In Review: Angel: Season 11 #6

Crawling, biting, flying, exploding, slashing, and burning terrors make this Angel outstanding.

The covers: Scott Fischer has created an absolutely gorgeous Regular cover for this issue. Angel is grappling with Angelus, with each holding a stake to dispatch the other. Both characters are dead ringers for actor David Boreanaz, even the vampire looks like he’s stepped out of the series, with his forehead, fangs, and finger extensions. The pair look to be battling in a maelstrom, because of the coloring and the swirling lines in the background. This cover is just beautiful. The Variant cover is by Karl Moline with Michelle Madsen and it shows Angel and Fred in peril, about to be overtaken by a possi of the supernatural beetles that were revealed last issue. The creatures were already horrific enough when one was seen, but in this immeasurable horde they’re a nightmare. I love seeing heroes in danger and this satisfies that yen. Good coloring on this too, with the insects in the foreground black, while those closer to the heroes an eerie purple. Overall grades: Regular A+ and Variant A-

The story: Fred is in major danger. She was cornered in a cabin by Darla, after having taken a jewelry box containing a beetle. Just as it seems she has a chance to get out, Angelus entered at the end of last issue. Looking at the frightened woman, he transforms into a vampire, who’s egged on to by Darla to kill her. “You do it, Angelus, and be quick. There’s something about her that makes me uneasy.” As he turns her neck to his mouth, Angel bursts in, wearing a red piece of cloth over his mouth and nose to disguise himself. The vampire pushes Fred away to battle this interloper, and she rushes out the door. Angelus throws a right, dislodging the scarf, revealing Angel’s face, who’s now gone vampire as well. Darla is shocked, “What — Angelus, he has your face!” The female vampire is commanded to get Fred and she races out to chase the girl. A crewman comes between the two women, causing Darla to bite the man’s neck to dispatch him. She instantly spits out the man’s blood. “Oh my God. You taste horrible! Ugh, I’m going to be sick.” Writer Corinna Bechko has got this issue moving at an extremely quick pace, which is amazing considering that the characters are trapped on a ship that Angel and Fred know will never reach port. The only moment of down time involves the heroes testing something, and the results are not what they were expecting. Quickly they learn that the pair of vampires are the least of their worries aboard the ship. Pages 11 and 12 have things spiraling out of control, only to be one-upped by some arrivals on 14. There’s a fantastic response on 20 that had me laughing and agreeing with, which leads to a surprise reappearance on the final page, leading to the title character realizing a countdown has been started for his doom. This story left me exhausted, yet ready for more. Overall grade: A+

The art: This story seemingly has painted artist Zé Carlos into a corner: characters are in crowded quarters, trapped on a ship, and the backgrounds have got to be given a lot of detail to make this story work. Wow, does he succeed! Angelus’s entrance in the first panel, has him looking like the Angel fans know and love, but transforming in the third panel into the vampire that loves to kill. Look at the panel before this, though, to see how he establishes where each character is in relationship to the other, tilting the panel to give it a quick nautical feel as well as designating an impending change. I like that characters in the foreground of panels are given a thicker outline than those in the background, making them stand out for the reader. Angel’s disguise on Page 2 made me think of The Shadow, and I loved it. When Darla tastes the infected man, her reaction is great, with the fluid coming out of her mouth and the expected look of rapture on her face one of disgust. Check out the sensational setting that Angel leaps into atop 5. It’s so detailed that Fred could be hiding anywhere in there, and that’s the point. Her reveal in the second panel made me giggle because it’s such a Fred gesture. The thing in the bowl on 7 is great, and when the beetles return soon after they’re perfectly disgusting. If a reader has a phobia about flying insects, this book is going to be a nightmare. I’ll admit that after I read this issue, I found myself looking at people’s foreheads for a while. 14 is essentially a full-page splash and it introduces some new characters who look awesome. A popular character returns on the final page and this individual looks great as well. I’m hopeful that this character will be in the next issue for a longer period so that Carlos can really show this person off. I’m really liking Carlos’s work. Overall grade: A

The colors: Bright colors are employed for several panels to enhance the characters’ moods, such as in the third and final panel on the first page. Because the story begins intensely, these bright colors continue for the next two pages. I really liked the color red in the fifth panel on Page 4; it wasn’t the typical crimson that’s used for that action, which was a tip off to the reader that it’s going to elicit a surprising reaction from the vampire. The first panel on 5 has some excellent work in showing the reader that this location is a dark space, yet every inch of the art can be clearly seen; this is Michelle Madsen showing she can use colors to create a scene and not obscure the art. The circular panel on 7 has a great sickly orange that makes the image even more disgusting. The beetles that appear in this story have a creepy blue exterior with metallic, reflective purple highlights. This makes them both realistic and fanciful, which is the perfect combination for their supernatural nature. A few panels have a sickly green or yellow background for these bugs, which increases their yuck factor. A fire breaks out in the last third of the book providing some sensational oranges for the flames and highlights for the ship and characters. Madsen continually does a sensational job in her work. Overall grade: A

The letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt create dialogue, the story’s title, vampire speech, sounds, whispers, yells, and the tease for next issue. The vampires’ dialogue is a perfect visual match for their unnatural existence. The sounds are big and bold, with SKUUSH and all the HZZZs continuing to make me uncomfortable. The book ends with one character yelling at another and it helps the cliffhanger by looking so frantic. These gentlemen also always bring their A game to their books. Overall grade: A

The final line: Crawling, biting, flying, exploding, slashing, and burning terrors make this Angel outstanding. Oh, yeah, there’s also Darla and Angelus. Danger comes from every corner of this entertaining installment. Overall grade: A

To order a print copy go to http://www.tfaw.com/Comics/Profile/Angel-Season-Eleven-6___538649?utm_source=darkhorse&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=darkhorse_buy&utm_term=buy+Angel+Season+11+%236

To order a digital copy go to https://digital.darkhorse.com/books/0ab8f1fe7a404c46bc6b06ea93656f73/angel-season-11-6

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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