“This is a little thing we call bad cop / bad cop / bad cop / bad cop / crazy primordial seriously bad cop.” – Angel to Flouncy Theater Vampire
Not thrilled with this issue for some reason, and I can’t quite figure out why. I’ve read it through a few times now, and although some things obviously DO happen, I still can’t shake the feeling that nothing really happens. Maybe it’s because after the finale of the big Angel vs Demon Champions showdown last issue, anything else was going to seem slow? Maybe it’s because I’m not all that thrilled with Nick Runge’s art, and wish Franco Urru was still drawing it?
Anyway, Angel’s comic book dream was a nice touch. Then he talks to Nina and Mayor Lorne and Connor and Gwen and Illyria, and it’s snowing, and I’m kind of bored. The scene between Wesley and his babysitter Spike is okay, but doesn’t really tell us anything we didn’t know about these two already. The scenes where Gunn pressures George to use his powers are interesting — but a bit confusing too. I kind of feel like the whole “What’s the Hell’s Gunn Doing?” mystery has played out way too long at this point, particularly when it comes to how George and the Slayers involved. I get the impression we’ll finally get some clarity on that next issue, but that doesn’t do anything for the frustration I feel this issue.
Things pick up some in the second half. Angel and his crew take on a den of vampires led by a flouncy vampire, who mentions some powerful group who was “beginning to make ripples before the fall of Los Angeles” and who is interested in Angel. That can’t be Gunn’s group … which makes it just another mystery. Anyway, in the middle of this fracas, Illyria outs Angel’s human-ness to the rest of the group, and Connor immediately starts treating him like he’s infirm, then bails the scene entirely with Gwen in tow. Nina and Illyria stick with Angel, though, and together they track down Gunn’s stronghold … and that’s where it ends. Presumably, next issue (which isn’t due out until late August) will be the big Gunn/Angel smackdown.
A nice treat for those of us who read the Spike: Asylum miniseries that originally landed Lynch and Urru this gig was the appearance of Beck and Anna and the Mosaic Wellness Center, from which Betta George is absent. Beck and George also both appeared in the Spike: Shadow Puppets miniseries (also created by Lynch/Urru). But what I still can’t quite figure out is if those books happened before or after the events in “After the Fall”. I’m inclined to say after, because we already pretty much know from the TV show what Spike was up to in the months before he and the others ended up in Hell. But who knows. And since Beck’s perception is that Los Angeles is actually NOT in Hell at the moment, who even knows what the truth is.
Anyway, I just bought the first Spike: After the Fall book (with Urru drawing it, woot!) this week, and I’ll be reviewing that one soon. My hopes are high.