Tuesday, March 16, 2010

COMIC REVIEW: Angel: After the Fall #31 (IDW)

I am a marginal Angel fan. I only casually watched Buffy, and I didn't start watching Angel until it was in syndication on TNT, when I would watch it while I was getting ready for work in the morning. The story was cool enough that when this series started, I picked it up. And then I put it down after seven issues or so. Needless to say, a lot has happened since then, so I had to do some homework for this one. My interest in this comic was 30% Angel and 70% Bill Willingham. With issue 31, neither disappointed.

This issue begins with "The Big Dustup", written by Willingham, with art by Brian Denham. We join Connor and the demon warrior chicks in their quest to rid LA of vampires. Willingham shines with his skill at mixing action with comedy, as he does with the guys asking if Connor is Angel, and if they can catch anything from breathing vampire dust. Then we move to Innovation Labs, where Illyria is talking to the trapped Angel. Spike turns up to have a go at Felicia Valentine (in more ways than one), and the action goes from there. (I can't tell you everything. You have to read it for that!)

After spending time catching up so I knew what was going on, I really enjoyed this story. Willingham's writing is spot on, and Denham draws the characters so you recognize them, but they're also cartoonish. Alfred Rockefeller's colors, especially in the Spike sequence, are gorgeous. It's totally worth it for the last page of the story--a cliffhanger, but oh so funny, too.

The second feature in this book is "Eddie and the Crew: The Risk of Skipping Ahead", written by Willingham and Bill Williams, and drawn by David Messina. Eddie Hope is a devil who tracks down people who committed unspeakable horrors during their time in the hell dimension. This time he goes after his next victims, among them Jimmy "Baby-Eater" McGee, whose odd nickname is still making me laugh (not that eating babies is funny, but the nickname is).

Once again, this part of the comic is fun--lots of action and snappy dialogue (for example: "He's blue. He's blue. I said he's blue. And he's on my windshield, Zhang."). I love Messina's art and how Willingham and Williams managed to pack so much into so few pages.

If you're a fan of Angel, you're probably already reading this, so I can only reaffirm that your reading experience is an enjoyable one. If you are a Willingham fan, or you just want to add some supernatural action and comedy to your pull list, this is a good choice.

Stacey Rader
Review Editor

No comments: