Tuesday, April 27, 2010

BUFFY #34, ANGEL #31, Angel: Barbary Coast #1

Leave comments about the new format! Since I want to get reviews out in a more timely manner, and still be able to live my life and keep working on my own writing projects, this method seems a lot more doable than pages of content for each comic. Event issues and some issues will get longer reviews, but this seems like the best option for the regular comic issues.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight #32
Twilight Part III: Them F#@%ing
Written by Brad Meltzer. Art by Georges Jeanty

It's good. It's a good ready. It's also the riskiest Buffy story ever penned. It accepts us to believe a whole bunch of sudden information that's given out through the most graphic sex scene in the history of the show. Essentially, Buffy and Angel have become gods, effectively fulfilling a prophecy that the best Slayer and the best Vampire will fall in love, become superpowered, and have world-changing/destroying(maybe) sex. It's a lot to swallow, which is a pun that would have way less ick-factor in a different issue. But again, the sex and the exposition (sexposition?) is handled well. It's just... since it's such a "This is why this is happening" issue, it's very hard to judge on its own merit. It needs the context of the arc, while Meltzer's last two issues didn't. Does all of that make it weaker than I'd hoped? A bit. Season Eight has been on such a good run since December, that I'm fairly happy that an issue this strong is now what I see as weak for the series. The art is good, the dialogue is great, it's risky as shit... I'm just not sure if I trust where the story is going anymore. This is big stuff, and I need to see the last issue in the arc to really have a feel of this issue. As of now...

SCORE: 8/10

Angel #32
Immortality for Dummies, part IV: The Big Dust Up
Written by Bill Willingham. Art by Brian Denham.
(Back up story: Eddie and the Crew: The Risk of Skipping Ahead
Written by Bill Williams. Art by David Messina)

I gave Willingham the benefit of the doubt. He's a good writer, yes. The voices were off for the first two issues, but we hadn't seen anyone speak at length other than Connor. That all changes here. Spike is off. Spike doesn't speak like Spike. Spike speaks a lot like Jack from Fables, only awkwardly British. Spike doesn't behave like Spike. Illyria continues to talk like not-Illyria. She second guesses herself, speaking in awkward sentences, asking Angel if her use of the English language is correct. There is a long, drawn out, and (of course) unnecessary scene in the beginning where a bunch of dudes talk as Connor and his army kill some vampires. Utterly boring. No impact on the narrative, not at all funny, no impact on the characters. Willingham so obviously doesn't care about this universe or crafting a consistent story that it's insulting to fans, insulting to Joss, and insulting to everything in the Angel on-going that came before his arc. Am I going to keep reading? It's Angel, I have to. But that sense of anticipation I felt when going to the comic shop is gone. It's become a chore. I guess, on the positive side, the final page with Angel is cool. Mostly thanks to Denham's art, which is awesome when he's not drawing vampires being dusted (they apparently turn into goop). Bill William's back up is actually really entertaining, but that just makes me more sad. I want the characters I love off the pages so I don't have to see Willingham butchering them, to the point where I almost read the book for this new character. I'm excited for William's Spike miniseries, because he does seem to bit a good writer. Willingham, though... I have doubts that he has seen all of--or even most of--Angel the series. This arc has become every bit as bad as Aftermath.

SCORE: 2/10

Angel: Barbary Coast #1
Written by David Tischman. Art by Franco Urru.

Ah, man. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster. A good Angel comic. An Angel comic that reminds me why I love IDW. Beautiful art from Franco as always, but now, get this... even the writing is good. Tischman crafts a suspenseful, character driven, and sometimes funny tale about Angel's quest to get rid of his soul. The setting is awesome, the supporting cast of (mostly) humans are as creepy as actual monsters, and you know what? I'm excited for the next issue. IDW, get this dude to write the main series. Really. A guy like this could get Angel fans excited about the on-going again. Really, really solid start to what looks to be a fun mini.

SCORE: 8/10

Coming Soon: REVIEW OF Scott Tipton's A Hole in the World
Coming Soon: Hey, Why Didn't He Review THAT Issue? (Five Reviews)


ryan said...

I like the Done-in-1 type format Pat, go for it!

Well the tables have turned and Buffy: Season 8 is now alot more interesting than Angel. Its dare i say as good as After the fall! I still like the new issues of Angel, but I can see why everyone has issues with it. I like how every issue is more episodic and the backups are a good idea. "The Trouble With Felicia" is my fave. Illyria's speech and reference to being caged by Fred's memories is my highlight about Bill Willinghams writing. That said think he went off about the Twilight reveal. Joss already said he would make sure it didn't contradict what IDW was doing, yet BW seems to think he has authority over a series Joss Whedon created. Lets hope we get to have a post-Twilight sorta "Season 7".

oh and it was great to see Spike in BS8! who was that chick he was standing next to? Buffy? Willow? can't tell. anyone know?

PatShand said...

It's Buffy next to Spike in the #34.

anca said...

#34 - as you said, risky issue. One question tho, shouldn't be the best of their kind Angelus/Buffy?

Willingham is killing me.

I'm glad that you also loved Barbary Coast. I can afford only TPB and that story looks amazing.

PatShand said...

Nah, I'd say Angelus is the worst of his kind. Angel is the best, because in the same way Buffy was able to transcend what it means to be a Slayer, Angel was able to ascend above what makes a normal vampire a vampire. His soul, his championness, his... everything.

What I find awesome is the idea that it was possible for Spike too. That the reason Buffy was only ever attracted to vampires is because the two vampires in her life are both candidates, were both maybe able to ascend the way Angel did. It sort of puts them on equal ground, which I always like. I can't wait to hear Spike's take on the situation.

Fender said...

I think I would have more respect for Buffy #34 if the sex had actually been more gratuitous. It was actually terribly tame compared to other titles, especially when Meltzer and Jeanty have been expounding on how they had to consult sex manuals to get the poses so graphic our eyes would explode. With talk like that, you'd think that we'd be seeing something Karma Sutra-esque, but there was nothing of the kind. It was bland and a pitiable excuse for an issue that was nothing more than an exposition dump. Giles has a ridiculous concept of "balance," Willow has no problems just casually talking about Buffy and Angel's relationship with Warren, and the whole thing makes Buffy look like a fool. What kind of person just takes the word of someone who could very well be lying to her or could very well be evil and just lets them in her vagina? What was it that Angelus once said? Oh yeah, "and she falls for it every time!" Only I have the feeling that Buffy and Angel are being date-raped by the Powers that Be. It's better to consider them pawns than to consider them willing participants in the mockery of all things that Buffy should stand for. If she's under the influence of Glowhypnol, she's being made a victim, and she's acting of her own accord, then she's a self-centered person without a care for her comrades-at-arms. Either way, this is just another issue that makes Robot Chicken's version of Season Eight more enjoyable.

PatShand said...

"I think I would have more respect for Buffy #34 if the sex had actually been more gratuitous."

No matter which way I look at it, I so utterly don't understand that.

Fender said...
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Fender said...
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Fender said...

Sorry, to accidentally triple-post. Connection problems.

To explain, I don't appreciate nor do I like gratuity without purpose, but the only reason I would respect this issue if it were more gratuitous is because Meltzer and Jeanty want praise for being "edgy" and gratuitous. However, they didn't even achieve that which they want credit for doing, so I can't even give them artist respect. You'd think that something entitled "Them Fucking" would have something provocative to it, yet it's very lackluster. The compositions are clutter, the colours are bland, and the position of the bodies are very stiff. Meltzer even stated that he was proud with how "erotic" the book turned out, which is nothing more than a bland display, which makes the illustrations in "The Joy of Sex" look like the Karma Sutra. As it stands, Meltzer and Jeanty did not accomplish what they set out to, so I cannot even respect their intentions as I can't find anything "edgy" or even slightly appealing about the story or about Jeanty's ill-proportioned drawings. I just wish they would admit that this was the only way to "spice" up an issue that was 90% exposition to try and tie up the plotholes the previous 33 issues have left wide open, and yet it still failed on every level, leaving a gaping, viscous orifice of epic fail and ambiguous fluids in its midst... and then it flew into space and was unfortunately NOT shot by a Vulcan cruiser.

Anonymous said...

You dead, Pat?

PatShand said...


Also, working on a novel. FROM THE GRAVE.

I'll review stuff soon, but basically...

Liked Buffy #35. Didn't like how we haven't touched on Angel's actions as Twilight or why he'd be willing to say fuckall to Connor. Liked the character moments between him and Buffy, and really liked the philosophy. Objectivism vs. Humanism, maybe?

Thought Angel #32 was okay. Some terrible stuff, some good stuff. The Connor/Gunn convo, which should have been epic, made them both look like children. Way to take complex emotions and make them as shallow as possible. The Angel stuff was good.

Angel #33 was actually really good. Literally just finished it, and can't believe how much Willingham improved.

Haven't gotten a chance to read ANGEL: BC #2 yet

Anonymous said...

Please come back, dude. I know what's it's like to be busy, but if it has come to the point where you really can't keep up...maybe close it down? In the interest of doing what you want, that is.

Anonymous said...

Pat! Where are you dude - post some reviews:)

Anonymous said...

It's official. He's dead.

PatShand said...

ANON #1- Definitely not going to shut it down. That would be pointless. Just can't keep up like I used to. I'll be coming back in some way fairly soon. I super appreciate you guys sticked around, though, so thanks. I'll be back.

ANON #2- Soon. Check out my most recent post for a treat in the meantime.

ANON #3- Very much alive. Well, I'm at the VERY least undead. Some rotting fucker bit me, it's a thing. By the way, want to stop by later so I can eat your brains?