Review - Angel Season 11 #1 (@DarkHorseComics)

"Sun's about to go down. We should get to it."

Angel is one of the most interesting characters to spin out of the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer universe. His persistent conflict that brings him to the edge of insanity and destruction is always fascinating, which means he needs to rely on those around him for support. One of those characters is a goddess and she gets top-billing in Angel Season 11 #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Corinna Bechko, illustrated by Geraldo Borges, colored by Michelle Madsen and lettered by Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt.

Vampire Angel is tormented by a vision linking his shameful past to something very big—and very bad—that is coming. The goddess Illyria gives Angel some insight and incentive. Then she really gets involved, and Angel discovers that it might be possible to change the future by changing the past.

The issue opens up as another day in the life of Angel and Fred as the two of them seek to stem a supernatural tide overflowing in a friend's hotel. Bechko successfully taps into what it is about Angel and his life in the show that was so noteworthy--namely, he's struggling with a lot of demons who manifest both internally and externally. The pacing of the issue is pretty sound as it jumps back and forth between the present and images of what could be a very troubling future. Bechko does especially well in handling the dichotomy that is Fred/Illyria as the two are polar opposites of one another and Bechko ensures they feel like the two entirely different characters that they are. There are plenty of quirky Angel hooks thrown in for good measure as well that help the book maintain the feel of the larger universe that contains the show as well.

Borges does a great job on the artwork. His linework feels vibrant, infusing the characters with an extra sense of youthfulness. Despite the relatively young appearance, Borges ensures that Angel still manages to maintain his pretty typical scowl throughout the issue that underscores his plight at large. The panels don't follow a traditional layout in any sense as Borges eschews the standard grid for an array of insets, overlays and empty gutters. Madesn's colors are pretty simple and help to accentuate the characters very well.

Angel Season 11 #1 picks up right where the previous season left off in the sense that it knows who the characters are. Angel is every bit as tormented as he's ever been, yet he still has to learn to trust himself enough to realize that he might be the only one who can save the world from an impending disaster. Bechko's script is pretty lighthearted and does enough to establish a story arc without going to crazy. Borges' artwork is vibrant and offers a new look at familiar characters. Angel Season 11 #1 is enjoyable and will definitely need to be added to all the Angel fans out there.

Angel Season 11 #1 is available now.