Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Review of "Darkly Dreaming Dexter"

Written by Jeff Lindsay
Released in 2004

Dexter (to himself): “I know it is a nearly human weakness and it may be no more than ordinary sentimentality but I have always loved funerals.”

Making the error of watching the first two seasons of the series before reading the book, I’ve decided to amend things by trying to read all four books prior to FXUK airing the third season in late April 2009.

Most of the first season was based on the debut book, “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” and as an opening novel goes, Jeff Lindsay really has come up with a compelling character. Dexter is a serial killer who kills those who deserve. It’s as natural to him as breathing and something that he is deeply unapologetic for as well.

The book opened up with luring a choir master to his death. Unlike fellow serial killers, Dexter has a certain level of standards. Innocent people are strictly off the menu and the idea of murdering a child is one that disgusts him in a big way. Of course within the book, Dexter is adamant about being dead inside.

However when he butchers the choir master at the start, there is an emotional reaction to his response. He also seemed to have a similar emotional response when he murdered Jaworski half way through the book as well.

Like with the series, this book is also focused on a specific target for Dexter called the Tamiami Slasher (aka the Ice Truck Killer). This dude’s going around murdering various prostitutes and making sure that Dexter had enough clues to try and track him. This guy’s every bit as proud of his work as Dexter and there’s a fan boy type of admiration that Dexter exhibits for the guy, unaware that they’re related.

I suppose if you have to go with a downside is that killer is introduced far too late into the book and while it made sense for Dexter to let his own brother go in the end (Brian/Biney), the series score bigger points with the way they chose to handle the character during the first season.

From book to screen, Dexter still translates incredibly well but some of the other characters have very little to do. Angel and Masuka are little more than ciphers, Harry got some brief enough flashbacks and Rita only popped in and out but at least we’re clear on how Dexter feels (or not) about her in this story.

Deb is probably the only character who appeared as much in the book as Dexter, which made sense given that she seemed to be always interacting with him. My only grievance is that Deb did seem to rely too much on Dexter and his hunches in her desperate bid to get out of vice.

In terms of antagonists, Doakes is surprisingly underused. He only appeared in a few pages and mostly made snide remarks while LaGuerta went from overtly flirtatious with Dexter to wanting to put him behind bars. I suppose we should actually be grateful that Biney wound up killing her instead. We should also be grateful that the series has done a better job with that particular character as well.

- LaGuerta went by the name of Migdia in this book. Dexter mentioned various times that she was good at police politics while also noting that Deb wasn’t.

- Paul’s abuse of Rita was referenced but Paul himself doesn’t grace his presence in the book.

- Dexter’s love of food was nicely touched upon, though we don’t get much on his boat.

- At the end of the book it’s made clear that Deb is aware of Dexter’s dark self. Actually in earlier chapters, she’s pretty suspicious of Dexter.

- Dexter refers to himself as Dark Passenger a lot in the book.

- The tagline for this book was “A serial killer with a heart … be grateful it’s not yours.”

Quote, Unquote

Brian: “Do I have to remind you of the importance of family?”
Dexter: “No, no, no I can’t. Not Deborah.”
Brian: “Too bad. I’m so disappointed.”

Overall a very good opening novel to what has become one of the best series on TV. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone. The humour, the wry observations are all beautifully there.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

My Review of Angel's 6x18: "Aftermath Part 1"

Written by Kelly Armstrong
Artwork by Dave Ross

Angel: “Screening process?”
Kate: “I think it still needs a few requirements.”

With a fortnight passed since “After The Fall” finally came to an end, the start of “Aftermath” doesn’t waste much time in reminding readers that things have changed for Angel.

Given that there’s a bit of bounty on his head with every demon lord works his salt, Angel seemed more worried about the lack of attempts on his life. It’s almost as if he had a death wish on his hands. Angel, you’re not going to make much of a difference if you’re dead.

Within a minute of discussing the dearth in assassins on his tail, a gang of them came out of the woodwork to try and kill Angel. Having Angel battle some good old fashioned demons is good, even if Angel isn’t particular cheerful about having a few baddies to take out.

In fact Angel did mope a bit about not being able to make much of a difference. It also didn’t help that he couldn’t get past being reminded that he could make things tip in the favour of evil as well.

