Fred's been kidnapped, and it leads to the reveal of a foe longtime Angel fans should be pretty familiar with...
Lilah represents... someone... who has a pretty big interest in Fred. Meanwhile Spike and Gunn are becoming the best of friends...
They must find Fred for her own safety, but have no idea where to start. Lilith directs them to someone who can help them out, if they just bare their souls by singing a bar or two...
Ladies and gentlemen, the one and only LORNE!! (That's Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan to YOU, buddy!)
But even with the soulful Pylean's help, can Spike and Gunn reach Fred before she's turned to the dark side by the insidious evil of... Wolfram & Hart?!
It’s been a little bit of a bumpy ride getting here, but now that all the pieces are in place (except for our illustrious lead, who’s kicking some demon ass over in the Hellmouth mini right now) Angel is really starting to feel like… well, Angel. The players are the same, but the setting’s all different – not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. What would the point of this reboot be if it were just a retread of the episodes fans have already seen?
That’s a tricky tightrope to walk, though. Writer Bryan Hill has the unenviable task of leaving enough familiar in that the characters and their world are still recognizable, but changing up enough that it feels fresh at the same time. Not an easy task. Hill’s journey so far in this series has been a little uneven; it’s not helped that after one arc, the title character has absconded to another title so he can meet-cute with Buffy.
That, then, leaves the supporting cast, which now includes Spike – without a soul. Cognitively, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for Spike to want to help Gunn and Lilith rescue Fred, because by the terms of the lore, he really shouldn’t care. That may prove to be true yet; we don’t quite know Spike’s motives other than he’s reeling from Drusilla’s betrayal (a subject of some particularly humorous infamy) and is at a loss for direction without her. Gunn is still a bit underdeveloped; fans might be hard-pressed to pick him out of a crowd if the script weren’t explicitly stating who he is.
Then there’s Fred. Gone is the frightened, psychologically damaged yet still sweet and ass-kicking girl from Texas; in her place is a confident, inquisitive girl with a dark connection to some serious evil – and she just might want to find out more. The twist that she’s connected to the previously-unseen uber-evil Baphomet (who appears to be a senior partner at Wolfram & Hart) is a big one. Heck, just having Wolfram & Hart on the scene is a big deal – as is the arrival of Lilah Morgan. Can Lindsey McDonald be far behind?
But happily, the best thing about this issue is the arrival of Lorne to these pages. On the show Lorne was a constant bastion of positivity in a world that was valiantly striving not to drown in darkness. He was funny, cool, suave, and damned if he couldn’t sing – and bring the heroes to sing and bare their souls themselves. He stood in stark contrast to the rest of the show’s aesthetic, and Angel was stronger for it. Sadly, the actor who played him, Andy Hallett, passed away in 2009 of congestive heart failure. He was a true talent, and it’s genuinely wonderful to see him alive still on the page ten years after his passing.
I wish I had as many glowing things to say about Gleb Melnikov’s art, but it definitely needs some work. His faces are often askew; eyes are too big and are otherwise lifeless. His linework is scratchy and at times ill-defined, and many of his panels are empty except for the characters standing in them. It makes the pages look empty, without much in the way of visual meat on the bone.
Oddly, these pages being bereft of their title character has seemed to do wonders for Angel, giving the supporting cast time to stretch their legs a bit and grow and develop. Hill clearly has some big plans cooked up for this book, but the quality of the art sadly needs to catch up to his ambitions. But despite that, fans of the show, this is the best time to check out the rebooted world of Angel!
Angel #7: Satanic Panic
Writing - 8/10
Storyline - 8.5/10
Art - 5/10
Color - 6/10
Cover Art - 6.5/10
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