Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Interview with Mariah Huehner... and review for Angel #39

Angel #39

The Wolf, the Ram, and the Heart part 1

Written by David Tischman and Mariah Huehner

Art by Elena Casagrande

This review is going to be peppered with the best kind of pepper outside of actual delicious pepper. VIDEO INTERVIEWS!

Don’t mind the roar of the audience in the background. Mariah and I were surrounded by adoring fans of Angel and this site. There was a whole coliseum of them.

That, or we were at New York Comic Con.

Now, the issue.

It feels a lot like I wanted “Angel: Aftermath” to feel. Back when “Aftermath” came out, the biggest Angel arc had just ended. The character’s lives were changed forever. I wanted to read something that was simultaneously different from what came before but still consistent with the characters and the tone of the series. My expectations weren’t really met with that series, and now we’re in a somewhat similar place. The arc that Bill Willingham started and Mariah and David carried out has just finished. By the end of the arc, everyone had been changed forever. Connor took over as champion of LA, Spike left for Vegas, Illyria set out to find herself, and Angel decided to take a step back and let his son grow as a man. So again, I was faced with the same expectation. I wanted consistency, but I knew that things couldn’t be the same.

This book excels at doing just that.

The parallel with “Aftermath” continues, as both books feature the main action of the story moving away from the Hyperion. Thankfully, though, Kate doesn’t go around offering anyone churches in this book. Connor decided to sell the Hyperion… essentially because the writers are trying to take a more realistic look at things. It takes a shitload of money to own a place as big as the Hyperion… and the only reason that normal folks are able to afford owning that kind of space is because they rent rooms to paying customers. Angel and co., not so much. And this book finally addresses what I’ve been wondering since early in the series: How in the hell can they afford that place? Well, they can’t. Not anymore. And Connor, Gunn, Laura, and Mr. Polyphemus make a necessary move to new digs.

Now, about that crowd. It’s a good group. I’m still waiting for Laura to have a moment that really sells me on her (Polyphemus’s was when he let Spike use him as a ball), but she’s tolerable. I love the pairing of Connor and Gunn, though. I’ve been anticipating some actual movement for their characters since “After the Fall,” because… well, Gunn killed Connor. And then, last time they were together, Connor said that he wanted to cut Gunn’s throat. A bit unsympathetic, no? This book makes up for that. Connor realizes that he was in the wrong for that, but there is an air of tension between them that goes beyond that. I’m excited to see how the clearly capable Huehner and Tischman explore that.

There is a creepy scene with James. Or Jamerah? Or the other creepy alieny name he had before. Everyone else is going with James, so I’ll agree with them. They’re my fictional buddies. So, James. He kinda… has a goo… baby… thing. It’s similar to the birth of the soul eater, but this one looks very different. No idea where any of that is going, but it ups the horror factor to a level that Angel as a television show rarely took it to. It facilitates the different mood that the comic is playing with.

Now, to Angel. Angel Angel Angel. We knew thanks to the kind and good smelling folks over at Buffyfest that our eponymous hero was going to be removed from our current timeline. Not much I can say about that, other than the folks that pull him out are pretty much from where you’d expect. Good ol’ Wolfram & Hart. While they’re creepy as always, they seem less… lawyery in the future. And this time, when they say what they’ve said before (“We’re not the bad guys.”) I… kind of believe them. At least, they’re not the worst bad guys. James really screwed stuff in the future up, and Angel realizes that that means something he did in the past (his/our present) must have really been off base. They, for some reason, were unable to stop this threat. So Future W&H wants to enlist Angel to somehow make things right.

But Angel would rather jump off a building than do that. So he does.

And because this is a comic, it ends on that dramatic moment. It was solid read, and it felt very much like the beginning of an epilogue. The end of IDW’s Angel is coming, and Mariah and David are crafting what promises to be an excellent story.

Plus, Angel is wearing a hoodie. He sure knows how to rock a hoodie.


Back-up story: “Eddie Hope- Sunset”

Written by Bill Williams

Art by Elena Casagrande and Walter Trono

While Angel gets a new beginning, Eddie Hope comes to an end. Not a deathy kind of end, though. The “Holy shit, that guy Angel and his crew really beat me up… and kind of for nothing. Gunn wasn’t even on my list, but I went after him anyway. I’m going beyond what my original mission was. Time to say fuck that and go home.” And that’s essentially it. The actual writing is more eloquent than that, but as the title implies, Eddie lets the sun set on his vengeance gig. It’s a good, if abrupt, end to the character. Bill Williams has consistently done a great job with shoving a big story into four pages, and while I would have liked a bit more breathing room for Eddie’s swan song, this does the trick. He was an engaging character, and the back-ups were always a pleasure to read. He’ll be missed.

Don’t miss my interview with Bill Williams, where he comments on Eddie’s final chapter:

Oh, and just a bit of “I hope” here. While Eddie’s story end with the first part of “The Wolf, the Ram, and the Heart,” I really hope that it’s collected with the previous installments in the “Connorland” hardcover. It would be super awkward to have this one Eddie back-up in the final hardcover.


Anonymous said...

Err, can`t find the link to the interview.

PatShand said...

...Huh? The interview is embedded in the review.