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Spike, You Sly Dog

April 23, 2010

     The absolute mess than resulted from a company using Angel’s blood to turn people into vampires for money continues in Angel #31 as Angel Investigations embarks on a long night of vampire slaying.  Alongside the strange demonic warrior women who seem so interested in Connor, the group cuts across Los Angeles, staking as they go.  Back in the company’s building, Illyria continues to tell Angel that she wants to seduce Connor, saying that Connor seems to be interested in Angel’s “romantic cast-offs” and that he’s interested in older women.  Spike goes after Felicia Valentine at her co-star’s mansion, using the Hispanic housekeeper to get in.  Seems Felicia went and fed on said co-star.  Spike then offers to have sex with her.  Laura Kay Weathermill gets approval to use her skills to give all those vampires their souls back.  Spike tricks Felicia and ties her up, then takes her over to the rest of the team.  Miss Weathermill, rather than try to give the vampires back their souls, actually just starts staking them.  And when the head of said company goes into his office, Angel is there waiting, looking rather worse for the wear and pantless, with Illyria at his side.  Then, in the Eddie Hope backup, Eddie shoots a few more nasty people before the vampire guards start swarming.  His main target starts to run away, and he breaks through one of the windows, taking advantage of the fact that it’s still daylight.  He manages to catch his target before he runs away, completing another kill.

     Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t understand entirely why Connor and the team thought that staking a bunch of random vampires might get them information about Angel.  Seems like a rather messy, roundabout way to get info.  Ultimately beneficial, but roundabout.  I think that, if Bill Willingham had framed that better, it would have made mor sense.  But aside from that, this is another thorougly entertaining issue of Angel.  Willingham seems to be getting a better grasp on Spike’s voice, if not perfect yet.  He does get what Spike would do, just not perfectly what Spike would say, but that’s improving over time.  Of course, the motivations of those demons, Illyria, and Laura Kay Weathermill (all completely unrelated, I think) are quite interesting, and I assume that’s stuff that Willingham intends to reveal over time as a part of his run on the title.  Brian Denham’s art is as solid as before, and he gets a few great portraits in of Illyria and Spike that look exactly like their respective actors.  His rendition of vampires getting dusted looks more like they’re turning into clay, but I guess that’s artistic license.  Not my favorite bit of his work.  The Eddie Hope backup is still interesting, but it’s getting to the point that we really need to know his motivations to be still interested in why he’s doing what he’s doing.  Also, the weak points in David Messina’s pencils start to show with less shadow, since this part is during the daytime.  Bill Williams and Willingham have some interesting ideas, but they shouldn’t wait to long to let them bear fruit here.  At any rate, this is the best that this series has ever been.  And the more I don’t think about Angel’s rather stupid future as Twilight, the more enjoyable it is.  Let’s hope that doesn’t unnecessarily cripple this series’ future before we even get there.

Plo: 8.8      Art: 8.7      Dialogue: 8.6      Overall: 8.6

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