"Angel (Season 11) #3" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Corinna Bechko
Illustrated by Geraldo Borges
Colored by Michelle Madsen
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on March 15th, 2017
After a journey through time goes awry, Angel and Fred / Illyria find themselves in an ancient time dealing with a tentacled version of Illyria from the past as it takes on another ancient god. The pair struggle to find a way to stop the sacrifice of all the local tribes to this battle while staying alive in the process, which is easier said than done.
One of the benefits of comics is that there is no special effects budget. Anything you can think of can be created on the page. This is not the case for television or film. I can understand how it would feel great to let loose and include the biggest, craziest monsters imaginable. There are definitely places for those. I'm not certain that they belong in Angel. At the end of the day, he's a vampire. Having a soul does not give him any special abilities outside of a great brooding face. He's entirely out of his league when it comes to these Lovecraftian creatures that would give Godzilla a run for his money. They feel out of place in this story, which is unfortunate as they're the center of it.
|Click images to enlarge|
Although they don't necessarily fit the mold of the typical Buffyverse Big Bad, the monsters are impressively designed by artist Geraldo Borges. Ancient Illyria is this giant octopus-like creature with huge tentacles darting out in every direction beneath a domed torso. Michelle Madsen's colors on the beast match up to Illyria's in the present with a blend of red and purple. My favorite part is the menacing mouth gaping wide out of the darkness in the center.
This season of Angel was pitched with the title character dealing with his past by literally confronting it head on. Instead, we got this wacky adventure in the Stone Age with Illyria, who is not strong enough to carry a story on her own. Yes, physically, she is, but as a character, there's not much more to her than a few awkward lines and incredible power. This brings down the entire arc to date, as it's tough to relate to Illyria on any real level. Sure, Fred pops up every now and then, but offers little to compensate in this manner.
|Click images to enlarge|
While the monsters are great to look at, the human characters leave something to be desired. They don't look much like the actors that played them in the TV show. They're also often shown in awkward, unnatural positions. Anatomy looks a little off with limbs appearing too long or at a strange angle.
Since Dark Horse began running two series with every season of Buffy, there's usually been one good and one lackluster book every season. It flip flops between the two. This time around, Angel is on the low end with a story that, while full of action, doesn't accomplish much in the way of character development or interest.