Comic Book Review: Angel Season 11 #5
Last issue of Angel brought us to an end to Illyria’s story as she transports Angel and Fred to a new time period. That was a perfect start to season 11 showing us that there is still more story to tell through these two characters. Chasing the moment in the past that will bring disaster to the future did take a detour there, but it was a worthwhile detour. I feared messing with the past again would bring us back to all too familiar ground, but I was glad to be proven wrong. That is to say hoping that running into Angelus again doesn’t change this.
I will say there is still some lingering skepticism. Illyria’s trip to the past was cool, but that was because it was character exploration we’ve never gotten from her. Depth which no other tried to create from her until this point. That was what made that trip work from start to finish, though here we are where the experience is nothing like that. I will admit that Angel’s past is so extensive that it is impossible to go over the same thing twice, but this doesn’t change the fact that throughout those many years Angelus was up to the same thing time and time after. Vampires doing what they do best. So the reason for them visiting this point in time had to mean something pretty important.
With that said, they do ease our fear of being here in the past through a fairly quick understanding of why this point in particular mattered so much to the visions Angel had of the future. I can appreciate that for most of this issue there was a stronger focus on avoiding Angelus and Darla, rather than focusing on who they are during this time. Their actions would provide nothing new aside from the danger of what happens if they were to run into Angel and Fred. The fear generated from not fully understanding what they needed to do is what catches your attention most. Things move pretty slow this issue, but there was at the very least progress to take from these events. Especially with the twist that they would have to deal with pirates eventually.
With this next trip through time, we switch up to a new artist. Personally I do think it is a bit too early for a change like this, though it wasn’t bad. They at least waited till one story wrapped up to move on to the next with a new artist. Ze Carlos brings more shape and cleaner pencils to the interior art. There was much more about these characters that was defined between their body composition to their facial features. Their expressions in particular were stronger and that comes from a better perspective and room to pay attention to the details which matter the most. In Illyria’s past, there was a lot going on there. It can be overwhelming and that is probably where some of the quality was sacrificed, but here we are simply on a ship which doesn’t demand too much going on in the background. Michelle Madsen’s colors were much stronger this time around as well. She adjusted very well to this change of style, setting, and demand of energy from these characters during such a tense period to be stuck in.
Angel Season 11 #5 treads some dangerous waters as running into Angelus and Darla is way worse than the idea of running into Illyria during her full-on Old One days. The story started off slowly, though at the same time it was a fast read when everything comes down to retrieving the artifact before Angelus and Darla, or from them.