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Angel: After the Fall, issue #1

As a rule, I don't do "reviews" of things, as other people's opinions of stuff often prove irrelevant to me, so why shouldn't mine prove just as irrelevant to them? So this is just my attempt to recap the first issue of this Angel Season 6 Joss-plotted comic in an attempt to find out if I have the basic story right. Feel free to chime in with additions, corrections, opinions, etc, if you've got 'em.

Please note I have only read up to Issue #5 so far, so no spoilers past those issues.

If I get truly, truly insane motivated, I might edit these into my patented stereo instructions format (TM) and post them on good ol' ATPo.

Also, thanks to shadowkat67 for sending me her comic books. I feel like an actual for-real geek now, reading them.

ETA: spoilers for recent events in the Buffy Season 8 comics in the comments.

Issue #1 begins with a short recap of how season 5 ended--Fred's death woke Angel up to the reality of his situation vis-a-vis Wolfram and Hart. He took a stand against them, and Angel, Spike, Illyria, and Gunn faced down the armies of the Senior Partners in the alley.

Two minutes into the fight, the dragon Angel was determined to kill switched sides and joined Angel, and they began to get the upper hand. Then, suddenly, the Partners plunged the entirety of the L.A. area into hell (I'm thinking the whole of L.A. county, based on what cities they still have access to).

Angel now lives in this hellish L.A., where he is still beholden to Wolfram and Hart in some way that isn't entirely clear. He has to "follow their rules," or face dire consequences even he's not entirely sure about. Nevertheless, he spends his time searching the streets of L.A. for human survivors and funneling them off to a safe area in Santa Monica. Once L.A. was sent to hell, demons of various kinds were able to enter the city. They prey on the humans in various ways. Angel feels responsible for all of them because, well, he remains our guilt-ridden Angel, and the hellish circumstances these people have found themselves in are a consequence of his own actions, even if they aren't the consequences he intended.

The L.A. area is now divided up into "fiefdoms" of sorts, with different demon lords controlling the various cities and neighborhoods. We catch up with Angel after he has a run-in with the demon lord of downtown L.A., Burge, and his demon son. The demons who control the L.A. area have been told by the Senior Partners that they can't kill Angel, which frustrates them, because of course he is always messing up their plans with the humans they prey on. Angel's home-base is the Wolfram and Hart building, again, I believe because the Senior Partners require that of him. Angel returns there after this fight and encounters a spectral Wesley. Wesley died while in the employ of Wolfram and Hart, and so is still under contract with them, much like Lilah and Holland were. Except he is much less corporeal than they were after death.

Ghost!Wesley is a bit of a mystery because he is obviously on Angel's side, wanting Angel to do good and help people, but he is also still beholden to the Senior Partners himself, and so Angel is never sure if anything Wesley says has been coerced by the Partners somehow.

Angel is told by Burge to stay inside the Wolfram and Hart building, or Burge might be tempted to kill him anyway.

The scene shifts to the humans Angel saved earlier in the issue, arriving at the "safe house" in Santa Monica. They enter and are given a brief "test" to ensure they are human, which includes a sniff-down by Nina. Apparently, in hell, the sun and the moon are both out all the time, which puts werewolves into a state where they never change into wolf-form, but have heightened wolf-senses and instincts in human form. As a result, Nina can sense their heartbeats and other indications they are human.

When I was reading this issue earlier, that is as far as I got and I bookmarked it for later. Then, yesterday, I re-read the entire issue from the beginning, and realized if I'd just turned the page...


I would see my boy.

After the Fall Connor is rather different than my own post-NFA The Destroyer Connor. My Connor was an extrapolation of Season 5 Connor, who seemed intent on having a normal life. My goal in that fic was to help him find his inner Champion in the ordinary world, with its temptations of normalcy. So at first, I was a little skeptical of this Connor, who seems to be embracing a hero role without taking issue with it. Then I realized that if my Connor had been suddenly thrust into hell, he'd probably act much the same way as this Connor. After all, he spent the first 16-17 years of his life in hell, and his instincts are honed for it. After the Fall Connor considers the people he saves to be his "family," which is entirely in character. His heroism is centered on personal emotional connections. It was always about protecting his family (Holtz, then the Reillys, and later Angel), so inversely, if he were to save strangers and then house them, he'd start to think of them as family.

