Saturday, May 24, 2008

My Review of Angel's 6x07: "After The Fall Part 7"

Written by Brian Lynch
Artwork by Tim Kane And Nick Runge And Stephen Mooney

Connor: “Surprised you haven’t encountered one of my fathers.”
Kate: “‘One off …? Heh, LA.”

Things keep building up and getting rather juicy as this comic season continues to show vital signs of actual improvement. Last issue tackled four different characters so this issue continues with one Betta George and also starts unravelling the fates of both Wesley and Kate.

Betta’s story both begins and end this comic yet again. The fish has managed to break free of the reigns of his prison and is making a decent attempt to escape. Sadly for him, the vampire we all assumed was thicker than two short planks has other ideas.

While Betta George might be keen to catch up with Spike, the vampire minion stops him from actually leaving. Worse still for Betta is that he’s furious about the fish trying to underestimate him at every turn.

Much as I like the Betta George plot I kind of wish that we got the full story in the first few pages. I’m looking forward to really finding out why he’s so significant in the grand scheme of things. What the hell does Gunn want with him and it Betta is so important, then why aren’t Angel and Wesley looking for him also?

To kick off the new stories first there’s Wesley sitting in a chair looking content. From the get go, it’s clear that he’s supposed to be in some form of a happy setting and given the amount of misery he’s had to endure, a part of me was hoping that this happiness was real for him.

After all you’ve got Wesley with a big goofy grin on his face and there’s Fred telling him that they’ve done it. Wesley’s reaction is to wonder aloud if a small of her was still inside Illyria to which she reacts that she was. Given that Illyria lied to him as he began to die, I could see where this one was going.

It’s great to see to a romanticised Wesley and Fred. Both of them want to be together and there’s a few romantic images as well as the odd monster to slay that highlights what their future might be. All Wesley wants to do is curl up in bed with the woman he loves more than anything.

Sadly Wesley is also a realist and immediately that the Fred who is offering him such joys is a fake. It’s not specified who is actually posing as Fred, though a part of me suspects that it could be Eve. Well she always did have a penchant for being annoying when she wasn’t scheming against Wolfram And Hart herself.

Wolfram And Hart clearly believe that Wesley could do with being a bit more miserable. After all they want to reveal the Fred as a fake as soon as Wesley slept with her but they didn’t bank on Wesley figuring out so quickly. I’m hoping future underestimations on Wolfram And Hart’s part will play to Wesley’s advantage.

Wesley’s first reaction to the fake Fred is to strangle her but he manages to keep his anger under control. Not that it matters seeing as the fake is every bit as dead as he is. Still the woman is a right bitch in her happiness to goad Wesley and she doesn’t waste much time either in reminding him that he is still under contract.

As we’ve seen from the start of “After The Fall Part 1”, Wesley is literally being forced by Wolfram And Hart to spy on Angel and report to them everything he gets up to. Wesley doesn’t want to do this and uses both the fact he’s dead and idle threats to try and get out of the deal.

Unfortunately the threat of being separated from Fred even more and the fact he’s bound by contract means that he doesn’t get a say in the matter. Soon enough he’s kitted out for work and is told to get on with things.

Wesley’s reaction to the hell on earth outside is a nice touch. He’s actually surprised by the amount of carnage that has managed to happen in such a short time and while he’s still determined to best Wolfram And Hart, he is for the time being their unwilling little spy.

As for the woman posing as Fred (then again maybe it is Fred), she also questions Wesley’s motives. She knows that he’ll try to break free but she’s also aware that Wesley’s loyalty to Angel could be an advantage for her as well.

The most interesting however is that she mentions Wesley being the key to Wolfram And Hart being victorious in this battle. Needless to say, I really want to find out how exactly that one will come about. How can Wesley help this firm win and more importantly, aside from Angel, is there any other way they can lose?

Connor meanwhile also has the fear of losing his own battles. Being caught by a demon gang in the last issue wasn’t exactly the best of things that could’ve happened to him and given that his mind is less focused on escaping, it’s a good job that he doesn’t have to be the one who kills the demons ready to slaughter him.

Nope, instead that honour goes to Kate who since the last time we’ve seen her has clearly went on a Supernatural marathon and decided to become a demon hunter in her own right. All she says is two words before the demon holding Connor is shot to pieces.

As reintroductions go that is pretty damn cool. Kate’s never been one of my favourite characters but I’ve never hated and while I was expecting the mystery character for this issue to be someone like Cordelia, I have to admit that her story is riveting enough to keep me amused.

As soon as she shoots the demon both she and Connor have to leg it as the remaining demons are ready to tear them both to pieces. One of the amusing things with the running is that Connor goes into overload trying to prove his toughness as Kate gently dismisses him.

Still at least there is Kate’s car so they don’t have to do that much running and the driving allows for some more sparkling dialogue. Kate wants to get Connor away from danger and all Connor wants to do is explain that he can handle himself in a fight.

He’s also quick to mention that he has multiple fathers as Kate gives a brief description of her own antics. Basically she’s helping people fall through the cracks caused by this hellish setting and when she’s not doing that she’s also blowing up as many demons as she can possibly muster.

In fact before we get to see her base she also shoots at a grisly looking spider creature which looked like it could’ve came out Doctor Who. It also enough to get Kate suspicious while in a funny scene Connor thinks she’s flirting with him. I guess in every dimension Connor is going to have a thing for older women.

As Kate’s base of operations, it’s a slayer’s wet dream. Tonnes of weapons and books but Kate’s too busy telling Connor to relax to give him a guided tour. Also when she finishes working on a nifty little weapon of her, she leaves Connor there to ponder all by himself.

Well Connor does that for a few seconds and then he arms himself. More interestingly is that it’s perhaps Kate and not his father that influenced him to fight monsters in this environment. After all when he wasn’t thinking about her sexually, he seemed to be taking in a lot of what she said.

However seeing as the comic started with Betta George, it also finishes with him and the fish is back to being a prisoner. Even more interesting is that the vampire holding him hostage explains that Gunn has being using slayers to help with his training.

This might be the first element of Buffy that has slipped into Angel’s comic season. It’s a nice, sinister twist that will hopefully pay off in later issues and it also manages to both confuse and freak out Betta George so there’s double points in that too. However something like that has got to draw attention and obviously I don’t mean from Buffy’s neck of the woods.

Also in “First Night Part 2”

The cover I got was with Spike in pure vampire mode on top of a building, looking all gothic and creepy to boot.

Betta George (to the vampire): “Wow, you really wanna bite me but you can’t, huh? There’s a reason I’m Hell’s most sought after fish. I’m a powerful telepath, little man. I mean, look at us, you’re a vamp and I can still make you think this is going on. Virtually impossible, yet here we are.”

The only appearance from Spike this issue is the image that Betta George produces to the vampire holding him hostage.

Betta George (to the vampire): “When your boss gets back, tell him I’m sorry I couldn’t stick around but I had to go see a British guy about kicking his ulp.”

Fred: “Sweetie … we did it.”
Wesley: “You were in there.”
Fred: “Maybe a smidge. You always knew.”

I have to give big praise to Nick Runge who really made both Wesley and Fred in this comic actually look like Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker.

Wesley: “What now?”
Fred: “What now …is us. Is this. Forever. We’ve earned it. We’ve earned whatever we want and for old time’s sake we can do this sometimes. But each and every time … we’ll be just fine. And we’ll always come back here.”

Wesley: “It sounds wonderful.”
Fred: “It’s getting there.”
Wesley: “If only … this wasn’t a lie.”

Visions we saw with Wesley and Fred included them by a field and a mountain, a horse drawn carriage and slaying a devil like demon.

Wesley: “Do yourself a favour. Stop pretending you’re her. It won’t get you anywhere except dead.”
Fred: “Well then we’d have something in common. See I knew you’d be smarter than this. They thought you’d be so desperate to believe that we’d have to drop the curtain and tell you when it would hurt the most.”

Fred: “I can’t believe you didn’t want to live in the lie for a while. I would’ve done whatever you wa-”
Wesley: “Shut up. You think I’ll be a company man? Really?”

Wesley had a snake on his back before forced into his suited attire. That has to mean something else, right?

Wesley: “What’s his fau- oh.”
Fred: “Yeah heaven isn’t this clichéd but hell … stereotype is pretty dead on.”

Connor: “It’s cool, I’ve done this kind of thing before.”
Kate: “I can tell.”
Connor: “Hey I grew up in a hell dimension.”
Kate: “Well then this oughta be like old home week.”

The cover issue I got here was also a poster in the middle of the comic book as well. Works better as a poster too.

Kate (to Connor): “A man wiser than both of us helped me through a crisis of conscience once. He said to me and I’m paraphrasing here …‘in the greater scheme. Or the bigger picture, nothing we do matters. There is no grand plan. No big win. If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do because that’s all there is’.”

There’s a double issue frenzy in June. Issue 8 is out on June 11 and Issue 9 is out on June 25th.

Betta George (to the vampire): “And what is with that one word in your head over and over. Seriously what the hell is a slayer?”

Chronology: Seconds after “After The Fall Part 7” and “Not Fade Away”.

I liked this one. “After The Fall Part 7” is upping the intrigue on the hell on earth situation but I can’t help but think that Season Six should’ve started with this story rather than the format it’s placed in.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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