Angel #35 Review And Some Yummy, Whedon-Comic News Bites From SDCC!!!

 
 
Still obsessed with manipulating prophecies, “Spike” has hired a group of out-of-work Hollywood writers to scribe his “future accomplishments” into history. While it still feels like Willingham is using one-note jokes in the scene, it’s a clever idea. Willingham also slips in some mockery by “Spike” at the name of Buffy’s current big bad, “Twilight.” The text even suggests that the whole “Twilight” scenario in Buffy could be the result of “Spike’s” pseudo-prophecies and his desire to see “Angel” as a lame-named villain! Given the hot-blooded history Willingham has with Dark Horse Editor Scott Allie and Joss Whedon over “Twilight’s” identity, this could be a personal jab, but it reads as a perfect moment of dialogue for Captain Peroxide.  Let’s give Willingham the benefit of the doubt and just hope that his writing of "Spike" is improving.
 
The main downfall of this issue is how much it focused on the warriors from “The Sisterhood of the Jaro Hill.” The army of female warriors has sworn to protect “Connor” in past issues, and, in this one, we see more of who they are.  It is revealed that they consider themselves to be above the law and may have darker motives. I’m sure Willingham is maneuvering them to take a larger part of the story, but, so far, they remain fairly boring characters to follow when compared to the rest of the cast. Still, I believe Willingham has the opportunity and the smarts to correct this over the course of the next issue.
 
The soul sucker from last issue also reappears in this issue.  Entering Angel Investigations disguised as a client, she soon launches into an attack on the gang. As the issue closes, the soul sucker grabs “Spike” and lets the cat out of the bag: “Spike” has no soul. I’m sure this is supposed to be a huge reveal, but, for some reason, it doesn’t seem to resonate.  Maybe it’s because it seems like our characters have been souled and resouled so many times at this point that it seems old hat. Maybe it’s because Willingham will most likely explain this away in the next issue with some sort of magical influence like he did with the limb-dusting fiasco earlier in the series. Of course, IDW Angel editor Mariah Huehner used “Spike’s” absence of a soul to explain his recent odd behavior in a recent article, but it still seems like a cover for poor writing. Willingham’s “Spike” hasn’t been behaving as if he doesn’t have a soul. At least, not the unsouled “Spike” we know and love. “Spike” is not killing people or making morally questionable decisions. Sure, he seems to be acting like a bit of a slut lately, but that has nothing to do with his lack of a soul. Souled “Spike” banged “Harmony” in Angel season five as soon as he could. And unsouled “Spike” remained chaste and devoted only to “Buffy” throughout Buffy season five. Much will surely be cleared up next issue, but, for now, this just doesn’t sit right.
 
The “Eddie Hope” story did continue at the end of the issue, but hardly anything happened. Last time, we left “Eddie Hope” as he was about to kill a tied-up “Charles Gunn.”  This issue, “Gunn” escapes. That’s it. To make up for it, here are my personal top Whedon-related comic book news bites from SDCC 2010:
 
 
#1: Dark Horse’s Riley one shot comes out later this month and sounds like it’ll be packed with a juicy plot that will fill us in on how “Riley” came to work for “Twilight,” what’s up with “Riley’s” wife “Sam,” and a special appearance from a character from the past. My best guess is “Ethan Rayne.” Someone had to shoot him in the head, right? My money is on “Riley.”  
 
#2: Joss had been officially confirmed as the director for The Avengers. Woo Hoo!!!
 
#3: Dark Horse editor, Scott Allie, will be co-writing the final arc of Buffy season eight with Joss. This was done to lighten the work load on Joss and should be fine considering the fact that Allie has guided season eight from the beginning with Joss. Allie also confirmed that season eight will leave some loose threads for season nine to pick up. So far, these loose threads include “Simone” and her rouge gang of slayers and the origins of the yet-to-be-seen crew that accompanies “Spike” on his odd ball “ship" from the last issue of Buffy.
 
#4: Even more impressive was Allie’s announcement that it seems like Dark Horse and IDW have worked out their issues and will attempt to tie IDW’s Angel books to Dark Horse’s Buffy season eight. Apparently, “Spike’s” ship and “Willow” will both be showing up in future IDW Angel books. Kudos to both companies for getting their @#$% together!
 
#5: Allie also dished on the status of Buffy season nine, describing how it will be a tighter story told over a shorter period of time. Multiple artists will work on the series given that two or three “arcs” may run at the same time. That means multiple Buffy books each month! Despite the dent in the wallet, it sounds positive and will hopefully address fan complaints that the three plus years of season eight were jus
t too long.
 
#6: Buffy season eight is also coming out as a motion comic on iTunes first and later on DVD. Dark Horse is not involved, which seems like a mistake, but I caught the trailer while walking the floor at the Con, and it gave me a nerdgasm. 
 
    Here’s a link to the trailer on iTunes: 
 
 http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewTVSeason?id=380739250&s=143441
 
 
 
 
 
#7: Apparently, Jones Soda was peddling Buffy flavors at SDCC to promote the motion comic. Can’t believe I missed this one!
 
#8: Dollhouse comics are happening! An exclusive art print was given out to those who pre-ordered season two at the Con, and, apparently, every season two DVD will include a DVD-sized comic book from Dark Horse. Scott Allie mentioned that the comic could unofficially be deemed Epitaph Three, since it follows the characters of “Mag” and others on the day the tech first went public and a single phone call created an army that changed the world. Allie said that this could lead to more Dollhouse comics from Dark Horse.
 
#9: Finally, “Buffy” & “Hellboy” finally get to slay vampires together! Surprisingly, I haven’t heard anything about this anywhere else, but artist, Randy Green and Andy Owens, the man behind Buffy season eight’s inking, were hanging in artist alley during the Con and selling an incredible new art print with Buffy & Hellboy together the way they should be. Dark Horse, this is your signal to start paving the way for the comic. I picked up one of the art prints, and it’s my top prize from the Con this year. Check out the drool worthy pictures!
 
 
 
 
That’s it for now. ‘Till the end of the world…
 
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer
 
 
 
 
 
 
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