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January 13 2010

(SPOILER) Geeky Reflection on the New Buffy Villain. An indepth look at how the big reveal could impact on the verse.

I'm sorry but there is just no way Joss is going to damage Angel for the long run. I am quite frankly amazed that anyone is really worried about that. Angel has a damn good reason to be acting as Twilight, if he is, in fact, the man behind the mask. IMO
What gives you the impression that the writer of that article is worried about this at all? I have it on good authority that this stand-up dude, this handsome gentleman, this guy who totally isn't me (only, he is) is very excited about this reveal.
A comment on timing: We know that Angel goes on 1 year of adventures in the 'real world' after Buffy destroys Sunnydale. We know that the first 22 issues of Angel take place in the blink of an eye directly following the end of the TV show. We know that not much more than a year has passed between the end of the Buffy TV show and the comic (based upon the lack of Dawn aging). We also know that Twilight was in play for a while before the Buffy comic series began. He had established connections to the government, his people had scars that weren't recent, etc... As such, it seems unlikely that IDW Angel is DH Angel because DH Angel's plan seems to be well underway about a year after the end of the Buffy TV series and the IDW Angel doesn't seem to be having that plan at all at about that time in the IDW series. This is either another Angel or a different time Angel.
When did go on a year of adventures? I thought Angel season 5 followed on from Buffy season 7 by a matter of weeks?
It's not set in stone that Buffy: Season Eight takes place a year or so after Season Seven. They were originally saying a year and a half if I remember correctly, but then they switched to "comic book time." Timing surely doesn't matter as much as some folks think it is, because if it did, they would give more strict answers as to when this thing goes down.
17 or 19 (can't remember) days to be exact Simon.
Yes that's right, it was flashed on the screen on the second episode of season 5. Thanks :).
Also, just a quick correction, because sometimes, to avoid spreading the incorrect word, some guy has got to be THAT guy.

The first 22 issues of Angel don't take place in an instant. The first 16 do.

#1-16 and #24-25 essentially take place in an instant. They're the books that take place in or lead up to LA being sent to Hell.

#17 takes place a month or so later.

#18-22 take place very shortly after #17, and #23 simply fills us in on what happened to Gunn between #17 and #18.

#26-27 take place some time after #22. A movie has been made about Angel in the meantime, so it could be a while. Though, the movie could have been rushed. Probably way, considering the director is a parody of Michael Bay.

#28 and on take place... well, again, doesn't really matter. Gunn and Illyria have returned, Spike had the time to go to Vegas, and Angel had the time to be kidnapped for a few days before the arc started. Whatever makes sense for the story is when this takes place.
Good article but I am really not sold on Twilight being Present!Angel. In "A Beautiful Sunset" Twilight says he is trying to "avert" the wrongs done by Buffy and her Slayers. Well to avert anything is to stop something that hasn't yet come to pass from happening. There have been other little allusions to Twilight being somewhat psychic (e.g how he knew the Godesses were going to turn on everyone).

My money is on Twilight being a future or Frayverse version of Angel and the Angel Buffy is being intimate with on the covers is Present!Angel. I'm thinking Present!Angel and Buffy are going to have to make some huge sacrifices to stop whatever Twilight is trying to avert come about.
Didn't Brian Lynch shoot down the theory that future Angel in After The Fall was not in the Frayverse?
It was actually Spike that he said that about. People were cooking up a lot of Fray theories because the glimpse Illyria gave us of Future Spike had him with a scythe, so Brian Lynch cleared it up by saying that it wasn't THE scythe and that the future he was showing wasn't at the Fray place in time.
I don't know to be honest. I suppose it doesn't have to be Frayverse Angel but just a future version of him that experiences whatever horrible things Buffy and the Slayers do.
I think it COULD be a Frayverse Angel. Brian Lynch's comments about the glimpses from his book not being in that timeline don't limit Buffy: Season Eight from writing stories about Angel in that timeline. However... would it really be as emotionally significant? I'm not sure it would. It might work, yeah, but how devastating would it be if this is Angel as we all (all including Buffy) know and love him?

