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"Angel Season 6" Comic Book - Issue 1 "After The Fall" - Newsarama.com Review

Tuesday 20 November 2007, by Webmaster

Best Shots Extra - Angel: After the Fall #1 - From: IDW - Plot: Joss Whedon and Brian Lynch - Script: Brian Lynch - Art: Franco Urru - Colors: Ilaria Traversi - Review by Troy Brownfield

Turn back the clock to 2004. Angel goes off the air after one of the best finales in recent memory. Of course, it wasn’t supposed to end that way. Its parent show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer got to end on its own terms, but Angel, despite growing its audience in its fifth season, was the victim of a premature cancellation. Though Joss Whedon and the gang managed to give the show “an ending”, it was open-ended enough to allow further continuation. Now, just as Buffy’s adventures continue elsewhere, Angel gets to realize a longer journey in comic form.

Now granted, if you were a fan of the show, then you remember the apocalyptic ending. Amazingly, Whedon and Lynch show a way around that and start things off squarely in the middle of the action. It’s also written tightly enough that a newbie could jump in, though there’s of course a tremendous advantage associated with being familiar with the material. There’s a sensible new status quo for the characters and their environs in this issue, and we’re introduced to Angel’s latest ally in a truly funny bit on the second page.

Part of the enjoyment of this issue is seeing members of the extensive cast turn up again in surprising ways. Though they haven’t all been glimpsed by the end of this first issue, a fair number of regulars and supporting characters crop up. I was particularly happy to see that two female members of the expanded roster will apparently have a bit more to do in the book than in the final televised season. And if you’ve been following the work that Brian Lynch has done on previous Angel comics (the very work, in fact, that led Whedon to invite him to this gig), then you’ll be thrilled to see the return of giant telepathic fish Betta George. Yes, that’s “giant telepathic fish”.

There’s a bit about this issue that I won’t discuss, primarily because I avoid spoilers in advance reviews and partially because it’s been requested that I not reveal certain details. It’s sufficient to say that the new lay of the land carries a goodly number of surprises, and at least one well-worn character gets a new injection of life by the rather startling ending.

The art by Urru, while strong at capturing likenesses, could be sharper. There’s something of an undefined softness around the edges of many scenes where they should be crisp and blunt. That could be because of a loose line, or it could be because of certain color choices. It’s reasonably good art, but it doesn’t have the weight of that terrific Tony Harris cover.

Honestly, the real draw of Angel: After the Fall is the promise of seeing familiar characters continue on their way. Whedon and Lynch really have found a strong new direction, and I look forward to seeing how they push Angel onward through his ongoing last stand.

Reviewers Note: Fans reading both Buffy the Vampire Slayer from Dark Horse and Angel would do well to remember that the action of BtVS at present would be occurring concurrently with the fifth televised season of Angel, as Buffy season seven ended at the same time as Angel season four. The eleventh episode of Angel season five, “Damage”, shows a meeting between Angel’s crew and members of Buffy’s slayer army that are presently active in that comic series.