Sunday, March 30, 2008

My Review of Angel's 6x05: "After The Fall Part 5"

Written by Brian Lynch
Artwork by Franco Urru

Senior Partners (to Wesley, re Angel): “His blood will be on your hands, Wesley. Which is disappointing. We really wanted it on ours.”

And just when you think that things couldn’t suck even more for Wesley. He’s lost his girlfriend, his own and is now confined to being Wolfram and Hart’s bitch at their very leisure. To cap it all off, he also has to answer to them in the middle of a big battle.

Yes, the Senior Partners are none too happy with the way Wesley has been handling things in his ghostly form. It’s great that Wesley does try to stand up to them even when he’s blamed for Wolfram and Hart being destroyed again. It’s also pretty useless as the Senior Partners still hold him responsible for the entire mess.

Lorne isn’t exactly having the best time of things either by the looks of it. Wesley’s little omen about Angel dying is naturally bothering him and the fact that Wesley disappeared before elaborating on it doesn’t help matters.

Lorne’s mistrust of Wesley though is still mentioned. Does he really think that Wesley is one of the bad guys? I mean Angel was pretty mistrusting of Wesley at the start of this arc too so it’s not entirely an inconsistent thought. That being said, Lorne does go on to sympathising with his friends.

I bet he’s doing this because he doesn’t feel all that confident about Angel’s plan actually working. I also find it interesting that he raises the issue of Fred up. It’s interesting for a few reasons but for now, it’s interesting because Lorne believes that by being dead, Fred is in a lucky position. Well I know someone’s luck that is going to change by the end of this issue.

Angel on the other hand is psyching himself up for battle. Of course his method is more with keeping up the pretence that he’s a vampire by shaving and not wanting to answer certain questions. It’s a smart move I guess but maybe an actual training montage would also be an advisable move on Angel’s part too?

At least Angel is smart enough to bring his dragon along for the ride. With all the nasty creatures that he’s going to have to kill to restore peace, a dragon is exactly the kind of creature you want on your side.

Even Spike and Illyria are preparing for imminent carnage. All the scantily lady demon folk are in armour and led by Spider. Spider is thankfully kept away from Spike this issue so we get to see a focus on him and Illyria, which works out well enough.

Spike is still uncertain about war and the chances of winning. If he fails on Angel’s team, he’s got a hoard of Lords that will be baying for his blood but if he joins the Lords, then he has Angel to worry about. Illyria on the other hand is just interested in killing as many demons as she can. Such moral worries about choosing sides aren’t a massive priority to her.

Of course Angel also has three more reliable people on his team too. Connor, Nina and Gwen are all doing their own thing. Nina gets to play with some cool weaponry while Connor and Gwen also voice their own feelings about this battle. I have to say that so far, everyone is pretty negative about the outcome.

I get why though. Angel does have more enemies than allies to call to arms and there are also civilians who will suffer regardless of how this battle pans out anyway. That being said, in spite of all the doubt you are given the impression that Connor will help his father out no matter what.

With five minutes passing and all the Lords and a plethora of demons in the middle of the town, it’s actually time for this battle to commence. From a sinister perspective, the arrogance of the shark demon Lord is suitably interesting. He revels in the idea of human casualties and displays the most confidence that Angel will lose this battle.

Even Gunn and his vampire gang just look on at the imminent carnage. The vampires look interested in the idea of slaughter and eating on some of the human they will save. Gunn just looks nihilistically and just thinks it doesn’t matter who lives or dies, even though he’s willing to save human lives.

It doesn’t take long for a human to get caught in the crossfire and it’s around this time that Angel actually steps into battle. If he hadn’t Gunn might have done some demon slaying. That would’ve been nice to see. I still want to see some good in Gunn aside from his attempts to struggle with his vampire nature.

As for the poor sod that’s made an example of, well Angel manages to catch him mid air and leave him somewhere safe. Angel also goes out of his way to remind everyone that if he wins, everyone gets to go free. Glad to see Angel has confidence in his abilities, despite the limits he now has as a human.

Of course that doesn’t stop the demons from underestimating Angel. Reminding the civilians that it was Angel who got them into hell in the first place is a good way of diminishing faith but at least Angel takes responsibility in admitting his mistake as well as vowing to make amends for it.

Sadly for Angel as moving as that little speech might have been, he’s got way too many demons to fight all at once. The female Skip, some fire thing, a dinosaur and another beastie all pretty much attack him all at once. Even brandishing his sword isn’t that much of a deterrent against this lot.

As for the T-Rex, it’s funny that it’s a talking point amongst the demons. Hey, even monsters have some form of snobbery but they don’t get to be too smug for long when a bright light sends a few cars flying over. Yet another thing for Angel to kill in this big battle?

Not really as the light seems to be a signal for Wesley. Wolfram and Hart do continue to berate him but even they have to let him go when he argues about getting on with his job so to speak. With everyone else fighting, the only people to pay attention to Wesley’s return are the pink and blue haired ladies from the previous issue.

One of the things that Wesley then wants to do is get everyone together to help Angel out, who at this point is barely winning. Lorne however is one step ahead and has already sent everyone into battle with his own powers of persuasion. Good on Lorne and good for Angel, because he’s pretty useless without the gang here.

With the dragon freed by Groo and Angel receiving much needed help with Connor, Gwen and Nina, things do seem to getting better. Hell even Spike is useful when he’s not insisting on the lack of banter. Don’t be such a spoil sport – banter during fights is a Whedon trademark.

Angel’s delight at everyone pitching in to help him is rather touching as he insists that he didn’t ask for the help. Lorne also pointing out to a demon Lord that he’s got more power imaginable is also a neat way of him justifying why he chose to side with Angel in this battle. Gunn on the other hand is still watching but believes that he’s reunited the gang. Funny that he doesn’t want to be a part of that same gang then.

As for Groo, well he contributed good to this story by just freeing the dragon. The dragon then gets into battle with the T-Rex and even on this show, that’s some sight to behold. Maybe the producers of Primeval could do something like that in their next season.

Of course, Angel asking Connor and Spike why they want to help is a little distracting. Both of them mention that Lorne gave a moving speech but for Spike, there’s also another factor in his decision to help Angel out – Illyria.

Spike must’ve grown pretty damn attached to Smurf Girl because he knows there’s something up with her and he wants Angel to fix. I should be glad that he isn’t blaming Angel for whatever predicament Illyria is in and despite his reservations, Angel does agree to help Illyria out.

This however comes way too late. Illyria might be able to slaughter demons left, right and centre but her erratic behaviour takes a new height after she spots Wesley. Of all the things to happen to Illyria, the one fate I wanted was for her to revert to the real Fred. By the outcome of the last page, that’s exactly what I get.

Finally the first major transformation to happen in the comic that I’ve liked. Fred is back at long last but her return couldn’t have come at a worst time. Not only are there about five different demons behind her who could end her in a second but you can’t help but wonder if Wolfram and Hart have done to put Angel at another disadvantage. That and the fact that Wesley is dead, which means he doesn’t get to be with his lover in a physical sense.

Also in “After The Fall Part 5”

The cover I got for this issue was of Illyria and Wesley with a burning Hollywood in the background.

Senior Partners: “It was where we wanted Angel. It is a megaton of proof that everything is far from under control.”
Wesley: “So in addition to the other unwanted duties … I’m also in charge of caretaking your property.”

Both Lindsay and Eve were mentioned in this issue. I might be in a minority but I don’t really need to see either of them.

Lorne (to the women): “You sing a lot of gibberish ladies but sometimes you stumble onto a meaningful verse.”

Angel (to himself): “I should have spent the last couple of hours learning about Groo’s weapons but I can’t face hell’s champions with stubble.”

Anyone think that Spider and her girls were wearing similar armour to Buffy and Satsu in “A Beautiful Sunset”?

Illyria: “This plan is unacceptable.”
Spike: “Of course it is, to you. You’re off your nut. No offence but as the last sane man in hell, I say – no bloody way.”

Gwen: “They’re morons. What do they think is going to happen? Once Angel gets his ass kicked, they’re next. Harsh?”
Connor: “Yep. And correct.”

Is it me or Nina still be very badly drawn in this series? Her hair is also noticeably darker as well.

Flying Demon (to people): “What I mean to say is if any of you pathetic nothings spoil our kill, I’ll respond like so.”

Angel (to the people/demons): “Here I am. Again. Trying to make things right. Again. Yeah, so can we get to the battle? That would be great”.

