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December 29 2008

Brian Lynch has finished Angel:After The Fall. "It was a long, fun, stressful, insanely rewarding road."

This probably goes without saying, but I'm not ready for it to be over yet.
Well, technically, it's not. Aftermath continues the story and I'm certain that another arc will appear after that, sales allowing.

It would be nice to think Brian was going to be stepping back in and picking the story up again at some point but then he may be too busy with the live action Spike series he is writing for Showtime.* In the meantime I'm happy to see what any new writers might have in store for Angel.

*Okay, totally not true but I'm attempting a gossi-esque Whedonesque rumour creation. Gossi might not have got us a Buffy movie but I'm confident that a Spike show will be greenlit (or is that greenlighted?) within the next few hours.

According to most online news sites anyway.
He misses Beck and Tok. So do I.

It sounds like he wants to write another Spike book.
In the past Brian has talked about wanting to do a Mosaic miniseries so maybe that's what he's talking about here?
I still want to hold Brian to when he said he thought there were a lot more stories to tell with Kate but that she wouldn't be in "Angel: After the Fall" again. How's about a Kate Lockley series? Ooh, you could go TV series with it and have Kate, Xander, and Dana, the crazy Slayer. Think "Fringe", except John Noble's character is a schizophrenic Slayer who paints her face in blood and Josh Jackson is replaced by her whacky one-eyed handler ;)
it's not a new image. That was one of Franco Urru's original sketches of Angel. The image was shown in the back pages of one of the earlier issues, like #4 or #5... so you can take the "Spoiler" tag off...
Arcane, I didn't realize we knew for sure yet that Aftermath IS a continuation. I was hoping so but since what I hope for rarely ever happens, I guess I was assuming not.
Eeee, so happy to read the end and so scared that its closer to over at the same time... I want it and I don't want it. I hate being this confused! *hugs her copies of the comics*
"Aftermath" is definitely a continuation. It's picking up the numbering of the series. It's just a new chapter of the same story.
Thanks, Patxshand, do we know who's writing it? Since it doesn't seem to be Brian Lynch.
Disagree, slightly, Pat. I think of AFTERMATH as the next story for the characters. ANGEL:AFTER THE FALL has has an ending, there's not a cliffhanger at the end of 17 or anything.

I think of AFTERMATH as a sequel. At the end of AFTER THE FALL, characters are in a weird place (emotionally or physically? Hmmmm?) and AFTERMATH will deal with that. I kind of envy Kelley for getting to deal with some of the stuff that is set up, but now I get to sleep!

And that image is most definitely one of Franco's first ANGEL pics, yessir. I think it's in the first hardcover? Not sure.

And we're not doing an ASYLUM II or anything. But that doesn't mean the characters can't make an appearance somewhere...
I think that's what patxshand was meaning too, Brian. A continuation of the story of Angel, rather than one of After the Fall specifically. That's what I was suggesting, at least.
Thanks for the great run, Brian. You've done an excellent job of capturing the characters. Obviously, you lose points for not devoting the rest of your life to the continuation of the title, but for everything else, groovy.
I'm much less confused now, thank you.
Thanks, Patxshand, do we know who's writing it? Since it doesn't seem to be Brian Lynch.

Kelley Armstrong
No, I know, you cleared up the whole "no cliffhanger" thing a while ago, which I was happy to hear. Sorry for the misinterp, but by new chapter, I didn't mean just the continuation of the same story, but that "After the Fall" is a complete story, beginning to end, and "Aftermath" is the start of a new chapter in the overall Angel series, the same way that "After the Fall" was a new chapter after Season 5 and so on.

Which is part of the reason I'm really intrigued by what IDW will do next with the Angel title. While "Buffy: Season Eight," you pretty much know it's going to be arc after arc, all leading to something, IDW's format is a bit less strict, in that they can tell a larger story like "After the Fall," close it out, and then pick up the characters dealing with the aftermath of AtF (lol) in a whole new story. I hope in continues that way, though I do hope we eventually get a longer story like "After the Fall."

[ edited by patxshand on 2008-12-29 21:48 ]
It'll be sad to see this arc end (it's the first complete one I've bought each month,) but I'm looking forward to the continuation.

Wonderful job by everyone involved!
"Ah, weell, laddie, nivver moind, ye troied."

Seriously, thanks for the the high points!
Ahh,sorry about that.Thought it was a new image.Thanks for clearing that up,Brian.
I think Pat's point, with which I agree, is to make clear that That Thing applies to "Aftermath" just as it does to "After the Fall".

Might not be a new image, but it does look good :)

Pat, good question about the titles with IDW's "Angel" books. There seems to have been a plot twist somewhere -- I remember when "After the Fall" was announced, it was pretty clear it was going to be just a one shot maxi, closed story. People compared it to a "movie" to Season 8's "TV show". It was going to be 12 issues... then it pleasantly turned into 15, and then 17. Then "Aftermath" is announced, and curiously, rather being #1, it will be #18.

What it begs the question is whether or not we can assume until we hear otherwise that IDW's "Angel" title is now just an ongoing monthly? And that lead writers (and sub-titles) will come and go regularly?
Well, actually, if you don't consider First Night and Spike: AtF to be separate at all (I don't), I see it as thus far a 27-issue series thus far planned with hopefully more to come. It's season 6 to me.

I think 27 issues with 4 arcs so far officially takes it into a seasonal category.

And Angel was always more serialized than BtVS, so I don't really see the way they are telling the stories between the two comics to be any different. BtVS was always a lot more episodic with a big bad per season. Season 6 AtS (yes, I'm calling it that) is following AtS' usual formula of one episode leading into the next (season 4 being the most extreme version of it) and Wolfram & Hart being the baddie for the entire series rather than just a season.

[ edited by NileQT87 on 2008-12-29 23:58 ]
I miss Brian already. *sniff*
It's season 6 to me.

I really don't like calling it Season 6 because the structure of After the Fall and Aftermath aren't in the TV season format of telling a story. Yes, Angel was more serialized, but it also dealt with introducing themes in the season opener that were the focus by the end of the season.

If you call it Season 6 - when does the season end and Season 7 begin? Because like Brian Lynch says, AtF is a self-contained story. You're right that AtF is very similar to AtS Season 4 in how it all runs together in real time with little breaks. If I were compelled to define the comics as Season 6, I'd say it would end with After the Fall. The finale as the big climax (Issue 15) and the final two issues dealing with the aftermath of bringing the story to a close. But again, I prefer to think of it as the continuation of ANGEL without the TV season format, call it what you will. It doesn't feel like a season to me and a big part of that is that it wasn't written as a season. If that was it's intention, why not call it Season 6?

[ edited by Emmie on 2008-12-30 05:56 ]
He's done a brilliant job, and has been a welcome part of the community here online!
I really wish Brian Lynch was going to be doing some more Spike and/or Angelverse series, all his work has been amazing! I'm going to miss him something awful.
More Spike and/or Angelverse comics by Lynch would be aces. :)
I'm eager to read the third Angel: After the Fall hardcover. I have a book store gift card I'm saving just for that in March.

I read Volume 1 in September and Volume 2 in October, I took some notes (in anticipation of a thread here, then later the Q&A for Hardcover #3, but I didn't get around to submitting). Many of you guys are something like six or seven issues ahead of the trades at the moment (AtF #14 or 15 being the most recently released?), but I wanna post my thoughts thus far anyway.

***SPOILERS*** for Angel: After the Fall Volumes 1 and 2 (issues #1-8) as well as up to Angel #12, I think
Issue #1

Why does Angel refer to Fred's death as if Wolfram & Hart killed her ? That was all Knox, if I'm recalling correctly. It wasn't later revealed that W&H sanctioned it, was it ? Or was Angel more referring to the fact that going to and working at W&H killed her ? It didn't sound like that though.

Why is Wes the last official rep of the L.A. branch ? What happened to the tons of lawyers and other staff ? They couldn't have all gotten out of the city before the wall went up, even assuming the company was nice enough to give warnings. Did Eve go down with the building ? I was hoping that would be answered in the first couple story arcs, if it's been answered since I guess I'll find out.

Demon leader Burge's two or three attempts at humor were warning signs for me that some of the humor might fall flat in this. Thankfully it's been okay, mostly. I think think the drama and the twists and poingnant bits are more this comic's strong suit though.

Something I thought of as I got more used to Wesley as a Lilah-style W&H ghost-slave--are all the Angel Investigations employees who joined up at the end of Season 4 under the same contract ? So if Angel dies, we'll still see his ghost (provided W&H wants to use him) ? What are the rules here ? Technically, shouldn't we be seeing Gunn-the-ghost in addition to Gunn-the-vamp, or is W&H not able to cash in on the death if a part of them still walks and talks ? I know why we don't see a Fred-ghost, because Illyria's rebirth completely destroyed Fred, right down to her soul (right ? Please don't mess with that crushing yet ballsy downer of a death detail, it's a major dealbreaker for me, unless Whedon was going somewhere with the fragments of Fred's memories that persisted in Illyria).

Issue #2

Oookay, so the Gunn-vamp is...insane ? I mean I get and appreciate the irony/awfulness of Charles my-sister-Alonna-was-vamped-and-I-hate-'em-more-than-Xander-does-but-probably-not-as-much-as-Holtz-did Gunn suffering that fate, but at the same time...ehn...I had a bit more to say about Gunn but his "First Night" story answered some questions and I'll address the weirdness further down.

