Angel & Spike #11 Review

by Nick Devonald on June 23, 2020

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

It feels like all of the mysteries and questions that the Angel series has raised since the debut issue are all coming to a head, and answers are just around the corner. This issue does a great job of teasing us with these answers and making sure they are just out of reach. Bryan Edward Hill makes a point of letting the reader know answers will soon be forthcoming.

The biggest part of this issue deals with Detective Lockley being brought into team Angel, as well as Angel facing up to his past. Early on in the series a new character, Mara, was established and then seemingly forgotten about. In this issue, Lilah makes a comparison between Mara and Kate, which then lets Hill explore this past relationship that Angel had with Mara and fill the reader in a little more.

We also spend a little bit more time with Fred, with Lilah gently seducing her to the dark side, corrupting her little by little. It’s an important issue, it puts a lot of the pieces into the right place for future issues, but by spending the issue making sure that each character is where they should be and the various mysteries are ready to be answered the issue ends up feeling a little lacking in substance.

The other problem this issue has is Spike. He is a brilliant character and an excellent fit for team Angel, being the antithesis to Angel in many ways, but apart from a few veiled comments when he joined the team he may as well be one of the good guys. As the series progresses it appears to have been forgotten that this Spike doesn’t have a soul, that he should be a dangerous and violent vampire, not one of the good guys. While having Spike on their team in both the Buffy and Angel TV series was a great move we haven’t reached that point or a decent reason for it in the comics. It would be nice to spend a little more time developing the character and his motivation for being on team Angel, which hopefully upcoming issues will remedy a little.

One of the strengths of the Angel comic over the Buffy comic has been having a consistent artist throughout, not just consistent but also consistently good. Not only that but Gleb Melnikov’s art is perfectly stylised for Angel, it’s reminiscent of the TV series and also sets it apart from Buffy, much like the TV series did, whilst also being similar enough that both are part of the same, established universe. Melnikov uses several clever storytelling techniques while Angel is talking to Lockley which help the reader to understand more about Angel's relationship with Mara.

Having the same colourist in Roman Titov throughout the series works in much the same way the keeping Melnikov as an artist throughout. The reader immediately knows they’re reading an Angel comic through looking at the art, and Titov and Melnikov make a fantastic team. Titov gets a chance to play around with some different colours in this issue, from the green gas the new demon produces, to different colours in flashback scenes to help distinguish them, as well as some quite otherworldly colours when we’re introduced to a new, important setting within the storyline.

This issue is important for getting the characters where they need to be. It’s also integral to exploring Angel's past and helping the reader learn a little more about the titular Vampire with a soul, but the issue isn’t as fast-paced or as exciting as previous issues are. This issue will read better as part of a collected trade, where the reader can immediately carry on to what promises to be an exciting conclusion to the storyline. The art and colours are as consistently good and stylised as the reader has come to expect from Melnikov and Titov.

Our Score:


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