Given that some of those demons made fairly close contact with Angel, I’m surprised none of them detected a heartbeat or breath. Then again, Angel’s probably using spells to keep that hidden.

Angel: “You’re not an innocent dupe tricked into working for an evil overlord are you?”
T-Rex: “What the hell are you? Are you high?”
Angel: “Making sure -”

Wesley: “So stop wasting everyone’s time and put me back so I can do my damn job.”
Senior Partners: “You’re already doing it, Wesley. You’re always on the clock. Very well. We now return you to your regular scheduled programming.”

Why we didn’t get to see the Senior Partner talking to Wesley here?

Spike: “Hey crazy idea. Less banter.”
Gwen: “More fighting?”
Spike: “I don’t care. Just less banter.”

Illyria (to Spike/Wesley): “Spike, find this quivering blob’s head so that I may impale it as a warning … you.”

The next arc for Issues 6, 7 and 8 is called “First Night”, set before the events of “After The Fall”.

Fred: “Wesley … you’re here.”

Anyone else really hate the “and yes, we are aware how cruel we are” thing at the end? That was worse than the WB’s “thanks” at the end of “Not Fade Away”.

Well this was exhausting but interesting. “After The Fall Part 5” finally felt like the Angel I watched for five years and is without a doubt the wittiest of the comics released so far. That being said, I hate that I am gonna to have to wait four months to get an update on Fred’s return.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

My Review of Buffy The Vampire Slayer's 8x12: "Wolves At The Gate Part 1"

Written by Drew Goddard
Artwork by Georges Jeanty

Buffy: “Wow. That was … that was … wow.”
Satsu: “Yeah … ‘that was wow’ pretty much covers it.”

It’s not the only response that requires a wow. We’ve got one of the best writers working on this issue and we’re back into arcs, which I have to admit to preferring over the standalones. Even the title of this arc elicits the right amount of curiosity.

Scotland is a pretty bust place and it’s even busier at night as Xander and Renee share patrolling duties. The last time Renee was patrol duty, Amy summoned up a zombie army that nearly got her killed. Surely a few spooky looking wolves would be a bit of a comedown.

Not really when you look at those scary red eyes and the fog behind them. That’s more than enough to even creep me out a little. Of course not only Xander sure that wolves are stalking the scoobies castle but he’s flirtation mode too.

Given that Renee couldn’t be anymore obvious about the way she feels for Xander, it’s nice to see that he has feelings for her too. Renee’s a nice girl and by all means, Xander could do worse. Also Renee might the only woman who is capable of being geeky enough for Xander without turning into a female Andrew.

However there are one or two teething problems. Xander’s eyesight brings out some self-doubt in his abilities to identify an attack and Renee isn’t fond of the idea of him babysitting her. If Renee happens to have the same stance on babysitters as one of my friends does, I can understand why.

Luckily for her, Xander isn’t actually watching her in a watcher like capacity and is more interested in going on a date with her. Well Buffy did encourage him to go for it in the previous issue and while Renee might be Xander’s subordinate, whatever relationship they might have is undermined by the other tryst in this issue.

Remember in “A Beautiful Sunset” when Buffy told Satsu she was flattered but in no uncertain terms would she date her? I bring that up because while Buffy might not be dating Satsu, she seems to have no problem sleeping with her. I’m not joking and I kinda wished I didn’t know about this a day before I bought the comic but that’s what happens when you’re a spoiler junkie.

Buffy’s reaction to sleeping with Satsu is interesting. On one hand you think she’s thinking ‘what did I just do?’ whereas on the other, it looks like she’s thinking ‘what took me so long to do that?’ Only a silly person would jump to the assumption that Buffy has suddenly turned gay. Ask Perez Hilton of all people.

That being said, as developments go, I’m not sure how to feel. My friend thought it was utter bullshit when he read the comic himself and people online seem to either feel that or think it was consistent. I think it might be more a case of experimentation. I can’t even picture Buffy being bisexual, never mind gay.

Of course it’s amazing that this entire development in of itself has warranted so much attention. Is this shock tactics or is there a genuinely interesting plot there? You can definitely argue that it’s not a necessary development, that’s for sure. Then again, look how many TV shows right now have their straight women suddenly experiment with another woman. Is it wrong for this series to do the same?

