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April 02 2008

(SPOILER) Discuss Angel: After The Fall #6. The start of the First Night interlude, find out what happened on the night of Not Fade Away.

[ edited by madmolly on 2008-04-02 17:46 ]
madmolly feel to email me about it, we don't discuss site policy on site.
Reading this, I don't even know where a rant against Joss could get started -- the entire book is singularly inoffensive. Having no idea what was said, I just shrug :)

I always feel like I have to read "After the Fall" twice to really follow what's going on, that's my only complaint. But, Spike, Connor, and Lorne all have nice little character sketches, with Spike's being by far the most interesting since it not only deals with his shifting motivation, but also has the great, if vague, insights into the Fred/Illyria thing. Good issue, though.
Drive-by post while gathering links (avoiding any spoilers). I haven't got my ATF issue yet but a friend just told me that Lindsey's name is spelled correctly now.

Just wanted to convey my thanks to Mr. Lynch for that.
Must reread. Must re-process. It's weird to finally confront at least part of what happened in that alleyway after years of imagining different scenarios.

One thing is clear: I love the Lorne story. Oh, and "Screw you, Dawn!", followed immediately by, "Hope that's not taken outta context." Hee.

Interesting about Illyria turning into Fred.

A question: I thought Connor had remembered everything already? But he was just making the decision to zip at least of most of those memories away and stick with the nicer ones?

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2008-04-02 20:27 ]
Spike's chapter is my favourite, both art and content-wise.

Really feeling the poster love :)
Not especially the image, but the fact that there is a poster :) :)
I have the issue now too and really liked it.I really loved the Connor story.For the people who were asking for Cordelia to get a mention,she does in Connor's story.

It looks like Connor's story continues into next issue with the mystery character tied to it.

The Spike story offered some more insight on what's going on with Fred/Illyria.It seems like to me Fred and Illyria are basically sharing the one body in someway.I'm sure Spike:ATF will give more info here.

The Lorne story was really neat how it was done in verse.I also liked how it basically explained the questions we wanted answered with him and how he became the lord of Silver Lake.

I also really liked how Betta George is being used as the framing device.

Tell the truth: this was a dull issue. It may in fact have been bad, not bad-for-Angel but plain ol' not-actually-good. Lynch isn't a bad writer and when he's on he's on, but the first part of 'First Night' fell flat. I'd gotten my hopes up after reading Shadow Puppets and trying to relax and trust the story, but...ugh.

One of the problems is with length: most of the issue is barely story-sketches. The Fred/Illyria stuff recapitulates what we already know or have inferred from Lynch's (in retrospect admirably layered) buildup of that story; same with the metrically inconsistent Lorne piece, its heartwarming John Byrne art notwithstanding; Betta George certainly appears to be an ichthyoid Mary Sue and adds nothing to the tale thus far (remember that Gunn knocked him out as soon as he captured him, and his main role has been as audience for Gunn's big 'I'm a conflicted villain' breast-beating monologue); and as for Connor...

...Connor, it turns out, experiences his big must-help-save-the-world reawakening after the funny but superfluous restoration of memories he already had (c'mon Brian), then runs into a bunch of dimwitted interchangeable bad guys (most of the demons in Lynch's LA - um, Brian's, not David's, though I guess David's too now that I think about it - speak in the same 'comic' register, specifically a by now familiar ironic-stoner-literalist one, and it's getting boring), and turns out to have the internal monologue not of a conflicted demon-killing badass who's drowning in hormones and his own unique rage/serenity cocktail, but of a fucking chucklehead straight off the Saved by the Bell callsheet. His internal monologue has almost no emotional content to it, it feels like fanwank, a kind of loose metareflection on his narrative state. And his keen warrior sense prompts him to, er, crouch next to a parked car as an army walks by.

The Connor story isn't 'What is it like to be a kid dropped back into a dark hell that closely resembles his teenage years, and confronted anew with the fact that he has three fathers?' No, it's 'What would we love to see "Connor from the TV show Angel" do in the following plot situation?' Funny, sure, somewhat. But so far, meaningless.

I know this issue is supposed to be a lark and all (the poster and rhyming couplets kinda clued me in), but it's also supposed to be the canonical depiction of what was (and still is) the emotional high point of the entire Angel saga. I love comics, but just because there are panel borders on the page doesn't mean the story has to be a goddamn cartoon. Does that make sense?

