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January 10 2008

AICN Comics' review of Angel: After the Fall #2. Story: Great!! Artwork: Not so much.

Yeah, the art has been rather disappointing. Several times while reading 1 and 2 I was distracted from the story just trying to figure out what's going on in a panel.

I'll keep buying it, because it's Angel, but they really need to address some quality control issues.
Im not a comic book reader, so I dont really compare the art to other things ive seen and get 'impressed' or 'disappointed'. But I do have to say that until this review I hadnt even *thought* about the artwork. Its not important to me, and I wouldnt say for a second it was 'bad'.

The plots great and I cant wait for the next one!
Art is a very subjective thing. Yes a lot of people do not like the art in After the Fall, but a lot of people do like it.

Personally I am there for the story.I also wouldnt say the art is 'bad' - its just a style. I look at things like 'Sin City'. I was going to buy one of the books after I saw the film, but when I saw the art I decided not to bother. I thought it was awful.

For me After the Fall works, story and art - so I am happy!

[ edited by angeliclestat on 2008-01-10 00:11 ]
I would have to agree...with the art not being very good. I too had a hard time figuring out what was going on. Gunn was nearly unrecognizable.
I wouldn't say it's "horrible", personally I'd characterize it more as inconsistent. You are dead-on correct, though, art is completely subjective. Take Bill Sienkiewicz's work, for example. I think the man is a complete genius and adore his style, others avoid it like the plague.

Don't get me wrong, I think the story in Angel:ATF has been outstanding thus far. I can't wait to get my mitts on #3.
So this #2 *has* been out for a while. I thunk as much.
Yes, issue 2 of Angel: After The Fall came out last month, DaddyCatALSO.
Put me in the camp that enjoys the story well enough, but has some big issues with the art. I'm not even entirely sure what the problem is, either. Yeah, the likenesses are iffy, but there's something in either the framing or the lack of details that is just throwing me way off and distracting me. I think the colouring is also to blame. Drab colour tones, making for some strange shadowing...I dunno. Something's just not working.

A shame, since it really does pull me out of the issue.
When i went to get a copy a couple-three weeks ago 9along with th e first issue and the end of the Faith arc in Buffy) the clerk didn't think it was out yet. I still haven't even read Issue #1, finding it hard to work up any real desire so far.
Muddy. The art work is sometimes very impressive, but the overall effect is muddy- dark and a bit blurry and greeny-brownish. I think that the greeny-brownish part, at least, is unlikely to be intentional. Which makes me wonder if it could be a printing problem, in whole or part?

I'm loving the story so far.

[ edited by toast on 2008-01-10 02:50 ]
I'm just gonna out and out say it:

The art kinda sucks. Like others have said, though, it's entirely subjective. Franco Urru's work just doesn't do anything for me (except for that shiny #1 variant cover).

It's very far from being the worst art I've ever seen, but it's distracting, confusing, and seems rushed.

The comic itself, though, is great. I come for the story, and I'm getting greatness in spades.

[ edited by UnpluggedCrazy on 2008-01-10 02:52 ]
I believe that when a significant number of people cannot tell who was being revealed as a vampire at the end of #1 the problem goes beyond "art styles are subjectively appreciated" to "this artist did not succeed at communicating the message of the script", which in my opinion simply equals poor craftsmanship.
this artist did not succeed at communicating the message of the script

As someone who isn't a regular reader of comics, I'm a bit hesitant to comment on this thread but I simply must disagree with the above. I had no trouble whatsoever recognizing Gunn when he first appeared in issue 1 or with knowing that he was the vampire on the last page.
I didn't recognize the fellow in the reveal at the end of the comic, so that was certainly a failing. There should have been a stronger visual cue to tie the final panel with the character's previous appearance in the comic (emphasizing the scar under his eye would have been an easy fix).

