Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Director's Cut

What Is It?: Angel- After the Fall #1 (The Director's Cut)

Timing: C'mon.

REVIEW: To read my review of the first issue, click here.

This review will basically tackle the few changes made to the actual comic as well as the addition of script and commentary in the back, as well as the actual physical presentation of the book. Which we'll get to first.

The Book: It's beautiful. Not only does this have one of my favorite covers, but it's all glossed up with the title and author names in gold and foily glory. The book itself is bound like a trade paperback, much like the Spike one-shots IDW put out in 2006. When sorting this in your collection, this definitely doesn't go in the comic section. It goes right to the TPBs.

The Changes: There aren't many changes to the comic. As you might have seen on Brian's blog, Gunn's hoodie has been changed to red. This was a good decision, I think, because a lot of fans couldn't tell that it was Gunn on the last page. However, I'd argue that said fans weren't paying attention at all if they couldn't recognize Gunn in the regular edition, but that's neither here nor there. It was a good change. However, I was cock-slapped with surprise to see that the "Big Ol' Mistake" in this issue wasn't changed. When the issue first came out, everyone wondered what the heck Uk-Ca is. Brian (or Ryall, I forget) came out and said it was supposed to say Uk-La. As in Kr'ph mispronouncing UCLA. Well... it's kinda still there. Which was surprising, because that was an actual error while the thing that was changed (Gunn's hoodie) wasn't. But it's nothing to get your boxers twisted about, because I'm sure it'll be changed in the actual TPB (well... THC, considering it'll be a hardcover).

The Script: If the cover didn't convince you to buy this, the addition of Brian's script should. His message board writing has always been as sarcastically funny as the dialogue in his comic-writing, and it's the same for his script. On it's own, the script is a good read, but it's even better when you're flipping back to the actual pages of the comic to see where things have changed. And oh did things change from the script. Most for the good, though some things should have stayed. In the commentary (which I'll get to later), Brian mentions how much of Wesley's dialogue was changed from the initial script. And it's true. The Wesley we see in the final version is spot-on. However, there is one line I'd have liked to see. Not only would it cement Wes's limitations as a ghost, it's also so Wesley and so funny. When Angel and Wes were discussing Angel going out on heroic rounds, Wes originally said, "I miss rounds. But I guess aside from the occasional popping through walls and freaking out the evil-dooers with a heartfelt booga booga, I'd be quite inconsequential." Great stuff. Even though it's not in the final version, reading lines like this is what makes this a book worth buying. Overall, the script shows how honed the final version of "Angel: After the Fall #1" is and how much work went into it. It's a great example of how the writing process goes, and gives those unfamiliar with comics an inside look into just how things go.

The commentary: For the sake of length, the commentary of this issue is placed in the borders of the script. This is good because you can read the script of the page and then just look to the side and see the commentary. As far as substance, I was hoping for a little more insight into how Joss and Brian collaborated on this, but Brian's notes are--as always--an entertaining read. I especially liked the sections where Brian talked about how certain characters were originally supposed to do different things. Betta George was supposed to be chilling with a certain British someone, someone else was supposed to kill Kr'ph, and the end of the issue was originally supposed to be very, very different. Great commentary.

Overall: Overall, this is a great buy. Page quality is high, binding is good, and it's just a book you need to have in your collection. IDW and Brian Lynch are extremely generous in how they're treating Angel fans, and this is a prime example of that. This issue got numerous printings, will be collected into a hardcover edition next month, and yet they still provide us with this glossy book with a brand new cover and killer bonus feature. That is something you just can't beat.

---------The Issue, as you may remember, was a 10/10 Classic.
---------This book gets a 9/10


Loki said...

I'm feeling torn on this. The commentary is interesting and all, but I don't really like being informed about what could've happened - if it's good, I will never stop being annoyed that they didn't do it, and if it's not good then I'll be like "oh, ok, good they didn't then" and not think about it twice anyway.

On the other hand, Lynch's comments are probably an entertaining read on this one as it was on Shadow Puppets and Asylum even if some of the stuff might agonize me forever, and I'd like to support IDW in releasing this by buying it...

Loki said...

Well, I bought it... Hopefully won't regret it.