Satsu might come across as a bit na├»ve but she was quick enough in the previous issue to realise that Buffy is straight and even after sleeping with her, Satsu still believes that Buffy isn’t for turning. One of the first things she asks Buffy is how they handle each other. Nice to see the girl’s brain is still in perfect working order.

Buffy during the aftermath of their tryst is priceless. Sleeping with a woman isn’t something she’s well versed in and there’s something rather endearing about her confusion and fears that she may not have satisfied Satsu. I like that Buffy doesn’t attempt to bullshit Satsu.

For instance, she admits to having a good time but also admits that she cannot guarantee a repeat performance either. Although Satsu does seem sad by that, Buffy did the right thing in being up front with her. Maybe Buffy has learned something from her previous relationships.

However allowing Satsu to stay could be indicative of giving the girl some false hope. I wonder what on earth will happen with Buffy/Satsu during the rest of the arc. I don’t picture them as a couple (although you have to admit that Satsu is a big improvement on Spike), especially with Buffy typically not being keen to have anyone know about their ‘wonderful night’.

That’s where the comedy comes into things. Buffy might have wanted to keep her and Satsu a bit quiet but a bit like Captain Jack/Ianto from Torchwood, there’s a better chance of a Buffy movie than that happening. I mean Buffy hasn’t been able to keep her relationships very secret, has she?

History repeats itself wonderfully first by Xander and Renee walking in on them. Buffy’s reaction is hysterical with her screaming at Xander to close his eye and falling out of the bed when Renee spots her. It also doesn’t help when a doped up Andrew, a peering Dawn and a bloodied Willow also spot the pair as Buffy tries to put her clothes on.

On screen this would be absolutely hilarious but even in comic form, I did laugh out loud when reading it. Unlike Angel Season Six so far, Season Eight has had a terrific blend of dark material and the lighter moments. I can see why some people might have found this moment a bit much but I did enjoy it. It might have helped that I was in a good mood when reading the comic.

So how do you think the gang are going to react to this? Buffy sleeping with a subordinate is going to create a lot more friction in the slayer circles than Xander/Renee. I really couldn’t care less about Andrew’s opinion but I’m definitely interested in learning what Dawn and Willow have to say.

With the exception of Andrew, everyone seemed to want Buffy because of those bloody wolves. Dawn can’t sleep because she’s getting mysteriously attacked by bees. Trust me I feel for Dawn, I really hate bees/wasps myself and Willow had the crap beaten into her by some vampire chick.

Okay at first it did look like Willow was about to be snatched by the vampire so it’s almost a relief to see her crashing into Buffy’s bedroom. After “Anywhere But Here”, I did fear that Willow might be gone for a while so it’s nice to have her back, even if her timing couldn’t have been more wrong for Buffy.

So with vampires, wolves and bees all spotted, something has to up. Well it is as the next we see a wolf heading for the armoury. Seeing the wolf then morphing into a vampire more or cemented the obvious. We’ve seen this crazy stuff with Dracula so could these vampires be working for him? I don’t think so even if they do share the same abilities as him.

They’re here for the scythe and Buffy gets a reason to do some ass kicking as she tries to stop them from getting it. Again this should be more important than Buffy/Satsu but is not as vocalised. Still at least Buffy makes a decent attempt to stop them even if they do manage to take her most valuable of weapons.

Vampires who can turn into animals are both creepy and cool at the same time. In fact it helps to add to the atmospheric vibe this whole arc is presumably going for and this band of vampires are certainly snappy dressers to boot. Just like with “No Future For You”, I’m sensing some serious awesomeness ahead.

These vampires have to know good and proper about the scythe they’re stealing and what’s it able to do. It’s the only weapon they bothered to take so there’s definitely has to be a sinister motive behind it. You don’t need to have an emergency meeting to come to that conclusion.

It is however amazing that it does take both Buffy and Willow a while to figure out that some vampires can change their form. Willow did seem the most sceptical about their attackers being vampires and how funny was it when Xander realised that he was about to be used as bait?

I suppose him going off to be Dracula’s spider eating man bitch for a second time is supposed to tell us that Dracula could be an unwilling ally for the gang. Why else would Buffy put him in that position? I might be in a minority but I’m actually excited to have the count back.

Dracula might be a glory hound but he’s not the most ambitious of vampires either. It’s interesting that Xander trusts Renee enough to place her in the role as his anchor. It also serves as a reminder to Renee that even someone like Xander comes with his own baggage. Xander’s submission at the end to Dracula is worthy of slash last seen in Season Three of Doctor Who.

Also in “Wolves At The Gates Part 1”

Cover for this issue had Buffy with really curly hair and the scythe in the streets of Tokyo surrounded by a wolf and two vampires. Spoiler for next issue perhaps?

Renee: “You don’t need to babysit me. Definitely wolves by the way.”
Xander: “Okay. Hang on, back up. Nobody’s babysitting anyone here … if anything that fantasy comes much later and only if we both agree to it and have a safe word.”

I notice that both Xander and Renee are actually beginning to dress alike now too.

Willow: “I’m supposed to call you ‘miss’?”
Andrew: “’Lois’ is fine.”
Willow: “If you start with that ‘can you read my mind again?’ speech again, I’m dropping you.”

Renee: “Nope. Scotland is a primitive society. Their men hunt with clubs and their women wear corsets to bed.”
Xander: “I don’t want to go out with you anymore.”

The last three issues we’ve had flying lessons – Buffy/Willow, Buffy/Twilight and Willow/Andrew. Maybe Xander and Dracula will have a go next issue.

Satsu: “I mean … I know what this is. I know you didn’t just … turn gay all of a sudden.”
Buffy: “Right. Wait … how do you know that? Did I do something wrong? Because I’m flying blind here. It’s not like they make instructions manuals for these sort of things.”
Satsu: “Actually they do.”

Satsu: “Trust me you didn’t do anything wrong.”
Buffy: “But I didn’t do enough things! You did more things than I did!”
Satsu: “And you let me. You were amazing.”

The one I notice that not everyone else did is that Buffy and Satsu are seen post sex and don’t kiss or even touch each other afterwards. They just talked which was good too.

Buffy (to Satsu): “I don’t know. It’s like … I had a wonderful night. And … it’s been a while since I said that. So … tomorrow, I’m gonna think about what we did and I’m gonna blush. And then I’m gonna smile.”

Xander (spotting Buffy/Satsu): “Oh merciful Zeus!”
Buffy: “Xander get out of here!”
Xander: “I didn’t see anything I swear.”

Because it needs to asked, why exactly is Andrew here? Is it something to with Simone going off the rails?

Andrew: “Oh hi Buffy. Hi nude Asian girl. How much Dramamine did I take?”
Buffy: “Everybody get out of my room.”

Buffy: “This isn’t what it looks like.”
Xander: “Oh thank God, it’s a dream.”
Renee: “I don’t think it’s a dream.”

In the letter page there was a promo for a Serenity comic rather than Issue 13.

Renee: “Xander, like wonky how?”
Dracula: “Hello manservant.”
Xander: “Hey, how it going … Master.”

Chronology: None is specified since the events of “A Beautiful Sunset”.

Pseudo-lesbianism or whatever, there’s no denying another great issue and “Wolves At The Gate Part 1” was bloody perfect. Drew Goddard is one of the best writers and the dialogue here comes thick and fast and by the looks of it, we have another fantastic arc to look forward to.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

My Review of Angel's 6x04: "After The Fall Part 4"

Written by Brian Lynch
Artwork by Franco Urru

Angel (to Wesley): “I’m alive. I’m breathing, I’m sweating. I’m aching from fights that occurred two months ago. It’s what I always wanted and it’s not because of the Shanshu, I’ve signed that destiny away. I’m free of the vampire for one reason – they know right now is when I need it the most. Only way to get out of hell. Act like nothing’s changed.”

So it’s definitely confirmed then. The last issue dangled the carrot about Angel being human and the first thing this issue has the decency to do is confirm it. We flash to the end of “Not Fade Away” to see Angel doing battle with various demons. Before I noticed the lack of Spike and Illyria, Angel focuses his attention on Gunn’s absence.

At this point it had been well speculated that Gunn would’ve died in this battle, having barely survived his earlier altercation with vampires. I always hoped that part wasn’t true but I liked that Angel is incredibly curious as to why Gunn isn’t there. It makes sense given that Angel doesn’t trust either Spike or Illyria.

