“This is the end. My only friend, the end.“
Well at least it’s the end of the “After the Fall” series. Issue #17 ties up the loose ends of L.A.’s return to reality. A month has passed since Angel and his friends defied the odds and turned back time in order to save L.A. from hell on earth. So we see Angel managing with his new found celebrity, see a return (although only briefly) of Lorne and even the rivalry between Spike and Angel seems to have cooled down a bit. Of course this would not be an Angel story if we were not reminded of his apparent destiny (the one where he is supposed to bring upon the destruction of mankind) and see him deal with his guilt about what has transpired the last few weeks. Art wise nothing really changes in the series, which is at times a bit disappointing. I’m looking forward to the next few issues and hope they will provide a nice setup for a seventh season of the Angel storyline.
Looking back at season six I can honestly say, that I enjoyed the ride. At first I was a bit alienated by the extreme change the creative team made (what with throwing L.A. into hell), but the finale was worth it. The season also demonstrated, that nobody ever really disappears in Whedon’s universes as we saw a return of many “dead” characters. The only negative point I can really make (and this goes for Buffy as well) is that the dialog sometimes is too screenplay like. It is often hard to follow as the necessary facial impressions are missing to convey additional meaning. All in all it was an enjoyable read and I will definetly read the issues again, if I ever watch the show all through again (just to see how it reads in close proximity to the series).
Remember that Angel continues with the “Aftermath” series, which will be out on February 25th.
Story 7, Art 6, Re-read 6, Overall Rating 6.5
Here we are again, issue 22 has just been released and I took a quick look for you. Last month we saw a return of Buffy’s long time adversary Harmony (although she is more of a wannabe bad gal) and if you remember I was not at all pleased with the result. Issue 22 attempts to continue the main storyline, but we are still in filler territory.
Story wise, Satsu is visited in Japan by Willow’s ex Kennedy, who is supposed to evaluate Satsu’s performance as a new slayer cell leader. The Japanese slayer is still stricken by her short love affair with Buffy and Kennedy makes it abundantly clear, that she should forget about the vampire killer from Sunnydale. In other words, the writers seem to want to prevent the assumption that Buffy might have turned gay with a big neon NO! sign. Kennedy’s visit to the Asian country is however not without incident, as they are attacked by a small fury kitty doll (yes I know how it sounds), which turns out to be a part of a swarm like creature called Swell, which attempts to infest the human hosts it comes in contact with and in order to control them. The slayers are of course not overwhelmed by this threat and they manage to prevent a major outbreak. Harmony once again uses the destruction of the doll shipment to criminalize the slayer movement in the media.
So the issue has it all: Japan, a giant monster constituted of several minor cute kitty dolls (reminiscent of the Power Rangers type creatures), slayers kicking ass and the mention of lesbianism. Oh, and there’s a submarine too. Still the story was not much more satisfying than last months and I still think the latest issues took the funny premise of the show into a silly direction. Please return to the previous setting before you alienate more of the readers.
Story 6, Art 7, Re-read 5, Overall Rating 6
For me, the most anticipated TV show of the year is Whedon’s Dollhouse, starring Eliza Dushku. She will play a woman named Echo, who through some scientific process can have her personality erased and changed. This will probably make an interesting and confusing premise for a show and hopefully Joss will finally get a new show past the first season marker.
According to Whedon, this is far and away the darkest premise he’s ever attempted. Some of the elements of the show and situations Echo will find herself in – such as sleeping with certain men and not remembering anything – he expects to raise controversy.
Dollhouse is something that is so tricky that I expect some backlash, some disappointment. I’m scared witless by how some people will react to this, but I’ve found that when I’m scared I do my best work’ Whedon said.
I hope this time he will be right.
The second last issue of the “After the Fall” story arc is nothing short of exceptional. When Angel’s son was killed by Gunn in issue #15 it was clear that the former vampire would probably not react in a really sane way. But what Brian Lynch came up with in order to solve the “hellish” situation of L.A. really surprised me. Angel goes up against his former ally and at first it seems as if he was only out to avenge his son’s death. But it soon becomes obvious that it is an attempt to get the senior partners attention. Knowing that they cannot allow Angel to die, in order for him to fulfill their prophecy, he tries to provoke Gunn to kill him. When the vampire strikes down his former boss, the senior partners react by recreating the last reality in which Angel was unharmed, meaning the day of Armageddon. Since our heroes are prepared now, they know exactly what to do and they prevent the destruction of L.A. Everything seems fine, Gunn is still human, Connor is alive and even Illyria seems to get in touch with her human side, if it weren’t for the slight detail that everybody remembers what happened during the months of terror. Angel is no longer the hero standing in the shadows, but he has become legend.
When I started reading the sixth season of Angel, I was at first alienated by the fact they that had really thrown L.A. into hell. It was just a bit too over the top for my taste, as I had always liked the more down to earth approach of the series (compared to other fantasy shows). Still the story unfolded rather nicely and I have to say that this return to the old L.A. is exactly what I’ve been waiting for. Hopefully the last issue of “After the Fall” will be as good. After that, the title will change into “Aftermath” which will show us how the different characters are dealing with the changes made in #16 and #17. Can’t wait to see how the next issue will tie up this first storyline!
Story 10, Art 8, Re-read 8, Overall Rating 9
Batman – Arkham Asylum for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360
This game is hopefully going to be the first really good Batman game. The video at least promises us a lot of interesting gameplay. By the way, here is the proof that also the Batman likes to dabble in his free time.