He also got a reminder of his actions when he first arrived in LA. However the vampire who reminded him of that wasn’t banking on Angel killing him but it gave Angel the idea to try and rebuild a gang in a fevered bid to escape those haranguing him now that he’s famous.

So who could possibly join Angel’s little gang? Wesley, Fred and Cordelia are all gone and everyone else is caught up in trying to get themselves sorted out. Even Connor isn’t particularly game for the idea of teaming up with his father but his motives are believable.

Angel isn’t surprising when he didn’t push the issue with Connor. I think Angel more than understood why his son and friends would want some time out. Their experiences in hell may have been frustrating as a reader but they’re certainly enough to make you want to opt for a quieter existence.

However one person who did have no problem in wanting to help out was Kate. We saw her back in “After The Fall Part 7” and honestly, I did presume she was permanently gone but her reunion with Angel is certainly a highlight. Look Angel, yet another blonde woman slaying the big bads.

It also didn’t Kate all that long to offer her services to Angel either. Given that they’ve probably not have had contact with each other since “Epiphany”, it’s nice that Angel agreed to let Kate help him out. We already know that her demon fighting skills have improved and it’s not like he’s got anyone else either.

Watching the pair of them trying to set up business cards was endearing as are Kate’s motives for wanting to help people. Plus she’s quick in both promoting the new Angel Investigations and finding somewhere for her and Angel to set up base. Let’s just say that a church is as good a location as anywhere else.

Plus with all of that, there was much discussion of screening. I’m pretty sure that’s both applicable to cases and potential employees and we certainly got some question worthy assignments with this one. More questionable though are those two members from the city council.

Although they’re not in this story long, they were annoying and it did feel like they were insisting upon Angel to join them in keeping LA clean from demons. However that’s not as bad as the growing list of unwanted folk who want Angel for their own uses.

In fact Angel got bombarded by so many wasters that it took him a while to spot a real threat. This could’ve been a major drawback but it’s understandable that when Angel relented and did join up with the city council that he could demand an officer round the corner. Given how fanatical that Angel’s fans have become in a short space of time, I don’t blame Kate for being extra precautious.

Of course the more interesting note is how this issue ended. When is a panther not a panther? Well, when it can morph into a mystery woman with a stake aimed for Angel’s back. I don’t know who this lady is but I’m certainly intrigued.

Also in “Aftermath Part 1”

The cover I got was by Nick Runge with Angel wielding a sword and a leopard by his side. I think it’s one of the series best covers.

Angel: “Fine, then you can take him a message. Take them all a message.”
Demon: “I’m not talking -”
Angel: “You don’t need to. Your corpse is the message. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I hear someone in real danger.”

I noticed that with this issue there was a little note on the cover that this isn’t intended for anyone under 13.

Angel: “I like making a difference. Helping out.”
Demon: “That prophecy I heard says you will help out. On our side.”
Angel: “Don’t remind me.”

Angel (to himself): “Even after a month of normalcy, everything remains changed. No more hiding in the shadows. No more hiding what I am. Back to the beginning. Back to when I used to do some good.”

Funnily enough this issue also had some more promotional pictures for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Dollhouse. I wonder will Buffy’s “Predators And Prey” will also do the same.

Connor: “There’s another team? Is that a good … I mean … if you need someone to watch your back now and then, I’m there, but I really need to find a job on my own, make some money, get a better place.”
Angel: “I could help with that.”
Connor: “I’d rather you didn’t.”

Angel: “Kate?”
Kate: “Been a while, huh?”
Angel: “It has. You look -”
Kate: “Different? Don’t recognise me without a scowl, I bet. Word is you’re reopening Angel Investigations. Thought maybe I could help.”

We saw Gunn drive off in a car with Illyria, Spike somewhere else and Lorne in a cafĂ© of sorts. Connor’s also refusing to take Gwen’s calls.

Kate (to Angel): “After I left LA … things changed. I realised what I missed most about leaving the force. Helping people. I want to do that again.”

Kate: “At least there were demons this time and someone was in danger.”
Angel: “I don’t count.”

Kate was drawn very strangely in this comic. It’s like the artist thought she was younger than she actually is.

Male Council Member: “I told you it wouldn’t work.”
Female Council Member: “No sense of responsibility these days.”

Kate (re demon): “A little help here.”
Angel: “He’s human, Kate. Don’t play it up for my sake.”

There was another ad for Doctor Who’s “The Whispering Gallery” in this issue. They might want to start doing some Doctor/Donna stories fairly soon.

Kate: “I want an ordinance making it illegal to interfere with Angel or his work.”
Male Council Member: “A city wide restraining order.”
Female Council Member: “Highly irregular.”
Kate: “He saved the city from hell. Make an exception.”

There was no release date given for “Aftermath Part 2” but Buffy’s “Predators And Prey” comes out on March 4th.

For an opening issue, “Aftermath Part 1” sets up a nice story nicely. It’s kind of weird that we started with a smaller cast yet again but perhaps it works better in hindsight, given that we’ve got so many characters that are resurfacing in later issues.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Review of Angel's 6x17: "After The Fall Part 17"

Written by Brian Lynch
Artwork by Franco Urru

Nina (re people): “Do they always just stare?”
Angel: “Nah, some say hello. Some hand me wads of cash. I’m not bragging. I’m not happy about it. The last thing I want is more attention.”

Out of every vampire who would enjoy fame the least; it’s no shock that Angel would be that very vampire. He’s always liked being the ‘behind the scenes’ guy and being ‘centre stage’ is going to take some getting used to.

Whether it’s at an information office or a local library, Angel’s got a gaggle of admirers and investigating Wolfram And Hart’s mystery disappearance at least has people considering demonic foul play. There has to be an upside to Angel’s fame. He just needs to find out what that could possibly be.

Nina herself, who’s been savagely underused in the seventeen part arc even shows up to express how impressed she is with Angel’s rise to celebrity. Angel used this scene as an excuse to brood more about how hard things have become for him hunting wise but at least he told Nina to enjoy her humanity.

The many advantages of being back to regular LA are that for Nina, she no longer had to be in permanent wolf mode. With any luck, the upcoming “Aftermath” arc will give her something meaty to do. I think Nina has probably earned that as a character.

Also with Groo taking Cordy the dragon off Angel’s hands, the brooding vampire could certainly do with the help. It’s nice that Groo got a brief scene here and I really loved how Angel told him to treat the dragon like an equal partner. I’d happily trade Spike or Illyria if we could’ve kept the dragon but alas it wasn’t meant to be.

Wolfram And Hart’s disappearance is an interesting conundrum though. I can’t believe they’ve really gone in the same sense that I can’t believe their disappearance will be good for Angel in the long run. Wolfram And Hart have invested too much in Angel to let him go but I’m sure upcoming issues will go into that quibble much better.

With Angel and the gang back in LA, that meant certain returns as well. We saw Gwen on the beach with Nate again. Also again was her pointing out that she can’t be touched. Is Gwen going to try and atone for her misguided helping with Gunn? I think under the circumstances, Angel and company will probably forgive her.

There was also a brief moment with Spike and Illyria about town but one of the most touching moments is the library tribute to Fred and Wesley. Because both characters are dead and not coming back, I hope that like Angel the both of them are together in some way. I know logically they can’t be but you can’t help but hope for it no less.

Another beautiful moment in the comic is Angel musing about Cordelia. He did this in an earlier issue but given that he’s also had an encounter with her, its sweet that he might think she’s communicating with him in some way. Even when he cynically brushed it off, it was still a beautiful moment. I think those two pages made me sad again for losing three of the show’s strongest characters.

However if there’s one thing that can take you out of sadness, its Spike getting into a fist fight with KR’PH. Yes that annoying jellyfish monster from the first issue is back and while he did make an effort to eliminate Spike, the stupid demon was outmatched yet again.

Of course Spike now has Betta George on his team and the only reason that KR’PH didn’t get killed was because the demon had information for Angel. Thanks to everything been taken out of hell, every demon Lord wants kill Angel yet again. Okay, hardly shocking news but reasonably effective.

Even more effective is the knowledge that striking down Angel’s nearest and dearest is the best way to hurt him. Immediately that should’ve made Connor the principal target but given that Gunn must’ve pissed off a lot of demons during his crazed campaign in hell, it made sense that he would be sought after.

