Here’s a quick summary of issue #43:
In the future, Angel and his companions prepare to face off against Rowant, the powerful sister of the deceased James. Rowant reveals that she’s been behind a number of events in an attempt to defeat her brother’s success in turning Earth into a demon breeding ground. When an opening for an attack appears, the gang goes for the gold and almost manages to defeat Rowant when Darrow is fatally stabbed.
Meanwhile, back in present day Los Angeles, Connor and the others are outnumbered by James and his demon warriors. When one of the demons takes a shot at Laura, Mr. Polyphemus takes the bullet, resulting in an odd but sad death scene for the little ball of knowledge. In a final attempt to save all of their lives, Gunn points his rifle at Connor’s head, hoping he can cause Connor’s new powers to activate by threatening him.
Back in the future, Rowant offers Angel ownership and rule of the Earth as long as he continues to farm demons. Angel promptly refuses and, thanks to a hint from Darrow’s final words, is transported back to the present by Illyria. Connor and the gang turn to see that Angel has returned. James smiles and welcomes the vampire home.
-Illyria version 2.0… again! Writers David Tischman and Mariah Huehner really took a step last issue by giving us a new version of Illyria, complete with some unspecified time travel abilities and a higher code of morality. While the advancement of the character was worthy of applause, if felt slightly rushed and specifics seemed to be glazed over. Nothing further is explained regarding Illyria this issue; the character just feels more solid in her own skin this time, as if the writers suddenly got confidence in this move with the Blue Meanie. Whatever the reason, Illyria shines a little bit in this issue, and we’re left to wonder if this is the last we’ll see of our favorite Old One given she appears to not have followed Angel through her portal to the present. With that in mind, below is a real gem of Illyria’s dialogue from this issue. This exchange between Rowant and Illyria is one of those moments where the lines seem so perfect that one can hear Amy Acker’s priceless delivery as it is read. Kudos to both Tischman and Huehner.
– Darrow’s dying Twilight warning! What do you know? It looks like Darrow was actually a decent, honest person even though he was both a lawyer and worked for Wolfram & Hart. Of course, this is probably why he is also dead. And since IDW and Dark Horse have been tying their threads together for a while, I appreciated that Darrow’s dying words were a cryptic warning of the coming events of Twilight. I’d have chills if he was simply warning of the Bella Swan flick, but we all know what horrible events await Angel down the road.
– Jenny Frison’s magnificent covers! I know I was just going gaga earlier this month over Frison’s covers for the Illyria: Haunted series, but her work on the last few issues of Angel had been just as phenomenal! It is sometimes forgotten, maybe because Mr. Boreanaz is actually human and actually ages, but Angelus was known in Europe as ‘The One With The Angelic Face.’ The Angel in Frison’s upcoming cover for issue #44 is not only worthy of this title, but gives us a peak at what our ageless vampire hero would look like, despite his 250 plus years of tortured and painful existence.
-Mr Polyphemus!!! That’s who you killed??? I may be in the minority here, but Mr Polyphemus was a character that I was hoping would stick around. In my opinion, Tischman and Huehner should have reversed the situation with Laura taking the bullet for Mr Polyphemus. Not only is the quirky and ancient little ball of knowledge an original and unique character to replace the Wesley/Fred research expert hole in Team Angel, (especially given that Laura is just a few minor notches above being a female carbon copy of Wesley) but the idea of a human character sacrificing herself for a non-human character and the later story of“Mr Polyphemus struggling to deal with the loss of its closest friend would be much more true to the spirit of the original show. Watching Mr Polyphemus grow I to the Angel family is something I wish we would’ve gotten to see.
– The Willingham curse of clunkiness. I don’t mean to always rag on poor Bill, but the awkward elements that Tischman and Huehner are forced to deal with all lead back to his time on Angel. Tischman and Huehner are doing and admirable job with what they’ve been given, but it’s disappointing that Angel can’t seem to completely shake the clunkiness of Willingham’s additions and most of that has to do with his left over story threads. Spike’s soul flu, the Sisterhood, Rowant and James, Conner’s new powers – all elements this series would be better without, but certainly can’t ignore. Maybe we can make a deal with Wolfram & Hart to rewrite time…
Once again, there wasn’t a lot of buzz regarding this issue of Angel with the majority of the feedback taking place at the IDW discussion boards. Sadly, this is just another sign that not many fans are picking up this book. Still, those that are reading seemed to agree that the issue was a well written one and left the reader eager for the series finale.
Well, the end is near, fellow Scoobies! Next month brings the final issue of IDW’s Angel and will answer who lives to make the move to Dark Horse! Just in case that’s not enough, IDW’s got a little bonus, an Angel Yearbook heading our way also! Below is a preview image courtesy of Stephen Mooney.
’Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer