“Hell has been kind to you, old friend! And Wesley! I heard you’re without mass! Good for you, always keep your enemies guessing!” – Groosalugg to Wesley
Issue #4 of “After the Fall” starts with a very short flashback of the series finale battle that clearly has Angel a bit confused. Perhaps he’s still suffering residual Illyria time jump effect? Anyway, in the present, he forgets he’s not a vampire, and jumps off a building to save some humans from a zombie, and breaks his legs in the process. Wesley takes him back to the office for some voodoo healing, while Angel reads something that looks like the Necronomicon from the Evil Dead movies. We learn that for months, Wesley has been healing his wounds and casting glamors to make everybody in Hell perceive him to still be a vampire. Angel believes that making him human was Wolfram & Hart’s way of defeating him — taking away his power when he needs it most — and that keeping up the illusion is the only way to beat them.
A pair of colorful females arrive, and escort the two of them to Silver Lake, a happy haven of sorts, lorded over by none other than the Jolly Green Demon himself, Lorne, who is much loved in this little corner of Hell. Meanwhile, back at Bikini Central, Spike has received less attractive visitors — demon henchmen who have come to give Illyria an artifact called a Hagun Shaft, which each of the lords possess, and which is to be used to kill Angel painfully in the event that he manages to defeat all of their champions. Illyria herself hears none of this, however, because she’s busy gnashing her teeth while locked inside a vault. Not sure why. Continue reading
“Great. Fountain of blood is gone. When Fred Sonja is done, I want you to take that thing and get out.” – Spike to Angel
In issue # 3 of “Angel: After the Fall”, we pick up where we left off, with Angel getting attacked by Illyria. We also learn that life in Hell Angeles is proving peculiar not only for the humans, but for the various supernatural inhabitants as well, because the sun and moon are always out at the same time. And for a Primordial demon like Illyria, this has resulted in some time slippage, similar to what happened in the “Time Bomb” episode from Season 5. After some brawling, Illyria gets the upper hand on Angel, then starts fighting with his dragon. Meanwhile, Angel and Spike talk, then Connor shows up, and we find out that Spike has actually been doing the same thing as Angel — saving humans and keeping them safe.
After coming to the realization that he’s been duped by somebody into thinking that Spike and Illyria were his enemies, Angel brings Wesley along to pay a visit to the council of demon bosses who have carved out control of the various sections of Los Angeles. Including Burges, the demon whose son Angel killed in the first issue. Angel throws down the glove, challenging all of the bosses to a fight for control of their territories, and ends up agreeing to fight the champions of their choice in two days time. Which is a bold enough choice in and of itself. But it’s made all the more bold by the voice-over revelation revealed to us in the final panel — ANGEL ISN’T A VAMPIRE ANY MORE. Huh what?
“I didn’t rise from prisoner to prisoner with benefits to protector back to prisoner with benefits to Lord, just to have you come and muck it up.” – Spike to Angel
In issue #2 of “Angel: After the Fall”, Angel has to deal with the consequences of having just killed the son of Demon Lord Burge at the tail end of the first issue. Namely, he has to find his son, and warn him that the demon’s father might come gunning for him. What he finds is that Connor is more than capable of taking care of himself, as they both deal with the violent power vacuum created by Vampire Gunn’s killing of a demon lord (also in the first issue) — demons falling all over each other to vie for the top spot, putting humans at risk in the process.
As for Gunn, he seems to have a revenge bone to pick with his former employer. He’s holding it against Angel for leaving him on his own at the Big Showdown, which resulted in him being dragged off by vampires and turned into one. Yet he seems to think that even as a vampire without a soul, he is more of a Good Guy than Angel who has one, and has some plan we don’t know about yet to take all the demons down. In the meantime, he takes out his frustrations on Betta George — a giant floating telepathic fish (a character introduced in Lynch’s “Spike: Asylum” series). Continue reading
In issue #1 of “Angel: After the Fall”, we learn what happened after the big showdown at the end of Season 5 … sort of. We’ve jumped ahead a few months, which means that Joss plans to feed us details of the showdown and its immediate aftermath bit by bit. But we do know a few things. For one, Angel still lives (you know what I mean), thanks to the help of a dragon who was also working for Wolfram & Hart and decided to go rogue. Los Angeles is now in Hell, being ruled by assorted demon warlords. Angel’s son Connor and two of Angel’s ex-love interests — Electric Gwen and Werewolf Nina — are running a kind of sanctuary for humans and good demons. Wesley is now a kind of ghost, contractually bound to work for The Senior Partners but helping Angel when he can. And in a hugely ironic move, Gunn the diehard vampire hater is now a vampire himself. No sign yet of Fred/Illyria, Spike, or Lorne, but I’m sure they can’t be far behind.
All in all, I’m really loving this new title. Joss’s plot direction is clear, the storyline is satisfyingly twisty, and the clever dialogue always makes me smile. If Whedon couldn’t do it himself, Brian Lynch was a great choice for the writer here. If you haven’t already, buy the “Spike: Asylum” trade paperback, on the basis of which Joss hand-picked Lynch for this job. I’m eagerly waiting for “Spike: Shadow Puppets” to come out, so I can read that one too.