Also if KR’PH wasn’t enough, there’s the return of Burges and his bratty kid. Burges didn’t waste time in making with the threats but Angel at least tried reasoning. Funny thing is that both he and Burges have the father thing going for them. The only difference was that Burges seemed more interested in slaughter than bonding with his kid.

He also made the dumb of pointing out that anything could happen. In a fight with Angel, Burges could deliver a lot of damage but against Illyria and he’d died for sure. Illyria also had no problems with making threats but at least her ones were deadly serious, something which Burges understood by backing off.

Angel’s scene with a comatose Gunn however was a bit too brief. I suppose we should be glad that we didn’t get a repeated performance from “Forgiving” but I was kind of hoping for more. The writers can’t leave Gunn in a coma for that long, can they? Arguably, should they?

Luckily it’s not all dark in this issue. There’s plenty of car with Angel, Spike and Betta George with all three managing to tease each other. Angel and Spike will never be bosom buddies but there is a mutual respect there that both of them have for the other. You don’t have to have Betta George’s abilities to see that.

The last panel however does stick with Angel believing that he’s destined to do much worse but for the time, he’s around to help. Hopefully Angel can find a way of defeating his destiny. I think he’s endured more than enough for one lifetime.

Also in “After The Fall Part 17”

On the main cover we had Angel, Spike, Cordelia, the dragon, Wesley, Illyria, Spider, Nina, Gwen, Nate, Kate, Connor, Lorne, Groo, Gunn, various people and demons and the Hyperion.

Angel: “Thank you for helping me with research, Nina. I know it’s not as exciting as.”
Nina: “T-Rex/Dragon battles? True. But now that I can’t be she-wolf 24/7, libraries are slightly more my speed. You know what I miss? Not the super sense of smell really but the claws. They were cool, admit it.”
Angel: “Enjoy your humanity.”

We learned in this issue that Groo’s flying horse was also called Cordelia. Blimey.

Angel (to Cordelia the dragon): “You’ll like Groosalugg. He freed you during the battle with the lord’s champions, remember? That was nice of him. And, um, you both recently died and got resurrected so you have that in common.”

Groo: “Of course. Does she have a name?”
Angel: “Yes it’s – Cordelia.”
Groo: “My. Groosalugg has two Cordys.”

There was an ad in this issue for both Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Dollhouse, like with Buffy’s “Swell”.

Angel (re Fred/Wesley): “I miss them. Every day, I miss them. Every time I think of them, I hope for the same thing. Let them be together. Wherever they are, they’ve earned it. They deserve it.”

Spike (re KR’PH): “Jell-O’s got a point, George. The proper advertising and you could be next year’s number one Christmas boutique item.”
Betta George: “Hilarious. Maybe a little respect is in order. This handsome fish did save Los Angeles or does someone not remember when I brought down Ill-”

The LA public library had a dedication to Wesley and Fred by naming a wing after them. Aw.

Spike (to Angel): “Beside you have other fish to fry.”
Betta George: “Racist. So racist.”

Betta George: “You just thanked each other in your head!. Simultaneously!”
Spike: “Hey, what? Whatever.”
Angel: “The fish is thinking all crazy.”
Betta George: “Boys. Boys. Boys. Baby steps, I guess.”

There was another ad for the Spike: After The Fall four parter and Doctor Who’s “The Whispering Gallery”. I only mention ads that pique my interest.

Illyria (re Gunn): “He was important to her. He was important to everyone around her. Though if he ever awakes, I may challenge him to armed combat for striking me down in hell. At which point, he will surely fall. Until then, you let him rest and rebuild his strength. Heed my words. The last Lord who ventured into Silverlake did not.”

Angel (to himself): “My name is Angel. I’ve done very bad things. I’ve been told I’m destined to do worse. But for now … I’m here to help.”

The next issue, the start of the six parter, “Aftermath” is available on February 25th.

Seventeen issues of a largely frustrating and drawn out arc, “After The Fall Part 17” serves as a fairly satisfying coda to the series. I’m not entirely if it’s a huge set up for “Aftermath” however given that very little has actually been disclosed but it’s still pretty enjoyable no less.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Review of Buffy The Vampire Slayer's 8x22: "Swell"

Written by Steven S. DeKnight
Directed by Georges Jeanty

Kennedy (re dynamite): “Sure that’s enough?”
Satsu: “If not, we’ll try Plan B.”
Kennedy: “What’s Plan B?”
Swell: “Same as “A”. You die.”