None of this would bother me half as much if Goddard and Whedon (and Jeanty!!) weren't knocking it out of the park on the Buffy comic under Joss's direct supervision. The editorial oversight brings specificity. This book is lacking that. I know it's much, much easier to criticize than to create, and I enjoy writing this probably as little as you enjoy reading it, but fandom could mean discrimination (in the positive sense). And even with Brian posting actively in this forum, I'd feel worse if the only responses were gushing praise for just allowing us to see our oh-so-precious Fang Gang again. Joss Whedon's name is on the cover of this book and it should be better than it is.
Aah, but credit where due: the first pages of the Spike story were snappy and well-written. Even the on-a-dime turns (starting with 'I was ready to die for revenge and justice and glory and now I'm turning to a life of hedonism,' however short-lived) were believable. And I like the conceit of Spike thinking of himself as Fred/Illyria's protector - it'll be interesting to see how that turns out. But I'd much, much, much rather get back to the main story, and see Fred/Illyria integrate into the Gang as a whole. This issue didn't do justice to the cool setup Lynch has going.
Aah, but sidebar: 'Hope that's not taken outta context' is fanservice; it refers to the reader, not the character. In general Whedon's stories have steered clear of that kind of narrative pandering, which isn't always bad or out of place, but feels gratuitous in this book. Angel's story may take place in LA but it needn't have a Hollywood feel to it.

(Other instances: 'Dawn's in trouble. Must be Tuesday' is a riff on the let's-play-dressup nature of 'OMWF'; half of 'Tabula Rasa' has a fanservice quality but it's also genre-marked and so at least palatable; 'Storyteller' takes a similar tone, but grounds it firmly in Andrew's perspective. And so forth. There's never a moment in Whedon's own work when the characters merely articulate something on behalf of the fans, even if the reader/viewer can often count on some character - Spike, Cordy, Anya - to verbalize her questions. Again, this goes to the sense of doubled purpose that I've said is missing from the Angel comic right now. And it's never bothered me as much as in the latest issue.)
To put it simply, I agree with all of your comments, waxbanks. I know it's been discussed before in regards to Angel comic vs. Buffy comic, but yet again we are shown less than acceptable art, ESPECIALLY the first image of Cordy. She looked drunk and disgusting, although the second image of her was gorgeous, so I don't know what's up with that.
I also need to reread and digest... but I love Love LOVE the Lorne story, the art and verse all went together to make a very fun and satisfying story. I am worried about Betta George, but then I'm worried about everyone (except Lorne who is clearly on top of the world... or hell, whatever).
First of all, I actually enjoyed this. I have a few minor complaints but they're mainly all aesthetic.

I will have to defend Brian on the Connor/memory thing. At the end of Origin, Connor says that his memories are mixed in. And he lets Angel know in NFA that yes, he does remember him. However, because Connor has not gone completely ape-feces like he was in Season 4, I think it's plausible that those memories were very much diluted by the fake memories that Vail had given him.

That said, I think that the transition into Hell and Connor's attitude in ATF could be attributed to the full, unadulterated return of Connor's memories pre-Home.
Conor said the old memories were mixed in "like a bad dream."

I think it's totally believeable that Hell has brought those to the forefront.
MTLJ and d_g: Fair enough. But to take up an entire mini-story walking back over what we already know or have seen - pleasant or not - is kind of weak tea. I get the whole 'Hell is what we're dealing with' thing, and you're right to point out that there's precedent for Connor's thing. That doesn't make me retroactively excited to be reminded of what we've known for years though.
KingOfCretins, I completely agree. Everytime I read ATF, I mind myself starting to understand it about 2/3's of the way through and then I have to go back and reread. This being said, the comic is much more enjoyable after a second read.

I don't really know how I feel about this issue. I agree with others on the Connor's memory things. I'm pretty sure it was made clear that he remembered and had moved on. If this is just an extension for the sake of plot, well, I can't say as though I'm a fan.

Lorne's was definitely the most well done, but not very insightful. It was enjoyable, but I didn't really get anything out of it.

Spike's...I don't know. I'm not sure I still really know what's going on. Is he ripped out of the moment by Illyria's time wonky thing or hell's time wonky thing? It just seemed very thrown around to me, I guess. Starts in the alley...talking about Gunn, then he's on a rooftop, then he looks for Fred...which, shouldn't she have been in the alley? I dunno. Confused. I need to do a third read.

Wanna know what held my attention the most? Beta-George. Don't know how I feel about that.
Connor now remembers everything crystal clearly, from conception on. Including his time as an infant with Angel, and his time as an infant with Holtz. I think that's fairly huge.

