Angel: Blood and Trenches
# 4 out of 4 issues
Cover By: John Byrne with Coloring By: Tom Smith/Scorpion Studios
Where We Are: Angel is in
We’ve discovered that Kakistos is the main bad guy and he’s recruited to woman, Lady Margaret D’Ascoyne, who appeared at first to be destined to be an ally and friend to Angel.
Page 01: This issue, like the last, starts with a flashback. When we left Issue #3, Angel had somehow returned to the Red Cross station which houses Lady D’Ascoyne even though we’d seen him taken prisoner in issue #2 by Crixus – the lieutenant to Kakistos.
Now, we return to three days ago and we’re back with Angel as prisoner in the nunnery that Crixus and his demons had taken over. It starts with an aerial shot of the nunnery and a blurb saying ‘Three Days’.
Page 02: Angel is chained to a wall. One of the three Germans he was brought here with has been tortured to death (“It took him nearly two days to die.”). The other two lie dead or unconscious at his feet.
Page 03: Two German vampires come for Angel, allowing him to attempt an escape; doesn’t work.
As Angel points out in his narration, he’s weak after two days with no blood, while his foes are at the peak of their strengths.
Page 04: Crixus has been left in charge ‘back at the ranch’ while Kakistos is elsewhere. (Here’s a hint – he’s at the Red Cross station, as seen in Issue #3.)
We get to see a nasty scene here, with the missing German. He’s been strung upside down above a brazier… remember it took him nearly two days to die?
Yeacch. Anyway, his throat was finally slit and there’s blood running from the corpse.
Crixus taunts Angel(us) by holding a cup of the man’s day old blood under his nose.
Page 05: Crixus foolishly forces Angel’s head back and dumps the stale blood down his gullet.
Foolish because even though the blood doesn’t have the power inherent in fresh, Angel is quite a good fighter and the sudden short-lived surge in strength is enough for him to break free.
Page 06: Good bye vampires – especially Crixus.
Page 07: Angel runs for the river he used to reach behind the German lines back in Issue #2… in the meanwhile, more of the vampires have discovered he’s making his getaway and come after him.
Page 08: Angel makes his way back to the Red Cross Aid Station featured in Issue #1 in order to recruit help from Lady D’Ascoyne.
Page 09: As we know from Issue #3 – that didn’t work out so well. Here we get a very brief overview of what happened at the end of that issue. Before Angel snuck up the outside wall to the Lady’s bedroom window, he’d also visited the blood bank and gotten the ‘power boost’ he needed.
Page 10: Kakistos follows Angel out of the window he’d been thrown out of. He’s very, very strong and is able to swing Angel around like a rag-doll. He calls his followers to kill Angel(us).
Page 11: It’s another mistake (like Crixus’ releasing him and forcing stale blood down his throat in the first place). Angel is more than able to dust his followers.
Angel and Kakistos are ready for a final battle, when the rooster crows… literally!
Due to the coming dawn light, Kakistos retreats, climbing up a wall. At the same time, there is a growing roar that causes Angel to cover his ears.
Page 12: The roar belongs to a plane, which is hanging down a rope ladder which Kakistos grabs for a ride.
But Kakistos has a head start and is able to disconnect the ladder, sending Angel plummeting to the ground!
Thankfully, he falls into a haystack, which shields him from the now risen sun. It’s also covered in snow, which Angel uses to make it back to the Lady D’Ascoyne’s residence.
Page 13: Back in the Lady’s room, she is helping the Colonel who is currently awakening from a blow to the head by Kakistos.
We know the Lady is under Kakistos’ influence, but here we see she also has two fang marks on the side of her neck. Something that isn’t a shock, but is sad – I rather liked Lady Margaret (as I did Corporal Dowling who died last issue).
Page 14: Thankfully for the groggy Colonel, Angel bursts into the room again. He grabs the Lady and forces her into the sunlight streaming into a portion of the room. She immediately goes to ashes with a scream.
Page 15: Angel informs Colonel Wyndam-Pryce that Kakistos’ long term plan is to sire an army of undead to flood
Page 16: Angel (covered from head to toe) and the Colonel make it through enemy lines (since the Germans were already turned by Kakisto, and ergo, were hiding out from the daylight).
Just as the sun is going beyond the horizon (how convenient!) they arrive at Kakisto’s keep – the destroyed nunnery.
The bad guys begin to take off in a plane….
Page 17: Angel is able to grab onto a wing by his fingertips and yank himself aboard the plane.
Kakisto is there to confront him (see the cover).
Page 18: As Angel and Kakistos fight on the plane’s wing, one of them is thrown into a propeller block, tearing it loose from the fuselage. The plane begins spinning out of control.
Page 19: Whoops! More fighting only leads to even more damage of the already falling aircraft!
Page 20: Kakistos and Angel’s fight comes to a sudden end when Kakistos takes a dive off of the damaged wing of the plane.
Thankfully for Angel, he’s able to also make it the ground relatively safely.
Page 21: Angel is able to make it back to the ex-nunnery and another confrontation – this time against Wyndam-Pryce again.
The Colonel makes it clear that Angel is still the enemy and when next they meet, he’ll try to destroy the vampire. But, in light of the fact that Angel did save his life from the turned Lady Margaret, he’s allowed to walk away this time.
Page 22: The Germans that were taken prisoner with Angel by the vampires are also allowed to leave unmolested by the Colonel… probably due to the fact that he’s all by himself there, and not really in a position to take them captive as prisoners of war.
One of these men makes it back to his own lines, desperately wishing to report about ‘the monsters’ he’d been threatened by.
Page 23: The soldier is ordered to not mention ‘the monsters’ again… to anyone. No doubt because the Kaiser was actively involved in attempting to use the vampires against the allies.
Oh… and the soldier? His name is Corporal Hitler.
The Good: The fighting scenes between Angel and Kakistos were really good and exciting. In fact, Kakistos was a good villain throughout the issue. The issue had to end unresolved, because Kakistos had to live to show up later in Buffy – and for that matter, so did Angel – so the wrap up was good that allowed both of them to show up later.
The Bad: Nothing was badly done. I do have to say the twist at the end with Hitler was unnecessary and not nearly as clever as John Byrne obviously thinks.
The Score: This was a decent issue that wrapped up the story of Angel’s involvement in WWI nicely. Kakistos was a nice touch, bringing one of the more impressive vampires from Buffy back in the only way that wouldn’t cause a roll of the eyes (a past story, rather than bringing him back from ashes). The artwork throughout the series was pretty great, including this issue and the final fight between Kakistos and Angel was exciting: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.
The series score comes out as: 4.125 out of 5.0 stars for the series.