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Issues 6, 7, and 8 take a break in the on-going "Season 6" to tell us the part of the story we have yet to see, except in Angel's case--how the gang got from that alley at the end of NFA to the present.

Angel: After the Fall, issue #6

Issue 6 begins with Spike's tale. Spike is in the midst of the fight when suddenly, he realizes he no longer sees Gunn around him. Then he realizes L.A. isn't in California anymore. And he isn't in an alley--he's been teleported to the roof of a building just like Angel was. He heads down to the street and finds Fred curled in a ball there. Is Illyria gone? he wonders; is Fred back? Spike decides to get Fred and himself to safety, and they head off. After a moment, they come upon a demon attacking some people. Spike steps in to fight the demon off, and suddenly, Fred morphs back into Illyria to join in.

Spike realizes an unstable Illyria needs his help as much as a mortal Fred might.

The next story is Connor's. The last time we saw Connor, he was leaving the Wolfram and Hart building as his father headed off to battle. Connor looks back to see a dragon in the sky hovering over where his father has gone. He turns around to head back and help. Suddenly, he finds himself transported from uptown L.A. to the city of Compton.

At this point, Brian Lynch shows Connor getting "his entire memory" back. Lynch had made clear a few panels back that Connor already remembered "his three dads" (Holtz, Angel, and Lawrence Reilly), but suddenly, he is shown remembering that he slept with Cordelia and other details. This threw me out of the story, because my understanding of "Origin" was that Connor got his entire memory back. Those old memories were just mixed in with the new memories, and so therefore easier to keep "pushed down," as Wesley explained. Also a line in "Not Fade Away" made it clear, I thought, that Connor remembered sleeping with Cordelia back then as well--his description of his actual past as, "A very strange and violent, and, at times, inappropriately erotic dream."

This isn't the only place that Lynch seems canon-challenged, and though even the show writers contradicted themselves from time to time for story convenience or lack of a good memory, every contradiction in the comic books makes it that much more difficult for me to think of them as canonical, Joss Whedon or no.

One thing that was clear, the Orlon Window only effected the people closest to it--Connor, Wesley, and Fred/Illyria. Connor was safe, post-Origin, because no one else remembered him. But Hell, for Connor, is not just demons to fight, it's the reversal of the memory wipe for everyone, including Angel's old demon enemies. Connor comes upon an army of demons, and some of them recognize him. They grab him.

Lorne's story is next. The moment Lorne finds himself in HelL.A., he tries to head for safety in a cab. The cab is attacked in the L.A. neighborhood of Silver Lake. Lorne wanders the streets there and witnesses citizens fighting back against the demon hordes. Lorne joins in the fight in his own operatic way. Then a local sorceress does a spell that isolates the neighborhood from the rest of HelL.A. They are still in "hell" in the sense that they cannot escape Los Angeles county, but they are safe from demon attack, at least for now.

Magicks also allow Lorne to keep an eye on his friends still out in the fray.

Angel: After the Fall, issue #7

Issue 7 continues the "First Night" stories with Wesley. Wesley, of course, died in Not Fade Away. But as we know, death is not the end for those under contract with Wolfram and Hart. At first, though, Wesley is simply with Fred and everything is as it should be. Like a dream, he doesn't seem to be aware that this can't be real. At first. Then he realizes this is too good to be true.

He is being duped. "Fred" tells him he's still under contract. The Senior Partners expect Wesley to return to Angel's side and report back to them about everything that happens, and do whatever else they tell him to do. He will do this because there is a remote possibility that they can reunite him with Fred, who, after all, is also someone who "died" while an employee of Wolfram and Hart.

In a voice-over, we hear the denizens of Wolfram and Hart say that their hold on Wesley is the key to "winning." Winning what isn't clear.

The story jumps next, and quite unexpectedly, to Kate. One thing I have learned about Lynch--he writes about any damned Angelverse characters he choses, and so far, other than a floating, intelligent fish, I don't have any issue with his choices, because his and mine overlap quite a bit.

Case in point: Kate shows up just in the nick to save a young man from demons, and that young man is Connor, right where we left him in issue #6. Kate has no idea this is Angel's son, and Connor doesn't know the wise man Kate quotes is Angel. Kate has become a demon-hunter, living by the motto, "In the grand scheme of things, if nothing we do matters, than all that matters is what we do." She also lives in a room filled with weapons.

Connor takes a couple of those weapons for himself and heads out into the streets.

Interspersed in all these "First Night" flashbacks is a vignette in the present day with the aforementioned giant floating fish, Betta George. He was kidnapped by Gunn in issues 1 and 2, and now Gunn is out and about on the town. He has left George under guard by a Gunn-look-alike minion. George passes the time by mocking the minion, which isn't a smart thing to do. But just as the minion attacks him in a rage, the minion himself is attacked by a group of slayers who were on the wrong side of the county line when L.A. was sent to hell.

Angel: After the Fall, issue #8

Issue #8 is the final issue of the First Night trilogy. The issue begins with Gwen, who is enjoying(?) a date in Santa Monica on that fateful evening. This is no small thing, because Gwen, we recall, never touched a man--or indeed anyone--until she stole a special device that counteracted the electricity coursing through her body.

But like everyone else, once hell descends on L.A., Gwen's personal hell descends on her. She touches her date and he is barbequed. She is electro-Gwen again.

The story then jumps to a couple of ordinary civilians. This is a brief, and not entirely original, vignette about that nut who is always saying "the end is coming," and now turns out to be right. Big yucks. Right, then, moving on.

Finally, we get to Gunn. So far, all we've known is that Gunn disappeared mysteriously in the middle of the fight in the alley. Angel and Spike were transported away when all hell broke loose and unable to look for him.

Gunn wakes up in a bed, bandaged and disoriented. He recalls collapsing in the alley. He joined the fight in NFA already gravely injured from his attack on the demonic Senator Bruckner, but wanted to go down fighting. Angel stopped briefly to tell him to hang on, then returned to the battle. In that moment, vampires approached Gunn. They were looking for him specifically. They "save" him from his inevitable death by turning him into one of them.

These vampires talk about how important Gunn is to what is to come, and how turning him into a vampire is part of that plan. What this plan is, and whose plan it is isn't clear.

Gunn doesn't care about his sire's motives. He kills him.

As a result, we don't learn much about the vampire that turned Gunn, except that both he and Gunn act rather strangely for vampires. They are almost, but not entirely, benevolent. I am reminded of Lawson from Why We Fight, who while a deadly vampire, was also morally confused, a trait you don't often see in vampires due to the clarity of evil that is ordinarily born into them at the time they are changed.

All Gunn knows is Angel disappeared on him when he was dying and then this happened--his worst nightmare. He sees the hell around him and knows Angel's choices in Power Play and NFA helped bring it about.

So, like Lawson, ordinary bitterness has been turned toxic by Gunn's new vampire nature and has him bent on revenge. Angel has become the enemy.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 24th, 2010 10:41 am (UTC)
The date who gets incinerated by Gwen is almost certainly meant to be real-world Nathan Fillion.
Jan. 24th, 2010 04:57 pm (UTC)
Where'd that nugget come from?
Jan. 24th, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC)
She calls him Nate and it looks like Fillion as much as Urru's art looks like any real person. I think Lynch confirmed it in an interview.
Jan. 24th, 2010 05:20 pm (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )