This season of the Angel comic has settled into a Doctor Who routine of Angel and a companion going on adventures through space and time. But the reason for this is something that feels like an organic extension of Angel’s character. In fact, it’s something I can’t believe they never attempted to do on the show itself. Angel is, after all, a character filled with regret. It feels so natural for him to decide to go back and change something in his own past.
As the series has proven, though, that’s easier said than done. For the first five issues, Angel and Fred/Illyria were stranded in the distant past so that Illyria could attempt to solve one of her own regrets. That story arc was fascinating because it offered rare insight into Illyria as a character.
This issue, though, picks up on the original promise of Angel traveling back into his own past. But the sense of adventure is not lost, even though Angel is going to be forced to confront his old monstrous self, Angelus. This issue sets up the new arc as a classical seafaring adventure. Angel and Fred are on a boat where Angelus and Darla are beginning to make a meal out of the crew.
Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a story if Angel didn’t run into his past self. We get only a taste of that in this issue, but I’m excited to see where that’s going. Angel’s had dialogue with Angelus before, but this is a totally new situation. This is Angelus before the curse, before becoming the vampire with a soul. How’s he going to react to seeing what he’s eventually going to become? Will that change him at all? What if Angelus finds out about the curse ahead of time? Would that prevent him from ever becoming Angel?
Generally, by the rules of time travel in fiction, there’s no way to change the past without changing the present. There’s a great opportunity for crossover here between Buffy and Angel. I think it would be great to see more of Angel’s adventures in the past affecting what’s going on with Buffy in the present. Even if it’s in small ways, it would be great for fans and would kind of feel necessary, given that whatever Angel’s doing has to change the timeline somehow.
On top of that, it’s great to see Darla, who’s barely ever appeared in the comics. Given that she’s such an integral part of Angel’s history, this is a great opportunity to get to see more of her and to have her interact with Angel and Fred again.
This is an intriguing new direction, overall, and I’m excited to see how it develops, even if the issue itself feels like a brief tease of things to come.
WICKED RATING: 6.5/10