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April 05 2006

Illyria One Shot Comic Advance Review. FractalMatter.com gets its hands on a copy of the Illyria comic by Peter David and Nicola Scott.

fractalmatter.com reviews the Angel Spotlight: llyria comic from IDW; the reviewer is someone who hasn't watched every episode of Angel or Buffy.

They also serve up a review of Spike Vs Dracula.

Where exactly can I find the Spike Vs Dracula review as I can't see it.
I love Illyria so I may be having to pick this one up.
Spike Vs Dracula

and Susanna Clark interview where she mentions Joss

Sorry for the confusion - cat trying to sit in my lap whilst typing!

[ edited by auferstehen on 2006-04-04 23:06 ]

[ edited by auferstehen on 2006-04-04 23:06 ]
Edited original post to add links, and for clarity.
Wow, that Illyria comic definetely sounds interesting
Why are people so fascinated by Illyria? She killed Freddie. This wasn't a mind merging or a cute symbiotic relationship like in the posh Star Trek Universe. This was an ancient parasitic monster infiltrating an innocent woman's body and hollowing it out to make a home for itself. It is a shell. Illyria's presence in Fred's body is a slap in the face of humanity. It's humiliating. It's like an earthworm living in a decaying apple on a table. It's like termites gnawing at the foundation of your home.
I am fascinated by Illyria because she is a fascinating character. While I love the character of Fred I also love the character who killed her. This is why Joss Whedon shows are so great.
And ZM, another source of fascination is that Fred's residue (presence? spirit? essence?) undeniably exerts some degree of influence over Illyria, making "it" a more complex character than simply an Old One who goes around stomping on humanity. Anyhow, I really dig Amy's performance as Illyria.
I think if the show had continued, Joss would have brought Fred back, somehow. I like Illyria, but ZachMind's point is well taken. Fred's death, specifically the way she died, chewed me up, and watching her corpse walk around and use her persona for its own purpose bothered me.
I think the whole Illyria/Fred Death is a truly fascinating debate and I think it's one main reason why it was written in to the show. Also I think Amy Acker's performance was just amazing. I too also think that had the show continued Joss would have brought Fred back somehow. Even though that didn't happen, I think Illyria was an interesting and very bold direction to go in, especially in a television series of a regular and popular character.
I always found Illyria to be similar in appearance to the alien race called the Elerians in the classic 1996 Space Exploration game Master of Orion 2. Pictures of Elerians from the game can be found here:
http://tifpc.tripod.com

I wonder if Joss ever played or saw MOO2?
This was an ancient parasitic monster infiltrating an innocent woman's body and hollowing it out to make a home for itself. It is a shell. Illyria's presence in Fred's body is a slap in the face of humanity. It's humiliating.

Your point being...?

Your argument simply restates the story. And the story is fascinating. Illyria had no feeling for Fred, but we did. But Fred, in some small ways, still has an affect on the character - especially when Illyria imitates Fred. It is a symbiotic relationship, though Illyria is more dominant.

Illyria only having a brief time on the series is one reason I wish the series had been renewed for season six.
Didn't Joss say that Illyria was influenced by the comic book character Promethea created by Alan Moore.
I remember that we had a huge debate on this back in the day; what, if any part of Fred remains. I recall making many a long drawn out post about the subject at any rate.
I loved Fred, loved Illyria, loved the irony that in a season where Angel had to question whether he was the fated one, one fated to be came into it's destiny by inhabiting the shell of a woman who we first met scribbling physic equations in a cave trying desperately to escape the dimension she was trapped in.(Doesn't anyone see the parallels? Just me?)Fred the expert on time, dimensions, and all things physics, becomes a god of chaos trapped in time and one dimension. It may have been destined but ultimately destiny meant nothing, in the end Fred/Illyria's story became Angel's. The time for destinies was over, there was a new game in town.

This comic sounds excellent.
Promethea was supposed to be the source of season four's Buffy fusion with her friends in that finale. That said, there doesn't seem to be much link other than how they were both mystic in terms of power. (Promethea is a neat concept that a fictional ancient being/character can be reborn in different generations through an art medium. Or something or other.)

