Angel: After the Fall #2
Plotted By: Joss Whedon & Brian Lynch, Scripted By: Brian Lynch,
Illustrated By: Franco Urru, Colored By: Jason Jensen, Lettered By: Robbie Robbins,
Edited By: Chris Ryall
Cover By: Tony Harris
Where We Are: After the defeat of a W & H most-valued customer consortium that went under the name the ‘Black Thorn’, the multi-dimensional evil law firm turned on Angel and his team for their betrayal. Using their considerable power, they sent an army after Angel, but even more impressively, they’ve dragged
Page 1: Angel is in the W & H garage with one of his many sport cars. Wes is at his side and the air between the two is obviously tense. With the killing of the Demon Lord Bruge’s son, Angel needs to get to Santa Monica – he tells Wesley he’d really rather not have him come along.
Page 2: Angel drives out from the relative peace of the W & H building and out into the chaos that
The whole scene is drawn so that we see it as if we were in the backseat of Angel’s car and looking front through the windshield over his shoulder. That was a neat choice.
Page 3: In Westwood, Angel has an awkward meeting with Nina, the half-werewolf, not quite in control of herself that he briefly dated before all Hell, literally, turned loose. He’s looking for Connor, but finds his son is off in Westwood investigating a Lord’s death… and presumably wishing to rescue any of the humans the Lord may have had enslaved.
Page 4: Sometime later… In Westwood: There is a free-for-all among the demons to decide who is going to be the new Lord of Westwood. Angel wades in to the brouhaha, looking for Connor and people to save.
Page 5: As Angel kills some of the larger specimen of demons his mind is on his son. Well, I’ll just quote his thoughts here:
…I mean, this is literally the second time I punched his ticket to Hell, not many fathers can say that. He and I are probably back to square one. It’s going to take a while before I earn his trust. Before I deserve it.
Page 6: Naturally, Angel’s big angsty build up to meeting with Connor again is completely undercut by the young man; he just wants to know what took him so long to show up. Putting that “Destroyer” title to good use, he has one demon run through with a spear like a fish on a spit. In the other hand, he’s got a sword that looks almost as big as he is tall.
Page 7: Angel informs Connor about killing the son of a Lord, which of course, now paints an even larger target on his own son. Connor blows it off – again, he just wants to know where Angel’s been the last few weeks.
Page 8: The Angel/Connor bonding scene doesn’t really get a chance to get off and running though. You know Angel - it takes him so long to get to the point when it comes to his feelings and all. And, right now, Gwen is taking center stage. She’s found something disturbing and considering where they are, when she says disturbing she really means it.
Page 9: Switch to Gunn’s pad: he has the telepathic ‘fish’ webbed down to a bed. We find out the ‘fish’ calls himself George. Gunn tries to make the fish believe he’s one of the good guys.
Page 10: George tries to assess his new situation: See he’s the reason that Gunn attacked the Demon Lord in last issue – the jazzy-cool looking Kr’ph… who got himself good and dead by Gunn’s team. They grabbed the telepath and an orb that was within the Lord’s body.
It’s obvious with the conversation that Gunn has big plans. He’s also really pissed at being turned and puts the blame and his rage entirely on Angel.
Page 11: Gunn has a major hate-on for Angel’s “giving up on everything. On us.” But he’s determined that he’ll be the one to save everyone from what Angel has allowed to happen – if he can get over his anger-management issue – he clocks poor George.
Page 14: It’s not about the soul! I’m living proof of that!
Gunn rages, sounding a few letters short of a full alphabet, if you get what I’m sayin’.
Page 15: Gunn placed the Orb from Kr’ph at the foot of an altar, which appears to be made up entirely of dead, rotting demon corpses. Charming.
