Angel: After the Fall
Just a Note: I’m happy to report that Angel’s S6 has continued in Angel: Aftermath and I think it has started out generally stronger than After the Fall ends up being.
Plotted By: Joss Whedon & Brian Lynch, Scripted By: Brian Lynch,
Illustrated By: Franco Urru, Colored By: Jason Jensen, Lettered By: Robbie Robins,
Edited By: Chris Ryall
Cover By: Andrew Robinson
Where We Are: In Los Angeles. In Hell.
Page 1: Angel goes flying through a window and into the interior of a spacious apartment. As we know from Issue 2 – Illyria is annoyed at him for annoying her ‘pet’, Spike.
Page 2: Angel lies stunned on the expensive carpeting as Illyria follows him in. Suddenly without warning, he’d once again Liam – wondering who the crazy lady is and what she wants.
And then, he’s back to Angel. He figures out quickly that he had just experienced a timeslip… Illyria’s being affected by being in Hell and she’s time-displacing like she had done when she first showed up in the W & H offices.
Page 3: Angel continues trying to avoid Illyria’s punches. He, obviously, has little effect on trying to fight back. What’s important here, however, is what Illyria observes about Angel:
“You’re half of what you were.”
It’s a little foreshadowing of something we will discover at the end of this very issue. And, it’s something that was also hinted at in the first two issues (Angel’s getting beaten up so easily, his using a parasite to help heal).
Page 4: Angel pulls a gun from a former victim… either of Illyria’s or whoever was there before her and Spike took over the place. He demands to know what Illyria knows about the Westwood stadium massacre… remember, there were Sanskrit ruins that led him to suspect Illyria in the first place. You add the vampire victims, and he’s thinking Spike isn’t so “soulful” now, what with Hell being everywhere.
He’s wrong, of course. As we know from Spike: After the Fall, the other vampire with a soul was out playing the hero. It was actually Gunn who attacked the human vampire victims, and killed the Lord of Westwood. He’s after some sort of mystic discs to “save everyone”.
Page 5: Alas, Illyria doesn’t really care about guns. Plus, she’s really fast when she wants to be. She easily disarms Angel…
And pins him to a wall by driving knives through his palms! Ew.
Page 6: Illyria hesitates to kill Angel (but, of course!). As she is holding the knife to his face and telling him that he is “sullying my eyeline” with his presence, they are again timeslipping: Angel as puppet guy, a possible future Angel (I didn’t catch it at first, but if you look closely, you’ll see he’s aged… another foreshadow?), and little baby-Angel.
They “pop back” to the here and now.
Page 7: Spike finally decides that Angel has had enough and tries to call her off. Illyria isn’t ready to let things go… I believe, by her dialog, because she’s having trouble “moving forward”, possibly an allusion to the fact that she keeps timeslipping into the past when she becomes stressed (From Spike: After the Fall, we also know she has a habit of slipping into being Fred… more timeslipping?).
Page 8: Fortunately for Angel, this is the time when the dragon shows up, crashing through a wall.
Page 9: Illyria is pleased. This is a battle she can really get into… instead of winning far too easily. She offers the dragon the first strike….
Page 10: … he reacts by blasting her with his flame-breath!
Illyria lies on the floor for a moment, before looking back at the dragon… “More.” she says.
Page 11: While Spike unpins Angel, he’s concerned with who else might know that he’s there. His palatial estate has been an oasis of calm in the turmoil happening through out the rest of the L.A. area and he obviously doesn’t want a demon horde crashing the place.
Above them, the dragon flies into the sky with a blast of fire and Illyria pulling on it’s face spikes…
(Angel, to Spike): “Right about now, I’d say anyone in a twenty-block radius who happens to be looking up [knows they are there]” he deadpans.
Page 12: In the air, the dragon manages to wrap a long tongue around Illyria and drag her into its mouth. He clomps down on her.
While Spike and Maria (from Spike: After the Fall, she has spider-legs that pop out of her spine) exchange words about what to do about Angel’s arrival, in the background the dragon raises its head up….
Page 13: …And spits Illyria out… with a big “PTTTTTTU”… LOL… that’s great!
In the meantime, everyone is completely ignoring the two as Angel and Spike continue their grand tradition of arguing. First about Angel destroying the good thing Spike has going, then the dragon using Illyria as a spit-wad to destroy his fountain of blood, then Angel’s still trying to figure out who killed the Lord of Westwood and finally about Illyria’s erratic behavior.
Page 14: Interrupting the arguing, Connor appears from off panel.
In the background, Illyria kicks the dragon in the chin.
Connor explains that Spike is on the good side… which Angel, naturally, is hesitant to believe.
Page 15: Connor explains that Spike has been rescuing refugees and has them set up in a large underground basement suite. Spike has also been training a she-army to fight in order to act as protectors to the mortals.
Angel isn’t happy. He’s back to square one. Illyria is also unhappy because he stops the fight between her and the dragon before she has sated her bloodlust.
Page 16: Angel leaves, grumbling that things are easier when Spike is killing people. The dragon follows him back to W & H.
Page 17: Wes awaits his return. Wesley warns Angel that the Lords are meeting to decide what to do about the death of Bruge’s son… whom Angel killed.
Angel puts together the fact that the massacre with the ruins inscribed and the death-by-vampires-victims were a set up to frame Spike. Somebody (guess who….) was trying to instigate a battle between Spike and Angel.
Something that, I should mention, is awfully easy to do.
Page 18: The remaining seven Lords of Los Angeles are in a meeting. The other Lords are not sure that they want to destroy Angel. If it wasn’t for him, there’d be no Hell in L.A. right now. But, Bruge is insistent that he wants Angel.
Page 19: Angel crashes the party, with Wesley in tow.
Page 20 & 21: Angel demands a duel with Bruge for his new domain. The Lord decides he’ll assign a champion to fight Angel on his behalf, instead, but the duel is accepted with that caveat.
That isn’t all though. Angel challenges all of the Lords. If he wins, he becomes the new Lord of Los Angeles and ergo, there will be less of the slavery and death going on.
I’d like to just toss in here that the Lord of Santa Monica is the same type of land-shark demon that was a loan shark in “Tabula Rasa” in Buffy, S6.
Anyway, Angel’s rash decision is accepted by the Lords. In two days, they will all send their champions against Angel for control of Los Angeles.
Page 22: Throughout this whole exchange, we’ve seen Angel is still injured. As he’s leaving the meeting with the Lords, we get his thought bubble letting us know the secret that has been hinted at for the past three issues:
Angel is no longer a vampire!
The Good: Let’s start with the cover – I love the Illyria portrait and the reflection of Angel’s dragon-pal in the axe head.
I really like the Spike/Illyria interaction. And, I like how Spike’s “Hugh Hefner-ing” is all an act to hide the fact that he’s got human refugees hidden away and is raising an army to guard them.
The Illyria vs. Dragon fight is a highlight, especially how most of it isn’t taken seriously and is, if fact, taking place in the background of others’ dialog scenes. There’s something very Joss-like in that, I think.
I like how Angel still is working on his mistaken assumption. No one knows, yet, that Gunn is the real problem.
Obviously Angel’s reveal on page 22!
The Bad: Well… considering Angel’s current status, the fact that he’s taken as much punishment as he has seems… misleading. Especially when we see Illyria punch him in the jaw this very issue! And, since when can Illyria be stabbed with a knife successfully? I guess it isn’t a big deal, but there’s something dishonest in how they hid Angel’s mortality from us.
And, then there’s Wes’ continued ambiguous involvement which I find interesting. Illyria’s attitude toward Spike is amusing and I had fun with the battle against the dragon. I liked Connor putting Angel in his place regarding Spike’s actual role in protecting the civilians and how quickly Angel figures out he’s been played. But, he still doesn’t get who is behind things, yet.
I liked the flow of this one, too… I give it 4.0 out of 5-stars.