That gaffe aside, I'm really enjoying the artwork in this series, more so than that in Buffy S8. The more stylized, not-so-defined look just really appeals to me and I think lends a bit more weight to the hell-on-earth setting.
I really, really love the artwork in Buffy Season 8. With that being said, I compare artwork in comics like music in television/movies. If it isn't jarring and not a distraction it is makes the final product better. I'm not looking at the artwork/listening the music, unless the writer/director wants me to. I don't think the artwork for Angel is that bad. It's no where as good as Buffy, but I think's pretty decent.

Also, I knew who the vampire was in the final panel of issue #1.

[ edited by crazygolfa on 2008-01-10 05:08 ]
Ok i gotta be honest too and say the only reason I knew who the vampire was was the fact that we already *knew* that gunn was gonna be a vampire in the next tv series of angel. so i was kinda expecting it. But if I hadnt been, then yeah the artwork for that *ONE* pic should have been better. But the rest is great, I think.
Beren77, (and others who are listening), can you endeavor to use correct punctuation/capitalization as per site rules? Thanks.
My most humble apologies, nancy tribe.

[ edited by Beren77 on 2008-01-10 08:26 ]
I'm just relieved that other people have the same problem idendifying this particular character as I am. The art is that bad and I'm dissapointed because of that, so I totally agree with the article. But this will not stop me from reading the comics, although I wish they would do something against it and enhance the quality of the art, but I'm afraid they won't.
But hey what about the story?
The story rules.
Give me a ticket to board the "dislike the art" train. I feel bad saying that for two reasons: first, because I feel mean (can't help it; I feel sorry for Urru hearing any of this; I should get over that, I know), and second, because the whole project is such a gift. It's a lovely miracle for all of us and complaining about such a fundamental aspect of it makes me feel ungrateful. I don't want to feel ungrateful.

But dislike the art I do. Really, really dislike it. I didn't like Urru's work on Shadow Puppets or Asylum, either. I find it overly busy, confusing visually, indistinct and muddy. I think that Brian's words and story would be much better served using a different artist

As for the story? I'm enjoying it and can't wait to see where it goes.
Lest anyone reading this thread think that 100% of all Whedonesquers hate Franco Urru's artwork, I have to chime in to say that I really love his work. I loved it in Asylum and Shadow Puppets, and I am loving it in After the Fall. He has a very angular active style which seems (to me) to reflect the masculine frenetic world of Los Angeles and Angel's own inner conflicts. I also really love George Jeanty's work on Buffy where his calmer simpler line seems to reflect the more feminine world of Slayer Central set in the cool green environment of Scotland. These are very different artists depicting very different worlds, and both work for me. I would never want all comic books to be drawn alike, that wouldn't work for me at all.
I enjoy Franco Urru's artwork on After the Fall just like I enjoy Georges Jeanty's on Buffy.
Re. the Gunn reveal. I haven't heard anyone else echoing my first impression of the pic. I could tell it was meant to be Gunn, and was sort of expecting it too. But I was unbelievably confused as to why the artist had given him big naked pale green legs. 'Hmm, did I miss something... Where did that come from?!?'

:S

I looked, and looked again, not trusting my own eyes, but still I kept perceiving the same stupid image: 'Okaayyy, he's a vampire, he's crouching over a victim and drinking her, but they've taken off his trousers (pants) (huh??!) and for some reason the skin on his legs is goth-tastically pale???'

I only figured out it was the corpse a week or two later. But obviously, that was just me...
I love Urru's work, period.
The complaint about Gunn reveal is a valid one, as there're too many people who couldn't recognize Gunn there. Because it was crucial to story it should have been made crystal clear who's that guy on the last page was.
I knew about Gunn's proposed storyline, and I had alarms ringing not only from his scene with that rescued woman, but also from him being too brash with his crew. Still, I wasn't sure if that was him on the last page, but as I already suspected him I went back and checked if he had those stripes on his sleeves before. Yes, he's had, but stripes on sleeves don't a clear visual clue make.
That is my only big gripe with the art so far - and mind you, it's not easy to make a character clearly recognizable when it's the first time we are seeing him in vamp face. I don't think anyone could pull it off without extra clues. But Gunn had a clue - a scar under eye. Pity it wasn't used.

As for the rest of it - yep, that guy really didn't like the art. Pity he didn't explain why, I know it's subjective but some justifications would be nice, especially in the official review even if it's for AICN.

I was being pretty vocal here as Franco's fan, didn't want to preach again, but just wanted to suggest to think a bit outside the box, as Franco's art is unusual and innovative. And maybe the negative reaction is due to it not looking like the usual comic art which often is on a cartoony side with sharp outlines etc.? Also it is very dense, it packs a lot into each panel and panels are generally small, and it suits Brian Lynch style very well as Brian stories pack a lot of information into each page. More than I've seen in any other comic so far.
And this art requires closer scrutiny to get all the clues and details - but in the end, it's rewarding as it prolongs the enjoyment of the story. And each new find is a bonus.
Except for Gunn's reveal which should have been obvious and in your face, yes.

Likeness/stylization works for me for everyone so far except Nina and Wesley whom I'd prefer to look more like AD and generally have more charisma and angst, as we have that in spades, say, in Angel. And Nina was supposed to be a mystery in the #1 reveal - it was a deliberate tease to make us think she's Harmony first and then - nope, it's Nina. Like Ethan reveal in Buffy 8.03. Same with Mystery Man on #5 cover - it is supposed to be a teaser, vague likeness is intentional.

The art is moody, stylish, interesting and rich in detail. Main heroes are charismatic, dynamic and a treat for a female gaze (which was the case for all Joss shows, by the way). Style might throw some folks off, I see that. But overall - I hope some folks might enjoy it if they give it a chance and be more open-minded about it, especially as we have a promise of some controversial points addressed in the next issues.

Fangless - I too was confused by those legs on Gunn at first. Had to compare with the previous panel of him, where it was more clear he was holding that girl. Yep, that last page was confusing in many ways, I agree.
I recognised Gunn on the last page...do I get a cookie?:):)


Seriously though I have to pipe in with my support for Urru. I love the different style. Is it all to my taste - no. But overall I think it works very well.

On Buffy, I much preferred the artist on issue 10 to Jeanty. Others prefer Jeanty. I wish that Richards was drawing all of Buffy. But he isnt. Will I stop reading. Of course not, simply because I am interested in the story.

Same with Angel. I am so excited for this comic. If the story gets crap (which I doubt, then I will stop. But the art is good enough for me to imagine the actors and the way it would look on screen. Maybe I shouldnt do that with a comic, but I do it anyway:)
You know we saw complaints about Jeanty's art for the first few issues of Buffy and it really distracted about the discussion of the plot lines. I'm seeing the same happen for Urru's art. And it's going to get very tedious very soon and we'll end up saying the same thing over and over again.

So in threads to come, I'd like to see that the art issue will not be dominating discussions of future issues.
I also find the artwork distracting; it has made the story hard for me to follow, and perhaps led to me also not particularly enjoying the story. I think there is potential for things to be interesting (especially the new Wes/Angel dynamic), but I'm having a tough time getting into it. I'm finding the demon-lord-wars to be too slapsticky, and not having read whichever comic it was that George-the-Psychic-Fish featured in, I'm annoyed by his seeming randomness.

In Issue #2, I felt like the only character who spoke in a voice that I recognized as his was Connor, who I've never even liked. Maybe he was the only one familiar enough with hell to not have drastically changed to deal with living in it. But I find the disconnect between the characters we left in the alley and the characters we find here to be much more jarring than I have in the Buffy comics.

I'm hoping next issue for Ilyria (who also should be able to handle hell with ease) to be my anchor. And for there to be fewer buxomy barely-clads. I felt like a letchy adolescent while reading this issue on the bus.

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