Sunday, November 09, 2008

My Review of Angel's 6x13: "After The Fall Part 13"

Written by Brian Lynch
Artwork by Stephen Mooney

Angel (to Cordelia): “Even when we went to hell, it was going to be okay. Wesley believed it. Gunn, far gone as he is, still believes it. And I did, deep down. I truly did. I was wrong.”

With thirteen issues reminding us that we are in fact in hell, there does seem to be a never ending sense of limbo with this ‘season’. Last issue I felt like this was really going up a notch and I’m fearing that I was overconfident because this issue just seemed … sort of pointless in a way.

First off all, it begins with Spike lying on his ass dithering about the loss of his harem (most annoying groupies ever) and his unsuccessful attempts of protecting Illyria again for the billionth time. Oh and to top it off, there’s some petty jealous about the dragon as well. Seriously, Spike needs to drop the ‘look at me’ stick and soon.

Still I do feel a tad sorry that he landed in garbage but compared to other people, he’s better off and least he’s complimentary about Connor. It also helps that his perceptiveness of Connor’s emotional state is bang on too. Connor is making the rookie move of allowing his emotions to dictate his actions. It also makes him perfectly human as well.

However on the non-human front, Spike goes into vamp face mode and decides to beat the ever holy crap out of a random vampire. It’s funny that Spike comments on no-one being around for his pithy one-liners as well as his determination to get back into the fighting fray on the roof.

Of course his fight with the burly vampire is a surprising joy, mainly due to the slayer mentions and Spike besting him with little effort involved. Unfortunately for Spike, his rescue of three slayers just means that he has more problems on his hands when they decide to end him.

Cordelia meanwhile (yes, thankfully she is in this issue) is curious to know what’s gotten Angel so eager to join her on the other side. Angel believes his death could stop Wolfram And Hart overall scheme and then goes on about how manipulative the law firm are with conjuring illusions and what not.

Gunn on the other hand isn’t impressed with Wesley effectively telling him that he’s ruined things. As far as Gunn is concerned, the army they faced in the alleyway of “Not Fade Away” was big but Wesley is quick to point out otherwise. I can’t wait for Gunn to realise that he’s been lead up the garden path given how rampantly annoying this season has made him.

Elsewhere the skies in hell have opened up even more with an array of dragons all heading for the roof when they’re not attacking the Cordelia dragon. More interesting is that despite his total anger towards Gwen, Connor is still willing to protect her from being slaughtered.

The boy’s heart is in the right place but against all those dragons, he really doesn’t stand a chance. Gwen is smart enough to realise that and when Connor refuses to listen to her, she bolts him away from the roof. Then Gwen also goes for the impressive jugular by using all of her electricity to kill every dragon going.

Sort of a big question playing on my mind – is Gwen dead and if so, does this count as a heroic death? I suppose next issue will determine for us but given that Gwen still believes in Gunn’s madness, I guess it would be a ‘no’ on the heroic death thing. Still, death seems to be the ongoing problem with this issue.

If millions of dragons and Gwen meeting their maker wasn’t enough, it seems that Spike getting dusted by three unnamed slayers is also a cause for frustration too. It’s not that I’m against the idea of Spike being killed but I would prefer if it was done in a way that seemed like the writer cared about the character.

As for Angel, he’s still going on about everything meaning nothing and to be honest, it’s this entire nihilistic attitude that irritating me to no end. Still the idea that Angel could be used to arise evil is intriguing but still cruel when you consider the fighting for good he’s been doing countless times over.

It’s also with that realisation that he’s eager for him and Cordelia to just leave. However in the best moment of this comic so far, there’s a brilliant face off between Connor and Gunn. Of course this comes after a pointless attempt from Wesley to try and stop Gunn getting near Angel’s body.

Surprisingly enough, Gunn isn’t too fazed by the idea of Gwen being a casualty but he doesn’t waste much time in throwing down with Connor either. The best part is Connor getting the upper hand and tossing the vampire out of the window. Now how can anyone not love Connor for that?

What’s also great about Connor’s contribution to this issue is that he’s determined not to give up on his father. While Wesley’s practically close to picking out a funeral plot for Angel, Connor’s determined to get his father out of Gunn’s lair and get him healed up as soon as a possible.

This could have come across as incredibly saccharine but given how relentlessly bleak things have become, I just love this scene. I also love that Connor’s faith in Angel is paramount to the latter not being ready to cross over. However, would it have killed for Angel to tell Cordelia that he loves her? Yes I am a shipper and I really, really wanted to see that.

Besides we got it with the Metacrisis Doctor and Rose in “Journey’s End”, so why on earth couldn’t we have gotten it with Angel and Cordy? Also we know that Angel is going to survive because Spike and his would be killers come striding up the elevator, so Gunn’s murder spree is further invalidated.

Speaking of Gunn, things seem to have gone from bad to worse with him when he meets Illyria. To give her credit, Illyria displays some curiosity towards Gunn instead of completely ripping him a new one. That being said as soon as she morphs into Fred, Gunn then shoots her and muses about being right.

Also in “After The Fall Part 13”

The cover I got with this was Connor cradling Angel’s body in the rain. I think it’s one of the best covers they’ve done.

Vampire (with severed hand): “You think this will stop me? I survived slayers.”
Spike: “I didn’t. Yet here we are. Heh, ‘I didn’t’. No-one’s ever around for the really pithy – hmmm?”

Five issues since its first appearance and we’re still getting snow, although it was during Spike’s little scenes.

Cordelia (re vision): “How do you know it was real?”
Angel: “How do I know you’re real?”

Connor: “Gwen …run.”
Gwen: “You have a sword.”
Connor: “And they have eyes. I can make this work. Just get out of here.”
Gwen: “Weren’t we just fighting?”

Please tell me that Cordelia the dragon actually survived this bloodbath issue. I know it’s probably unlikely but I’ve developed an attachment to the dragon.

Gwen: “I know you’re the leader and in no mood to listen to me –so I’m gonna make this simple – find your father, find Gunn, I don’t care. Just get off this roof.”
Connor: “No.”
Gwen: “Yes, sweetie. Go.”

Angel: “I tried so hard to help, Cordelia. But the best thing I could do for this world and everyone I love would be to leave. This is how it should be. Please. Let’s go.”

Even though we seem to be seeing the tentacle creatures in the last few issues, they have yet to actually make a threat on Angel and company.

Gunn: “Hey baby Angel. So Gwen failed.”
Connor: “Pretty sure Gwen’s dead.”

Gunn: “Admittedly I didn’t think of your feelings but in the grand scheme of things – who the hell are you anyways?”
Connor: “I’m Angel’s son. I’m Gwen’s boyfriend. I’m also the guy who just did that.”

Once again this comic fails to give us a date for the next issue. I can’t be the only one who finds that annoying each time, right?

Cordelia: “Oh, yeah, you’re running away from the light. Getting harder to stay. Question … you said one thing that made losing loved ones easier was the hope that all this was leading to something.”
Angel: “Yeah, well, I guess we can scratch that, considering.”
Cordelia: “But what was the other thing?”
Angel: “The fact that the loved ones I lost – usually come back to help me when I need it most.”
Cordelia: “See? Are those the words of the vampire destined to bring about the fall of civilisation? No way! Be good, big guy.”

Fred: “Cha … Charles-”
Gunn: “Thank you baby, thank you so much. Let’s get to work.”

No Nina or Lorne in this issue and what the hell has happened to Groo as well?

While it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it too, it was naturally disappointing. “After The Fall Part 13” had some good moments – Angel/Cordy, Gunn/Connor but overall, I’m still finding this frustrating at times as a reader and fan of the series.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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