Gunn/Harth (from Fray) similarities ? Anyone see 'em ?

Angel punching Spike in the face was very satisfying. Justice for being subjected to the out-of-place, nipping-at-your-heels, mostly annoying yap-dog he was in Season 5. I like Spike a lot, overall, as a character and for his story arcs (as a villain in Season 2, Buffy Seasons 5 & 6, some of the humor he brought in Season 4), but the few times he was worthwhile on Angel Season 5 ("Damage"-majorly, plus some good humor and I'll give them "A Hole in the World" and "The Girl in Question") didn't justify his presence or really make up for his crappyness in Season 7. I did appreciate that we got to touch on his history with Angel/Angelus a bit, their issues with eachother and such, but that wasn't really exploited to full potential and my feelings about him with Angel Season 6 remain the same. He needs to go, "After the Fall" feels like it should be about others, he's had his major time in the spotlight across the franchise. Maybe I get my wish and he's mostly kept out of the rest of the comic ? I see there's a Spike: After the Fall series, hardcover out in March...

Has Jenny Mollen said anything about her character's state ? Just wondering if she's said anything about playing Nina feral, heh.

Issue #3

Yay Illyria, and those timeslip bits were very cool, whether they amount to anything or not. Fine to acknowledge that memories of Fred's survive within Illyria, that was fully established on the show, but I really hope Lynch isn't headed in a certain resurrection-shaped direction (even if it's a pseudo-resurrection) by having Angel think what he did while fighting her.

The Loan Shark-Demon, hah! Oh, but then again, one-time throwaway, ultra-cheese visual joke...I'm conflicted because of continuity-love vs. killing the joke by repeating it. Well, I did chuckle upon seeing it, so good one Brian.

The reveal about Angel no longer being a vamp came sooner than I was expecting, despite being a little spoiled on a few points for this series (early on--since the summer I made more of an effort to avoid). I love it. If that was something intended to happen in the Season 6 that didn't happen, I'm even more sorry we didn't get to see it.

Loving' Franco Urru's art (colorists doing well too).

Issue #4

Has anyone said whether the timeslip images are glimpses of what will happen, or just red herring fun for the fans ? I sort of love the Spike-with-Slayer-Scythe-in-Fray's-time-standing-over-beheaded-body panel. If stone-set, at least it would reassure somewhat that we'll see more of Fray's time.

What is Spider, Spike's right hand bikini babe ? She doesn't sound human from her dialogue.

The only art I've had a problem with was how Groo was drawn. Not good.

Hmm, W&H threatening Wes that they could replace him with a zombie-resurrect of Lindsey McDonald...this is consistent with what was shown with re-animations as early as "The Zeppo" and maybe even "Some Assembly Required" (science instead of voodoo magic in that case though), but all it does is serve to remind me of the annoyance of Joss ignoring his own continuity (the following rant is obviously not directed at Lynch and "After the Fall"). Joyce, Tara, and other deaths were sad and sometimes poignant and powerful, but they make no narrative sense in this universe. So what if they would come back a little wrong, seemingly the argument against what Dawn did in "Forever". Zack O'Toole seemed functional enough (putting aside for a sec that he was a scumbag) and Darryl the Frankenstein-like resurrect was fine except for being disfigured and too willing to obtain a girlfriend at any cost. I don't want them back, but it makes no sense in the Buffyverse for loved ones of magic-knowledgable, magic-using characters to stay dead. Tara, Jenny, Joyce--they could all be back in some form, living and continuing to aid and love their friends and families (if Oz can adjust to lycanthropy and Angel can continue to go on living as an ensouled vampire all this time...). If it weren't for the knowledge that there exists a blissful Heaven-like state in the Buffyverse, there would be no good reason, that I can recall, to ever let anybody stay dead (except for Fred, her soul gone).

I don't like being reminded of those past examples though, because I prefer the "non-magic-death-is-permanent" rule that they decided to shoehorn into the series in "Seeing Red". Except it doesn't line up with the history of the franchise. As much as we may laud this creation of Joss for its fantastic sense of continuity, it unfortunately isn't the case when it comes to some of the magic and mythology of the series. It leads to some head-scratchers of plot points sometimes, least for me it has.

Issue #5

I do love Angel's flame sword, yep.

Enjoyed it overall, but jury's still out on many aspects and I guess I'll need to read the second hardcover. Yeah, I'm hooked.

