Comic Book Review: Angel Season 11 #4
I think I can say with confidence now that them bringing back Fred with Illyria still attached to her was one of my favorite decisions they made for the Angel books. Fred was always a character who was gone too soon, and when she came back brought her own excitement with Illyria along for the ride. Together they open doors to the Buffyverse where neither human or vampire would tread without permission.
At this stage of the story arc, or well the finale, the sense of urgency is strong. As they say, Angel is caught facing an unrelenting Illyria of the past, an unrelenting Illyria of the future, and an impending volcanic eruption. No matter how you put it this is a race against the clock and felt like it from the first page. The tension between Illyria and Angel works so well during a time like this because he is not the kind of guy to allow someone to act carelessly. She on the other hand is not someone you try to convince of this given her power. Though character development even now comes into play when you are still seeing the ways in which Illyria has been influenced by those she has interacted with to be able think of a better way to handle things. Does that make this situation any easier? Not at all, but that is why the urgency in trying to avoid the worst case scenario is so great.
For Angel, I believe this was more than convincing at least one of the goddesses to trust someone other than themselves or him. If there’s one obstacle for many characters throughout the Buffyverse, it is the assumption that people can’t change. And if we were being specific, then most of the time the idea that gods can’t change. There’s no better feeling than challenging that statement and proving it wrong. All it ever takes is running into someone you can relate to like Angel, or someone so pure of heart like Fred to open your eyes to what is truly in front of you. If for any reason this creative team was perfect for season 11 of Angel, it has to be that they put these character’s growth above all. There is passion in everything they do heroic.
If when this adventure first began and you asked me what I thought of it, I probably would have told you I wasn’t all in for what direction they were taking us into season 11. This is that time where you have to establish a foundation for where the story will and can take us. Season 10 was a thrilling exploration and fight for the soul of Magic Town. So one had to wonder where we could possibly go from there. This here as the first arc was different, and a new experience.
I remember flipping open to that first page of Angel Season 11 and struggling to figure out how I felt about this new art team moving forward. Like any new volume there is a bigger adjustment period when it comes to the style of artwork. More importantly when it comes to books like this adapted from another medium. As the story progressed I was consistently impressed by what this art team brought to the table. As I’ve pointed out before, there is greater detail in the supernatural elements of this world than before. Geraldo Borges knows how to bring out everything that shouldn’t be too simple or friendly about dealing with demons and others alike. Illyria in her true form looked terrifying and powerful, and her followers looked as ancient as the time they sprung into. There are some places where perspective takes away from the detail in the characters, though mostly what engages you is the way he brings out the human elements which drive the emotion of this story. For this issue I enjoyed the way Michelle Madsen set the mood for this finale through the colors. There were stronger colors, effects that brought out the threat of the volcano, and still the consistency in organic colors that breathed life into the world around these characters.
It took some time to roll with this first arc, but now it is safe to say that we still have two good halves of the Buffyverse going strong into their new seasons. Angel Season 11 #4 wrapped up the first leg of this brand new adventure. Taking us deep into the heart of a character you wouldn’t have expected to understand this well until now.