ANGEL #1 review

Angel (BOOM! Studios)

Angel #1 is available now where all good comics are sold!

Synopsis

Angel walks the line between two worlds; a vampire cursed with a soul, he’s spent centuries battling back the forces that would destroy humanity, in an attempt to redeem himself for the crimes committed by the monster he was when he was first turned. But now, when the trail of the most recent demonic uprising takes him to Sunnydale, he realizes that the redemption he seeks can only come with a price.

Review

Like many fans of the Buffy and Angel TV series I thought “isn’t this a little early for an Angel series?” given that the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics from BOOM! Studios are still barely scratching the surface of season one.

But with the special issue #0 setting the scene I felt pretty hyped to see a spin-off starting with what could easily be considered a pre-Buffy version of the character.

The book starts out with an excellent flashback sequence in which all is not quite what it seems. I thought I was looking at a moment from the life of young Liam only to quickly realise we were in fact seeing the life of a previous Slayer.

The scene culminates in a typically Angelus moment which certainly gives some context to any new fans of the franchise as to how the vampire got such a reputation before regaining his soul.

Gleb Melnikov’s art is outstanding from the outset. This sequence is gritty, it’s edgy and most of all it doesn’t hold back in any way. Expressions are full of emotional and the scenes are rich with detail. Grabriel Cassata’s colour palette enhances the scenes perfectly, muted skin tones and bloody spatter all jump off the page and it all combines in to a sexy looking book.

In the present day we find Angel is a much similar guise as to how we found him in both his solo-series and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He’s dark and brooding but with enough sense of humour so as to not make reading the book a chore.

I was particularly drawn to Angel’s human connection. The TV series very much played Angel as a loner following the curse which brought back his soul. But here we find him meeting with Francis. Given that in issue #0 we saw Angel lose a close friend to the demon there’s a particular weight which comes with him having another emotional connection.

This is a more vulnerable version of Angel we’re being introduced to. One who, despite being wary, is still reliant on those around him for support and to pull him back in to the light somewhat.

I’m intrigued to see where writer Bryan Edward Hill takes the character from here. As a jumping off point Angel #1 really brings us a more well-realised version of the character. Not to knock the work of Joss Whedon or David Boreanaz with the TV version but making the character more contemporary has certainly worked in his favour here.

There’s only a small amount of time dedicated to the potential villain of this arc which is a shame. But given this is the first issues I can forgive them for the fact what we do see is still very intriguing. There’ll be plenty more to come and it looks like it’s going to be a hugely personal story for Angel.

Verdict

A great opening gambit for BOOM! Studios contemporary Angel series. Strong writing emboldens the already well established lead in his new surroundings whilst impeccable artwork only serves to make this a compelling book.

8/10

Angel #1 is written by Bryan Edward Hill with art by Gleb Melnikov and colours by Gabriel Cassata. The cover is by Dan Panosian.

Angel #1 cover art by Dan Panosian

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About Neil Vagg 3313 Articles
Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & Tv and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG