In Review: Angel: Season 11 #7

Fire, pirates, zombie crewmen, and an insect horde plague Angel and Fred on the high seas.

The covers: Illyria is up to her chest in water, her head tilted to the side in acknowledgement of the reader. At her neck is one of the green beetles that’s been taking possession of the crew. Behind her, also in the water, are four crewmen, with beetles also on them. The man on the far left has green smoke wisping out of his forehead. Below the water is Angel’s visage, looking at the reader. Scott Fischer turns in another superior cover for this outing for the vampire with a soul. This Regular cover would make an outstanding print. The Variant by Stephanie Hans is much more action oriented as Angel is at the wheel of a ship, furiously trying to steer it to safety as it begins to succumb to fire. Good layout and excellent coloring make this a neat frontpiece. Overall grades: Regular A+ and Variant B+

The story: Corinna Bechko starts this issue off with Angel and Illyria having words, with the latter angry that he would have allowed Fred, whom Illyria shares a body, to become bitten by a vampire. Angel says that never would have happened, yet she counters with, “…do you really want to risk that it could be me who ends up without a soul?” This takes Angel aback. “You without…I…Would that even be possible?” Before she can answer, she changes into Fred who tells him they should be worrying about the sun which is about to rise, since Angel is a vampire, and their ship is on fire, with pirates battling beetle-zombie sailors. As they dash to safety on the deck, Angel’s vampire enhanced smell catches a whiff of land — If the ship reaches shore the beetles will spread like a plague. They have to turn the ship around! A surprise foe appears, giving Angel hell, while Fred struggles to keep herself safe, while the ship burns, the sides battle, and the bugs whiz about. Bechko has all kinds of chaos going on, but she’s able to smoothly and smartly navigate the pair to safety, though only momentary. The timeline is touched upon, with how things will make sense, and finally all seems well for the heroes. That is, until the final page, where Bechko puts them into a whole new world of trouble. I like the chaos of this issue, which would have been impossible to film for the cost of extras and effects. Also impressive are the characters, true to their television counterparts, but with added depth thanks to the conversations that take place during quiet moments. This was fun. Overall grade: A

The art: With this issue Zé Carlos really comes into his own, with him solidifying his versions of the leads and having an incredibly amount of visual fun with them: the situation that Angel finds himself on Pages 17 – 22, Faith’s outstanding clothing (especially with what’s wrapped around her head), and the constant look of anger on Illyria, who starts the book fantastically. The supporting cast also looks great, with the pirates nearly stealing the issue’s visuals, starting with a fantastic oversized panel that bleeds off the page on 3. The individual that arrives to cause trouble on 6 looks great, with his face to face with Faith at the bottom of the page a winner. The insects are everywhere in this issue, tooling about, and appearing just when it seems they’ve gone away. Angel’s actions to one of the creatures on 3 is excellent. There there’s all the fire that Carlos puts on these pages –Wow! There’s no denying that this ship is going to collapse because of the flames that are in every panel. If the reader thinks that they’ve been forgotten, Carlos always has them licking their way into a panel or some flaming debris spiraling in the background. The final five pages of the book have the heroes in a much calmer setting, allowing Carlos to spend a lot of time on the characters. He moves the reader around this tight location well, with 19 doing an exceptional job in showing what one character possesses. Carlos matches the scares and fun that the story demands. Overall grade: A  

The colors: One color comes to mind after reading this issue and that’s orange. There’s a lot of orange in this issue and that’s because the ship is on fire. Even when the flames are not seen, their strength casts a glow upon the characters, such as Angel and Illyria on the first page. Though it’s the primary color, it’s not the only color, to be sure. Take a look at the large panel on Page 3: The characters in the foreground have been darkened because of their placement to the reader, yet one sound that they create is colored brightly crimson to make it stand out. The characters in the background are colored a dark shade of orange for their proximity to the flames, while the talons of heat are bright. Plus, the beetles stand out for their vivid greens and blues. Having the night sky be a dark blue is an outstanding way to make the fires feel tremendous. The colors change dramatically on the final pages due to the new setting and they are equally beautiful, but for entirely different reasons. Michelle Madsen is doing a terrific job on this book. Overall grade: A

The letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt are responsible for creating dialogue, the story’s title, sounds, yells, and the tease for next issue. The sounds are the big take away from this issue, as there are several to be had aboard this ship of death. I appreciate that a variety of fonts are used for the sounds, rather than using the same style repeatedly; see Page 3 for three different sounds that have their own unique look. Overall grade: A

The final line: Fire, pirates, zombie crewmen, and an insect horde plague Angel and Fred on the high seas. Can they escape all these threats and the rising sun? Incredibly fun with visuals that capture the adventure and scares. Overall grade: A

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To see both covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

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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