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.

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