With all later comics taking a pairing dynamic, the second part of this vampires are martyrs arc continues to deliver on the severity of such a public revelation. If things keep getting so popular, Harmony might have to do a crossover with The Hills, MTV’s other soulless big hitter.

This issue nicely takes us back to Tokyo where there’s a busload of casualties and you don’t need to speak Japanese to realise that some poor sod is screaming big monster. However for those confused, Satsu is happy to play translator when she isn’t bemoaning fellow slayer’s Ayumi’s inability to duck.

In Ayumi’s defence, it’s a little hard to duck when the demon wanting to make mincemeat out of you happens to possess four arms that they have no problem in using. In fact the demon in question doesn’t pause long enough to continue it’s attack.

Satsu might have been reasonably lucky in managing to slice off one the demon’s arms but even her ducking skills aren’t that potent today. Luckily for her, the arrival of Kennedy means the demon’s knocked out temporarily. Well, luck might be stretching it just a bit.

I find it amazing that in the space of twenty two issues it’s only now that Kennedy and Satsu are actually interacting. Ever since Buffy and Satsu were caught sleeping with each other in “Wolves At The Gate Part 1”, both Willow and Kennedy have voiced more than enough opinions on Buffy’s sexuality.

Kennedy even admitted back in “Time Of Your Life Part 1” that she thought Buffy was a homophobe and even expressed some jealousy over Buffy and Willow’s friendship. Although Satsu may or may not have been aware of this, she’s certainly not that pleased to see Kennedy.

Also much as I like Satsu, Kennedy raises a good point. When it comes to bratty behaviour, Kennedy really is an expert and Satsu does herself no favours by immediately going on the defensive. That being said, she does have every right to be suspicious as to why Kennedy wants to do her evaluation.

It also doesn’t take Kennedy long to start immediately spouting off about Satsu’s tryst with Buffy. In fact Kennedy goes a little overboard in stating to Satsu that Buffy is straight in spite of recent events. In a way, Kennedy’s probably saying what a lot of readers said when they read “Wolves At The Gate Part 1” but she does come across as unnecessarily pushing about it.

There’s no denying that Buffy is indeed a heterosexual woman (unless there’s something that Joss Whedon wants to tell us later) but I don’t really see what business it is of Kennedy’s either. While it’s clear that time apart hasn’t diminished Satsu’s feelings for Buffy, I think Satsu is more than aware that Buffy isn’t going to come out.

More importantly when Kennedy isn’t taking it upon herself to dispense love advice, her and Satsu do undercover a bag from the now three armed demon. A million different things could’ve been in that bag but Vampy Cats were probably not the thing I would’ve guessed.

Harmony’s increased popularity has now seen merchandising with these little critters and Satsu’s disgust is understandable. There is nothing cute about the spiel Harmony’s been spinning the general public about vampires and this nasty little product is further evidence.

When we’re not seeing three armed Gunyarr-San getting killed by a giant Vampy Cat, one of the furry little buggers decides to slope around and claim itself a victim. Who better a victim to claim than Satsu of course, given how much she knows about Buffy and company?

You could tell that Satsu was first possessed with the huge smile. The Geisha ensemble was then a vital second clue. The main event was having Satsu go into graphic detail about her history. I wish I could say it was shocking that Satsu’s parents weren’t accepting of her sexuality but unfortunately, it’s something that I could’ve telegraphed.

However the biggest crunch is when Satsu started going on about making babies and citing slayers are aggressive. Plus she gave Kennedy one hell of a backhand before Kennedy managed to get the Vampy Cat out of Satsu’s stomach by making her sick.

So aside from hating slayers, Vampy Cats are also sexist homophobes. In other words, these are definitely one little batch of critters that should not be on sale any time. Needless to say while Satsu manages to stop the same Vampy Cat from possessing Kennedy, she’s also rather horrified by what’s she wearing. Clearly that furisode was one item that Satsu wasn’t planning on wearing any time soon.

It’s also not great that when she learned what else the Vampy Cat made her do, she gets a bigger desire to hit something a lot. In fact, Satsu is quite aggressive in this area but she’s gracious enough to thank Kennedy for saving her butt as well.

The worst news comes however when another slayer realises that 500,000 worth of Vampy Cats are heading to Scotland. Gee, I wonder who could’ve possibly made that particular order. It also neatly explained why the Vampy Cat possessed Satsu for a brief time.

Because of this, Satsu and Kennedy decide to take matters into their own hands and when you’ve got dynamite at your disposal, there’s a certain amount of damage that can also happen as well.

The problem is that the Vampy Cats themselves are also quick on the attack. They spot Kennedy and Satsu instantly and begin attacking with expert ease. As another reviewer recently pointed out, there’s also a rather disturbing rape metaphor with the way the Vampy Cats try to force themselves inside Kennedy.

Given that Steven S. DeKnight gave us a literal and disturbing rape scene in “Seeing Red”, this is still quite uncomfortable to read. In fact these creatures really are fuelled with a hatred that even usurps certain Big Bads we’ve had in the series. The “Swell” part of this comic then comes into play with a big giant Vampy Cat.

A little scarier (but still sort of silly) than it’s smaller creations, it’s not much of a shock that Twilight is then revealed to be behind the Vampy Cats heading for Scotland. Satsu herself is pretty unfazed by the reveal as well.

It makes sense that Twilight would find some way of capitalizing on Harmony’s outing of vampires. For all we know, she could be another member of his beleaguered gang that consists of the government, Amy, Warren and Riley. The Swell themselves are also more than happy to continue spouting anti-Slayer stuff.

However one of the better parts of this issue was Satsu’s solution for defeating the Swell. It’s always handy to have a submarine at the ready and the Swell gets defeated nicely by Satsu’s acquisition of a submarine. Kennedy wasn’t the only smiling with glee in that moment.

The last two pages briefly give us some Buffy and Xander action. You’ve got Harmony on a talk show lamenting about the dangers of slayers and Satsu wondering why Harmony hasn’t been killed off yet.

Buffy’s reasons for keeping Harmony alive are believable. Killing Harmony turns her into a bigger villain and thanks to them not stopping Harmony earlier on; all slayers are public enemies for the time being. More interesting is that Buffy tells Satsu that they need to concentrate on being more human than less.

Satsu reacted to this by ditching her cinnamon lip gloss in probably a further attempt to get Buffy out of her system. Kennedy did start this issue by telling Satsu to move on from Buffy so she should be at least satisfied that Satsu took heed of her. As for me, I’m hoping that this isn’t the last we see of the girl.

Also in “Swell”

The cover I got was the one with Kennedy and Satsu all sword play outside the latter’s base of operation.

Slayer: “What’s your plan?”
Satsu: “Blood. Screaming. The usual.”

I noticed that the cover of these comics are now saying Executive Producer Joss Whedon.

Kennedy: “Satsu, you were promoted to cell leader like two minutes ago. Standard op to run a performance review. Especially since your report on the Korean incident was beyond vague.”
Satsu: “If Buffy wants to review my ass she can do it herself. Won’t be the first time.”

Satsu (re Buffy): “It wasn’t just wrinkles. It was true love.”
Kennedy: “Yeah, yeah. Everybody knows the story. Your kiss brought Buffy out of a mystical coma. But Sleeping Beauty wasn’t gay and neither is Buffy. Despite recently taking a skinny dip in that pool.”

Anyone notice the “Grrr! Argh!” with the Vampy Cats?

Kennedy (to Satsu, re Buffy): “You had a thing, I get it! Time to towel off and face the hetero. You’re gay, Buffy’s not. My advice? Lose the cinnamon lippy gloss you laid on her and try kissing someone who can give you their heart. Not just their body.”

Satsu: “Vampires aren’t cute and fluffy! And a kitty cat? Come on!”
Kennedy: “Since that idiot Harmony’s reality show took off, everybody’s obsessed with fangs and lumpy foreheads. Public’s swallowing their undead bull by the handful.”

Kennedy seems to wear a lot of blues and greens in these comic books. I’ve been re-reading the other ones she’s appeared in.

