What a twist this run of Angel has been so far. Fan favorites brought back into the spotlight, more problems, new problems, and so many paths crossing in ways that they never did before. At first I remember thinking that it was way too soon for a book like Angel to be thrown into a crossover event, but the feeling is great that those concerns could be quickly put to rest through everything these characters have experienced up till now. As I said last month, Angel left behind pieces to a big puzzle who are out in the world and getting into their own brand of trouble.
This chapter focused a lot on Spike and Gunn, and I found it very engaging for what came of these two working together. Initially there was a lot of tension between the two, but that was only really going to last so long. When they got past this, for the most part, there was just finding a middle ground where they could be on the same side doing the right thing. This was a new experience for Gunn, because up to now he has only been able to see vampires as the enemy. Never before was he offered the opportunity to really understand the dangers of demons, witches, demi-gods, and everything else in-between. It even helped that he had someone like Spike around who is a bit more upfront about answering questions. The kind that would without a doubt enlighten Gunn on what he is really dealing with. Even when it comes to true darkness like the side o Angel that he has never seen before. Well, that not many have seen before aside from Spike , Drusilla, and whoever else existed in his past.
For fans of Spike, this was also a great chapter for the fact that quickly he has been thrust into a new role. It was one thing to know that he had a part to play in saving the world, though it was something else entirely for him to be able to begin fighting his nature to do something for others aside from just himself. This didn’t mean that he didn’t still maintain the same personality as he did before, because that stayed true from start to finish. The one thing I will always give Spike in contrast to Angel is that there is never a dry moment as long as he is given the room to talk. Not to mention,unlike Angel, Spike will actually go to those dark places in order to get the job done. A refreshing change of pace if you ask me.
With this issue focusing more on Spike and Gunn, this left little room for what Fred was dealing with on her end. It took some time to get somewhere good with her situation, though getting to that point it was appreciated to explore what growing up was like for her. It’s easy to forget that Fred’s troubles didn’t suddenly develop as she was locked up in that asylum. Something had to lead her to that place, and boy was it eye-opening to come to terms with what it was like for her to go through life being so different and not understanding why.
Angel #8 was refreshing for the fact that this art team allowed themselves more room for indulgence in the action. Not just the action, but the lack of restraint towards it. Though the action isn’t all which grabs your attention. It was cool to follow the many faces of Fred over the years as her connection to magic really dug its claws into her. The changes took place in how she dressed, the many expressions she went through, the lack of it at the same time. Most of the drawing was solid work, though it was when the intensity turned up that the extra detail went into it. When it came to the colors, I really did love the negative effect they threw in as things got gory. You could easily throw red in every direction, but it goes a long way to take that extra step towards setting a different mood. Inverting the colors added a twist to the intensity from the kind of action that Spike and Gunn are jumping into. Now this isn’t to say that things weren’t bloody upfront. Because there were some blood soaked moments that did stand out for the effort put into shining a more sinister light on the worst of vampires and people. Especially when guns are involved.
Another tie-in issue bites the dust and continues making us as interested in what goes on outside of the Hellmouth, as we are in what is unfolding within. Angel #8 marks the start of something exciting when Spike offers his own brand of heroics which varies so differently from the gloomy vampire. This could go right, or it could go very wrong. Only time will tell!