I know that people compare the idea of Illyria with "Dark Phoenix" from the X-Men comics even in terms of the fiery rebirth and death and consumption yada yada, but I'm not sure if that was ever an official line.

...As for Illyria, Amy Acker was far better in that role than as Fred, and there were even some moments of "bad-ass Fred" that I really thought came across as poor acting and/or writing (mostly just bits of Supersymmetry). It's interesting that the actress is so wonderful when all out god-king though.
Amy Acker was awesome in both roles. That's not at issue here. I feel Illyria is Whedon turning the iconic Buffy impetus inside out. Buffy is the epitome of 'that girl' in the horror film genre (Laurie Strode in Halloween, Alice Hardy in Friday the 13th, Nancy Thompson in Nightmare on Elm Street) with the added ability to scare the evils of the world back. Illyria is Winnifred Burkle, 'that girl' in the horror film genre, but the evil wins, takes her over, and then finds itself trapped inside her shell like a prison. It's like if The Master killed Buffy, crawled inside her, and couldn't get out.


Buffy Season Two
GILES: What do you want me to say?
BUFFY: Lie to me.
GILES: Yes, it's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.
BUFFY: Liar.


Angel Season Five
FRED: Would you like me to lie to you now?
WESLEY: Yes. Thank you. Yes...
FRED: ...It's gonna be OK. It won't hurt much longer, and then you'll be where I am. (crying) We'll be together.


Grrr. Argh. Meh.
ZM, thanks for reminding me of why I love Season 2 Buffy so much!
zencat said: "I think if the show had continued, Joss would have brought Fred back, somehow."

I heard that if Angel had continued, they were thinking of having Willow do some guest spots and I think somewhere along the line, she would have split Fred and Illyria into two beings, so Amy Acker would have had something of a double role in Angel.
auferstehen: Self linking to your own site is against our rules. Normally this would be deleted but there's already a discussion going on so I shall leave this thread alone. Next time I won't.
I think I was able to drum up a lot more sympathy and care for Illyria because she/it was a person out of step with the era she currently found herself in. I'm a sucker for "lost" types. Remember that she had no malicious intentions toward Fred. She didn't choose Fred, hers was simply the body Illyria was pulled into due to Fred messing with the sarcophagus. Sad as it was...kinda just like being the unlucky human to contract the mother of all terminal illnesses, if you really put it in perspective. We don't know whether Illyria, its followers, or fate itself were originators of the prophecy that predicted the events of its return. I can't remember the episode details in "A Hole in the World" and "Shells" surrounding her return exactly, but Illyria itself may not've even been expecting a resurrection at the time of its death.

And it can't be faulted for wanting to live, to continue existing. We may not like it, since its return could've meant really bad news for us, but since Illyria's army was found long-dead and Wes took away much of her powers, she really wouldn't have been that much of a threat to the human race had the series continued and she'd gone all-bad eventually.

I'm also not sure that things would've been as easy as "good" and "evil" during the time of Illyria and the Old Ones. We don't really know what things were like back then in the Buffyverse, just that the Lovecraftian-type creatures had their day and then "the way was made clear [or did Giles recite "safe" ?] for animals, for mortals" (yeah, that quote seems a bit off). Just sounds like things were one huge, chaotic, strictly Survivial Of The Fittest/Cruelest mess back then. But who knows if Illyria and her kind could be held to traditional standards of what would qualify for "good" or "evil" or even "grey". We weren't around yet to create those labels (assuming they aren't intrinsic qualities that categorize all sentient creatures in the Buffyverse). It wasn't as easy as "all demons are bad" in the cases of the moder day and even long-lived demons in the Buffyverse (I mean hell, even a vampire without a soul was good or at least arguably "grey" for a while), so I imagine the same is true of the original pure demons as well.

Amy Acker was good as Fred, but IMO she was outstanding as Illyria. While I liked Fred very much, Illyria was a hell of a lot more interesting than Season 5 Fred. I think they'd done all they could with her, pretty much.

I thought Illyria's untapped potential story arc was arguably the most tragic thing about the series not getting its sixth and most likely planned final season.