Slayer: “Ducking is just as important as the hitting, Ayumi. More. Duck, don’t get hit.”
Ayumi: “That thing had four arms. I ducked the first three.”

Kennedy: “I don’t know what the Geisha’s gotten into you but maybe we oughta mosey down to your resident witch and-”
Satsu (possessed): “Take your stinking paws off me, you dirty damn slayer.”

Kennedy made something of an issue about Satsu’s beds and coffee before spotting the girl in her furisode.

Satsu: “Oh God, my stomach.”
Kennedy: “Maybe you should have stayed behind.”
Satsu (re Vampy Cat): “Screw that. Whole bottle of mouthwash and I can still taste that furry little bastard. I want to hit something. A lot.”

Swell: “We are the Swell! We are legion! The slayer blight will be cleansed in a sea of blood. Twilight commands it! Hail Twilight!”
Kennedy: “Twilight?”
Satsu: “Figures a bunch of stuffed assholes would be working for that tool.”

We got an ad for both Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Dollhouse, the latter starting at long last on Friday February 13th, 9pm on FOX.

Kennedy: “You have a freaking sub?”
Satsu: “Bunch of vamps took it from the Koreans. I took it back.”
Kennedy: “You could have mentioned that in your report.”
Satsu: “Was gonna. After I got done playing with it.”
Kennedy: “Your eval’s so getting a smiley face.”

Buffy (to Satsu): “We need to stop being whatever we’ve been and focus on being more than human or the less-than is gonna win. Keep the sub handy. I think we’re gonna need it.”
Kennedy: “Not the hey-guess-what?-you-turned-me-gay speech you were probably hoping for, huh?”

Harmony’s outing of vampires has spilled over to the “After The Fall” comics on Angel to interesting effect.

Satsu: “Let’s go shopping.”
Kennedy: “Shopping?”
Satsu: “Buffy’s right. The world’s coming apart. It’s time to stop being who we were and get a new flavour.”

The next issue, “Predators And Prey” comes out on March 4th.

Although I’m more into this arc than the previous one, “Swell” loses points for way too much emphasis on ovaries and sexuality speak. Steven S. DeKnight is a good writer but there were times in this issue where I felt he should’ve dialled it down a little.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Monday, February 09, 2009

My Review of Angel's 6x16: "After The Fall Part 16"

Written by Brian Lynch
Artwork by Franco Urru

Stranger (to Angel): “I saw you in action, back … a while ago. I was a slave. For Burge, he’s the one with the lobster claws. Anyway Burge made us go to the battle with the dinosaur and the exploding and what have you. You, uh, you freed me. Heh, you freed everyone.”

As hell gets further and further suckier with each passing issue, a ray of light is finally offered as “After The Fall” limps to a conclusion. Last issue we saw Angel faced with the death of Connor so needless to say that his mood has been somewhat tempered because of it.

Connor’s death has Angel suffer yet more grief and even Gunn, the very creature responsible for Connor’s demise is telling everyone to let Angel. Wesley tries to get Angel back on track but Spike stops him in his tracks. As a reader, I’m personally looking for Angel to get his own back.

He certainly entertains the idea of ending everyone in sight. Wolfram and Hart through a dragon are content with taunting Angel on a ridiculous level. They even up their cruelty in joking about sprucing Connor’s body up.

Angel’s reaction to shove a sword through the bloody thing’s throat. His desire for a bloodbath is certainly there and once again, you’ve got Wesley wanting to stop him and Spike insisting that Angel should be allowed to work through his grief. I’m actually undecided as to which one of them has the more valid point.

The one thing that is still being rammed at us is that Wolfram and Hart are able to kill Angel. Wesley gets that out of their army of minion and because of all the crazy shit that’s been happening here, they’re willing to reach into Angel’s timeline and put him in a place where he isn’t in as bad a predicament.

Wesley does wonder about the slayers but Angel thinks more of Gunn and there’s a realisation that once everything is reverted that Wesley will no longer cease to exist. Seeing as this whole arc hasn’t done much for him, that might not be a bad thing but it lacks dramatically as a send off to the character.

