Fred comes face to face with Lilah Morgan who claims to know her destiny. Meanwhile, Gunn and Spike are trying to rescue her, but first they have to open up their hearts to a familiar face. Things are about to get dark, as Fred is in the grasp of a particularly evil law firm.
Bryan Edward Hill continues to re-imagine this world with a darker lens, focusing more on the horror aspect than its original iteration. The characters largely seem to be updated versions of themselves, but Fred’s personality and back story has probably been the most altered here. While it’s apparent that she still has a brilliant mind, this new iteration of Fred is deeply connected to magick, which is why the Cult of Baphomet wants her. It’s interesting that the “vessel” is a major plot point in both the Hellmouth and Angel series right now. The Spike-Gunn dynamic is deeply amusing, and I really love how Lilith has to basically play mother with these two. Hill really ups the ante with the cliffhanger ending here, revealing the name of an entity that will totally make the day of any long-time fan. As we get closer to the end of the second arc, I wonder if the reveal signals the arrival of a long-term enemy for the team.
Gleb Melnikov’s artwork keeps getting better. In a pretty talky issue, Melnikov’s linework keeps things from getting stale with lots of nuanced expressions and interesting angles. If I have a minor quibble to express, it’s that Lilah’s character design appears rather generic; she somewhat lacks that slinky, evil BDE that the old iteration of Lilah had. But, I’ll fully admit that may be unfair, as we’ve just met Lilah Morgan, and she could be written in a totally different direction. Roman Titov’s colors are beautiful. I especially loved how he captured that orange-pink hue of the Californian sunrise/sunset.
Overall, this is a solid issue that really builds on Fred’s past and destiny. I'm really interested to see where they take her character. Also, give Gunn and Spike a buddy cop spinoff, please.
Creative Team: Bryan Edward Hill (writer), Gleb Melnikov (artist), Roman Titov (colorist), Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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