Of course Angel has more problems than just demons and Gunn being gone. As he’s about to do some more heroics, there’s the realisation of his heart beating. Even worse is going back first into a car and being in serious pain. Of all the times to become human, this couldn’t have been a worse time for Angel.

Wesley shows up and apologises to Angel. Dressed in the same way we met him in Buffy’s third season, he’s there to help. Angel might be human but it doesn’t mean that everyone else has to know and with the aid of some funky spells, Angel can keep up the pretence and heal himself.

I get why Angel doesn’t want everyone to know about his transformation. The knowledge of him being human would cause demon kind to ignite further chaos, especially if they viewed Angel as not being a serious obstacle to them. After all this hell on earth works to their favour.

That being said Wesley was perfectly right in warning Angel about the fallout from using dark magic. Being human makes him vulnerable to it and there’s also the problem of how long the charade can be maintained. Demon kind might not be privy but that doesn’t mean they won’t be anytime soon either.

Wesley doesn’t believe that picking a fight with Wolfram And Hart in hell is the wisest of choices and Angel believes that by acting like nothing has happened to him is the best way of winning his vendetta with the evil law firm. Not sure how that’ll work when they are more than aware of the predicament they are.

Even Wesley being practical and telling Angel to call off the fight isn’t enough to have him change his mind. Unlike Buffy and her army of slayers, Angel really doesn’t have a lot of people he can call on to bail him out. Perhaps he should be taking heed of Wesley’s words after all.
The frustrating thing also is that Wesley knows well and proper that Angel won’t listen to him anyway. I should be glad that there’s at least no animosity between them here. Angel seems less distant with Wesley than he has been in the previous issues and then there’s the arrival of two mysterious ladies.

Like Angel, I assumed that someone was eavesdropping in their conversation but I was wrong. Wesley thinking that he was having to crossover was hilarious too. This fate has to worse than death for him, even though he’s determined to help Angel out. Wesley needn’t worry as its Angel these two women want.

They don’t waste time in grabbing him and Wesley follows the women to see why Angel is so necessary to them. The dragon also gives chase too. Could these ladies be dangerous?

Someone who definitely is dangerous is Gunn, who sees an opportunity with an empty Wolfram And Hart at his feet. With no-one there he decides to give the place a once over with his little vampire buddies. No prizes in guessing what Gunn plans on doing with the unoccupied law firm.

Spike meanwhile has his own problems to deal with. Illyria’s been acting even more erratically than usual as he has to deal with the shark demon from “Tabula Rasa”. Shark demon doesn’t take Spike serious and wants to pass on a powerful staff to help defeat Angel.

Although it’s widely speculated that Angel is going to lose the battle he dared to start, the staff is something of a backup in case Angel might actually gain the upper hand. It’s a nice idea and it’s interesting to see all the lords united in wanting to trash Angel. I was sort of hoping for some duplicity but that’s maybe later in the arc.

Though this demon is generally annoying, I do like him undermining Spike. Not having to put up with Illyria in person wasn’t a bad thing either. In lieu of her though, we get scantily clad Spider challenging Spike instead.

Spider proves to be more than a good looking girl. Aside from childishly wanting the staff from Spike, she’s perceptive enough to realise that Spike and Angel’s relationship goes beyond simple loathing of each other.

In fact Spider even goes one better by openly admitting that her tribe’s first reaction was to kill Spike on sight. Apparently it was her who vetoed the idea because she saw something in the vampire. Okay yet another excuse for shameless Spike worshipping and is it much of a shock that Spider might have a thing for Spike? Probably not.

At least in spite of her crush, the girl is ambitious. She figures getting rid of Angel and the other lords is the best thing for everyone and using Illyria is crucial. Surprisingly Spike actually seems to care about Illyria (or is it Fred) enough to not go through with her suggestion.

Even more interestingly is how vocal she is about Angel. Spider thinks Spike feels responsible for him but I’m not sure I get the same feeling. Still I quite like Spider. She’s more tolerable than Illyria and she could be a great pain for Spike if she decides to do things her way without his consent.

As for Angel and Wesley, it turns out that the mystery ladies are taking them to meet the Lord of Silver Lake. Basically it’s the demonic version of Wisteria Lane as it seems that some demons can co-exist peacefully rather than fight for supremacy. In fact it’s so peace loving that it reminds me of Caritas.

There’s a good reason behind that because the Lord of this area happens to be Lorne. So far Lorne is probably the most welcomed return we’ve had to the comic season and it’s great that he’s seemed to resolve some of his on going issues too. Setting up a neighbourhood to protect demons rather than slaying them is definitely believable for Lorne. He was never much of a fighter anyway.

That being said Lorne is willing to risk things to actually help Angel anyway. Showing him stuff in a crystal ball is one thing but perhaps giving him another warrior in Groo is the best way of helping Angel’s cause.

I’ve never been a big fan of Groo but he’s relatively harmless and his happy stance is a tonic from all the gloom and shit we’ve had so far. It does however make me want to ask – can we please have Cordelia and Fred back as well? I don’t care how contrived how it is, I just want them back. This season is lacking without them like Season Five did.

More interesting seems to be the level of mistrust between Wesley and Lorne. Wesley knows that his new status creeps people out and Lorne isn’t shy pointing out why he doesn’t feel he can trust Wesley. We still don’t know whether or not Wesley can be trusted but I still would like to think that Wesley wouldn’t willingly betray Angel this time around.

As for Gunn, with all the pain, rage and whatever else he’s feeling, he chooses to do something proactive about it. Gunn blames Wolfram And Hart for his misfortune and he makes them pay by blowing up the law firm to bits and just watches. The flipside is that Wesley then disappears and Lorne fears being blamed. Just when I thought something was going to go right for Angel, this goes and happens.

Also in “After The Fall Part 4”

The cover I bought for this issue had Angel warding off the two demon ladies who showed him Silver Lake.

Angel: “Okay next it says you’re supposed to put one hand on your hip and the other, kinda like a spout.”
Wesley: “Wait … really?”
Angel: “No. Tnuets-ne’zal gnav! Snem’ed.”

Out of all the illustration Angel seems to be improving and Lorne also looked pretty good as well. Spike and Wesley on the other hand …

Angel (to Wesley): “We agreed not to say that out loud. Fine, you said the h-word; let’s vent our feelings because we both love that.”

Pink Lady: “We came for you.”
Green Lady: “For you Angel.”
Wesley: “Well that was a short lived excitement.”

This might sound a bit stupid but why aren’t the Powers That Be making more of a conscious effort to help Angel out?

Spider (re Shark Demon): “He seemed sweet. So who gets to go up against Angel?”
Spike: “Doesn’t make a bloody difference either way. Angel beats the odds, the odds beat him.”

Spider (to Spike): “You were shockingly handsome but a tad scrawny and very much the loud mouth and your travelling companion, the lass behind door number one, she was a tad unstable.”

When Spike chopped off Spider’s head in a hallucination he was holding the scythe Buffy still has possession of.

Spike (re Illyria): “We’re not using her. Not like that. Um, Spider?”

Spider: “Hey was I just sans head? Don’t soft shoe, it felt like-”
Spike: “Go. I have to think.”

No Connor, Gwen or Nina in this issue. Plus we’ve had nothing on poor Bettina George either.

Angel: “I’m surprised he wants to see us.”
Wesley: “I don’t trust this place.”
Angel: “I do. I feel oddly content.”

Wesley: “Rain check on the hug.”
Lorne: “Roger that. Stuck in that suit for eternity. Wolfram and Hart’s cruellest act yet.”

We got see to a female version of Skip and Groo (with his Pylea look) got to ride on a black horse with wings. Pretty cool, huh?

Groo (to Angel): “Un-Lord Lorne tells me you’re going to re-die in grand final battle against evil incarnate. Let’s see if I can up an arsenal that will prolong your existence for a few moments.”

Wesley (as his disappears): “I’m not sure he cares if he walks away. Part of me thinks he doesn’t want to. If we don’t do something soon – Angel will die-”.
Lorne: “Wes? Um, Wesley? Wesley? I’m gonna be blamed for this I know it.”

The cover for next issues has Angel, Lorne, Gunn, Spike, Wesley, Groo, Illyria, Nina, Gwen, Connor, Bettina George and the Dragon. A release date wouldn’t go amiss.

When I first read “After The Fall Part 4” I didn’t like so it’s a good job that I waited a few days before I decided to review it because it’s actually better than I originally thought it would be. It still lacks oomph in places but next issue’s big battle should hopefully amend that.

Rating: 7 out of 10.