The scene switches to Angel getting a wound cured by some kind of weird bug-thing, a point that will have significance later. Angel is in a dilemma because any move he makes against the demon status quo will only create a power vacuum for potentially worse demons to step into. Angel wants to "save L.A.," but he might, in the process, only make things worse. Not only that, but anything he does might piss off the Partners and cause them to make things worse.

The scene switches to the court of the Lord of Westwood, who is entertaining himself by forcing humans to fight each other gladiator-style. He also has a telepathic fish as a pet, which I guess is a character from an earlier non-canonical Angel comic which got adopted into this comic (I think it's a very lame character, but that's me). The arena he holds court in is suddenly attacked by what turns out to be a posse lead by Gunn. "Team Gunn" slaughter the demon and his demon henchmen and steal a glowing stone (the Eye of Ramras) from him.

Back at the ex-L.A. headquarters of Wolfram and Hart, Angel sees Burge's son out on the street, attacking some humans. He protects the humans without leaving the building, and ends up killing Burge's son. As far as Burge is concerned, this means Angel has declared war on his little fiefdom.

Back in Westwood, we see the human slaves of the dead lord of Westwood, now slaughtered as well--their throats torn open. And we see that Gunn has become a vampire.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 19th, 2010 03:35 am (UTC)
So probably not worth spending pixels on over at ATPo, but I do want to continue typing up summaries, as that's the only way I can make heads or tails of what is going on, by writing it all down until it makes sense.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 19th, 2010 03:54 am (UTC)
Plus, if I did the Angel comics, I'd have to do the Buffy comics, and it would be a LOT of work. I'm not looking for another job in fandom.
Jan. 19th, 2010 04:21 am (UTC)
Once you get through the After the Fall series, one other series I would strongly recommend is the 5-issue "Angel - Almost Human". Just concluded, this follows Gunn and Illyria on a sort of road trip, with good writing and excellent characterizations of both.

Have you read any of the Buffy S8 comics? I seem to remember way back when you were going to wait for the trades to come out first.
Jan. 19th, 2010 10:02 am (UTC)
I would also recommend to Masq that she not bother with the Kelley Armstrong storyline that followed the end of After the Fall, as both the Kate characterisation and the moral philosophy would outrage her.
Jan. 19th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
I plan to end at whatever point Joss's name isn't on the comics anymore. Comics are fanboy fanfic, pretty much, and I'm not a fan fic person, except for writing it a bit.
Jan. 19th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)
The more I hear about the Buffy season 8 story lines, the less interesting they seem to me. I've just drifted away from any interest in them.

And now with fandom politics up in arms over what is canon and what is not, I'm sort of leary about even getting started.

Maybe, someday, when no one cares anymore, and I can read them for fun.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 19th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
Is this Joss writing Angel?
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 19th, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC)
I am interested (vaguely), since I don't plan to read them.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 19th, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC)
Re: SPOILERS For Buffy Comics!
The more I hear about this, the less interesting it gets. And this is only the latest of the stuff I've heard that makes me go WTF? Even if this turns out to be a mis-lead, the previous stuff I heard that is actually milder by comparison is all just not interesting to me.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 19th, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC)
Re: SPOILERS For Buffy Comics!
See, it's those ridiculous love triangles that bother me more than "Angel is the alleged bad guy." I guess because they're harder to argue with.
Jan. 19th, 2010 04:08 am (UTC)
The fish character is pretty cool once he gets a chance to appear more often, at least IMO. Be interested for your eventual take.

BTW, bugs healing wounds sound familiar to you at all?
Jan. 19th, 2010 04:08 pm (UTC)
I think the fish character, like the dragon character, are commonplace types of characters in the comics genre, and so people who regularly read comics don't really bat an eye at them. But comics newbies like myself are what kind of "huh?" They're too difficult to create in the TV genre, so we don't see them there, so we are jarred by them. They seem...out of place, even in a story that has mystical creatures of various sorts. We might overlook a character like that if it appeared once on "Angel", but if it kept appearing, we'd start to grumble.

I don't bat an eye at dragons or giant floaty fish in Harry Potter, but they are established parts of that world. They are not established parts of the Angel world, so they just bug me.

BTW, bugs healing wounds sound familiar to you at all?

Yeah, but only in a "Great minds think alike, *shrug*" kind of way.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )