As Angel's on vacation to Sunnydale to deal with the momentous events of "Hellmouth," Gunn and Fred spend a little one-on-one time. Gunn in particular is still a bit iffy on his new boss...
The mysterious Lilith shows up to give them a mission while Angel is away, and while it intersects with the events of "Hellmouth," it also opens up personal stakes for Gunn!
But to get to the monstrous Okasa, the vampire who killed Gunn's cousin and set his life's mission to slay vampires on its course, Gunn and Fred are going to need to journey to Sunnydale and meet with the one and only Spike!
Boom! Studios’ Buffyverse remix expands in Angel and bumps right into the “Hellmouth” event, and even though this issue doesn’t directly translate to an important chapter to that story – it is still fun. Oh, and spoiler warning… Angel doesn’t appear in this issue at all!
No, this issue is all about Gunn, Fred, and Spike, thrown together by destiny to work alongside one another. It’s maybe asking a little much of readers to totally buy in on the circumstances – after all, Gunn v2.0 was only introduced last issue, so it’s a bit difficult to truly care about him as a character yet – but all things being equal, the issue hangs together well. The deus in this particular machina is Lilith, a wholly new creation of author Bryan Hill, whose purpose thus far in the overarching narrative is to be mysterious and point Angel and company in the direction they need to go. She directs Fred and Gunn to Sunnydale and Spike, which winds up being incidental to “Hellmouth” but seemingly crucial to Gunn’s ongoing arc.
As a longtime fan of Angel’s, the jury is still out for me on Hill’s particular iterations of Fred and Gunn. Their individual circumstances have greatly changed (Fred’s much more so than Gunn’s, with nary a Pylean or dance of joy in sight), so it’s hard to immediately say if they’re truly who Hill says they are, or Fred and Gunn in name only. But neither of them are immediately off-putting or feel “wrong,” so Hill’s clearly doing something right. Time will tell.
Then there’s Spike. William the Bloody (so named because of his bloody awful poetry, natch) may have the wrong coat on (sue me, I’m totally shallow when it comes to my vampires’ sartorial choices), but damned if he isn’t Spike through and through. Dejected by Drusilla’s betrayal in the last issue of Buffy, he’s a man asunder, unsure of where to go or what to do next. Enter Fred, Gunn, and a surprise attack from a minion of a mystery villain named Baphomet – and hey presto, you have a fun new trio taking shape by issue’s end. It’s not clear yet how Angel will react to Spike’s presence – but it’s also not clear what sort of past the two vampires have in this new remixed alternate reality.
The art by Gelb Melnikov is a little hit or miss, unfortunately. It’s rough and scratchy in some places, but unrefined with few details in others. Melnikov’s not a bad artist, just a bit inconsistent. His likenesses need some work, too – at a glance, I’d never know Fred and Gunn were supposed to be Amy Acker or J. August Richards. The inks have a hint of Sienkiewicz to them, though which lends them well to the tone of this particular book. I can’t wait to see what happens once Melnikov has gotten warmed up!
Although the "Hellmouth" trade dress on the cover is a little misleading, Angel #6 is still a good comic, taking time to shine the spotlight on the book's supporting characters. If you're a fan of the show, the changes may be a bit jarring, but once this comic gets rolling, it's a heck of a fun ride!
Angel #6: One Big, Happy Family
Writing - 7/107/10
Storyline - 7/107/10
Art - 6/106/10
Color - 6.5/106.5/10
Cover Art - 7/107/10
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