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Fangs May Be Hip, But They’re Deadly Too

March 21, 2010

     Even though Angel may be missing (and kidnapped, though they don’t know it), Angel Investigations still has work to do.  The latest issue, Angel #30,  begins with one of their missions, with Spike and Gunn taking on a pair of demons, and the whole thing going spectacularly badly.  Each of them blames it on the other, though the facts that Spike lost a leg and Gunn managed to kill one of the two demons are rather telling.  Illyria breaks into the facility holding Angel, but rather than immediately free him, she insists on having a conversation first.  Connor shows Ange Investigations a rather shocking clip of an actress who has recently be turned vampire, who claims that Angel supervised it and that she still has her soul.  Yet she subsequently attacks the host of the television show and starts drinking her blood.  Illyria asks Angel to be her moral compass, as she wants to be good, yet not be shackled by the memories of Fred.  Connor and the crew decide to go off to look for other celebrities turned similarly to this actress, and Connor’s little mysterious demon army is in on it too.  They get into an argument on phrases for describing killing vampires, and Spike insists on dealing with the actress, Felicia Valentine, himself.  The company that kidnapped Angel talks about the disaster with Felicia, and a former Watcher, Laura Kay Weathermill, comes in to offer her services.  Then, Illyria refutes Angel’s arguments about no one being able to be a moral compass for another, then states that she plans to woo Connor and have a child with him.  In the Eddie Hope backup, Mr. Hope kills a bunch of vampires and kidnaps their boss so he can get into a private little gala and deal with the guy hosting it.  Although that all goes rather smoothly, he is discovered fairly quickly by the vampire guards of the gala.

     Well, I have not enjoyed Angel this much… possibly ever.  Not in this comic book nor on television.  Bill Willingham has a great grasp of all the characters in Angel Investigations (save perhaps Spike and Betta George), and he’s got some great ideas too.  They really feed into the greater public exposure of vampires over in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight, despite the fact that there isn’t supposed to be much coordination between the two titles (hence Willingham’s anger over the whole Angel is Twilight thing).  Admittedly, that issue does partially hamstring Willingham’s attempts to tell stories, but I’m still enjoying them.  I like seeing Connor grow up, I like Illyria’s attempt to be good, and I like the concepts Willingham is employing.  That whole opening sequence was great too, even if Willingham doesn’t quite have Spike’s voice down yet.  Brian Denham is the other star of this book, as he manages to render everyone rather convincingly and similarly to their original actors, as well as convincingly draw demons and vampires.  It’s about time this book got a good artist that fit the book’s style and subject matter.  The Eddie Hope backup by Willingham and Bill Williams is still fun, even if I don’t entirely get the devil/demons thing.  I would like to know more about Hope’s motivations and the background of the story, but the novelty of the character is still enough that it’s not a make-or-break thing yet.  David Messina also draws a very cool Hope, which is nice.  Even though I don’t like Angel as a character, I’m glad that I can finally enjoy his title.  It’s too bad that Willingham couldn’t get in on this sooner.

Plot: 8.8      Art: 9.0      Dialogue: 8.6      Overall: 8.8

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