Review - Angel #1 (@boomstudios)

"This generation has too many mirrors and not enough windows."

Vampires have a way of sticking around; it probably has to do with their immortality. In Angel #1 from BOOM! Studios, the lead character continues to use his immortality for good. The issue is written by Bryan Edward Hill, illustrated by Gleb Melnikov, colored by Melnikov and Gabriel Cassata and lettered by Ed Dukeshire.

Angel walks the line between two worlds; a vampire cursed with a soul, he's spent centuries battling back the forces that would destroy humanity, in an attempt to redeem himself for the crimes committed by the monster he was when he was first turned. But now, when the trail of the most recent demonic uprising takes him to Sunnydale, he realizes that the redemption he seeks can only come at a startling price. As Angel reunites with old friends and old spirits in Sunnydale, he comes face to face with a new demon -- one set on destroying a generation that Angel is entirely unfamiliar with. Will Angel be able to adapt to this new kind of foe...or will he succumb to the demons of his dark and terrible past as Angelus?

Hill's script in Angel #1 is very succinct in its approach and that works exceedingly well for the character. Angel has always relied on brooding silence as a means of expressing his desire to do good--something that Hill captures effortlessly. This key personality trait of Angel is also what serves as the underpinning of the issue (and presumably series) as a whole, as Hill leverages that desire to compel Angel to investigate that latest in a series of evil happenings. There's also a great modern take on the character and his universe, in that the issue focuses on society's obsession with appearance via social media. Hill's script is very evenly paced and doesn't rush anything; instead, it focuses on re-establishing Angel for familiar readers and introducing him to new readers through giving his moral compass a baseline.

Melnikov's artwork does a great job of capturing the appearance of Angel very well. Melnikov uses very fine linework to render the characters, giving each of them a very faint distinction from the backgrounds. Angel looks easily recognizable and familiar to fans of the character, with Melnikov emphasizing his large stature and generally morose demeanour. The panels are neatly arranged through the issue and emboldened by black gutters which also reinforce the abundance of cross-hatching throughout the issue. Melnikov's and Cassata's colors are largely on the darker side of things helping to set the moody atmosphere.

Angel #1 is a great return to form for the character and franchise that evokes a more philosophical take on the character. Not a lot has changed for Angel as far as his sense of duty goes, but a lot has changed in the world around him. Hill's take on the character is respectful and insightful. Melnikov's artwork is a great fit for the book in setting the tone of the story. Angel #1 is a solid first issue that fans of the character can dive right into while new readers will find plenty that's appealing.

Angel #1 is available now.