Angel & Spike #9 Review

by Nick Devonald on February 25, 2020

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

Angel has now been retitled to Angel & Spike going forward (although the numbering remains the same). Rather than being a cause for concern however this is a reason to celebrate, both are brilliant characters and having them share the spotlight can only be a good thing. Following Hellmouths conclusion the new story-arc is called Ring of Fire and I can’t wait to find out the reason for that title.

Angel has really hit its stride, the whole Buffyverse has in fact, but each new issue is brilliant and feels like it’s at the top of its game. This issue introduces a new fan favourite character from the TV series, one whose absence I can’t believe I’d overlooked until now. We also get Angels return to his solo comic, and about time too. I enjoyed the Angel-free issues, they really let us focus on the ensemble cast, one of Angels highlights, but it was time for him to come back.

So first things first, Spike and Angel. Their banter has always been brilliant and Bryan Edward Hill really captures that. There is a tension and dislike between them that almost goes as far as hatred, but they are reluctant allies. It worked in the TV series and it works here. Spikes motivation and endgame is never really made clear but I look forward to learning more as the series progresses. Just as in the TV series its his rejection by Drusilla which triggers his, admittedly reluctant, transformation. It's exciting to see where Hill takes Spike next. There is also the danger that since Spike is a soulless vampire he could, at any point, betray them. Something he never shies away from admitting. It adds a sense of danger to every scene with him in.

Gleb Melnikov’s art is one of the highlights of the series. It continues to be great here, quite stylised in a way that separates it from Buffy, gives it its own identity. There’s a panel with Angel on top of a rooftop, duster blowing in the wind, which really captures the look and feel of the character brilliantly. His designs for a new monster are incredible as well, creepy in such a way he’s sure to become a fan favourite. Then there’s a panel with a scary shadow which is so well done. The action is almost cinematic. I could go on. There’s something to like in every panel he does. Whoever hired Melnikov deserves a raise as his art is definitely one of the highlights of the whole comic.

Then we have Roman Titov’s colors. They help set the tone perfectly. Since this is a comic about vampires the majority of it is set in night and Titov’s shadows add to the atmosphere. The red night sky, the brightly lit hospital, creepy greens, his colors are excellent every time. His colors compliment Melnikov’s art perfectly.

Ring of Fire is off to a great start. It’s good fun seeing Angel return and learning the new status quo, the introduction of a new character promises a new and interesting dynamic going forward. Angel Investigations has officially been born. The art from Gleb Melnikov and Roman Titov’s colors are as outstanding as always and a real highlight of the comic. You need to be reading this comic.

Our Score:


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