Angel #2 is published by BOOM! Studios, written by Bryan Edward Hill, with art by Gleb Melnikov, colors from Melnikov and Gabriel Cassata, and letters by Ed Dukeshire. This issue is the second in the reimagining of the vampire with a soul from Joss Whedon’s Buffy universe. This new series continues the rebooting done in the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer title, also published by BOOM!, and pulls the centuries years old Angel into 2019.
Last issue, we got to see a glimpse into the brutality of his former self and we were introduced to an entirely modern-day demon. Issue number one of Angel was a setup as we looked into Angel, we learned his purpose, and we watched one of his only friends’ daughter set he family’s house on fire because something on the internet told her too. Right from the jump, Hill understood that pulling Angel out of the early 2000s meant more than just updating his wardrobe and geled hair – it meant changing up the demons. Traditionally, the Angel television series was darker in tone than it’s Buffy counterpart, to which last issue and now Angel #2 have captured perfectly.
Starting in the past, Angel #2 continues the story that opened last issue, featured in the preview for this issue. The warrior he turned is his now and Hill writes a beautiful and chilling dialogue that paints his power as Angelus, welcoming a new vampire into the world and creating a new identity for her, one molded by him and the war he is set to fight for the Master against all other monsters.
Part of me wants to call this opening unnecessary. After all, it’s a look in the past and seemingly detached from the present we’re in with Angel now, something that I usually don’t like in issues given the number of pages that they are. But Hill’s writing makes this look into the past necessary and it establishes the world of vampires in a more complete way than five issues of Buffy.
The writing is poetic and Melnikov’s art is angular and unique with his and Cassata’s colors pulpy, dark, and firey. I could truly just take a series on Angelus. But Angel #2 is more than the past, but Hills uses Angel’s history at the top to keep it in your mind, as a reader, you know what is under the surface our lead presents to the world. Honestly, Hill’s writing reminds me of The Vampire Lestat – moving, dark, and irredeemable. But as we flash to the present, he has a soul, and we know he is actually in a place to receive his redemption.
As we move to Sunnydale, we learn about the demon using social media to feed, a generation creating this monster a buffet. Introduced last issue, and around more in Angel #2, Lilith serves as our beautiful first woman in all her knowledge mapping out the demon for us. Hill beautifully maps out the progression from cave painting to selfies while the art adds a weight to the words. With Angel more or less sent to conquer social media, we’re brought into the life of the next victim, another teenage girl.
Only this one has ties to Fred. Yes, that Fred. The quirky and lovable and tortured soul who was originally played by Amy Acker on television has come into the series early compared to her on-screen counterpart. With such a beloved character coming in with a different origin, this offers an exciting open door for the series to continue to pull itself apart from the source material in inventive ways.
And if there is any team I could have wanted to take on Angel’s story, it’s this one. The beautifully dark writing from Hill is accented by the macabre and angular visuals from Melnikov. Both live in a creative space straddling horror and wonder. Ultimately, my favorite horror visual from a series this year is in the back half of this issue. It involves a face, a mirror, and the perfect shades of red accenting it.
Angel #2 is a perfect issue that balance Angelus and Angel, with the poetry of the former when needed and the one-liners for the latter to distinguish the two, building out the two halves of the character. As a series, I am buckled in for the rest of Angel and with the crossover event with the Buffy series coming, I’m more than ready.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.