What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Angel & Spike #12! Some things are just a lot to take in. If you’re a reader who has a strong memory of the Angel TV show, then there is a lot here in this book which is just a different experience altogether. So many characters introduced way earlier than you remember, and having very different roles to play in this re-imagining of the series. This story arc in particular sets things in motion you just did not expect to happen to either Fred or Gunn specifically.
With Angel & Spike #12, they took us right back into this tense situation as Gunn finds himself possessed, and Fred is in the process of giving herself to Baphomet. I don’t know what the plan was when they decided these things needed to happen to them, but it was nice in the moment to not know what was going to happen next. Let’s take this possession Gunn is inflicted with for instance. Just about anything could have happened here when it is Angel and Spike who have to confront him like this. Even if we knew that there was no way they would kill Gunn, that didn’t stop you from fearing what they would have to do in order to stop him.
As for Fred, things took an intriguing turn as she of course gave herself to Baphomet. I know what I expected to happen in the moment, so I’m glad that things happened a bit differently from what was assumed. The one thing you imagined would be consistent with Fred is that eventuality that she will die when Illariya takes over her body. Never before did you think her story would begin going from being haunted by one demon, to allowing an entity like Baphomet into her. That’s not to say that what happened after didn’t grab your attention, because it’s not as if she was doing this without good intentions. How she in turn saved everyone else was an unexpected development since it’s not often that Fred is ever put in a position where she is the one with the power to save the day. That said, credit where it is due that they are doing some bold things with Wolfram & Hart. This is not at all like you remember them. This was a law firm that was usually hit or miss with their plans. They did whatever it took to get the job done, but it was new that they were messing with higher powers like this.
This brings us to the aftermath of the situation. That quickly turned into a point of interest because once again we were reminded of the importance to the role Lilith plays in this. Her kind of help is vague, but you do appreciate the mystery she adds to the story. One might say that it hurts the story that there is someone telling the heroes what to do, and who to watch their backs for, but there is a difference between being given that information and what you do with it. It was clever how the this information was interpreted by Angel since there was clearly things he could have done to have changed the way events unfolded. He simply allows himself to once more be a creature of habit, which tends to be the crux of his character.
I would say that the interior work for this issue was solid from this art team. There wasn’t too much that I would have said stood out visually aside from the imagery they created when Fred performed the ritual. You would have braced yourself for something nightmarish, yet it made sense that when Fred and Baphomet finally met, it was under different circumstances to ease her into becoming his vessel. The atmosphere of a dreamscape with warm colors filling the skies, on top of the angelic form she took on this plane, created an experience you don’t get too often in the Angel series. That aside, it was definitely terrifying the way they captured this possessed Gunn. I do think they went a little too wild with the transformation, considering an elongated mouth/fingers is drastic, but I will give credit that they gave us a reason to fear something neither Angel or Spike could physically deal with.
After Hellmouth, it’s a bold new world for these heroes. The events of Angel & Spike #12 proved that much to be true, and much more. This is Wolfram & Hart like we have never seen them before, and it makes you wonder how they are going to deal with an enemy they didn’t take seriously enough till now.