What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Angel & Spike #16! I gotta say that I was a bit taken back with the news that this issue was going to be the series finale for the Angel & Spike adventures. It has been some time since the last time I reviewed this book, and I was definitely under the impression that there was a longterm plan for what this book had to offer.
Now with this issue being the finale, you could tell that this was something which may have been a sudden decision for this creative team because the pacing struck fast from the flip of the first page. That’s not take away from the urgency that they did have for saving Fred from Wolfram & Hart, but you could tell that this could have easily been a rescue which could have taken more time than what was blown through here. Especially when it came to the doors which Team Angel had to knock down, the people who they had to go through to get the answers they were looking for, and the obstacles they had to get through in order for an invasion of Wolfram & Hart to even be possible. I mean, credit where it is due that never before have you seen these champions taking on a pack of Werewolves the way they just did.
This brings us to the invasion of Wolfram & Hart, and that is where things got messy. Well, it was where things truly became rushed between storming the castle for Fred, and discovering that there really wasn’t much point in the rescue mission in the first place. I mean I liked that there was some things noteworthy about the contrast to the original stories, but that was about it really. Everything else made it hard to ignore the fact that what was happening was for the sake of reaching a conclusion.
Now the twist to Fred’s story was a big one, and one which definitely would have stuck more if it wasn’t something which was also rushed through. When it comes to Fred, the story was always that she would find herself entangled with Illyria. However, this thing with Baphomet and now Mura is nothing that you would have expected for them to do differently. Now I wish I could say that I liked this change, but in the end it didn’t do much for me. And I would be surprised if it did much for other readers.
I think part of what hurt this book was the artwork. Now I know the way that that sounds, but hear me out first. When you have a book like Angel & Spike, you expect a certain level of quality to the interior work. Though I don’t think we got much of that from this book. Certainly from the Buffy book, but not this one. I personally struggled investing in this book because I would flip to a page a feel like I was straining my eyes to figure out what was going on. That is problematic for any book. Though more so for one which is suppose to grab your attention through familiarity to the characters and world around them. Now there was some creativity to Fred coming into her own as Mura, and the kind of power she wielded, but aside from that? I felt like the negatives outweighed the positives.
All in all, I think maybe this book was always going to reach an end like this. Not the exact end that this landed on, but a wrap-up in general because this book didn’t really leave you with the same sense of investment as the last Angel series did. Different is good, but you have to also gun for different that you can sell readers on.