Timing: Second third of the Angel: Season Five episode, "Not Fade Away."
Note: Adaptations are now ranked on this scale: EPIC FAIL, FAIL, BAD, OKAY, GOOD, VERY GOOD, GREAT, OUTSTANDING.
REVIEW: To get top marks, an adaptation doesn't need to give us new stuff. It helps, yeah, but I'm pretty much looking for the same thing I'm looking for in any comic. To be entertained. To laugh. To have my emotions pulled in all the directions they're meant to be pulled. And damn does this comic do that. A huge step up from the already great first issue of this miniseries, Scott Tipton and Stephen Mooney remind us how fantastic Not Fade Away is by creating a perfect adaptation. Though there is no additional dialogue, the pacing of the pages, the focus of all of the panels, and this time, the actual lettering is fantastic (bolded type is used successfully in this issue, unlike in #1). Please, get this team on the main ANGEL title.
I find myself with not much to say about the story, because we all know what happens. Tipton expertly translates the shooting script to comic format, not taking or adding from the sacred text of Not Fade Away. Little touches, like Lorne's sad look after he accepts his job from Angel, really flesh this book out. I laughed out loud during Spike and Angel's exchange, and felt a swell of emotion when Angel and Wesley share what they know will be their final look (until they're reunited in After the Fall, that is). The comic is as beautiful as the episode, and Tipton does the only thing he really could do; make this story work as a comic as well as it worked as an episode of live action television. And, along with Mr. Mooney's amazing art, he does just that.
Art: The art just works perfectly for ANGEL. Mooney's pencils are fantastic, and again were the main thing I enjoyed about the book. This time, however, I found that Ciaran Lucas's colors worked considerably better with Mooney's art, crafting panels that made me nostalgic for the episode. Mooney sticks a bit less to the episode here, providing close-ups that we didn't get last time, such as focus on Spike's mouth when he agrees to take down the Fell Brethren. There isn't much deviation from the source material, but I found that Mooney's art doesn't make me think of the way the episode look; it just makes me appreciate how the actual art looks. I love it!
Covers: Aside from the Wesley's ghost meets Wesley's body cover Mooney did for ANGEL: After the Fall and the two recent covers Mooney did for the upcoming ANGEL: Annual, this is the best Stephen Mooney cover I've ever seen. And just check those out to see how high a compliment this is. This cover is awesome, and though it's not really relevant to what happens in the issue (Wesley's death will be featured in the next issue), it's just perfect. Instead of concentrating on what is in this issue, Mooney crafted his three covers based on the most iconic and important moments of the episode. This one is probably the best death scene in all of television (appropriate, for the episode that I believe to be the best hour of television history), and Mooney captures it perfectly. The red smear (I always pronounce that word schmear for some reason) behind Illyria as she clutches Wesley's dead body highlights both her rage and the bleeding wound on the back of Wesley's back. It's just a perfect cover.
Characters We Know: Angel, Wesley, Illyria, Spike, Gunn, Arch Duke Sebassis and the rest of the Circle of the Black Thorn, Harmony, Marcus Hamilton, Lorne, Lindsey.
Rating as an adaptation: Outstanding.