred's character in this reboot. And I'd love to see her slipping ever more toward Dark Willow territory. Especially, if they have the guts to have Angel or Gunn have to kill her eventually. We don't know what Baphomet is getting out of this, and he keeps trying to play it off as Fred being empowered which is a nice spin. I'm still interested in where his plot is going, and I'm hoping for some snarky fighting between he and Lilith at some point.
Page 13: In the 'real world', Gunn has collapsed to his knees. He starts retching, and ends up vomiting the possessor up... which turns out to be a very small, weak, deformed bit of flesh.
Commentary: Nice image of this horrible killing machine being no more fierce in our world than the Demon of Fear was in BTVS.
Page 14: With the thing having no power anymore, Spike crushes it under his heel. In the meantime, Angel asks after how Gunn is doing, and the answer is not well.
Page 15: Elsewhere, Fred is back with Lila, and she collapses in a circle of bloody symbols. Lila covers her, and speaks to Baphomet, stating that Fred is He and He is She.
Commentary: So, I guess that does tell us what Baphomet is getting out of this. His destined physical body in order to work his will on the world. No wonder Lila was so gung-ho to serve 'Fred'.
Page 16: Sometime later, Kate is nonplussed that Angel's friend has become the devil in order to save her. This was relayed by Lilith, who clarifies that Baphomet is not The Devil - he only thinks that he could become.
Angel asks how they save Fred, and Lilith tells him that she can't be saved. She's made her choice, and she belongs to him now. This is something that Angel refuses to accept.
Page 17: She reminds Angel that she told him he would make a choice and there would be consequences following. When he denies he made any choices, she points out that he could've focused on Fred and why Wolfram & Hart were so interested in her. But, instead, he chose to focus on Detective Lockley. He made the choice to save her first.
Kate is a bit put-out to be spoken about, when she's in the room, and Lilith asks if Angel told her why he was so invested in protecting her.
Page 18: Lilith dumps on the room that Kate is a 'mostly' reincarnate of Angelus' old lover, Mara. That is why he focused all of his energies on saving her.
Now, Fred has joined with Baphomet and Los Angeles is about to be turned into the demon-wouldbe Devil's- kingdom. She tells them that to destroy Baphomet now, they'll have to destroy Fred.
Commentary: Well, really... they barely know her at this point. I say, "So long, Fred. *neck-snap*" But I guess that would kinda undercut the drama. And WTF, Lilith? Why did Kate need to be introduced to the idea that reincarnation is real, and she's been and that she was Angel's lover in the past? What is the point of that [he actually asks Bryan]?
Page 19: Lilith pulls another disappearing act. Kate snits if she's the only actual human among them. Gunn shows solidarity with her, before telling her he isn't so sure now that he's been roofied by a demon. Kate brings up this nonsense about knowing Angel previously, and Spike confirms for her that Lilith doesn't lie. Kate says she needs a drink.
In the meantime, Charles' focus is on what Lilith said about Fred. He looks for assurance from Angel and Spike that they can save her and Lilith is wrong.
Page 20: In the meantime, in Wolfram & Hart's boardroom, Fred is being introduced as the new CEO. After Lila introduces her, the boardmembers chant, "Hail, Baphomet".
The Good: I'm loving this storyline with Fred/Baphomet, and I like that he played to her wanting to protect in order to seduce her to agree... despite his being an obvious demon and heading Wolfram & Hart! The play on Fred's power fantasy (the armor, the sword, the super strength) was neat.
I really liked the artwork especially in this issue - and the fight between a possessed Charles and Angel.
The Bad: nothing
Other Thoughts: Two things bugged me in this one, but not enough to put in The Bad: Spike's role, where he did nothing in the fight when it counted & Lilith's usual brand of not giving away information until it's too late to act on it. And I did not like her just data-dumping Kate's past life to everyone, like that.
Since she did drop that on Kate, it would've been nice if the detective had been able to throw out a bit of snark about Angel not getting too comfortable with the idea of picking up wherever they might've left off -- especially if he wasn't good-guy vampire when they said good-bye.
The Score: It was alright. Fred has the really interesting storyline going, while Spike is feeling redundant [which is better than him sucking the air away from Angel in the latter's title].
3.25 out of 5 stars