It's not the end of his story. More is laid out next issue.

Thanks to everyone who enjoyed it, and sorry to those who didn't!
AH! Ok, thanks Brian. I did just go back and noticed the rainy alley shot and what (I think) is a womb. Ew. :) I guess I just didn't really get that from the dialogue.

I am looking forward to the next issue, I feel like First Night will be something that will be better enjoyed when read in one long shot. Any tidbits on who the unnamed "third person we haven't seen yet in the comics" might be? Eh, eh?
Nope, sorry. It is my favorite story that I've written since starting my stint in the Whedonverse, though.
I had a great time and I must confess to really loving the Lorne story. I am a sucker for cute, but I adore the idea of Lorne making Hell a Heaven and sticking around to make things better (speaking of which, do we know where Anne is yet?)

Spike was a delight. I thought his voice was spot on and the art was gorgeous...and I join the legion of Betta George fans since I loved his ritual site (plus, whenever I see Betta George, I just want to hug him. If there's anyone listening, I would so buy a cuddly Betta George.)

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I came away happy and very interested to see what happens next (and now I'm worried about George...:/)
*crosses fingers and hopes for a Lilah or Lindsey story*
Brian, the only thing I didn't get about Connor is that there's an implication from how he's recalling his memory that he *didn't* get it all back in "Origin". Particularly sex with Cordy. To what else might he have been referring in "Not Fade Away" when he called it a "sometimes inappropriately erotic" dream?

Overall, I loved Spike's story and Connor's both. I can't wait until we get into the Gwen stuff, since she's my favorite supporting character on "Angel", pretty much ever.
He didn't suddenly remember having sex with Cordy, he remembers that just fine. He DID remember her being a mother figure, so his mind made the jump from mother-figure to "first time" and that freaked him out.
Ahhh... gotcha. Okay, so hell cured him of infantile amnesia, then. I'm with you now. Also, loved the running motif of him comparing his 'three fathers' and how they all inform his decisions. Connor would probably by my second favorite supporting character on "Angel" pretty much ever.

C'mon, am I nuts when I think they, Connor and Gwen, are awfully handsy with each other for it to be strictly platonic?

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2008-04-03 00:01 ]
Brian sez:

Connor now remembers everything crystal clearly, from conception on. Including his time as an infant with Angel, and his time as an infant with Holtz. I think that's fairly huge.

Shit, that is something. Very well, that portion of my irritation dissipates in a purple cloud. :)
Love this! Feels miles more like a natural continuation of the show then season 8 does. Brian Lynch still has a really good handle on all their characters, which helps tremendously of course.

Really looking forward to the next issue.
So this was actually released today? My comic shop didn't have it.
Just got through reading through the issue and wanted to say that I liked this issue. I liked the art and the individual stories that were told and I think a very good job was done revealing as much as could be with such a short space for each of them.

There's a lot to take in with just one read-through but I think I liked Spike's panels the best. I love the whole thing with him and Fred/Illyria. The bloody handprint behind him in the elevator was quite chilling (and I know I missed lots of other small details like this, I always do). Best line in the issue was Spike's "Yeah. Yeah, I was retired but to tell you the truth, it got boring after awhile." The look on his face after his glee on the roof is priceless.

I'm glad there's going to be more told of Connor's story, although I like how he remembered so far back. I was wondering though, why do the demons know that he's Angel's son?

Lorne....I liked how his mini-arc was told in rhyme and how it showed him going from murdering Lindsey to where he is now. I'm hoping that whatever spell that sorceress cast is part of the reason that he isn't showing any of that supposed "inner pain, sorrow and strife" that the first panel mentioned cause I'm not feeling it. Love Lorne as a character but I'm not altogether happy with this. I still feel like I have for months:that the whole thing with Angel setting Lindsey up and Lorne killing him is going to be brushed aside like it's nothing.

Lastly, I actually liked the fish in this issue. He kinda grows on you.
I liked it overall. My only complaints come from the Spike story. I felt that it moved too fast (especially the jump from Spike being in an elevator to him having already seen Fred) and the "Dawn" line. I think it would have been funnier without the disclaimer, and that's coming from someone who likes Dawn.
For the record, I like Dawn too, I was just trying to beat Avatar-creators at their own game.
It was wonderfull. I teared up in three different ways over each of the stories. And OMG they got their hug, but in a what future! (I mean Fred and Spike, of course). I chuckled over Dawn, and over Spike taking the elevator where Angel jumped (having Austin Powers flashbacks here - why take an escalator when we can take the elevator, hee).
Connor's musings over his three dads were brilliant, and his reaction on going to Hell again - so touching.
And Lorne was the luckiest of all and I was very happy to see people of L.A. standing up for themselves - but who was that sorceress and why couldn't she make her bubble over entire L.A.? I hope we'll learn more at some point.
And was nice to catch up on B.G. too! Great issue, something to reread many times. Also I loved each artist in its own way.

And the mystery character in #7? I'm sure now it's Cordy.
Pretty good issue overall. My main complaint is that the artist does not do the best job of capturing characters' likenesses, especially with Fred and Cordelia.

One thing I was a little confused on was the part where Betta George is remembering stuff and says something about the events happening "just hours earlier". I may have misread or misunderstood something, but wasn't it established early on that the series was taking place months after the end of the show?

Bring on the next issue!
No no, he meant "just hours" before LA was sent to hell, he was at Universal Studios doing his thing.

"Spike taking the elevator vs Angel jumping", I'm so glad someone pointed that out. Thanks Nata!
I liked all the stories in it but my favorite was the Connor one and I'm glad it continues into next issue.I think the mystery character could be Darla now since we saw something like this already done with her in the episode,"Inside Out."

I'm sort of funny in the sense that wouldn't bother me as much since they've already done it with/to her character.Same sort of deal if Lilah popped up.They already brought her back tied to W&H before on the show.I just don't want more characters to be brought back that haven't been already such as Cordy and Lindsey for example.

After reading the Spike story,I can see why the Spike:After The Fall miniseries is needed.

I'm also wondering now if Fred saying Wesley's name here might be some type of link to Wes's First Night story next issue.Since we saw that Fred plays some type of role in Wes's story in preview art.It just makes me wonder if some things are more linked then they seem on the surface.

The Lorne story was without a doubt the most unique.

Plus using Betta George as the frame was a good move.I think an original character was the perfect choice for something like this.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2008-04-03 03:35 ]
I noticed the distinction between Angel's approach and Spike's approach to getting off a roof, just wasn't sure how I felt about it. It cuts both ways -- smart/reckless vs. timid/brave.

I'm still getting no love on trying to squeeze blood from the spoiler stone that is Brian Lynch when it comes to my Connor/Gwen 'ship :)

I'm also pretty sure the mystery character is Cordy, especially since she was actually in this issue in flashback -- kinda like priming the emotional pump, IMO.

Loved the pencils of both Messina and especially Mooney. John Byrne is... John Byrne, obviously. But I still think more of his Superman or She-Hulk, so it was odd to follow him into the Buffyverse, particularly in that style of story.
After reading the comments:
- Spike saw Fred below before taking the elevator. That's what his exclamation was about. He also indicated that he couldn't believe it was really her - but he desided to check it out nevertheless.
Also, he wasn't reverting to the *life* of hedonism - he figured out his life, or unlife, was over and he was finally done for and gone to Hell. Watch his expressions as he realizes that it's not over, that his unlife has to continue. Very touching - as he must be really wanting rest and the end of it all by now.

Connor flashbacks was my favorite part. But I admit that Angel (and Spike) flashbacks/flashforwards were my favorite part of the first 5 issues. Especially Baby!Angel panel: it was very haunting, and the baby theme seems to recur a lot in ATF.
I've figured that much - that Connor now has not just some vague nightmares mixed in with fake memories - he has all his true memories back, including when he was a baby. Baby hand grabbing what I assume Holtz' hand defending them was especially haunting.

As for the fanservice - come on, it happened all the time in Buffyverse, especially with shipper winks. Remember the famous glance Spike and Xander exchanged in BY, after "is there anyone here who hasn't slept together"? Pure fanservice. As were comments thrown around about Xander fancying Riley, or Spike - it was 4th wall winking at shippers all right. In fact I thought Dawn joke was much in the same vein - a chuckle over Spike/Dawn shippers which were many! :)

Lorne story: I agree that he's getting off too lightly with murder of Lindsey and hope it wouldn't be brushed under the rug. Hope to see more reaction from him or some mention of it in the future. It was the most despicable thing Angel ever did, in my opinion, and putting Lorne to it - uh-huh. But on the other hand - with them in Hell and so many innocent people dying around, Lindsey's death kinda fades into background. There's war, deaths just pile up. I'd also like good ole Drogyn mentioned at some point - he was killed for nothing, poor chap. I like my heroes dealing with consequences, that's all.

ETA: On demons recognizing Connor as Angel's son: they were as suprised about this as we were. They said that much - that they somehow just knew. So I assumed they got it through magical knowledge or something - maybe as part of Angel's punishment by W&H.

[ edited by Nata on 2008-04-03 03:58 ]
I thoroughly enjoyed the Spike story, and am pleased that we're seeing the Spike/Fred thing that was neglected in the TV show. I actually wasn't into Lorne's story, the art was pretty bad (Byrnites don't hurt me!) and all of the other comics I read afterwords wound up reading in rhyme.
Yeah, I'd have to say that this issue was a little underwhelming. I loved the Spike story, thought the Connor story was good enough but unsatisfying (it is, however, continued next issue), and just thought that the Lorne story fell flat.

After reading this issue, I kind of wish that the events in the alley had remained unseen. And I don't mean that to sound as harsh as it does.
First, I'm about halfway on Waxbank's court here. I've had my problems with the series thus far, and this one is easily my least favorite issue, without even breaking a sweat.

I'll not bother repeating anything already said, other than to repeat something I said on the 1st issue discussion: I hate the art. It doesn't feel like Angel to me, and denies me a true connection to the show. From a comic book standpoint alone, it's fine I suppose. Stylistically anyway. I wanna be clear about that, I'm not here to claim the skill level is lacking, just that the style doesn't fit the story to me, overall.

But... the compositions are bad all around and often so is the panel lay out. I say that with confidence as I, and many others, have pointed out my confusion over what is going on. We often need to go over it one or more extra times.

Anyhoo... What did I like. I liked a lot of the things that others have mentioned, but perhaps not as strong as some. BUT seriously, why am I the first person to mention the Fruity Oaty Bars advertisement!?!?! C'mon, really? For those that want to go back and find it, it's on a building that Conner walks by before he hits hell. Thanks for that, Urru, I love your easter eggs.

Oh, and in defense (for once) of Urru. I think the likenesses are fine. I've said this about complaints of Season 8 too. These are drawings. How much like the actor does it need to look before they just go take a photograph and print that? As long as it's relatively consistent and portrays the basic essence of the character, I'm good with any likeness. I'd much rather have the character given justice than a photo-realistic rendering of the actor. I certainly have my complaints, and yes, Cordy looked a little dead in that first panel (but amazing in the second), but overall I'm down for the character likenesses.
Thanks bobw1o, but that wasn't Franco. Stephen Mooney did the Connor story, along with the second part, with...
Hey there is a Fruity Oaty Bars sign!!!! Good catch, bobw1o. I wouldn't have noticed that at all if you hadn't pointed it out.
By my count there have been... eight pencillers between Season 8 and "After the Fall". Personally, I don't think any single likeness has been nailed by any of them the way Georges Jeanty nailed Kennedy in her first panel of 8.10 "Anywhere But Here". But right behind I'd put Mooney's Connor and Cordelia right behind that.

Of course... I don't think there have been many bad likenesses. I can count the times in the 19 combined issues that I haven't known without hesitation who each character was on the fingers of one hand, probably.
I loved this issue the most of all the issues thus far. The art was great from beginning till end, and every character felt exactly like how they did on the show. Most importantly, the stories were all just fun to read! I'm excited about Angel now a little bit more than Buffy, but they're both neck and neck.

Personally, I don't think any single likeness has been nailed by any of them the way Georges Jeanty nailed Kennedy in her first panel of 8.10 "Anywhere But Here".

That wasn't Jeanty, though. That was Cliff Richards. Agree it was the best likeness of anyone in season 8 so far.
Both this entry and the Buffy one are now linked to on the side bar so the discussion can carry on once this item falls off the front page.
Gah, deborah, I goofed. I'll put Jeanty at number 3 on my list of almost indistinguishable successes with his Willow likenesses in the past two issues.
Just finished and I really enjoyed it. The Connor story was my favourtite. Loved the art and the story the best.

The Spike story is really a lead in to the Spike mini coming up and it gives us a good idea where it is going to go, and makes me look forward to it even more.

I enjoyed the Lorne story...but would have liked a little more of it...a little more how he got from depressed and tired happy. It's there....but it needed a bit more.

Not my fave issue yet (but of course that would have to be from the main story with Angel:)), but an excellent view into what happened that fateful night....looking forward to next months!
This, as usual, was a total reread. Betta George threw me off. Spike's story definitely had the most strength, which made the next two feel more like afterthoughts. I get Connor's dialog mimicking Angel's... but I understand where some confusion of his story. Hence the reread.

For me, the most perfect art was the snapshot flashback to Connor's "birth," with Fred and Angel in the Alleyway. Perfect.
I"m really confused on the Fred aspects of the story. Wasn't her soul completely obliterated when Illyria took over her body? Obliterated to the point where there was no chance of her coming back, or of even having an afterlife? That to me was always the biggest tragedy on the show. I know at times Illyria has pretended to be Fred, but isn't the real Fred well and truly gone?
Lovely issue, I felt, though the middle part of the Spike-story seemed odd. No matter how happy he is to escape the battle and not burst into fire from the sun, it seems truly odd that he'd be this happy and care-free about the entirety of LA having been sent to Hell. It started good and ended good, but the middle part seemed off. The other stories I really liked, though. I'd have liked to see more of Connor's trying to deal with freshly vivid memories of his Hell-dimension-upbringing while finding himself in one yet again, but I guess I can hope we'll see more of that later.

Kelric: While I obviously don't know what direction Lynch is taking this, there is always the chance that he'll just say that the people claiming Fred's soul was gone for good were lying or wrong. But you can explain this in less retcon-feely ways too - for instance by saying Illyria is increasingly getting confused and overwhelmed by the remains of Fred's memories and personality. Until something else is clearly stated, I'm interpreting every glimpse we get of Fred as "Illyria thinking she is Fred" - as that's what I feel is most in tune with Illyria's development in late season 5. It might of course turn out to actually BE Fred, but if so that'd be somewhat out of nowhere and I'm not going to go with that interpretation until it's explicitly stated in the comic that it's the case.
Re: the Fred/Illyria thing...

Maybe what Lynch and Whedon are going for is a more "shades of grey" thing? I mean, even assuming that Fred's soul was completely destroyed (and we still only have bad guys' word on that point, so it may well turn out to be false), Illyria still has Fred's memories, she's demonstrated the ability to perfectly mimic her personality, and (particularly in "Not Fade Away") she's begun to feel some of her emotions. Or at least emotions that we would normally associate with Fred, like love for Wesley and affection for Gunn and Spike.

So we start to get to a point where it's hard to tell where Illyria ends and Fred begins. If Illyria is capable of everything I just mentioned, in what way is she NOT Fred? If she actually begins to think of herself as Fred, wouldn't the illusion now have become reality?

To put it bluntly, Fred's old soul may have been consumed, but could Illyria be "growing" a new one?
oops, show's how close I paid attention, thanks for the correction Brian.

Well, thanks to any artist who throws in an easter egg!
No problem, bobw1o, don't feel too bad...the IDW cover dude was also fooled, as Franco's name is on the cover. Wah wwwwwah.
Good point TBalena, I think that explanation fits things so far rather neatly. :)
I quite enjoyed this issue. It was really nice to see what happened to Lorne after his exit in "Not Fade Away," since that was the thing that I was most curious about when I finished watching the show.

Spike is always good to see, and Brian always does such a good job with him. Also good to see that he and Fred/Illyria met up early, and I'm really interested to see how that relationship progresses, since Illyria is strong enough to take care of herself, but Fred isn't. Should for a strange and interesting protector relationship with Spike.

Connor's story I was pleasantly surprised by. I think that the idea of him weighing the influences of his father figures and how they contributed to "raising" him playing out in how he deals with being dropped into Hell is brilliant.
Overall I liked it, but as i feared it made the series lose momentum for me. However this time i have no complaints about the art. The story was right on, I specially liked the spike bit, altough the other two were excellent too.
waxbanks; Yes, when Giles was drinking coffee nobody ever asked him which brand having him answer "What one do you think?"
To me, it was akin to Tara doing the "grrr arrrrgh" movement with Giles' little monster puppet.

And for the record, for the first couple of drafts, Spike still flipped off the sun and yelled at it. Then the joke occured to me and I put it in. You can block it with your finger every time you read the issue if you want, it's totally fine.
Well most of what I think has been said but I'll add this: I think the confusion about Connor's memory (and I was very confused at first) is due to the art - particularly the picture of Connor as a baby. It's not hugely clear that that's a baby and a womb.

Up above Brian explained that Connor became grossed out about Cordelia because he just found out she was his surrogate mother rather than finding out he slept with her ... but that went completely by me because I had no idea that zombie transvestite hooker in the top panel was Cordelia. So, no fault of Brian's, I ended up thinking that Connor was just remembering memories he'd already remembered

Anyway, I'm enjoying these comics and I absolutely adored the Lorne story especially 'but the driver had feelers, the taxi a face!'.

[ edited by Let Down on 2008-04-04 05:36 ]
And, yeah, I disliked the Dawn line. I'm not generally a fan of the fourth wall being broken. And here it really was; it was as if Spike knew he had an army of Whedonesquers hanging on his every word
Ooh did anyone else notice the taxi says 'Yellow Scabs'
I just got my issue today and I loved it. I have to say that I am really loving ATF a lot more than Buffy S8 which is strange because I love Buffy the show a little more than Angel.

This story just seems to be moving along at a nice pace for me, I love the cliffhangers, the reveals and the characters just seem more like themselves than the Buffy characters do at this point.

The Spike story was my favorite. I loved the art. I loved his glee at being free and beating the odds and then the realization that it wasn't over and his getting back up and continuing to fight the fight. I can't wait for Spike ATF to come out so we can find out a little more about Fred/Illyria and Spike as her protector.

I thought the Connor story was really good, add me to the confused group over the memories and such at first, but upon re-read and Whedonesque reading I get it. Also, I loved how he was thinking about all three of his fathers, it was kinda sad, funny and beautiful all at the same time.

I adored Lorne's story, it even made me tear up a little at the end. I do hope we possibly maybe get a little more Lorne story though.

Betta George rocks!

Also, I just want to say, I loved the "hope that's not taken out of context" line. It made me laugh out loud and the most of anything I read today, including Buffy issue 13. I think Brian is exactly right in that the line is akin to the grrr-arrgh line and I adore that as well.

So keep on keepin on Brian, I'm loving your writing, you write Spike so freakin awesome and as he's my favorite character, that makes me love everything all the more. Can't wait for the next ish.
My favorite has to be the Spike storyline. I won't repeat what had been said, but I have to say the line that made me laugh out loud was this:

SPIKE: Yeah, yeah, I was retired, but to tell you the truth, it got boring after a while.

In answer the women sticking with him (btw, I like how "normal" the women look. Two thumbs up to the artist for 'ignoring' how the comic version of women tends to look artificial). And Spike's expression when he said that. Poor guy.

[ edited by Mirage on 2008-04-04 14:12 ]
I do have to say I like the Angel comics better than Buffy right now. I think Brian does a great job carrying the momentum of the story and getting glimpses into the insight of each character. Buffy... well, it's action in one issue, then "let's talk about our feelings" in the next issue... that may be exaggerated but in the end, Angel flows beautifully while Buffy limps.

Rock on Brian! Great job!
No one has remarked on the copycat line on the final page. Does Gunn have a doppleganger, or was that something different?

I didn't get the womb image on first view either, until I placed the next panel Fred/Angel view. Then, it was pretty obvious to me that it was a prenatal memory.
The copycat line was because the fish was insulting that guy watching him for copying Gunn by getting his head shaved to earn his approval
As much as I love Franco Urro, I must say that David Messina blew me away. Far. Very clean, easy on the eyes, stylized yet lively, and the "camera angles" (panel angles?) were amazingly well chosen. It all fit the writing, world and characters very well, and I'd love to see him do more Spike in the future. Tim Kane also did really well. Especially his coloring caught my eye. Stephen Mooney is incredibly talented, his likenesses were pretty much spot on (with the possible exception of that one weird-looking Cordy image, but such things happen - Darla's womb was a striking likeness, though) and damn does he draw a great city environment. John Byrne did something kind of different from what I've seen him do, he went with a detailed, messy, somewhat cartoony style. Which kind of fit the story (or, rather, verse), though I wouldn't want to see it in a larger context for obvious reasons.

On the Brian Lynch side of things, there's not much else to say than nice work. Well-written and awesome as always. The Spike/Frellyria bit was especially neat. Brian's got an especially good grip on Spike, I feel. Spike thought he was finally done and took comfort in that, but as per usual there's no rest in peace for the wicked, which is IMO entirely consistent with the character. Makes me really look forward to Spike: After the Fall.
I thought the copycat line was mostly a reference to how many people (me included) didn't recognize Gunn in the last panel of the first issue.
Loved the issue. I liked Spike's the most and Lorne's the least, but even in Lorne's it still had an amazing story within it.