Page 16: Back with Gwen, she’s showing Angel and Connor what she’s found in the stadium… which is demons torn asunder. Both boys knew of Kr’ph, but only Angel knew how such a “bottom feeder” became a Lord in the first place. We find out both the name and general power of the Orb that Gunn now possesses. In addition, Gwen informs them that vampires did this massacre. She knows this ‘cause:
A few ladies told me. Not so much with words, but with their necks and horrified dead expressions.
Page 17: The walls have been painted in bloody fingerpaints. Connor wants to know who did this, Angel claims to not know, but we get from his inner thought square that he already knows who did the deed. He sends Connor to collect his dragon-pal.
Page 18: While Connor is off to get the dragon, Angel is in his convertible and racing toward… “All signs point to it. It was bound to happen. Our paths were going to cross. I should have handled this before. No time like the present.”
This scene can only take place after Spike: After the Fall because the second heroic vampire is not with his ragtag group of refugees now. He’s in a swanky estate surrounded by women of different skin colors and species. But, all of them are gorgeous, amply bosomed, bikinied, and doting on him hand and foot. And, he’s spinning a tale which grossly distorts his role in the final battle in the alleyway.
Page 19: Okay, its not just a distortion, it’s a bloody fable about the last battle in the alleyway in which Angel is blubbery and they’re facing down the Devil himself and Spike is the brave one shouting in Satan’s big, red face.
The ladies drink up the studly bravery of our hero’s alleged exploits.
Page 20: Angel busts in on Spike’s tale, snarking it away:
After he led us to victory, we proclaimed we’d be friends forever and did a synchronized hand-jive at the big carnival. Hey, Spike.
Someone’s seen Grease.
Among the sycophants is Spider – the girl with the arachnid legs that can spring from her back which Spike was fighting in his comic. Nice to see old enemies becoming allies. She also says something that will have greater relevance later – that Angel is “reeking of magic”… there’s a specific reason for this aura.
Page 21: Angel informs Spike he needs to talk to him, but the busty chicks have something to say about that. Another of Spike’s new team is the nose-less ‘commandant’ chick serving ‘Princess Annoying’ over in Spike: After the Fall.
Anyway, Spike being who is he, acts childish and Angel gets bossy and it all turns wrong – as things always do when these two don’t stay away from one another.
Page 22: Spike’s big mouth gets him punched in the face by Angel… again.
Page 23: Spike and Angel share more words… and Spike gets another fist to the face. Angel is there because some ruins on a wall written in blood back at the coliseum were in Sanskrit. Angel’s made the wrong assumption. He’s there to find
This seems like muddled thinking. On the other hand, Angel has never believed in Spike, unlike Fred for instance. Since they’re in Hell, I guess it isn’t a stretch for Angel to suspect that Spike may be giving free reign to his vampiric side.
Unfortunately for him…
Page 24: …he finds that
The Good: Making Gunn the ‘big bad’ of the plot continues to pay dividends. Especially with the new twist of his wanting to “save us all”, while at the same time it is obvious that he is not in control of himself thanks to being turned into a vampire.
Skipping the angst-ridden Connor/Angel thing and going directly to a “hey, where the hell you been” thing was the right choice. We’ve all had enough of whiney Connor to last forever, I’m sure. Plus, Connor gets to kick some ass here in keeping with his character history.
I continue liking the artwork – especially the bold coloring.
Momentum: This story actually reads like it is leading somewhere – which if you’ve read my review of Spike: After the Fall, you’ll find me bitching about its lack of the same thing.
The Bad: There are things that are thrown in from Spike: After the Fall which you have no clue about if you didn’t put money down on that title. I don’t think it would have killed anything for an asterisk and a note – guess that isn’t a real big deal.
The Score: While there are no major jumps forward in the plot, we can see where things might be leading. Gunn’s trying to be the hero still while driven by his demonic rage is sorry to see. Gwen, Connor and Angel all have some good scenes and Spike’s introduction into the story is handled alright. No glaring problems jump out in this issue, but nothing fantastic does either. It’s a workman-like issue building toward the Gunn/Angel conflict:
3.50 out of 5 stars.