Saturday, February 28, 2009

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 café 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.

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