REVIEW: ‘Angel,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Angel #3

BOOM! Studios has rebooted the Buffy-verse, and with that Angel, everyone’s favorite tall, dark, and broody vampire from the early 2000s. Angel #3 continues writer Bryan Edward Hill’s reimagining of the character with Gleb Melnikov on art, Roman Titov on colors, and Ed Dukeshire serving as the letterer. Titov is new to the series but outside of him, this creative team has proven over the last two issues to have a knowledge and passion for the material that brings a new life to old characters while making me fall in love with them all over again.

Each issue has opened up with the past, showing us glimpses of Angelus, pre-soul Angel and the damage he’s dealt across a small European village while showing us glimpses of his bloody lineage. In Angel #3, Hill gets straight to our main story – a demon of vanity is killing the teens in Sunnyvale and it’s up to Angel to stop it. More-so than other issues, this one focuses on who Angel is now and who he will be, it builds out Angel while still reminding us of Angelus.

Last issue, his quest to stop the demon who caused the death of one of his only friend led him to a mental ward of a hospital and ultimately to fan-favorite Fred. Hill also pit him again a possessed girl and in Angel #3, he gets creative as he takes the demon on and seeks to fight the vanity demon on its own turf.

Angel #3

Angel is a horror comic through and through. Hill’s writing and Melnikov’s art are equal parts dark and beautiful and the new world they’re creating in the Buffy-verse captures the best of Whedon’s character while improving on him. I have done nothing but sing the praises of Angel, and that continues today.

In Angel #3, Melnikov gives readers some of the best horror art in a comic right now and I don’t say this lightly. His ability to illustrate the hallmarks of possession horror is true to the genre in film – avoiding the more over the tops examples of body design that while has a place in the genre, wouldn’t serve Hill’s grounded story. This is extended to the back half of the book which shows us a dematerializing Angel, revealing his innards and skeleton without moving into camp. There is a darkness that works with Titov’s rich color palette.

In the opening scenes of the comic which feature Angel taking on the possessed girl, Titov’s strength as a colorist is front and center – as the young girl is consumed in flames. In moments like this, details can be lost in the art, instead, Titov’s coloring of the fire accentuates the existing details of the characters. working perfectly in sync with Melnikov’s art. This is extended to the use of blood which while ever-present, doesn’t bloody the images and instead extend the horror.

Angel #3

As Angel #3 ends we see a larger supernatural world setting the stage for the rest of the arc and with Lilith’s recounting of the future for our hero. We’re shown that Hill intends to pull in the friends that define Angel’s identity as both a hero and a human. He’s a vampire with a soul, but his empathy and humanity come from the bonds around him. On television, the best seasons of his show are the ones that prioritize relationships and the foreshadowing in this Angel #3 highlights Hill’s intention to bring this in his series.

With the Hellmouth event announced during SDCC, we know that in Angel #5 we’re going to see Angel and Buffy meet, but until then, I’m satisfied with the bonds that Hill is solidifying. Angel #3 further shows readers that both Hill and Melnikov understand not only the character of Angel but the toy box of horror imagery and trope and how to play with it.

Angel #3 is available now.

Angel #3
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TL;DR

As Angel #3 ends we see a larger supernatural world setting the stage for the rest of the arc and with Lilith’s recounting of the future for our hero. We’re shown that Hill intends to pull in the friends that define Angel’s identity as both a hero and a human. He’s a vampire with a soul, but his empathy and humanity come from the bonds around him. On television, the best seasons of his show are the ones that prioritize relationships and the foreshadowing in this Angel #3 highlights Hill’s intention to bring this in his series.