Puppet-Angel and his friends are not amused. TRUTH.
I’ll start by saying I love/hate Joss Whedon. When I say that I mean that I have obsessively watched and re-watched episodes of Angel and Buffy…that given less than ten seconds of any episode I can place it in the correct season, contextualize the action, probably paraphrase the dialogue and give you a general idea of how that particular storyline will arc in coming episodes. There are episodes from both shows that make me ACTUALLY CRY every time I watch them.
I also know that Joss is a hack sometimes whose high opinion of himself has often poisoned his work with self-indulgent wank and too many *winkwinknudge* injokes aimed solely at fanboys and girls who worship at the altar of Joss.
HOWEVER. I’m not going to lie. Like any other fan who felt that Buffy and more recently Angel could have gone on for seasons and seasons, I was excited to hear that the Angel storyline would be continued in comic book form.
So…the question to be answered is simple. Can Angel: After the Fall live up to the expectations of a fan with uber-high expectations?
The answer: a world of NO.
First off, I’ll just say that on nearly every page the art and the dialogue are competing to be most awful. I get that Angel was a visually dark show but the comic offers page after page of muddled colors, like a child’s watercolor left out in the rain. The characters are expressionless. They look about as connected to the action in each panel as I feel.
Dialogue-wise, each issue’s script suffers from overly-wordy and/or clever dialogue. The villains in the first issue are funny? This doesn’t scan with me at all…Angel was never about that. The humor in Angel was insanely subtle, reliant on the delivery of actors who had fleshed out the nuances of their characters’ personalities. Without the actors to deliver the humor, the words fall flat on the page.
Also, Angel is canonically broody and quiet…and yet I’m slogging through dialogue on every page.
WTF at Spike in a smoking jacket and satin pants. WTF at Gunn the vampire. WTF at Illyria? Seriously, she was barely comprehensible on the show…she’s not doing anything for the convoluted action here.
I’m not clear on whether these people are STUCK in hell-A or if they WANT to be here. I’m not a stupid person. I honestly cannot figure out what the hell is going. IT’S WORSE THAN BAD FANFIC YOU GUYS. WORSE. Joss Whedon sat down and plotted this out and then handed it off to a fan boy and that fan boy is writing BADFIC.
Before I go any further, I’ll recognize the obvious. Comics are a new medium. It’s not the “same” as the show and as Billy brought up in a conversation we had earlier tonight, the comic is not called SEASON SIX. HOWEVER. It does have as its jumping off point the series finale. It picks up right after the show left off and Joss Whedon has put his name on it. While he isn’t writing it, he helped plot it out and as the creator has a responsibility to the fans.
Part of that responsibility is to remain faithful to the growth of characters. By taking half of their roster over to Angel: the Series, Joss and his team had the unique opportunity to explore the personal growth of some of their most interesting characters out of the shadow of the Chosen One. While his love affair with the Slayer made many a girl’s heart swoon, his own journey and search for redemption was a far more compelling storyline. Likewise, we saw massive growth in characters like Cordelia, Spike and Wesley.
By the time I started the fourth issue, I was massively annoyed. I was sitting outside McClain’s with Billy. I’m reading. He’s watching me read. True facts, watching him watch me react to the badness was more riveting than the actual comic itself. By the fourth issue, I just needed to get through it, to fully fan the fire of my rage.
I SHOULD HAVE STOPPED WHILE I WAS AHEAD.
I’ve been annoyed with the arcs of most of the characters but when Angel and Wes take a trip down to Silver Lake and I realize that the Lord of SilverLake is none other than Lorne, I literally threw the book at the table. THREW IT. People at surrounding tables looked at me in shock.
I can’t imagine a more disrespectful act than the inclusion of Lorne in this storyline. From the beginning of his tenure in the Buffyverse, Lorne has represented kindness. He LEFT LA because Angel asked him to kill Lindsey. He left because it violated his code of ethics. He left because he was morally opposed to killing – even killing bad guys. This is canon. Lorne left his home dimension because he was morally opposed to the standards of their community. The bar he ran, Caritas (love or charity), provided safety and sanctuary to all demons. To think that Lorne would return to LA at all reverses an important action on Lorne’s part but to suggest that he would serve as lord of a region and use mind control AGAINST other demons also violates his canonical morality code. I’m not buying it.
In light of the massive canon it attempts to be a part of, Angel: After the Fall is FAIL. For real, it should be dusted…but I guess even that isn’t an option any more.