Angel season 11 #1

The third issue of Angel is a little less action-packed, though there are still some big, exciting moments. Angel, Fred and Illyria are still stuck in the past while Illyria tries to stop herself from doing something she clearly has come to regret. While the setup remains interesting, most of the issue falls into the realm of exposition. It’s interesting exposition, for the most part, but it definitely does drag down the momentum of an exciting arc.

Still, it’s fantastic in terms of the characters. Angel and Fred are struggling to solve the problem and get these demons to listen to reason, whereas Illyria is entirely driven to fight—after all, that’s what she does best. There’s quite a bit unspoken about her character going on here. That’s refreshing because both of these titles—Buffy and Angel—suffer from explaining too much about exactly what the characters are going through at times.

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 1.59.55 PMIllyria’s motivations are a little more subtle, which is great because subtlety has never been something she was known for. Here, though, while she’s attempting to stop a massacre of her own doing, it’s also clear that she has some unresolved issues with herself. One look at her original, demonic form and she’s compelled into combat. At first, it looked like she was filled with rage for her old enemy, but now it clearly looks like much of that rage is held toward herself.

There are some great moments between Angel and Fred as well. These characters have been apart for a long time and they had such a unique bond. It’s great to see them together again. It’s especially great when Fred makes note of the cave they’ve been hiding in and draws parallels to her own past. After all, she had been living in a cave in a demon-infested world for five years when Angel first met her.

I can’t help but wonder if the altering of the timeline is going to have further consequences, or if it will change things on a bigger level than anticipated. It’s a little odd to just have one demon from this world show up in the present. How will that affect things further? Or will it affect anything at all? I would kind of expect it to, especially with all of Buffy Season 11 hinging on the aftermath of a disaster that occurred in the opening issue.

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 2.00.14 PMWhether Angel will wind up taking a similar approach remains to be seen. They still haven’t even done the thing they went back in time to do. If the whole season of Angel winds up following a theme of time travel, that would be kind of fantastic. The Buffyverse has a huge, expansive history and it would be great to see Angel drop in on some major events that we’ve only ever heard of in brief references.

Overall, this is a pretty strong issue that doesn’t quite hit the same level of excitement as the previous two. The artwork continues to be a nice change of pace for the series and I’m still eagerly looking forward to seeing how the arc wraps up.

WICKED RATING: 6.5/10