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.

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