Graphic novel of the week 4/4/2009 - Angel: After the Fall: Volume 1 and 2
Plotted by Joss Whedon
Art by Franco Urru , Nick Runge, Stephen Mooney, Tim Kane, David Messina, and John Byrne
Written by Brian Lynch
This week’s “Graphic novel of the week” pick is a very Buffy-verse centric pick. Angel: After the Fall was a series created by IDW in response to the success of Dark Horse Comic’s ‘Buffy: Season Eight’ comic series, which officially continued the story of ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ the TV series.
IDW Publishing owned the rights to the character of Angel, they set out to create a complimentary series to continue the ‘Angel’ series in comic book format. Joss Whedonwould not be a fulltime writer on ‘Angel: After the Fall’, but would plot out the series with its regular writer Brian Lynch. ‘Buffy: Season Eight’ remains the far superior series out of the two, but this doesn’t detract from the fact that ‘Angel: After the Fall’ is an enjoyable series that continues the adventures of the fan-favorite characters from the ‘Angel’ TV series.
This series starts after the events of the series finale of ‘Angel’. Large-scale events have occurred and things are now very grim and different than when we left Angel. Los Angeles has been sucked into a hell dimension, and is a full-on war zone of demon activity. Angel is in a daily struggle to save the citizens of Los Angeles and those he can save he sends to Connor, Gwen, and Nina to remain under their protection. Angel now has a dragon under his control. His headquarters is in the ruins of the Wolfram & Hart building, which is watched over by Wesley who is now back from the dead and the new representative for Wolfram & Hart. The whereabouts of the rest of Angel’s crew is revealed, and the whereabouts of Spike, Illyria, Gunn and Lorne all ended up become known to the reader. There are some very big reveals for what’s happened to Team: Angel and some very unexpected things have occurred.
Much like ‘Buffy: Season Eight’, this series gives new life to a canceled property, and tells new stories with characters people have come to know and love. Every major player of the ‘Angel’ series makes an appearance in a very fan-service type way. Brian Lynch writes these characters in a way that they sound and behave in a very familiar way. The writing never feels forced and the decisions that are made seem like choices these characters would make. The art of the first volume isn’t as strong as I would have liked it to be, but they do get the likenesses down so you recognize who the characters are based on. The art duties take dramatic shift in ‘Angel: After the Fall’ Volume 2 – First Night. The pencils get noticeably better across the board and the book becomes visually exciting by the end of the second volume.
These two series were heavily constrained by having imaginative stories that required hefty visual effects budgets. With ‘Buffy’ and ‘Angel’ now being ongoing comic series, they are only confined the imaginations of the writers. I hope this trend continues of canceled TV properties being given a second breath of life in comic book form.
I urge any Buffy and Angel fans to read ‘Buffy: Season Eight’ if they are not doing so already. It benefits by having a consistent artist on the pencils and a more talented writing staff that are doing what TV writers never could on the small screen. It’s a fantastic series and a perfect continuation of the ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ series. ‘Angel: After the Fall’ isn’t perfect, but it’s very entertaining, fun to read and a loyal continuation of the ‘Angel’ TV series.