Also, angeliclestat, thanks for linking my article. You da man.
You're right it would be far more emotionally visceral for it to be the actual Angel but my qualms are a)Buffy kissing him (which I don't think she would do just because he is Angel) Buffy and Twilight seem to have a genuine disliking for each other, I don't see how his unmasking changes that b)Can Angel really come back from this? is redemption still a viable option, he's done dark (ok more a deep gray) before on his own show (S2 and kinda in S5) but this is out and out evil, we can't wax lyrical or suagr coat that. c) Making Angel Twilight flies in the face of the very ethos of the shows. This isn't some alter ego, this is our hero being the villain. I just think that would be more ruinous than engaging.

[ edited by Kean on 2010-01-13 17:45 ]
It's an interesting read.I think it could be future Angel myself.I don't think it's Angelus though.I think Angel has his soul.
4. How come he can fly and throw buildings now?

5. Why the hell is he dressed like that?

6. Why is he having Warren and Amy do his dirty work? They are so Bush league, it must be driving him crazy.
Good points, for sure, but not super pressing matters for me. Interesting, for sure, but those, I figure will be the first thing Joss covers, especially after his comment about clothes in the recent interview.
6. Why is he having Warren and Amy do his dirty work? They are so Bush league, it must be driving him crazy.

He works with them because the Army force found and recruited them. So basically, they're underling hires he got stuck with because of middle management. Kinda like... Harmony as his secretary. Sure, they're driving him crazy. But it's so Angel to get stuck with annoying sidekicks he didn't plan on working with.

To date, that list of sidekicks that just kinda stuck to him includes Doyle (wouldn't leave him alone), Cordelia (hired herself as his secretary), Wes (hired himself as a co-rogue demon hunter), and Harmony (got hired by Wes as his secretary - aw, perhaps pseudo filling the Cordy role in an inadequate way). :)
Great great great comparisons, Emmie. I never really noticed that about Angel. The only dude that he really sought out (kinda) as a teammate was Gunn, hm? Even Spike was thrown upon him, first by Drusilla, and then by the amulet.
I wonder if we'll get an issue seen from Angel's POV.
No prob Pat. Your articles are always well written and thought provoking, so loads of people should get to read them:)

Simon - Now that would be great! Would be good to get into what the hell is goin on lol
Simon, I think the year of adventures jgsugden is referring to IS Angel Season 5. I get the impression jgsugden's intended meaning of the statement was "After Buffy destroys Sunnyday, and before Angel:ATF."
I'm so out of the loop, since I haven't read any of the Angel comics cover to cover, but suddenly I wonder: if the IDW comics are (and always have been) tied in with the DH ones, and if all the characters can come and go at Joss's will (and in the case of Angel/Twilight, have been doing so), then where's Spike going to end up? Because he's totally got a role to play, too.
I still don't see a way out of this that doesn't destroy the series for that subset of us who still view 1. Angel as a hero (given the tactics Twilight has employed, 2. whose love for the Verse is inextricably intertwined with the always-left out there possibility of Angel and Buffy ending up together, and 3. generally hope for consistency in portrayals of characters throughout mediums. As such, I'm still furious about this.
I'm sorry but there is just no way Joss is going to damage Angel for the long run.

Yep. He'd never kill Tara, either. Think of the backlash at the cliche!

Never tell the writer what he can or cannot do. Especially when he essentially owns the character (unlike Buffy, whom the Kuzui's have some interest in...)

ETA: typo

[ edited by jclemens on 2010-01-13 19:16 ]
Loved the kitty in the chicken hat, dude.
goingtowork, I'm with you on 1-3, but I don't see the problem. Several rationales have been posited that would leave the Angel we know and love as an innocent, revolving mostly around him not being in control of his actions for whatever reason (Angelus, mind/mystical control, etc...) I doubt if we've hit the nail on the head though, and I, for one, am excited to see what Joss came up with (4 years ago mind you) for this. He doesn't have to justify why Twilight is Angel, he has to show us why Angel became Twilight. And he's had that from the beginning.

