Angel #8 Review

by Nick Devonald on December 18, 2019

Writer: Bryan Edward Hill
Artist: Gleb Melnikov
Colors: Roman Titov
Letters: Ed Dukeshire

I think this has been my favourite issue of Angel so far. And that’s really high praise indeed, because I’ve been a big fan of every issue so far. Angel is still missing, but this issue manages a very clever trick, because even in his absence we learn about him and get a bit of character development, which is definitely no mean feat.

This is done through Spike, who just like his regular role in Angel Season 5, is proving to be a real hit. I’ve mentioned before that Spike felt underused until he came to Angel, and now he’s part of Angel it’s been good fun meeting him. From the next issue forward Angel is being retitled to Angel & Spike, so it’s good to know that he’ll be sticking around. I can’t wait for Angel and Spike to meet up in the comics, if they squabble like they did in the TV series we’re in for a treat.

The majority of this issue focuses on Spike and Gunn, and I think it’s their interactions which make this issue so good. As far as the Buffyverse go it’s definitely Angel which has spent the most time developing the supporting cast and we’ve now got to a good place with everyone and it makes every issue something to look forward to.

Fred’s story takes a bit of a dark turn here as well. It’s been slowly hinting throughout the series that dark things lay ahead for her, and we’re beginning to see a little of this. It’s going to be interesting going forward to see what this will mean for her, and her role in the team.

Of all the characters in the rebooted Angel it’s probably Fred that is most different from her TV counterpart. I’ve been wondering about the reasons for this, and I suspect it may be that TV Fred wouldn’t work half as well on the page as she does on the screen. A big part of that is due to the fact Fred is Fred because of Amy Acker’s performance on the screen. I’m down with all the changes they’ve made though, and it helps to keep things new and exciting for long time fans.

The Spike we see here isn’t like Spike from the earlier seasons, he’s more like Spike who’s part of team Buffy. I think Spike is great when he’s working with the good guys, but he does feel a little too good here, more like Spike with a soul than without. I think his interactions with Angel will definitely be interesting, assuming Angel ever makes it back.

I’ve mentioned how much I like Gleb Melnikov’s art in previous reviews, and it’s just as true here. I think he’s got a really good grasp on Spike, and it’s a joy to see his work. Whether it’s his duster sweeping out behind him as he walks, or his more monstrous vampire side, every panel with Spike in is a joy to see. A lot of Gunn’s character development is done through the facial expressions he pulls and Melnikov conveys his emotions really well. The first page gives us a montage of Fred at various different times in her life and it’s cleverly done, we can really get a snapshot into different moments in her life and it’s only subtle changes that let us see her growing older.

And of course a good artist needs a good colorist backing them up, and Roman Titov does a great job. In particular I like some of the panels featuring blood, it really helps ramp up the horror and remind us of the darkness our heroes are up against. There’s also a couple of panels where we see either silhouettes or shadows and it’s his background colors which really help them stand out and make some great panels.

The best issue of Angel so far, as each new comic is released there’s an improvement on the one before and like the TV series I think we’ll find this ends up eclipsing it’s parent series of Buffy. Another must have issue, great writing coupled with fantastic art and colors make this an awesome issue and a reminder that the Buffyverse is such a rich playground for these great characters.

Our Score:


A Look Inside