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"Angel #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by BOOM! Studios

Angel 1 00

Written by Bryan Edward Hill
Illustrated by Gleb Melnikov
Colored by Gleb Melnikov and Gabriel Cassata
Lettered by Ed Dukeshire
2019, 32 pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 29th, 2019

Review:

Angel, the brooding vampire with a soul, has arrived in Sunnydale. His path to redemption is long and tiresome. Despite trying to make up for all the wrongs he's done during his time as Angelus, he can't escape death and violence. They follow him like a bad penny and he may have just found the worst of the worst.

After the way publisher BOOM! Studios brought Buffy the Vampire Slayer back to comics in a big way, I was definitely looking forward to how Angel would be handled. I'm happy to say that it delivers in spades with its own unique look and feel that distinguishes itself from Buffy, yet is firmly set in the same world.

Where Buffy has a team around her, Angel is alone. He shoulders the entire burden of his tortured life and that brings him so far down. This book definitely captures the brooding aspect of the character. He doesn't feel he deserves happiness with all the bloodshed he's caused. There's a telling scene where Angel is catching up with a man he saved from a vampire. This guy is bending over backward to thank him and show his appreciation and Angel can't bring himself to accept this praise. It feels unnatural to him.

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Angel #1 opens with a look to the past as Angelus descends upon a town, cutting down its fiercest warrior. This provides a nice contrast to the man we see in the present. Artist Glen Melnikov is at home in this setting, especially when the action heats up. Although there are only a handful of characters shown, the scene feels like an epic battle with hundreds attacking.

You really get the sense of how powerful and downright evil Angelus and his forces are. They're like a plague come to destroy everything and everyone in its path. Much of this comes in the clever use of shadow, often showing the vampires on horseback in a larger-than-life fashion.

We get flashes back to this from time to time throughout the rest of Angel #1. They show that even though he's years past this and he's done a lot of good in this world, Angel is still haunted by the atrocities he committed. He can wash and wash, but there will always be blood on his hands.

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Melnikov is joined by colorist Gabriel Cassata for the second half of the issue, which mostly takes place in the present. There's a definite shift in tone, going from the chaos of the fiery attack to the more subdued modern day. The darkness is inescapable though. One thing that really stands out is the eerie glow of cellphones, cutting through the shadows like a strange beacon.

This ties in very well with the monster at work. Writer Bryan Edward Hill has put a supernatural spin on a very real threat that faces high school students and how it interacts with social media. This really heightens the terror of the series, especially when we see what this creature is capable of. This thing would make Slender Man blush.

Angel is back and better than ever. He's seamlessly brought into this day and age with a new, refreshing take. It's safe to say that BOOM! Studios has another hit on its hands. Most importantly, it's also new-reader friendly. If you're not familiar with Angel from his TV show, you can still jump right into this series and pick up on everything. This is more like a re-imagining than a continuation of the show.

Grades:

Story: Fivestars Angel 1 Small
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Art: Fivestars
Overall: Fivestars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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