All of this disbelief and non-understanding and conjecture is exactly why this is a great reveal (though not the way it should have been! And hopefully still will be for some). As myself and others here have said, and Allie, and Joss: It's the 'why' that's the interesting part. We're on the other side of the 'why' right now so it doesn't make sense. Once we get there there will likely still be those who don't like it, but I bet for completely different reasons.
"Angel TV Show" Wolfram and Hart a ridiculously powerful, magical entity in the world, is fully convinced Angel is pivotal to the end of the world.
"A:TF" showed that Angel is definitely a scary, brutal bastard in the apocalypse.
"You're Welcome" Cordelia kisses Angel and gives him the visions.
"Enemies" proves that Angel is an exceptional actor.

I think what we're seeing is our Angel, putting on a game. He either got a vision, or something that showed him a future he must avert, just like he did every week for years on his show. He believes everything he's doing is 100% self-sacrificial, horribly painful, but completely necessary.
I also think it's killing him, and he never intends to reveal his identity to Buffy or anyone, ever (but of course it will somehow).
Think about it, if you see yourself in the future inflicting endless destruction, you might, as a hero, make the decision see the world a little differently, and consider it a numbers game from that point on. Maybe he's just so deep into his B-villain role, and his mission, he's not letting himself be "Angel" at all. He really is "Twilight" for the foreseeable future, and if people die, people die.

The only problem I see with all of this is that, it would mean a lot of Angel mythology would have to be suddenly brought on to Buffy, when it previously was kept pretty separate. But then again, I think that would have to happen, seeing as it's... Angel. No more off-screen meetings or holding Buffy's hand in graveyards. Their two lives will actually have to come together for the first time since "Sanctuary."

[ edited by narky on 2010-01-13 20:19 ]
Cordelia gave Angel a vision. Singular, one-time only deal.
Or so he thought. I can't see any way that he could have been certain about that at the time.
bobw1o, I agree that the "why" question is the important one. Trouble is, I can't see a compelling answer that isn't a cop-out (see your examples of mind-control or Angelus) or that would end up destroying any of the three things that we both agreed are centrally important to the Buffy/Angelverse. I'm sure Joss will surprise me somehow (he is my favorite creator of fiction for a reason), but right now I'm having a lot of difficulty seeing how that surprise, no matter how surprising, could as a matter of logic avoid all of the many possible pitfalls (I might describe why I think this is a logical issue more in the future, but I'm a bit busy now).

Perhaps this all stems from a general frustration with the comics. I've thought, on the whole, that the Angel comics have done an infinitely better job capturing the essence of the series than the Buffy ones. Every major character/plot development up until this point has struck me as silly (Dawn's various transformations), dangerous (Buffy being sexually interested in Xander), or just plain stupid (time travel). Angel being Twilight is, to me, the nail in the coffin being driven all but half an inch in. Maybe Joss can pull it out, but given the tenor of the rest of the comics, I seriously doubt it.
To your first paragraph: You're inability to see it is my point. I can't see it either which is exactly why I'm interested to. I want to know why. As i said, I don't think any of those reasons are the right one. But the fact that we can easily rationalize it several different ways should prove that there are ways it could work. I'm not complaining cause I know there is a why. I might not like it for whatever reason, but it seems like people think this is out of nowhere or something, when the truth is Twilight wouldn't exist if he wasn't Angel. There's a reason, it'll track, we may still not like it. I won't know till I read it, so I'm in no way assuming it's ridiculous right now.

ETA: if it made sense without explanation, it wouldn't be compelling. The big reveal (whether now or in a few months) would be boring and unsurprising. This is why the 'why' is so important for something like this. This is in fact a twist, vs. a surprise (which are often called twists, semantics argument I know). A twist changes the meaning of what came before, as people are already discovering, and coming at odds with without knowing the full story. A surprise is simply unexpected.

As to your second paragraph, this is where we completely disagree! Flip the titles and I agree with you. I stopped reading ATF around issue 12 cause to me it didn't fit with the series. In fact, I think there is an issue or two that I bought and never read, which is why I stopped buying them.

[ edited by bobw1o on 2010-01-13 22:50 ]
That 'Point A' to 'Point T' thing cracked me up. I'm sorry, I'm having way too much difficulty reconciling the Angel I know from both the series and the comics, with some twit in a costume who bosses around Warren and Amy of all people. Season 8 has officially just bitten it's own behind.
So here's what I meant by an issue of logic. There are two possible general strategies to explain why Angel is Twilight: one involves him not acting of his own free will or not being himself, and the latter involves him choosing to be Twilight of his own free will. There's no way around this - Joss has to have picked one or the other.

The former route is certainly a cop-out. Anything interesting dramatically comes from the fact that Twilight is, in fact, our Angel. Mind-controlled Angel, future Angel, Angelus, a clone of Angel (etc.) have either already had the thematic juice taken out of them (see Season 2 for Angelus) or didn't have any to begin with. Where's the interesting conflict between Buffy and Angel who is being mind-controlled by W&H (for example)?

The latter route, however, is simply impossible to reconcile with the Angel we know, as fivebyfivefaith pointed out. There's no way Angel, given what we know about his beliefs and reasons for actions, would freely work with evil Amy and misogynistic Warren, oversee the production of a technological weapon (the missile) that has the potential to kill innocents from abroad, or order his own troops into a battle that he knows is futile (thus ordering thousands of people to senseless deaths). Either we have to believe Angel (not Angelus) is evil, or he is stupid enough to believe that this is all the best way to go about eliminating magic (as opposed to, you know, talking to Buffy or any of the near infinite other ways of going about furthering the boo magic! agenda without killing thousands of innocents). This is made worse by the fact that Joss can't reuse the "Angel is pretending to be evil to subvert a greater evil" trope, because resurrecting the plot of Angel Season 5 would also be a cop-out.

You see the problem, bob? It is logically impossible to avoid using an explanation of either type one or type two, and explanations of both types have irreparable structural flaws by virtue of the type of explanation. Since these flaws are independent of any one vehicle of explanation, but rather a direct result of the type, it doesn't matter how creative Joss is in inventing an end. The story as it exists has ensured a failed ending.
goingtowork, that's only true if you're so convinced that you've examined it to such a thorough degree that nothing can possibly satisfy or surprise you. I can get cynical about writers recycling or being obvious too. Sometimes with entertainment (especially TV and comics), I can predict where the creator is headed with a particular theme, character arc, or plot resolution, but I'm never so certain that I'd state in such overconfidence that the writer "has ensured a failed ending". This goes beyond our usual brand of speculation and seems to be conclusively-judging-before-having-the-full-story syndrome. The plain fact is, you don't know/we don't know, so although we're gonna have opinions, why go so far as to slam down the entirety of what remains to be seen ?

I don't think Future-Angel lacks dramatic juice. It would be especially cruel (though perhaps necessary, in Angel's mind) if he were punishing Buffy and hundreds (if not thousands) of others for wrongs she has yet to commit (or is in the midst of committing, but without having any awareness of the future consequences). Though...why not just talk to her about it ? There're still ways around that. We'd have to get filled in on a lot of what went down between present-day-Buffyverse (2004 or 2005 or whatever year it's supposed to be--personally I like 2005) and whatever year Twilight-Angel is from.

It won't be a clone. Joss has read Spider-Man.

Mind-controlled Angel could be worthwhile only if the Man Behind The Scenes/Pulling the Strings is an incredibly good reveal. Angel would be pissed when he came out of it. I don't have a feeling that this is the case, but it's a viable route.
LOL @ Pat! How cool! My mistake then.
Haha no worries! "Trust in Joss" is pretty much my whole thang at this point, and I hope the article communicates that. Not only 'cause of what he's done in the past, but did you guys read "Turbulence"? Whew. Perfect.
Pat: great article there. Pretty much summed up the theories I had - and the ones I didn't know I had yet myself ;) - to a nice degree. I'm with the "trust in Joss" crowd and with the "let's not judge the story before we see it" crowd as well.

Because I believe there's no such thing as having already ensured a failed ending, goingtowork. Sure, there's a lot of endings that you would consider to be pre-failed (I'm not sure I agree with all of 'em being failed though; 'Angel pretending to be evil to avert a greater evil', or even 'Angel being evil to avert a greater evil' both seem fine to me, despite that part of that theme has been used in Angel S5 - heck, it's been used on Buffy before that as well).

Another option we haven't discussed is that Angel is working towards a time reset. We've already established time travel and even 'time ripples extending backwards' in this season, so that's not too big a stretch. I can see where killing in the 'now' won't make much of a deal if you know you're working to resetting all that evil you've done anyway.

I don't think this'd be terribly compelling (but then I'm not Joss, and I'm sure handled the right way it could be compelling), but then again this is something I came up with in the time it took to me to read goingtowork's post and think of it as an undiscussed option. And Joss has had this idea in his head for - at least - four years. His interview at CBR seemed to suggest that something like this might have even been gestating in his head for longer than that. And while I'm sure that the 'why' could very well be one of the things we've theorized upon, but maybe served with an extra helping of 'great storytelling' and 'great characterization', it could also be something we have not yet considered. I don't agree that we can step unto a writers playground, without knowing the rules and be certain that we know every single option there's to be had.

And sure: this thing may turn out to be crap (although, as per the 'trust in joss'-mantra, I don't think it'll be), but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. First: we'll see where all of this is going.

ETR typo's

[ edited by GVH on 2010-01-14 14:35 ]
I'm gonna end up repeating other people's points here in some form, so first I want to give credit where due - Kris and GVH are spot on.

goingtowork - First I just want to point out that I am not in anyway flat out claiming you are wrong. I do believe if you don't end up liking the reasoning, that it'll be more about you not liking WHY it makes sense vs. not thinking it makes sense. You've agreed to as much (such as one of the "cop out" possibilities), so I think we're on the same page here.

But you continue to prove my point, that we don't know yet (so we can't judge yet.) I agree that based on what we know it doesn't make sense. That's how it is a surprise. We'd not be surprised if it made sense based on what we know. It certainly wouldn't be a "reveal"

You're only definitely right in your last post based on absolutes you can't possibly know, most if not all of which are based on personal opinion. There are blanks to fill in for any of the posed theories (mine, yours, whoever's) to become true. That's the point. I wouldn't be interested if there weren't. I, for one, am excited to learn what lead Angel to this path, that's my opinion. And my opinion is that whatever that story is will be extremely interesting , believable, and even potentially entertaining (depending how the story is told). I admit I could be wrong. But that's it, it's all conjecture right now.

My whole thing isn't to prove right now that it's not a big mistake, only to say now isn't the time to make that call. As others have said, trust in Joss for now, make your judgement call when you actually find out. Don't assume the worst right now.

As a side note: I believe it was you (apologies if not) that said (and I paraphrase) Buffy time-traveling in the comics was silly or stupid or somesuch. I totally disagree, but oh well. But if it's an issue of reconciling with the TV series, there are four instances of time manipulation from BTVS and ATS off the top of my head, so there was precedence.
bob, aside from Illyria's powers going mental in "Time Bomb" (and I suppose you could interpret her slow-down manipulation in "Shell" as time manipulation as well, but I sorta recall that being that she herself was just really quick, no? And you could group the Illyria incidences under one because it's all a part of her power) and Warren's device in "Life Serial" that frustrated Buffy, what other examples were there of time manipulation in the TV shows ?
There was also that demon from "Dead Things". I can't think of any others myself, and none of those examples to me really count as time travel - they're just time going wonky over short periods.

That said, I don't have a problem with time travel in the comics.

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