But I didn't realise until just now that Connor now has all his memories back even from conception? So Connor actually remembers being in the womb? Wow. It's really interesting that Connor remembers everything as a baby even. He never truly felt that Angel cared enough about him, he never got to see it, he even tells Angel he didn't care enough to not let Holtz take him. Now he saw how much Angel cared for him as an infant, and he knows what happened with Holtz taking him away. It'll have a huge impact on their relationship.

And Lorne's story, though my least favourite, was just great. I know some had problems with how happy he was after the last time we saw him in 'Not Fade Away' but I loved how Brian handled it. He saw people fighting the demons and making Silverlake a better place, and it restored his faith in humanity, which is exactly what Lorne needed. Genius.

I also had no problem with Spike's line about Dawn. I don't feel that really broke the fourth wall, within the context of the story I find it believable he could just think it, it doesn't *have* to be a reference to the fans. And it pales in comparison to when Whedon broke the fourth wall in 'Spin the Bottle' when Lorne comments on the 'exciting products' after the ad break, which Whedon comments on, on the DVD commentary. And IMO, it's not even as big as Angel in Issue 5 when in narration he talks specifically to the audience from memory.

Oh and anyone else thinking Spike and Fred would make an awesome couple?
Oh and anyone else thinking Spike and Fred would make an awesome couple?

Heh, not really. I think it might be pushing it. She had already been with Gunn and Wesley (a bit of a crush on Angel, but really, other than Gunn, everyone on ANGEL had a crush on Angel lol). I like the friendship between them, it'd mean more that Fred (aka Illyria) would have a friend to trust only in Spike. Spike saw himself as a hero to Fred's damsel, not to mention her being the only one at the time who believed in him (and essentially made himself believe in him) But, what would I know. If it happens the right way, it could be something great.

Now, I could think of someone here that'd make an awesome couple with Spike, a couple that has potential and every element in between. History has already been laid out and everything lol
I saw the Lorne section of this issue and immediately thought, "The Monster at the End of This Book." Although that one doesn't rhyme. Does draw a nice line between Smile Time and Shadow Puppets and ATF.
I agree, vampmogs , that Spike and Fred would make an awesome couple. I thought that their scenes together in episodes like Hellbound were very touching and among some of my favourites for Spike in AtS 5 - but my feeling is that it will be ultimately, the Wes/Illyria/Fred relationship that we will see playing out, bearing in mind the set-up we've already got. It should be interesting either way.
I'm a little late and I'm sure I'm the only one who doesn't know, but who is the woman doing the lunge in the 2 piece outfit on the the cover? I know it was discussed before, but it escapes my memory. Thanks.
The idea of a Spike and Fred relationship? Yeah, kinda weird. There's history, yeah, but... I'm just not comfortable with that. Wesley (er... Wesley's ghost) doesn't need anymore pain...

In any case, this is late, but I just got the issue today. I thought it was great, particularly the Lorne part. Very Lorne. And, oh, how I wish this stuff with Illyria-Fred wasn't even happening. It's just wrongly getting my hopes up for a true Fred return...

Great issue though.
luvspike, that would be Gwen the electric chick.
Thanks, aus-mitch. I don't even know who Gwen is, I only watched season 5 of Angel, so Connor's story meant nothing to me. But I did love Lorne's and Spike's stories. Can't wait for the Spike series.
I've gotta say that I actually really liked this month's issue.
The writing was good, and pretty tight for the most part, which is something that needed to happen until recently on this series.
I'm glad that they're answering some questions that have been giant question marks until now.
But my biggest compliment would be that I actually don't hate the art this time around. Usually, I'm against having multiple artists work on a run, just because it robs the series of its distinctive look. However, I will concede that it works surprisingly well here. I think it's because each style chosen reflects the character's personality so much. Also because this issue (and the next couple) is written like a compilation of short stories.
My favorite was Lorne's story though. I think part of it was because it was pretty much a self-contained story within that amusing little jingle. Also, the cartoon style used was so different from anything that After the Fall has ever had that it just worked. Partly because Lorne's so damn campy sometimes that a almost 70's-ish look works so well with his banana-yellow suit.
Speaking of the monster at the end of the book, did anyone else get that funny, familiar, head-scratchy, i-know-that-from-somewhere-what-am-i-thinking-of thing in the last frame of Lorne's tale?

*cough*   Twilight   *cough*
fleem said:
I saw the Lorne section of this issue and immediately thought, "The Monster at the End of This Book."

And for me, the monster at the end of this book was a final frame that looks a more than a little bit like the mysterious Twilight symbol from Buffy S8...
Ooo! Twilight? *head explodes*

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