Thursday, October 4, 2012

Angel Sits Out The Bulk Of Angel: Immortality For Dummies, But That Is Not The Main Fault Of The Book.

The Good: Decent plot, Good idea, Most of the artwork
The Bad: Very simple plot, No real character development, Some of the art
The Basics: Angel: Immortality For Dummies continues the Angel Season Six storyline with an abduction storyline that makes a lot of sense.

It has been a long time since I sat down and immersed myself in the Angel graphic novel continuation of the television series. As part of the amazing new library system I find myself enjoying, I am starting now to get in the Angel books. When I started reading Angel: Immortality For Dummies, I was shocked to realize fairly quickly that I had read the book before, right when it came out. Somehow, I just never got around to reviewing it.

Angel: Immortality For Dummies continues the story of Angel and his ever-growing collection of assistants as they wage war upon the forces of darkness in Los Angeles. The book is one of the most simplistic stories in the Angel saga and it is, actually, two stories. The main story in Angel: Immortality For Dummies actually focuses on Connor, Angel’s son. There is an exceptionally brief supplemental story that follows a new character, Eddie Hope, who is an ice devil, who is killing humans revealed to be truly evil through the time Los Angeles spent in the hell dimension in the After The Fall storyline.

Opening with Connor fighting three Horager demons. An especially lethal demon type, Connor usually avoids Horager demons, but forced to fight them now in Los Angeles, he manages to slay two of them before the last one knocks him down. He is rescued by four well-armored warrior women who pledge their allegiance to him. Connor returns to the Hyperion where he takes control of Angel Investigations, which is back in business. The others – Gunn, Kate, Spike, George, Illyria, James (the former angel) and the new shapeshifting catwoman – slowly accept him as their leader. Their first mission is to find Angel, who has been missing more than he usually is when he starts brooding over a new woman.

As it turns out, Angel has been captured by Alex Roman, the CEO of Innovation Labs. Laying completely incapacitated, Angel reflects upon how he was caught by the executive and how he is now being used to make vampires against his will (basically using his contaminated blood that is being pumped out of him). When a starlet is vamped and announces to the world that the famous Angel made her undead, Angel’s team leaps into action. While Illyria finds Angel right away, Spike goes after the starlet and the rest of the team wages a slaughter on vampires in the streets, getting ever closer to Innovation Labs and their dark plans.

The idea of Innovation Labs is an interesting one. The idea that a business would try to exploit the undead to make vampires out of the ultra-rich is a decent one. Alex Roman even appears pretty decent initially, explaining that he is approaching Angel because he wants to re-ensoul the people who get vamped at the lab. Angel: Immortality For Dummies introduces yet another new character to the mix with Laura Wethermill, a former member of the Watcher’s Council. She comes with a floating, brain-like Monasterenser Magnaserm named Polymephus and while the cast in these books is getting a bit cluttered (Gwen shows back up in the secondary story with the ice demon), she has more potential than the werecat who is a virtual nonentity in Angel: Immortality For Dummies.

Angel: Immortality For Dummies has no real character development and the plot is exceptionally simple. The book belabors Connor’s backstory and one almost has to feel like anyone who would be reading an Angel graphic novel would be familiar enough with the characters from the show to eliminate the need for five pages of backstory on the character. Connor’s story, and the conflict that leads to Gunn leaving (Connor does not trust him because of what happened in the Hell Moment), serves mostly to (apparently) set up a storyline that has Illyria interested in mating with Connor. That story is begun well by Illyria in this volume, though it is a pretty abrupt beginning (Illyria and Connor did not even meet in the television show).

The character that does not really develop and who lacks as distinctive a voice as even the new character, is Angel. Angel: Immortality For Dummies undersells Angel, keeping him out of play for most of the volume. The five chapter book has very little direct story with him as the focus. He is simply missing, his presence in the lab is very easily explained, and Illyria finds him before anyone knows she is looking for him. Bill Willingham’s big contribution to the Angel mythos seems to be keeping Angel out of pants.

That is not to say that Angel: Immortality For Dummies is bad. It’s not bad, it’s just ridiculously simple and a component of a much larger story. Lacking the other parts of that story, Angel: Immortality For Dummies holds up very poorly on its own. Fans of Angel might do better to pick up the whole Angel: The End hardcover as its price is now dropping.

For other Angel graphic novels leading up to and through Season Six, please visit my reviews of:
Smile Time
Not Fade Away
After The Fall Volume 1
After The Fall Volume 2 First Night
Spike: After The Fall
After The Fall Volume 3
Angel After The Fall Volume 4
Angel: Aftermath
Angel: Only Human


For other graphic novel reviews, please visit my Graphic Novel Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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