REVIEW: ‘Angel,’ Issue #5 – Hellmouth Prelude

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Angel #5

Angel #5 continues writer Bryan Edward Hill’s reimagining of the titular character from Joss Whedon’s Buffyverse with Gleb Melnikov on art, Roman Titov on colors, and Ed Dukeshire serving as the letterer. The creative team has brought life and darkness to the characters of Angel’s world that established fans know well, while also allowing new fans the perfect entryway into the material. Now, BOOM! Studios is poised to have its first Buffyverse event and has begun setting the stage in Buffy The Vampire Slayer #8 – Hellmouth PreludeNow, it’s Angel’s turn to be pulled into the event after closing its first arc with a big bad built on vanity and hunting through social media.

Last issue, Lilith showed Angel his true mission: to gather a team to help him save the world. Assembling a team began with Fred, and at the end of the last issue, we saw the introduction of Charles Gunn, the LA vampire hunter and one of my favorite characters from the Angel television series.

Now in Angel #5, Hill’s Gunn is not only a vampire hunter but also a social media celeb. As the focus of this issue, Gunn’s backstory and his trauma take center stage. Hill’s writing this issue is best when he provides Gunn’s narration. It’s emotional and determined in all the right ways.

That being said, as a character that has traditionally offered up a lot of reflection for Angel, we sadly don’t see too much of that reflective tension here. Cursed with a soul, Angel isn’t like the monsters that Gunn hunts. This offers a door into exploring what the complicated relationship between the two but sadly Hill doesn’t walk through it. To be fair, this issue is a prelude to the Hellmouth event happening next month, so it makes sense that Hill would make Gunn complacent to Angels requests immediately. But, I do hope down the line, their relationship grows to be dynamic.

Angel #5

The other interesting thing about this issue is that when Lilith calls on Angel to head to Sunnydale and help the Scoobies, Hill chooses to call them “kids.” Now, if you don’t know a lot about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you probably still know that the titular teen character ends up in a relationship with a vampire over 100-years old.

At the time, this was a trope no one said anything about, and I still don’t take too much issue with, but now in 2019, pairing up the iconic early 2000s power couple of slaying up might not work out. Given the language used to describe the Scoobies, it seems like the OTP won’t come to fruition.

Melnikov’s art remains a fantastic horror vision. Blood, broken glass, and vampires turning into dust are all illustrated to perfection while Titov’s colors give each page a punch. Sticking to green and blue washes for the dark opening of the book, Titov crafts a beautiful and ominous atmosphere. Not to mention, the green dust left behind by the vampires Angel kills is gorgeous. This all stands in the stark difference to Titov’s warm color palette for Gunn’s memory of death, adding a dynamic richness to Angel #5.

Angel #5 is perfectly a set up for the Hellmouth event, but because of that, it feels slightly empty. While this isn’t a bad issue, it’s simply just okay, looking to bring us into a different story for a separate event and not really focused on the dynamic of the Angel series proper.

Angel #5 is available where comics are sold.

Angel #5
3.5

TL;DR

Angel #5 is perfectly a set up for the Hellmouth event, but because of that, it feels slightly empty. While this isn’t a bad issue, it’s simply just okay, looking to bring us into a different story for a separate event and not really focused on the dynamic of the Angel series proper.

1 Comment on “REVIEW: ‘Angel,’ Issue #5 – Hellmouth Prelude”

  1. I disagree about the possibility of Buffy/Angel not happening. I feel it’s inevitable given all the connections to Sunnydale and the crossover. And in the issue Lilith’s reveal that Angel is closer in age to Buffy and the others when he was turned, so it’s gonna happen.

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