Re: A resurrection of Fred

I think that would've been horrible. You can only do that trick so many times, and the Buffyverse had already exceeded its limit, IMO (Buffy, Angel, and I think Spike put them over the top. Characters like Darla made sense, especially since they were so unexplored and had potentially rich histories and trouble to further contribute...am I forgetting any other major resurrections?) With the huge deal they made about Fred dying in both "A Hole in the World" and "Shells", and then kinda holding it over most of the remaining Season 5 eps, it would risk cheapening her death considerably if they brought her back. Hers was one of the most tragic exits, from the "Why can't I stay?" to the whole thing about even her soul being consumed during Illyria's revival and there being not one bit of her left (just some of her memories and mannerisms for Illyria to utilize and maybe learn from when necessary).

[ edited by Kris on 2006-04-05 10:00 ]
ZachsMind wrote:
Illyria is Winnifred Burkle, 'that girl' in the horror film genre, but the evil wins, takes her over, and then finds itself trapped inside her shell like a prison.

Which is a great story - though it's not as black & white as you paint the picture. It's not merely evil defeating good, it's evil getting trapped and, in essence, suffering as well.

Regardless, the fact that it's not the Buffy story all over again is fine by me. Buffy is the iconic girl who fights back. Fred isn't.
I agree with Kris here that Illyria isn't necessarily evil. Sure she's (i'm going with 'she' since it's in Fred's body and "it's" feels awkward as a pronoun for a sentient being) certainly not good but the whole thing about whether demons even have the choice/ability to be good is very grey in the Buffyverse. She was immensely powerful and used (abused ?) that power to her own ends but then you don't shoot a dog for peeing up a lamp-post. He's just doing what he does. It's only when something knows there's a right and wrong and can care about the difference that they can be called good or evil, IMO. Everything else is just biology.

I also agree that, much as I loved Fred, Illyria was more interesting than later seasons Fred (and, boy, did the performance show what Amy Acker is capable of). Her arc could basically have portrayed the entire development of a moral being from scratch (I don't think Spike counts here since he already had experience as one and knew what it entailed) and that would have been fascinating to see. It would have been a great chance to examine our most precious rights and moral duties and figure out what, if anything, makes them so.

And I also think Fred would've been a resurrection too far, especially since such pains had been taken to make it clear she was really, really dead with even her soul being fragmented. What we might have seen was Illyria consciously choosing some of the surviving elements of Fred and adding them to her own character so that a few 'Fred-isms' started to come through but clearly that's not resurrection by a long shot.
All right, I don't really have much to add to this fascinating debate...

But just to make sure, these comics aren't canon, are they? I think I read somewhere that they weren't, but I just wanna make sure.

[ edited by UnpluggedCrazy on 2006-04-05 11:13 ]
Not certain UnpluggedCrazy but Peter David is a big Buffy/Angel fan and makes an effort not to actively contradict existing continuity. Also, as far as I know, Joss still has the final yay/nay on the story outline.

But strictly canonical ? I'd say not.
Peter David is a big Buffy/Angel fan and makes an effort not to actively contradict existing continuity.


Yeah I have a question about that. In Spike versus Dracula #1, Spike was aware that Angelus now had a soul i.e. he found out immediately after the gypsy curse. But in Buffy, Spike didn't know Angel had a soul when they first met in School Hard.
Ah, you're using the somewhat antiquated definition of continuity Simon, I on the other hand am using the newer, more street 'not in continuity' meaning. Not your fault, sometimes i'm too hip for my own good. Err, yo, G, Zup ?

Bought but not read Spike vs Dracula #1 (isn't #2 out this week ?) so I hadn't noticed that but for what it's worth, in the light of post 'School Hard' episodes, Spike not knowing always seemed pretty unlikely given how they ran together for a few decades. So on Peter David's behalf i'm going to fan-wank that School Hard Spike might have thought Angel lost his soul again in the intervening years (and if you squint a bit and ignore, y'know, the words, the episode dialogue reflects this completely ;-).
Simon - I won't selflink again, I did wait 4 days to see if you guys would pick it up, just thought it'd be of interest.
I think that in School Hard, Spike was thrown off a bit by Angel acting like the old Angelus (holding Xander and offering to share him with Spike). Spike knew, but maybe considered the possibility that Angelus was back. It was a ruse on Angel's part, and it failed because Spike suspected Angel's soul was still there.
When Spike met up with Angel in the 1940s on the submarine in "Why We Fight" didn't Spike think Angel was soulless?
auferstehen - I actually read your site a fair bit since it moved from MillarWorld but I must have missed the Illyria review. Send us a email next time you think there's an article we'd be interested in and we'll sort something out.

