As I said earlier this week, I was a big fan of Buffy. For whatever reason — most likely scheduling conflicts or a bit of a weak first season — that did not carry over to Angel. I loved the character’s twists and turns on Buffy and the intensely insane relationship with her, but I just never got into his solo show. Looking in from the outside, it seemed like the show moved so fast and added so much mythology and so many characters that it was difficult to jump into an episode later on down the line. I did catch the finale, which is good because that’s right where Angel: After The Fall picks up.
When I was at Wizard, I was the IDW contact (and actually am again these days for CBR), so I interviewed writer Brian Lynch a few times about his Spike and Angel comics for the company. He worked with Joss Whedon to figure out the beats and then got to work writing the comic along with artists like Franco Urru, Stephen Mooney and others to bring this story together about what happened after the evil Wolfram & Hart corporation sent LA to hell.
Even though I wasn’t overly familiar with all of the characters in this book, I felt like enough information was given in the context of the stories to catch me up. It helps that the show’s status quo is completely upended in the first issue which takes place two months after everyone goes to hell. The gang is spread out all over LA, Angel’s a human, Gunn’s a vampire and Wesley’s a ghost. After the first arc we learn how everyone got where they are just as Angel battles all the other lords of Hell for control. With that major hurdle out of the way, Angel and his pals have to figure out how to get everyone living (and un-living) out of Hell and back to the Earth, which might bring about an ancient prophecy regarding our beloved vampire with a soul.
I will admit, I didn’t get all of the details of exactly what was going on, how or why in my first read through. I’m not sure if I was rushing through the book, just missed the beats or what, but it took me longer than expected to catch on to some of the time-related explanations for the whole hell thing. The art was also a little muddy and hard to follow at times, but you can see how everyone involved really evolved as the series continued.
I read just the first four volumes of this six volume series. I liked how volume four wrapped everything up and decided to just stop there for now. For me, a great licensed comic has to do two things: feel like it’s a cohesive part of the original material and make me want to return to the source. Angel: After The Fall did both of those for me (even though I didn’t have nearly as much experience with the original show). In fact, my lack of knowledge and my enjoyment of this comic continuation made me want to finally muscle through and watch the whole show, which I think/hope is still on Netflix. I’m also looking forward to jumping into the Buffy Season 9 books from Dark Horse which will get a post in the not-too-distant future.