"After the Fall" Volume 1 Extras

This series had some very cool and/or beautiful covers. The "Original Proposal" was interesting in spots for the differences in how the actual first five issues turned out.
From the "Chapter One Script & Author Notes"
Page Two, Brian says: "The Dragon being Angel's best new pal was Joss' idea. I wanted Spike to run in and kill the Dragon seconds after Angel declared that he wanted to. Joss had the better idea."

Man, this is exactly what I find grating about some writers' treatment of Spike--having him steal the thunder, so grating from the perspective of a viewer/reader who likes most of the characters equally. I'm glad Joss had his say on this one. I know a lotta readers might've appreciated the moment, but I don't think the gag would've been worth it.

I was completely okay with Wes being in this as a W&H-owned ghost employee after two or three issues (whichever one had him being talked to the most in the White Room). It makes sense given the contract (I wonder if we'll ever find out what became of Lilah. Maybe we're to assume that W&H only kept her around long enough to get the gang into the idea of running the place?). It doesn't take away from his death scene in the series, it was still one of the best in the franchise (combined with Illyria's perfect hero moment). I'm interested in seeing what'll be done with him.

I wonder what happened to Connor's makeshift family. Did they all die ?

Appreciate Brian Lynch was going for sensitivity in changing that one demon lord's dialogue from "monkey" to "mongrel" in front of Gunn, but I don't think it's necessary, especially not after Dracula's dialogue toward Renae in Buffy Season 8 (which comes off as far more racist given that he was once human, albeit a man of his time). I think readers are smart enough to realize that a demon saying that word is referring to humans being primitive by comparison (in the demon's opinion), racism wouldn't even be a factor since he was even worse, a speciesist.

Does Gunn still have his W&H-gifted lawyer-smarts ? Is he still somehow mystically connected to them (remember the panther) ? Does the Cat's Eye artifact/gem have anything to do with that panther ? I think Angel saw Gunn with cat eyes in a dream in Season 5 (in "Soul Purpose"?).

Checklist of what I know (from Brian's commentary in the first hardcover) Joss wanted in the book:
-the Dragon as Angel's friend/ride
-Wes back as W&H ghost-slave
-Lynch's original creation, Beta George (really not a "Jar Jar", I like George. If the fan who made that criticism online did so after only the first five issues, I'm just not seeing it).
-Gunn as a vampire (and apparently, an arc with a big scope)
-Maybe Gwen and Nina too ? Connor just seems like a natural addition after being brought back into things at the end of Season 5. I have no clue whether they were looking at asking Kartheiser back for Season 6 before the show got canned, but I'm glad he's in the comic.

Issue # 6 - 8 ("First Night")

I really like Connor's bit, how he thinks of his three fathers, plus his quick flashbacks. I think that's the first time we got a glimpse of Quor'Toth, I don't think the glowy portal that Sahjahn opened and Holtz took the baby into in Season 3 gave us a look.

Lorne's poem/First Night recap was good too. I like the bubble-within-a-bubble that Silverlake is.

Did Gwen's touch-enabling, electricity-inhibiting gizmo break permanently as soon as L.A. went to hell ? Wasn't completely clear on what happened there when her touch killed the Nathan Fillion lookalike, didn't see a smoking device drop off her back or anything.

Okay, so Gunn isn't a traditional vamp because of the W&H upgrade, maybe ? What's going on ? He didn't realize what he was right when he woke up, so he must have his soul or not be controlled by the demon inside or something...Just that vampires never had to learn or come to a slow realization they were vampires on the shows.

I haaate when commentary in trade paperbacks spoils future issues, even a little. Brian Lynch, in the section where you talk about "First Night" stories that got dropped or altered, I didn't want to know to expect Wesley being the mouthpiece in issue #12 for something big (instead of Lindsey), I didn't want it spoiled that we're later going to find out that the Powers That Be can't touch L.A.-in-hell, and I really didn't want to know that Cordelia comes back in #12. I mean come on. You have to be figuring when you write these extras that a lot of the people buying these collections will be first-time readers [I jotted this note after finishing Hardcover #2, I'm sort of over it now. Still ouch though]

I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt with it until I read it because you've handled Wesley real well and vamp-Gunn's fine so far, but I'm pretty wary of having Cordy back, no matter the form/medium. You seem extremely resurrection-happy. Yes, Lindsey coming back under the W&H contract could've worked too, but as you say in your commentary, it would've undermined his death. The whole thing of it was that he'd screwed up his second chance--leaving in Season 2/quitting W&H--and Angel didn't trust him to refrain from threatening him and his own yet again in the future. W&H should also be through with him. Much as I liked Lindsey as a villain--not so much for his convoluted plans in Season 5 though--his time really was up and I don't think there was much more to squeeze out of the character.

What did happen to Eve though ?

[ edited by Kris on 2008-12-30 07:31 ]

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