"Angel (Season 11) #7" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Corinna Bechko
Illustrated by Ze Carlos
Colored by Michelle Madsen
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 19th, 2017
A pirate ship is in flames as Angel and Fred / Illyria battle a horde of zombies created by strange beetles. Meanwhile, Angelus and Darla are escaping in a lifeboat. Oh yeah, I forgot that Angel and Illyria have traveled back in time. All of this pales in comparison to the fact that the sun is about to rise, so Angel has some bigger problems to deal with.
Where Buffy's Season 11 has been tackling important issues and showing real growth and change, Angel's has been like a cartoon. It's a strange romp through time, more akin to Quantum Leap than supernatural action tinged with comedy. This issue continues the absurd trend, leaning into it instead of finding a balance. It paints Angel as a bumbling hero, relying more on Illyria's strength and Fred's smarts than his own capabilities.
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More importantly, the whole reason for this trip through time is because Angel is having visions of his past. Illyria takes him back through time because apparently that's something she can do. Instead of looking into these aspects of his history, the duo have been fighting a variety of monsters. This may look cool, but it lacks any real depth or importance.
This issue is saved by Ze Carlos' artwork. He has a clear, well-detailed style that captures the action well. Coupled with Michelle Madsen's colors, this creates an exciting battle aboard the pirate ship as flames billow all around the characters fighting for their lives. The light from the fire takes your eyes off of the impending sunrise until it's too late. All of a sudden you notice the oranges and purples in the sky as the darkness recedes. This is definitely a case of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.
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My only qualm with the artwork has to do with the designs for Angel and Illyria / Fred. They don't resemble the actors that played them in the show. Instead, they're more like close approximations. If you didn't know this was Angel, you couldn't necessarily tell that it was him. He looks more like a generic young action hero. This is easily forgivable with how well Carlos handles the art direction, pacing, and battle aboard the ship.
Angel Season 11 is a run-of-the-mill swashbuckling story, but lacks the signature wit and gravitas that we've come to expect from the Buffy universe. It doesn't live up to the name. You could change the names of the characters and it would be a generic story with pirates and zombies. I have to wonder where this is going and what ramifications – if any – it will have for Angel. Right now, it doesn't look like much and we're past the halfway mark.