And regarding Spike not know Angel was ensouled, well he didn't pick it up on it in that submarine episode.
I'll have to watch "School Hard" again. It had been decades since they've seen each other last so maybe it's not that Spike didn't know about the curse so much that maybe he thought Angel was back to being his old evil self again.
OK - I'm back to Illyria killing Fred - just one thing to add to that discussion -

Knox set the circumstances up so Illyria could infect Fred. Knox chose Fred. He knew what would happen and how he could resurect Illyria. The infection was not Illyria's fault. Even Wes says at some point the Illyria infected Fred with no more malice than any virus/bacteria infects any other organism.

Know was dating Fred then she broke up with him for Wes. So if Fred had choosen Knox instead of Wes, would Knox still have infected the women he cared about (possibly loved?) with Illyria?

This comic looks really interesting and I agree with all the comments about why Illyria is such a great character and IMO Amy does a wonderful job in both roles.
I also think we would have seen Fred again, had the series continued. Kind of a Rick Jones/Captain Marvel or Banner/Hulk switch thing would be my guess.
Kris said
Hers was one of the most tragic exits, from the "Why can't I stay?" to the whole thing about even her soul being consumed during Illyria's revival and there being not one bit of her left (just some of her memories and mannerisms for Illyria to utilize and maybe learn from when necessary).

Saje said
And I also think Fred would've been a resurrection too far, especially since such pains had been taken to make it clear she was really, really dead with even her soul being fragmented. What we might have seen was Illyria consciously choosing some of the surviving elements of Fred and adding them to her own character so that a few 'Fred-isms' started to come through but clearly that's not resurrection by a long shot.

I get what you’re both saying but what I really loved about ‘Origin’ was the way the dropping of the memory box thingy by Wes really opened the door, in a believable way to a lot more of Fred being present in Illyria.

If the ‘shell’ of Illyria picked up not only the cancelled memories but context to go with them we could have access to S4 Fred. I’m not saying that’s ‘resurrection’ as such but it would give the writers a lot to play with. [apologies if this rehashes stuff you’ve all discussed way back when – I came to Angel on dvd]
"Sad as it was...kinda just like being the unlucky human to contract the mother of all terminal illnesses, if you really put it in perspective."

I do believe that's what I've tried to do with previous posts to this thread. I'm trying to put the character of Illyria in perspective. She's a parasite. A creature (monster) that lived its life eons ago and yeah she was a god and killed and maimed and caused all kinds of destruction bravo blah blah. She died. She was incarcerated into a pine box, mummified. dead dead dead.

"I'm a sucker for 'lost' types."

I have no stomach for 'antihero' types that dismiss morality. I find them boring and with no arc. It's like a lion eating a sick buffalo. Survival of the fittest. Yawn. Whatever. Watching Illyria beat up on things is like watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom do a story about parasitic invaders in the wild. She's a parasite. A predator. A wild dinosaur thing that had her day in the sun ages ago and hasn't the decency to realize time has passed her by.

Caveman versus spaceman. Fred is dead, Zed. Fred is dead.
Yeah, Zachsmind but that's Illyria now. We've already seen her change in just the 5 or 6 episodes she was in so I don't really get the whole 'no arc' thing you mention.

She has a very natural arc from what she is to what she (for want of a better word) ought to be aided by those around her and partly by Fred's memories. As I mention above, it's a way to look at the difference between the way the rest of the natural world behaves (and arguably our core nature as humans leads us to behave) and the ideal of how a thinking, moral being should be.

More like caveman becomes spaceman and that sounds like an interesting trip to me.

(it's also a way of propagating the classical liberal idea - and, BTW, I hate having to qualify liberal with 'classical' now that it seems to have become an insult, especially in the US - that most people, if given an even break, can change for the better, an idea that Joss's stuff is absolutely full of)

purplehazel, I kind of think we might be agreeing at cross purposes ;). I think Fred's memories would inform who Illyria came to be and certainly help her to become a better person (and in the course of this some of Fred's characteristics would become Illyria's) but I don't think that's resurrection. It's more like a son or daughter or even a particularly gifted student than the kind of clone that resurrection would require. You're right though it would've given the writers plenty to work with. Ah well. Wasn't to be ;(.
Yes, we wouldn't consider it resurrection if she was not in Fred's body. Although, I'm not quite sure what it would be called if someone who didn't look like Fred started talking and behaving like her.
Well, actually, having just seen Slither, I do know what it would be called - creepy!
Hellooo -Anyone know when this comic will be released?
Well, IDW has it down for this month but I don't see it in either this week's or next week's releases so i'd assume either 19th or 26th April in the US. Normally a bit later elsewhere.
Simon - I'll make sure to do that next time, thanks.

In regards to spike vs dracula (which I need to read the next issue!) anyone else catch the Quid comment...

It was great watching my husband go on a rant on how that word wasn't used at that time in history (him having an masters degree in history and all that).
Thanks Saje. Been to the IDW website and couldn't find it , but was looking only in the store. Went to the homepage and there it was! Thanks again!

[ edited by AncientMagicks on 2006-04-05 22:09 ]
No probs, AncientMagicks ;).

At risk of being challenged to pistols at dawn by your hubby auferstehen ;), 'quid' has been used as slang for a pound since the end of the 17th century so fits in 1898 quite nicely (whether a seemingly respectable bookseller would use it to a customer is another matter, it's still rare in that kind of formal setting even in these more relaxed times though you might hear it at a market stall or maybe the more 'blokey' environment of a garage).

Leaping out at me was Spike's amusing though probably inaccurate use of 'My Ass' a few pages later. Don't think he'd been to America by this point, and certainly not for long enough to start using US slang. A Brit would almost definitely have said 'arse', of course (unless he meant his donkey ;).
Seeing Peter David will be scripting the next chapter of Stephen King's Dark Tower for Marvel Comics, his profile will be raising very rapidly. So hold onto those Spike comic books, they may be go up in value. Also means that the next couple of issues might be harder to get a hold of.

Shit hot writer = extreme comic book fan boy interest.

Course that could mean many newcomers discovering the Buffyverse through his comic books. Which is no bad thing really.
Ah, but will they all flock to the brilliant X-Factor #87... or the Fallen Angel ongoing at IDW.
Now that both Jeff Marriote and Peter David will not be writing any more Angel or Spike comics, after Spike Vs Dracula finishes it's run, who will replace them as the main writers of the Angel comics line.
Cool, thanks for the link Simon. Glad I didn't wait for the trade. Early retirement here I come ;).

I'm pretty happy about this since even though i'd definitely be getting the Dark Tower comics anyway, it bodes well that it's him writing them (I was slightly disappointed with the end of the series but then how can a set of books you've been reading for something like 20 years ever end in a totally satisfying manner ?). Maybe David will ret-con some of the naff bits out.

More potential viewers, always good (not sure there'd be a huge cross-over with most Stephen King fans but i'd say Dark Tower fans are probably more likely to dig Buffy et al since it's got a large heroic fantasy element)
who will replace them as the main writers of the Angel comics line


Scott Tipton? His Spike one-shot was decent enough.
Both Peter David and Jeff Marriote were well known writers before they wrote their Angel comics. I would hope the new writer/s were of similar stature in the field of comics.
Yeah, Tipton's Spike one shot wasn't bad at all though I didn't love the art too much. If he makes a decent job of the Wesley Spotlight too then he could be a worthy replacement.

I'd like to see a Batman writer have a crack at Angel. Devin Grayson, Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker or someone similar. Or if we're entering superstar territory then Jeph Loeb. Or whatsisname, Frank something, Milton or Milley is it ? something like that ;-).
Of course if you want to read AtS with a different cast, you could just start reading Peter's new X-Factor where they are X-Factor Investiagations.

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