There is some fun teasing from Spike about the closeness of Angel and Wesley. If you’re a slash bunny you might have gotten a wicked laugh from it but Spike is put to better use by helping keep the army back while Angel and Gunn square for another confrontation.

Even despite all of the evidence that he’s been seriously played, Gunn still believes that there’s a part of him that was right all along. He’s also still willing to lay the blame solely on Angel but this time around, it’s Angel who continues to gain the upper hand in all of this.

Also against the orders of an evil law firm, Angel is still determined to get his point across with Gunn. Wolfram and Hart still threaten Angel but even they can’t be dumb enough to realise that Angel seems done with falling in line. As for Gunn, he certainly gets the crap kicked out of him before he gets to effectively kill Angel all over again.

As plans go, it’s a good one from Angel – get Gunn to end his own timeline so Wolfram and Hart have no choice but to return him to his natural time and it’s one that Spike also realises as quickly, prior to saying goodbye to Wesley. Still there’s a nice moment between them in regards to Fred and Illyria.

As for being returned to the last few minutes of “Not Fade Away”, I know that Retconning isn’t well looked upon but I’m happy with the idea no less. With all of the knowledge of the hell they’ve endured, Angel, Spike and Illyria make an effort to stay on top of things.

The first big thing then for Angel is save Gunn from being turned into a vampire because God knows how crap that development was. Having Spike and Illyria doing battle with all the other demons certainly made things easier for Angel. Heck, even Illyria is keen to see Gunn survive.

Two interesting things do happen towards the last four pages of this issue. The first one being the disappearance of Wolfram And Hart. The evil law firm’s building is no more and it’ll be interesting to discover how or why this has come to be. Surely, they’ll have to resurface to create more anguish for the Angel team.

The other interesting bit is that the Angel and Buffy verses collide. Because of Harmony publicly outing vampires, Angel is now seen in a much positive light and the people in the hospital and the street recognise him.

Angel’s reaction upon knowing that the public are privy of supernatural creatures is brilliant. He’s got every right to be worried but his worry is also sidelined for the fact that him and Connor have a brilliant reunion scene. That is easily the best thing about this issue.

Also in “After The Fall Part 16”

The cover had shards of glass with various characters and images from the previous issue.

Angel (re Wolfram and Hart): “Killing them won’t bring my son back. Won’t make Gunn whole. Won’t help Illyria. It won’t save Los Angeles. But I want a bloodbath. I want them to suffer.”

I’m pretty sure there’s another brief cameo from Nina somewhere in this comic or maybe it was just one of the random slayers.

Wesley: “Being your friend and fighting by your side has been an honour. Now go.”
Angel: “Thank you, rogue demon hunter.”

Spike: “What’s that all about? If he wasn’t see through, you would’ve kissed, wouldn’t you? I got that vibe.”
Angel: “Spike, I’m gonna need you to keep the army back.”
Spike: “Why?”
Angel: “Can’t say out loud. You’re going to have to trust me.”

We got more raining of fire in this comic as if we didn’t need any more reminders that we’re in hell folks.

Gunn: “I’m not going to do it, Angel. There’s a reason it’s all about you. You’re cause and effect all rolled up into one.”

Angel (to himself): “It took the death of my son to get us to this point. I love Connor. I love my friends and I love this city. I’d die a thousand deaths to save any of them but I think I’m only going to have die once.”

There were some nice ads for both Terminator: Salvation and Star Trek comics in this issue.

Illyria: “Do you need transportation? I could strong arm the dragon into doing my bidding.”
Spike: “I think he’ll do it on his own accord.”

Illyria: “Buildings do not just disappear as if they have never existed.”
Spike: “Right because that would be the weirdest thing we’ve seen all month. Or in the last couple of hours or at this very moment.”

There’s a good interview with Brian Lynch on this arc and one with Kelly Armstrong on the upcoming “Aftermath” series.

Connor (to Angel): “Nah, it’s fine. You just moved on up. From urban legend to just plain legend.”

February 2009 will see the release of both “After The Fall Part 17” and “Aftermath Part 1”.

As we edge towards the end of this arc, I find myself a tad exhausted with it. “After The Fall Part 16” was certainly better than the previous two issues but I’m still a touch disappointed. Maybe “Aftermath” will rock, I really hope it does.

Rating: 7 out of 10.