Previously, on Angel + Spike: Angel is a bit more introspective than before, having faced some of his demons in the Hellmouth. Having seen what things go bump in the night, Officer Lockley is understandably… perturbed. Fortunately for her, she’s not alone in the fight. Unfortunately, it looks like things are about to get combustible for her.
Whew… it’s been a minute, but we’re back in it! A quick recap of “New Sheriff in the ‘Verse” so far: Mal and Moon have teamed up with Blue Moon to solve the mystery of a particularly ruthless and determined killer that seems nigh indestructible and equipped with some very fancy tech. Meanwhile, Kaylee, Jayne, and Leonard bite off a bit more than they could chew. Mal ropes in Inara to get some high-level intel to help his investigation. There, we’re all caught up!
The nitty-gritty: In BOOM!’s second Slayer anthology, we’re technically introduced to three Slayers, though one of them should seem rather familiar, especially if you’re up to date with the whole Hellmouth series. In this new series, we meet a version of Buffy, presumably the version that BOOM!-Buffy met in the Hellmouth. We are also introduced to a Filipino Slayer that was depicted on the Chosen One variant for Buffy #5. And finally, we meet an Irish Slayer who encounters the legacy of a particular dark and handsome vampire.
The nitty-gritty: After an issue exploring Kendra’s past to give her appearance some context, we finally get to some “Ring of Fire” realness. This issue is definitely setting up where this arc will go, and it’s - for the most part - successful. Relationships are set up to fall apart, so this is pretty par for the course.
The Lab is a wordless story about a nameless, humanoid lab test subject that’s subjected to a litany of trials and experiments. The subject is held in spartan conditions in isolation, surrounded by countless others. While they are clearly being used for some kind of research, we never see the “researchers” whose presence is only hinted at with sophisticated technology that picks up the test subject and administers the test protocols, before depositing the subject back in its cell. In short, it’s a haunting look at the monotony of mechanized testing protocols.
Full disclosure here: I was totally new to the Heirs of Isildur (No, NOT Tolkien’s Isildur!) universe, and going in blind was kind of fun. As a primer, I watched a 5-minute long heavy metal music video that provided the context for the opening of Tales from Nocturnia #1. Not surprisingly, the music video also gave me an idea of what I was getting into. In short: a clashing of heavy metal and fantasy tropes that I have always kind of associated with Meat Loaf’s album covers.
Previously on Angel + Spike: Angel is on the case… some creepy dude with no eyes and a thing for biting people. The irony is rather rich. LAPD Officer Kate Lockley is also investigating which inevitably brings them together.
Quick recap: While the McGuires (and Rose) successfully staved off Arthur’s attempt at bringing xenophobia back in style, they did not come out of the experience unscathed. Having learned of his family’s history and accepting the nature of his calling, Duncan is a bit more jaded now, and his relationship with Bridgette is strained. Meanwhile, Elaine is out there, doing stuff after meeting Merlin.
A quick recap of “New Sheriff in the ‘Verse” so far: Mal and Moon are trying to solve a murder mystery. Zoe, Wash, Book, River, and Simon have been burying dead Browncoats, casualties of the Second Unification War. Meanwhile, Kaylee and Jayne have joined the Chang-Benitez Gang. On the hunt for the killer, Mal and Moon encounter someone who seems to have no qualms about committing mass murder in order to get to Mal.
In a nutshell, Starship Down #1 is a solid beginning to what seems to be a fascinating sci-fi thriller. Think The DaVinci Code meets Alien vs. Predator, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of the tone. At the center of it all is Dr. Jocelyn Young, a cultural anthropologist who’s roped in by US Naval Intelligence to study what looks to be a vessel of extraterrestrial origin. Also along for the ride are the Russians and the Vatican. Can all of these diverging interests align, or will they fray any mutual connections?