Angel & Spike #14 Review

by Nick Devonald on September 22, 2020

Writer: Zac Thompson
Artist: Hayden Sherman
Colours: Roman Titov
Letters: Ed Dukeshire

Angel & Spike #14 marks the arrival of an all new creative team for the series going forward, Zac Thompson as writer and Hayden Sherman as artist. Roman Titov and Ed Dukeshire remain, as colourist and letterer respectively. With a new creative team it’s fair to say there are a few changes to the comic. But don’t think that means everything which has come before has been forgotten, as Thompson picks up the reigns from Bryan Edward Hill and carries on with all of the plot lines that have already been introduced. But it’s clear from the first page that we have a different writer in charge.

When it was announced that Thompson would be taking over he made it clear on social media that he was a huge fan of both Buffy and Angel, and it shows. Right from the start of the issue it’s obvious he has a firm grip on Angel, capturing his voice perfectly as Angel narrates the issue. He understands what works about the character, and really dives deep into the tortured aspect of his personality. But it’s not just Angels voice he captures, he has an excellent grip on each of the characters. He leans more into comic Gunn’s personality, using his social media presence in a way which has been pushed into the background since Gunn’s debut issue. And rather than shying away from any of the storylines his predecessor set up he embraces them fully.

One of the weaker aspects of the Angel & Spike comic has been Wolfram & Hart. They’ve been present for a while, but haven’t had that same presence which they did in the TV series. Thompson has rectified that, with Fred having merged with Baphomet it’s a great opportunity to explore Wolfram & Hart a little more and there are series five vibes aplenty here. It’s clear that Thompson is an excellent choice to take over as writer. This issue, as well as carrying on all of the ongoing storylines, also focuses on a werewolf story. It also introduces another fan favourite character from the TV series, no spoilers, but fans may well be able to put two and two together before the issues conclusion.

We also have Hayden Sherman taking over the artist role from Gleb Melnikov. It’s a big departure in terms of style, that’s for sure, and may take some adjusting to. It’s always difficult when a new artist comes onboard, because the first thing which happens is inevitably they get compared to the previous artist, which is a little unfair. Melnikov had a style he brought to Angel which really helped to give the series a real sense of personality. Sherman likewise brings a unique style to Angel, a dark and brooding atmosphere which is perfectly in keeping with the themes of the series, but also vastly different than what’s come before. He captures the characters emotions really well when he needs to, but a lot of the panels are less defined and detailed than fans have come to expect.

Keeping Roman Titov on colour, and Ed Dukeshire on letters, helps to smooth over the transition between creators.

All in all it’s clear that Zac Thompson is the right person to carry this series on. His first issue seamlessly carries on the threads and stories which Hill introduced, while making his own clear mark on Angel’s story. It’s clear the reverence he has for everything which has already occurred, and it’s an exciting time to be an Angel fan. The drastic change in artist may take a bit of getting used to.

Our Score:


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