Friday, February 6, 2009

ANGEL #17 review; MET BRIAN LYNCH; ANGEL/SPIKE details, all at NYCC

NY Comic Con.

I met a lot of wonderful people that I admire. Met the man who has quickly become my favorite writer. Met some of the best artists working, met some cool up-and-comers. Also saw a dude at a certain popular Comic Con booth try to go stealth for an ass-scratch, but he wasn't as suave as he thought.

All in all, fantastic experience, ass-scratcher aside.

Since this is a review site, I'll start with--gasp--a review. I'll do a proper review for Angel #17 this Wednesday when I get a copy to keep, but yes, I did get to read it in full. Which means, yes, I got to meet Brian Lynch, who is one of the men I mentioned above. Hint? Not the ass scratcher.


Loved it. It's such a perfect end to the series, packed with huge character moments and a lot of action as well. The Angel/Spike talk Brian promised? It delivers. It's funny, poignant, and gives insight into Spike's role in the overall scheme of things. It's gives us some of the most brotherly, emotional Angel and Spike moments of the entire series, but keeps it popping with all the bickering and quipping you'd expect from a conversation between our two vamps. There are great moments for Nina, Illyria, and a lot of the earlier villains (who, after the physical reboot, are all alive again). It's so low key, and really feels at once like a return to the normalcy of the Angel series and like an effective ending to the most epic story that has ever been told about these characters. There are some great exchanges between Spike, Betta George, and a certain early villain who gets a lot of screen time, and oh is it deserving. It's Franco's best art even, the colors are great, and it is every bit as good as #17. I'll give a more insightful review when I've read it again and I'm not so worn out, but damn what an ending. What an ending.

Before I get into the bigger stuff--the IDW panel, as it was big on announcements--I'll tackle the Dark Horse panel. I didn't stick around for the entire thing, because I heard they were selling colorful energy drinks for affordable prices next to the Image Comics booth, but I caught all the Buffy announcements. As Buffyfest (grumble, grumble) (just kidding, love you guys) posted earlier, there is going to be a Tales of the Vampires one shot that focuses on a slayer and vampire in modern times. That comes out in June, which is great, as that is when the Buffy comic will go on a one month hiatus. Gotta say, I'm glad they gave us another issue this time, as it was pretty hard going that long without a Buffy fix. Allie announced a writer and artist, but I didn't really catch the name. Becky something is the writer, and Fabio Moon and someone else is on cover duty, along with our beloved Jo Chen.

Scott Allie really breezed through Buffy, but he did reveal the cover of the "Predators and Prey" trade, which I have... here.

...No, just kidding. Here it is.

So, that's it on the Buffy front.

Before I go into the autographs, pictures, and assorted nuzzles I got, it's time for the big stuff. This may/may not be the first time you're hearing this stuff, so read carefully, favorite the site, tell all your friends, etcetera.


Yup, you knew it. It's been implied quite a lot, but now it's official. Brian Lynch is writing, Franco Urru is pencilling. It's about Spike trying to find himself, find his true purpose. And if you read Spike: Asylum, Shadow Puppets... you know like I do that it'll be a risk, seeing Lynch take on a character like Spike that he's never really dealt with before. *cricket* Really, though, it'll be awesome. Can't believe we're lucky enough to get an ongoing anything from Mr. Lynch, who already has enough on his plate. Oh, which I will get to later.

But yeah. You knew all that, so how about some NEWISH Spike details?

+ Will BECK be in it? Uhhhhhh yes. She will. In other news, Brian Lynch said that Beck is based on the lady sitting behind me who (Pat Shand turns around) just happens to be Brian's wife!

+ Will BETTA GEORGE be in it? Uhh, yeah. Notice how many less h's there are there. It's because while Betta George is awesome, Brian feels that "the fish has had his time in the spotlight." I think Spike might find it hard to stay away from George, though, I think he has a fish thing.
+ It's an on-going. Brian said it will go for at least a bit over a year.

+ Not really related to the SPIKE series, but there was a moment right before the spin-off was revealed that Brian "revealed" that Spike dies in #17. For those that bought it, there was collective gaspage. The panel was really pretty damn funny the whole time. My friend Anthony, who I'll get into later, was cracking up the whole time, and he doesn't really even read comics.

To break up the big mondo revelation news, and also because it was the highlight of the con for me and my buddy Anthony (Twon, we call him, Twon), I'll get into my meeting with Brian Lynch. Pretty cool when your favorite writer is also the most down to earth, chill dude there is. I was thrilled that he recognized me, and equally thrilled that he recognized Anthony from his role as DRAKE in Whatz Good Studios, a webseries I created. I got to talk to Brian for a while about Angel, got to meet his wife and some of the dudes around him, and yeah, t'was awesome to meet the guy whose books I've been buying/reading/reviewing/repeat for the past... damn, has it really been more than two years since Spike: Asylum #1 came out? But yeah, definitely the highlight of Comic Con for me, seeing the IDW team. So even if I was the unfortunate witness to a gruesome ass scratch, I also met Brian Lynch, so all is well in the world.


Yep, really couldn't come up with a better title there. Speaking of Mr. Brian Lynch, he's also writing more books in the official Angel title. Well, co-writing is more like it. Let me start over.

An Angel comic. Two issues. In the main series. Centering on Drusilla. Art by Franco Urru. Written by Brian Lynch and... and... get ready for it... are you ready?... ew, are you peeing in anticipation?........... Juliet Landau. Yup, best Angel writer there is teams up with Drusilla to write about Drusilla.

Remember that moment in Lost when Hurley tells Jack that he thinks they're all dead and in Heaven, because everything is perfect? I agree with good old Hugo, things are lookin' mighty fine.

Oh, on the topic of the main ANGEL line...


Yup, new Nick Runge cover. Best of his work on the series yet, easy. And that's saying a lot, have you seen his covers to #18-21? Whew! I'm guessing this is for #22.

Some small info on the Aftermath title was announced during the panel by Brian, with a bit of input from Chris Ryall. Gunn is (SPOILER:) comatose in Angel #17 but (SPOILER:) "upright" in Angel #18. There will be an issue--it might have been implied the Drusilla centric issues would handle this--that explains. As Brian put it, the Gunn moment in "Aftermath" might make fans go "WTF." The explanation will make 'em go "THAT T.F."


So before the interwebs start talking, as they inevitably do, let me clear the air. We all know the letter section of the Buffy comic has been dismissive of Angel: After the Fall. Scott Allie recently apologized for being snarky after some fans got riled up at a comment he made about the book over at Slay Alive. The Buffy book was brought up at the panel, and Brian made a joking comment about the book. Something along the lines of "Buffy who?" and "I skip out on the letters section," the former maybe in reference to how Allie reminds us at every Q&A that he doesn't read the Angel book. BUT. But but but. Throughout, he assured the audience that he was joking about the book, loved the story, and respected the entire creative team. The question that Brian Lynch was answering, to get to the center of that, was if LA citizens remembering Hell was the real reason the public knew about vampires in Buffy #21. The answer was an "I don't know." But yeah, in short, I'm squashing this before it's whined about by anyone else. Yes, Brian Lynch reads Buffy. Yes, Brian Lynch loves Buffy. Yes, Brian Lynch was joking, had you missed the assorted shits/giggles/and "I'm kidding"s. A year ago, I might have had confidence in the interwebs to not have to clarify, but after the whole "IZ DIZZ CANNON" debacle, I feel I sort of have to spell it out.

Oh, and by the way, that's canon.

As you can see, I'm a master at blocking photographs. This is a picture of the IDW panel. On the far left is J. K. Woodward, center is Chris Ryall, far right is Ben Templesmith, who is obscured by a computer (I got a better picture coming up). I'll talk about Woodward first.

How is he involved in Angel? Well, he's the artist of Fallen Angel, which will cross-over with Angel for four issues this summer. Illyria will visit Peter David's Fallen Angel world in Fallen Angel: Reborn 1-4, with art by the stylish Woodward. It's set during the fifth season of Angel, shortly after Illyria gets depowered. The series deals with Illyria looking for a way to regain her full power, and Peter David gave cryptic hints about her true form. He also signed a Fallen Angel TPB for me, so I'll be all caught up in time for the issue.

Cover art for Fallen Angel: Reborn #1 by Franco Urru. Who I also met. I heard an Italian voice behind me, looked, saw a handsome man. I remembered that Franco is Italian. I remembered that Brian said he was handsome. Me, being the genius that I am, put simple numbers together and shook hands with the hand that pencilled "After the Fall."

Didn't see Mooney, though. :(

Who I did see, however, was Ben Templesmith.

Ben Templesmith! It's true, there isn't always a computer that obscures his face. He's an actual face-having person!

NOTE TO SELF: Next time, be spiffier. Next to the dapper Mr. Templesmith, it's hard to be stylin'.

So Ben. Ben Templesmith. This is non-Buffyverse related, but he's working on a book with Chris Ryall called Groom Lake. It's out in March. I tried to track Mr. Ryall down after I finished reading Angel #17 to see if I can get in a sneak peek of Groom Lake #1 so I could do an early, non-spoilery review... but the thing about Comic Con? Looooootta people. Saw two of my professors, though, which was a bit beyond awesome.

Yup, met Georges Jeanty, Buffy artist, also. The guy did a fairly extensive Illyria sketch for me, which was cool. I'll talk more about Georges and the sketch later, when I get the sketch scanned. I'll save the Jeanty and Andy Owens bits for then.

So yeah. That's all folks. Loved Comic Con, loved the IDW Panel, will be going back next year, and hopefully to the SDCC. We shall see.

I got a lot of free shit that I said I'd review, so look out for some new comic reviews on the page this week. And stay tuned for a more in depth review of Angel #17 on Wednesday, as well as a NEW YORK COMIC CON/PAT SHAND PART II: THE CONSIDERABLY SHORTER AND LESS REVEALING AND LESS PICTUREY SEQUEL in the next few days.


Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks Pat! So much awesome info to assimilate, it's gonna take some time before it all sinks in. It looks like you had a total blast, and I'm jealous!....jealous!....okay I'm back. Thanks for the updates, and I can't wait to read your review on wedensday, I always enjoy 'em.


PatShand said...

Total blast, check. One of the best days ever, and I've had some good'ns. Yeah, totally though, a lot of new stuff announced. I thought the most we would get is an announcement on who follows Armstrong on the Angel title, but we got that and soooo much more.

Anonymous said...

Without controversy:
Spike is canon? That is approved by Joss? This does not mean that the series is not amazing.

PatShand said...

Thanks for posting. I assume everything IDW does with Angel and Spike from this point on is now canon, but it was never said explicitly.

Glen Lamb said...

On the cannon talk even some of IDW's old Angel stuff may fit in to canon nowm i guess Gunn will have an eye patch?

Thanks for all this Pat, I'm most excied about Spike (well Beck really), as I reckon you are too? but the new tales books have got me hyped too, wish I could have been there especially if i'd gotten to meet Brian, he's deffinately my favorite writer at the minute. Really cannot wait to see more from him, thanks again Pat, you'rem the man.