BOOM! Studios may still be in the early stages of dipping their toes into the Buffyverse, but we already have our first big crossover event coming up. Angel #5 picks up where the last issue left off, but it mostly serves as a prelude to the upcoming Hellmouth.
Let’s see if it’s worth checking out, shall we?
Snappy Spoiler-Lite Recap
- New Charles Gunn is just as badass as Old School Charles Gunn, but a lot more social media savvy.
- New Gunn also has a rough backstory, but this one feels a lot more tragic and heartbreaking.
- When Angel asks to borrow your vamp-dusting stakes, it’s really just a polite formality before he takes one…
- …and when Angel offers to buy you a burger, you take him up on it.
- Now is the time where I’m supposed to say something like “When Angel makes you an offer, you take it,” but I could totally understand why Gunn might not be ready to do that yet.
- “Remember, the red stuff in my fridge isn’t wine.“
- And here comes Lilith once again with a bunch of vague exposition…
- Great seeing Gunn and Fred together again 🙂
- High school > Hell
Before we get to the story, I gotta give artist Gleb Melnikov major props for a couple things. First off, I love the way he draws the new urban explorer version of Gunn. Second, the scene with Gunn as a kid is by far the most disturbing looking thing put to the page of the series thus far.
Which brings me to my next point…
When you’re working in the well worn genre of vampire stories, it’s inevitable that you’re going to run into predictable tropes–ESPECIALLY when those stories take place in a rebooted version of a popular media franchise.
So when we see a young version of Gunn get in a strange car with his friend, we already have a pretty good idea what’s going to happen. Likewise, when Gunn and Angel meet, we already know there will be a period of confusion and mistrust followed by an (initially) uneasy alliance.
So instead of overextending the narrative in an effort to sUbvErT eXpEcTaTiOnS, writer Bryan Hill embraces and maximizes the cards he’s been dealt to their full potential. In the case of Gunn’s origin, he makes the character’s formative trauma something truly horrific to watch unfold. With Gunn and Angel’s first encounter, Hill distills the conflict we’ve already watched play out before into a few panels of snappy dialogue (with the help of some 21st century screening/stalking capabilities).
By the end of one issue, we’ve established a good handle on what makes Gunn tick, have created a wary alliance between him and Angel (which is a lot of fun to watch already), and created a great launching point for the Hellmouth storyline…
…and yes, we once again have to suffer through another visit from Lilith to get there. Other that, however, Angel #5 does a truly fantastic job setting things up while continuing to move the story forward.