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October 22 2008

(SPOILER) Discuss Angel: After the Fall #13. Previously on Angel: "I'm ready to go". Find out what happened next.

God it's been soooo long since #12 - am dying to read this issue. Will be getting it first thing tomorrow morning. Enjoy it you lucky folk who get it today:)
It has been a while. Last issue was a blinder, everything came together extremely well.
Wow. WOW. Shocking, heart breaking, brilliant.
Unfortunately,I won't be able to get to my comic shop today to pick it or my other books up.I did read your review though,patxshand.Sounds like an intense issue.
It has been Simon,....way too long!:)

Pat - I will read your review after I have read the issue (really wanna go unspoiled), but I always trust your opinions...and based on your one line assessment above - makes me even more anxious to read!
So what actually happened in the issue?
Well, that was a very cool issue in most respects.

The very good stuff to me is pretty much all Connor driven. Not only him beating Gunn's ass silly, but also how he is so invested in "Cordelia" the dragon, and still protective of Gwen -- he genuinely loves her. It's also how he is in the write place and time to bring it back to Angel. Everything Angel told Kate, and Kate told Connor, Connor now basically tells Angel. I suppose one could have seen that coming, but it is still excellently done. And it ties "After the Fall" into a mythological and philosophical theme that ran through the whole televised series. Excellently pulled off.

And I really liked Angel's dealings with Cordelia... although I'd have liked for her to steal another kiss (or for him too). Angel's reasoning was completely valid, and indeed, it feels like his emotions overriding him, love for Connor, not reason, not renewed belief (although Connor's talk helped) that makes him fight.

Now, though, we come to my major, fundamental unhappiness. It's been building for a while based on interviews, but it's still going to have felt screwy. Spike shows up (complete with bevy of inexplicably affectionate Slayers?) and Connor needs Angel back on his feet, and we all know this can only go one of two ways.

1. Spike will have to sire Angel. This creates an astounding amount of continuity and mythological problems to solve. Either we'll A) completely ignore the vampire mythology and Angel will spring back to his feet normal and ensouled with his curse and all, B) he'll spring back to his feet completely ensouled sans curse, like Spike, C) he'll spring back to his feet like Lawson, with a sort of penumbral soul and a much harder personal dilemma, or D) he'll spring back to his feet and, after a Darla-like moment of anguish, be Angelus again. I'll say right now, A or B will absolutely destroy this series for me. Both are in complete contradiction to the established vampire mythology of the Buffyverse, and "it's Hell-A" isn't explanation enough, IMO. D creates some storytelling possibilities, but in a crowded story, I'm not sure about a new Angelus arc, especially when the point would be to get him into the fight quickly. Of those four, C is the only one that really takes us somewhere new and interesting in the story from a vampire perspective. But, I'm pretty starkly against Angel becoming a vampire again anyway, so while I know most will love it, and it's not anything Brian or Joss has to apologize for, I'm bound to be disappointed by any way they do it. A couple other continuity issues revamping him right now would raise are that vampires don't come back right away, and we would be ignoring completely the other possibility which is...

2. Angel will spontaneously regenerate as a human. We've had this foreshadowed for a while. The Slayers keep coming back. Gunn's vampires apparently have been coming back. Spike just came back. It all happens in that building. Ostensibly, as soon as Angel "dies", whatever mojo is going on in that building that turns into a no harm, no foul training zone will kick in, and he'll be back on his feet, still human. I hope this is what happens, of course, but I'm not optimistic. But, seriously, it absolutely *must* be dealt with in the story if it's not what happens. We can't have Spike just spontaneously UNDUST, show up talking about how easy it is to not be dead in Hell-A, and then re-vamp Angel without the story even addressing why he didn't just... get better, can we? I really, really hope this is what happens with Angel. The set up seems to be there. All the revamping stuff could be a mislead. I'm hoping.

As to the rest of the issue... I like Gunn as a villain. I like his emotional shifts, his arrogance, but also how he suddenly feels like he's been screwed over, and then suddenly he sees his opportunity and goes for it. Apparently, his visions told him he'd be killing "Fred"? He did have a chance in Chapter 9, though, didn't he? Regardless, at least we know she's not invulnerable in Fred mode. And we know how Illyria gets out. The bad news is I have to assume that the real Fred is well and truly gone at this point if she was ever really there at all :(

Cordy the dragon... a noble death.

Gwen... if she's dead, which she may well be, I was impressed with it emotionally, but I have to say, we never really learned what the hell was going on there. She hopes Charles was right, but right about *what*? We've never really gotten more than hints of what he thinks he can accomplish, and nothing of how he convinced Gwen of it. She was willing to betray Connor to achieve it (and willing to die to protect him, awwwwww Gwonnor). But she also seemed to think Gunn had some great vision that would either A) save her, or B) make it worth it, and we haven't gotten that at all yet. It's just confusing.

Overall, it's a very good issue. Issue #12 didn't work for me nearly as well as it did for others, but Issue #13 definitely was better. I'm not comfortable yet about where things are going with Angel's human or vampire status, and that it can all be settled without continuity errors of the mythology (easily avoided by not revamping him!), but the emotional impact of the story, especially Connor, Cordy, Angel, and Gwen in this issue, protect the fun and excitement this series brings to the table.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2008-10-22 20:59 ]
This was my second favorite issue so far (I don't think any of the AtF issues will top 12). Sad to see both Cordys go :(
Well this series is certainly has been spectacular, this was a great issue; I was totally faked about you-know-who's death (I know this is a spoiler thread, but so many people haven't gotten their hands on the issue yet). I am loving every single thing about this! And I am getting more and more excited to see how it will all be resolved.
I loved this issue. Brian is doing an amazing job.
The Spike moment was intense and gave me chills. *g*
oops, double post. Sorry.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2008-10-22 22:25 ]
Actually, (spoilered for no good reason) came very close to pulling me out of the story. I've never been one to say that Brian can't or might not kill some of the major characters in this story, but there was just *no way* he was going to go out in such an off-handed fashion, so while I entertained the notion for a couple seconds right before he came back that "wow, that was so sudden and so... realistic. People are gonna be pissed", but I sorta figured there was a catch. Even had a good idea what the catch would be, so I'm still hoping for Option #2 in my earlier post.
Oh King of Cretins, you're gonna be in for a treat!

Neither option will happen, though. Yay!

[ edited by Brian Lynch on 2008-10-22 22:41 ]
Brian, it really is an awesome issue. I think you think I hate "After the Fall" because of my no-vamping agenda of rage :(
I hate waiting for TFAW to ship my comics! They don't even have a ship date yet :(
No no, King. I hear you. We's on the same page.
Cool, Brian thanks. But since you mention that, I do really hope that the regenerating thing at Adam Monroe Apartments or wherever Gunn's place is gets explained as to why it *wouldn't* work on Angel then, if it's not gonna. Maybe he gets dragged out of the building and its moot, though.

I must say, you did my favorite thing in a serialized story here -- when Angel went, and then Spike, Connor, and Gwen went, out on this mission, there was *no way* to know that it was basically THE big fight and the big pay off starting on a roller coaster. I always love when that happens, like how suddenly in King's "The Dark Tower", you think you're getting one new story in the quest and you're actually at the top of a roller coaster that runs for three issues. It's like, looking back, that Issue #11 was the top of the roller coaster, when at the time it felt like it was just the next small mystery.
Loved this issue ... I really liked the Cordy/Angel interaction - I loved the way she supported him and finally came around to seeing that he had to stay and fight and then convinced him that it was the right thing to do.
Connor kicked ass all the way and loved the way he took care of Gunn and then went right to Angel. Very sad about Cordy the Dragon ... got a little teary eyed there. The last panels really got to me ... and Gunn's manipulation of Illyria to get to Fred was frightening. His expression when he succeeded was one of the best panels in the issue.
The art in general was good - sometimes great and the story telling was awesome.
I know we keep seeing panels of 'vamp' Angel or Angelus, but based on Cordy's conversation with Angel I just can't believe that it's going to be Angelus.
Totally looking forward to the next issue and I'm glad it won't be 2 months again this time.
Brian, I want you to know that you manipulate my emotions as effectively as Joss ever has. I was eating dinner when I turned the page for the fake out (already with a sinking in my gut because of the voice-over on the previous page) and then there it was, and I yelled and had to quit eating. Dude, you ruined my appetite. Well done!

Actually that whole scene reminded me of when Illyria killed everyone in Time Bomb, the way it all happened so fast.

Cordelia looked so happy with Angel's choice! Runge did a fantastic job with her. The Dragon and Gwen were unsettling losses, maybe they'll magically regenerate too? And that last scene with Fred and Gunn....what is he doing?? I can't wait to see how this all wraps up, and to see the explanations for all the mysteries. I Love this series!
Great issue. Posted my review here. (Very spoiler-ish.)
When all is said and done, I think, as much as some aspects were enjoyable, I'll mentally drop all this in between some very large brackets....

:-) :-)>snerk<
I have no idea what that means.
Just smile and nod.
Pretty sure it was a reiteration of the all too frequent "the comics don't really count" mindset that makes Domo-kun kill kittens every time someone posts it.
Great issue Brian!
I almost completely lost my s**t when I saw Spike get staked. Seriously, I was in a library, taking a break from studying, and I nearly screamed. Good thing I kept my composure and read on to find him...inexplicably alive? Don't look a gift horse in the mouth, or are we getting an explanation?
Also, Gwen's death(?) was great. I can't believe I like Connor; thats the power the comics have. They made the second most annoying character in the Buffyverse likable. Wow.
I don't think Fred/Illyria's dead. I just think she'll be pissed off.

But the most important thing; Alex Garner cover = best comic cover of all time (IMO). This issue's cover was beautiful, meaningful, and just stunning in its creativity. Haha, but people who don't know anything about the series and have been looking at the past few covers may start to think that Illyria is the "Angel." No complaints.
Ignoring for a second who Brian and Joss may or may not kill off, if we were going to do a "Winners and Losers" kind of thing for characters in "After the Fall", Connor would fly toward the top of the "winners" category. "After the Fall" has been a complete "public relations" win for the character. Seeing how he's matured and how Brian has been able to synthesize his well-adjusted fake life with his pathos-laden, but badass carving real life, and produce a very cool, effective leader and basically good man is the best bump any character has gotten in this series.

I hope Gwen's not dead... she didn't look really chewed up on the roof, but she is bleeding and perhaps too much viscera is just not deemed appropriate. It's at least *plausible* that she could have been spared any actual lethal wounds, but those things did chomp on her, so even if they were shocked into unconsciousness right away, she's probably got all kinds of broken bones and everything.

Although, we did get that great panel of what looked like "Cordy" (before we saw dozens of dragons) staring down at Gwen like he was pretty hungry. Maybe they both get better but the Dragon has some unfinished business? Was that supposed to be an Issue #13 panel, or an Issue #14 panel? Maybe it was just a fake out, like the Angel in game face was a long time ago?
King--that panel was used in #12.
Yeah, they set up Connor for this in the end of the TV show, but he is definitely one of the best characters now. He's the character I always wanted him to be, finally.
I didn't have the strength to face Hollywood evening traffic to get the book after work. Then I didn't have the strength to not click on this topic. But y'all have been unclear enough that I don't feel spoiled much. Though I understand that you can speak freely at this point.
Aye. Spoilers galore can get discussed. So is Spike dead then?
I haven't read this comic, nor any of after the fall, (too busy trying to find ways to panic about Dollhouse) but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Brian hasn't just killed a major character, then resurrected him and now will completely and utterly ignore that fact. I'm assuming; he's going to explain it.
Sparticus, I am not entirely sure what you are trying to say, but if it is a negative comment on Brian, I want to say that I think he is doing a fabulous job. He truly understands these characters and this story, which is a real blessing.
Simon, Spike is still walking around undead. It appears that there is some mojo in Gunn's hotel that resurrects those that have been killed in it, maybe it's related to all the artifacts that Gunn has been collecting. However, this power doesn't appear to extend to the roof (e.g., several of Gunn's vamp lackeys, Gwen, Cordelia the dragon).

Excellent issue. Brian and Stephen really brought it home. I agree with Sparticus, there is no way that Brian won't explain the open issues/mysteries. I like the pacing of the reveals so far and have confidence that there will not be any major holes left when the series ends.

I don't think that Spike would revamp Angel or that Angel would want that. If W&H can unvamp Angel, they can revamp him. Since he chose to continue after seeing the vision (real or false), then they may decide that his role in the Apocalypse will be on the side of evil, and, therefore, they'll revamp him so he can wreak more damage.

Did anyone else notice the black pegasus in the splash page? Looks like Gru is also out there battling evil. I hope those evil dragons didn't get him or his pegasus.

Where is Beta George during all this? Will Spike and Beta George find each other?
I've been disappointed with lots of earlier 'AtF's, but I can honestly say I thought this issue was excellent, plot-wise, art-wise and voices-wise. Great stuff.

Ouch to staking Spike like that! 2 very effective panels...

ETA: Only bummer was I couldn't get that great Illyria/Fred cover.

[ edited by fangless on 2008-10-23 15:45 ]
@Giles_314

It wasn't a criticism, I was just saying, that a lot of people are saying "woah, he didn't explain the whole dusted / not-dusted thing" but seeing as it's a massive thing, you can assume Brian noticed that he didn't explain it, and did it on purpose to make you buy next month's coming and found out what exactly happened.
I can just think what an amazing feature film this could make. Not that it's not just as amazing on the printed page.

So much pathos.

Poor Cordy.
King of Cretins Brian Lynch: That's not exactly what I was saying. I was just saying I'll probably make a eprsonal choice to ignore this arc as part of long-term developemnt of the characters. I am an egotist, please recall.

GIles_314: Insofar as I followed Sparticus 's comment, I think it was favorable to the story development re Spike and of Brian and how he'll handle this.
I won't have my copy until tonight but I'm loving the sound of some this stuff,especially the Connor stuff.

As for Gwen and the dragon.I called those deaths. I knew Gwen had a target on her forhead the minute she was revealed as the betrayer and would die in some form of redemptive measures.In this case from the sound of it,saving Connor.

Also called Cordy the dragon being killed since I couldn't see L.A. returning from Hell, that is assuming it does,when this is over and a dragon working as a regular character at that point.
Excellent issue, almost on par with last month's utter masterpiece.

The Spike fake-out...holy frak. When I read that, I literally went, "What the fuck, you fucking asshole?!" Yes, I know that sounds extremely vulgar and hostile, but you have to remember that I shouted the same things at the screen when horrible evil things happened to characters I love, and since Spike is my favorite fictional character of all time... I meant it as politely as possible.

I started half-crying...only half because, as KingOfCretins said, I knew there was no way Spike would go out like that. If he had, it would've been brilliant, because of how realistic it was. But I knew--and was hoping beyond hope, the fanboy in my heart overtaking the Serious Artiste in my head--that Spike would be back by issue's end. That's an explanation I'm looking forward to.

Cordy the Dragon's death was very sad, as well.

I can't say that I was as moved by Gwen's death, though it was touching. The real problem is I've only seen Angel in its entirety once all the way through, and I don't really remember Gwen, seeing as she was only in like two episodes. I'm sure if I did, it would've carried a bigger emotional impact. So, basically: My problem, not yours, Brian.

One interesting thing about these comics is the effects they're having on certain unloved characters. The version of Dracula on Buffy was lame, but S8 has turned him into one of my all-time favorites of the series' supporting cast. Connor was merely "meh" for me throughout Angel, but he has become genuinely awesome in After the Fall.

Oh, and then that devastating ending. Fuck.

Kudos to Brian for another stirring, excellent issue.
I'll have to add my voice to those faked out by Spike getting...well, spiked. When he showed up at the end, I had an immediate, "What the hell?!" moment. Due to Whedon's propensity for killing off characters suddenly and ingloriously, a death like that wasn't entirely out of the question. He has a cachet for making death happen in a manner that reflects more on how pointless and sudden death can be, than the character that dies (which has steamed some folk, but I think is valid).

Overall, the issue was a good, but unfortunately quick read. Through most of this, Gunn arises as the center point of question. How noble, ignoble are his pursuits? Does he think he is doing right, or is it a demony-twisted right? I sympathize most with Charles, perhaps because of all the characters from the show, he was denied the chance to return with the very basic essence of who he was. Angel is Angel, but human. Wesley is Wesley, but a spiritish. Connor is Connor, etc...etc. Technically, unless "Hell-A" affects vampirization differently, he's not even Gunn anymore. He's a demon version of who we cared for. Of course, that's always been a blurry line in the Buffyverse. Sometimes a vampire is just a demon, but sometimes its a person, completely as they were, just minus the morals.

Regardless, Gunn is one of the characters to watch and wonder about. Is what we see now, nothing but the extended death of Charles Gunn that won't be complete until Vampire Gunn goes to dust?
I agree, RebelAt, that Gunn is emerging as an even greater tragic figure than Angel (which is really saying something because Angel has really been giving something to cry about brood over now!). I really love everything that Brian is doing in this series, it is all very dire.
Gunn in AtF rules. I love this story. It is so Angel. Nothing going the way it should, nobody comes out alright. Just like the show. Nothing goes the way we want, but we got to keep fighting anyway.

Love it.
Several people keep mentioning looking forward to the explanation behind Spike cheating his dusty death, but while we don't know exactly how it happened we do know it's possible because of the mystical whozit Gunn found that has been resurrecting the same three slayers again and again. Besides being told what the name of the mystical whozit, what else is left of the mystery?

Cordragon's death was incredibly sad to me, especially the panel of her lying on the LA streets broken. Speaking of dragons, anyone notice how the HellA dragons were half-Fighter Jets?

Loved the Connor development and his "Screw that" line. It was perfect for Connor and it reminded me of that moment nearly every Buffyverse character experiences when they choose to defy destiny. The essence of heroism - fighting back against seemingly impossible odds, knowing victory is not assured but cotinuing the fight. Strong is fighting.

Loved the parallels of Gunn saying, "So. Come to this." after being tossed out of the building, both action and dialogue perfectly mirroring Spike in the first panel of the issue. Which leads to the ANGEL motif of vampires being tossed out of buildings - Angel and Spike have done it several times now, Gunn just the once. Both Gunn and Spike are tossed off the tower only to re-emerge with renewed purpose that leads to groundbreaking discoveries. Spike discovers the mystical resurrection capabilities of "Hotel de Chuck". Gunn rediscovers his "mission" when he encounters Fryllria on the street. I like to believe the story structure suggests they needed to hit 'rock bottom' before receiving this elevating knowledge.

How wonderingly twisted and tragic that Gunn finally accomplishes what he had agonized over from AtS season 5 - killing Fred. Gunn keeps sacrificing Fred in order to serve his own purposes - maintaining his intellectual superiority in season 5 and maintaining his moral/messiah superiority in After the Fall.

The death toll in this issue is staggering (whether the death stuck or not) - Angel (dying), Spike, Cordragon, Gwen, the Fred part of Fryllria, Cordy (fading away felt like a kind of death), Wesley (epitomizing death in his ghost-like state). The only main character vibrating with life is Connor and it's fitting that he's the one to rally the troops, to keep Angel from fading away. Angel's hope.

Great issue, but with so much death nailing home the fact that Angel and his friends are in hell, it makes me wonder how the story will survive tragedy after tragedy. Who will still be left standing for Angel:Aftermath? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel and will there be anyone left to walk into it?
I have my copy now and really enjoyed the issue.My favorite thing was Connor.I just loved every bit with him in this issue and I love it's Connor that is the reason Angel decides to live.

On the Cordelia front,I still don't agree with bringing back more departed characters and really hope this is the last of it but the Angel and Cordy scenes were done well.The deep friendship was really shown.So while I didn't agree with it being done to begin with,it was handled fine.Just please don't trot out Doyle next.

As I already mentioned,I figured Gwen and the dragon would be killed but loved how each was played.Gwen dying in a form of redemption and Cordy the dragon's death being very brutal.

The Spike fakeout reminded me a little of the Spike fake out in the episode,"Into The Woods" when Riley staked Spike with a plastic stake.This was different but had a similar vibe.It also reminded me of the fakeout from Angel:Old Friends too.

Man,I think Gunn has risen to the most interesting vamp big baddie in the verse now and that cliffhanger ending with Fred I assume is setting up the cover for next issue.Releasing Illyria in her true form.
I just want to say that if nothing else, I wrote something that had Dragon/Fighter Jet hybrids. Somewhere my 10 year old self is very happy.

Coolest toy never made!
Dude, I do NOT want to think about how the dragons release those missiles on their targets. Brings the term carpet bombing a whole new meaning.
...Wow...

Thanks archon. I now have something new I need to work out through therapy. Anyone here at whedonesque specializing in Buffyverse Cognitive Therapy?
I kind of hope so, because I think I'm going to need it too...

[ edited by UnpluggedCrazy on 2008-10-24 13:16 ]
Jet dragons. Fire comes from their butt instead of their mouths?
Sounds like a real pain in the ass...
ba-bum!:)


I enjoyed the issue more on a re-read, and it is a nice follow to the spectacular number 12. Wish Mooney could stay for the whole thing - hopefully his time on the Angel title is not done after this. I feel with Urru that I am watching an Angel cartoon, but with Mooney I am watching an episode of the show.

Looking forward to next month already...
no clue what to think.

Fred better not be dead.... again. :(
Got my copy last night:

like I'd expected, More Of The Same.

Altho still have to wonder if the Fred we've been seeing has any real connection to her or is she simply Illyria in an MPD-fugue state.
IMO, Fred wasn't dead until this moment. The sentence "Her soul was consumed in the fires of resurrection" always implied something more complex than Fred's soul's destruction to me. A soul's destruction didn't seem to fit with the general tone of the mythology, and when we consume things much of the thing is lost, but some of it becomes a part of us. I think Fred was a part of Illyria, and when they sucked Illyria's power out of her to keep her from exploding, it made Fred's manifestation possible. It's now my belief that Gunn will vamp Fred as opposed to the Angel vamp I was expecting but am thankful to a degree that it didn't happen, for the sake of surprising me and not returning status quo which I am always for. I am giddy and upset to no measurable degree at the prospect of a half vampire Fred/Half demon god Illyria thing. But it is possible her death will just release Illyria in her true form. Or that this is meaningless, or that Illyria will die altogether. I like how the 4th issue of Spike tied into this nicely, showing me she bleeds when she's Fred... Although I may have read it out of order, Spike first. Not sure, I get to the store irregularly.

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