Comic: Angel - Season 11 (Issue #1)
Release Date: January 18, 2017
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Angel is back -- but, this time, his title series has slightly changed. After two seasons of the comic book Angel & Faith, the formerly dark slayer and brooding vampire with a soul have parted ways. The balance between the pair was shockingly a major selling point of the series initially, but, by giving Faith and Angel their respective individual paths, perhaps Angel will return to his roots by recreating the essence of his series. That doesn’t mean Angel is alone, but his current companion and series MVP Fred (with Illyria lurking inside of her) is back into the action as a primary figure in Season 11’s narrative.
Much like the Buffy title, Angel will be condensed into a shorter series with a overarching plot -- seemingly centered on Angel delving into his past from memories or visions that begin to occur and blind the titular character. Thankfully, Angel isn’t solely in the spotlight, and, with the inclusion of Fred, the series feels nostalgic to what the television series offered us many years ago. A majority of the core characters from Angel are long gone (Wesley is dead, Cordelia is a higher being and Spike is finally with Buffy again) but Fred was (in my opinion) the greatest strength Angel ever offered us. The naïve girl turned survivor of a demon realm became the heart of the franchise and her death sent shockwaves through characters and viewers alike. Now that there has been some time between her reappearance and we know it’s truly Fred who has returned, a big piece of what was missing has come back to its rightful place.
With Fred back in action (still very excited if you couldn’t tell) this brings Illyria as a key role this season. The two must begin to learn how to balance their existences with one another, as both their lives have drastically been altered due to the other. It creates one of the most complex and intriguing dynamics with plenty of potential to explore various avenues of storytelling, which I feel coming in upcoming issues. Before the line between god and human can be further developed, Illyria seems to have another purpose: guiding Angel through these flashbacks he has that she deems connected to something “coming.”
We aren’t informed of what this could be just yet (it’s only Issue #1 after all), but Illyria takes it upon herself to use her abilities to help see what connection Angel has to whatever trouble is brewing. From this, we know Angel’s Season 11 series will involve traveling back through time during major moments of Angel’s life, and we can rest assured that his past choices will not be overlooked. Angelus, Twilight, Buffy, Cordelia and so many more elements that impacted Angel profoundly could come up in the span of the series, but, with only a slight taste of what’s to come Angel leaves enough ambiguity to give uncharted direction for his journey with Fred and Illyria down the rabbit hole.
The new writer on Angel (Corinna Bechko) does a nice job at bringing these characters back to life with a transition between seasons and a new creative team, as Geraldo Borges is now taking over the artistic depiction of the season, giving readers a new spin on Angel. The first issues takes time to lay some groundwork without giving away too much information, but it’s a promising start to the series. If given the opportunity to see a few familiar faces (still crossing my fingers for a Cordy emergence), this is going to be the season to do it -- who wouldn’t want to travel back to the old Angel Investigations gang? Angel Season 11 is available now and is a series that reminds us how expansive the world of Buffy truly is.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
- Keeping Fred around was one of the smartest creative choices from Joss Whedon and the other writers.
- Angel’s past has always been colorful, so let’s see where the series takes us. (It will probably get pretty dark.)
- Is anyone else wondering how things are going for Faith? Just curious.