Picking right up from the last issue, Angel and the strange demon tussle briefly. While Angel and Kate struggle with some existential issues, Spike spurs the team into some semblance of organization. In the meantime, things look to get pretty explosive… I will say that not a whole lot happens in this issue, but I get the feeling that this isn’t that kind of arc. With all of the pieces of the team coming together over the last couple of arcs, it makes sense that this focuses more on the team actually coming together.
In the arc following the Hellmouth Event, it appears that Angel’s certitude has been shaken (I guess being possessed by the Hellmother might do that to you.), and the newly formed team is still working out the kinks in how they operate. The addition of Spike into the mix is actually an interesting choice, because there is no compelling reason for Spike to do good, and yet, here he is, helping the helpless. Bryan Edward Hill’s Spike is a bit of a wild card, and that’s rather compelling. Part of the tension here is that I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and for him to go full evil, but this Spike is somewhat more introspective than anarchic. It makes me wonder if Drusilla stabbing him with that dagger did more than just sour their relationship. Even if that’s not the case, I think that #StoriesMatter especially when you’re crafting a reboot, because not only are you treading that thin line between honoring what’s happened before, but you’re also trying to update the material for a new audience. The only real way to achieve that is to go back to the core of why those stories mattered in the first place, and how those core nuggets can be updated to make sure they continue to matter to a newer audience. Hill gets Angel, and I think he gets Spike, too.
Gleb Melnikov and Roman Titov make a stellar team on this book. If Hill gets the inner workings of these characters, these two understand how to make sure that the mood, atmosphere, and vibe that Hill is going for come through. Melnikov’s art just keeps surprising me with its sleekness and its mod-ness. The panel of Kate firing her gun = perfection! The coloring elevates that. Angel being studded with broken glass = beautifully violent! The full-page spread of Kate’s horror… that’s a serious mood. Ed Dukeshire anchors it all by keeping the story going in a very natural way; there’s never any trying to figure out what’s being said when and the sequence of speech. It’s weird, but Dukeshire’s work also gives me a sense of timing and cadence which makes it easier to hear the voices.
Overall, this is a great interpersonal issue, but the “Ring of Fire” arc is shaping up to be a slow burn affair, at least on this end. This may be intentional or misleading so far, but, either way, I’m in!
Creative Team: Bryan Edward Hill (writer), Gleb Melnikov (artist), Roman Titov (colorist), Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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