The first arc of Angel Season 11 has come to a close and it’s nice to see that it has a quieter finale than expected. After a great deal of action exploring how Illyria treated her worshippers in her early days and how her current self views her past self, it makes so much sense that this would eventually culminate in a conversation between the two rather than a huge fight.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Illyria as a character. She came in just before Angel was cancelled and there was so much wasted opportunity there, so I was so excited when Angel took to comics because it offered a chance to really allow this character to develop in a way she hadn’t been able to on television.
This arc has been great for getting a chance to see how Illyria actually sees herself and the creature that she used to be. She’s not as introspective as Angel, so this time-travel arc allows us to really get into her head and the way she sees herself for the first time.
Actually seeing a dialogue between Angel, Fred and Illyria’s former demon self was really interesting. As much as Illyria—and others—have talked about what a monster she was, she keeps up a pretty civil conversation.
I’m still not sure if I’m completely sold on the artwork. There are times when it looks really great and embodies the aesthetic that Dark Horse comics seem to be pushing as a whole, though. It also helps that this new style completely differentiates the book from Buffy. This is completely its own thing and it looks like it. That’s definitely a success.
It’s hard to guess where things are going next. I still wish that Angel and Co. would see a fourth person added to the roster, but it’s still fairly early in the season. Three leads is a little tight, especially when only two of them can only ever occupy the same space at once. Now that Angel’s back in his own solo title, I’d like to see some surviving mainstays from the show return, like Gunn and Connor, who are still out there somewhere. It’s possible that we’ll see them again this season, but it appears to have a clear arc and with its focus on time travel, I’m not so sure we’ll be seeing the old gang reteam any time soon.
Regardless, this is a strong conclusion to a great opening arc that provides a totally new direction for Angel as a series. On television, the show was constantly redefining itself and I’m very happy to see that that’s true of the comics as well. I can’t wait to see what the next arc will bring, especially as it promises to involve Angelus.
WICKED RATING: 8/10