Angel No. 0 review: Angel is back and there’s plenty to look forward to

Angel is back to headlining his own series with everything we could hope for and more!

Title: Angel
Issue: No. 0
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Script: Bryan Edward Hill
Art: Gleb Melnikov and Gabriel Cassata

The brooding hero with an occasional villainous side is returning to the modern Buffyverse in his very own title from BOOM! Studios. When the series was announced as a surprise release, it couldn’t have created more buzz around the exciting new comic, and after reading it, there’s plenty to appreciate about the Irish vampire with a soul.

In the final pages of Buffy’s fourth issue, a drastic change occurs for one main character, but additionally shows us a glimpse of Angel lurking in the shadows. Instead of continuing from that moment, issue zero shows a few pieces of Angel’s retold history in this new continuity being crafted masterfully. The first issue doesn’t dive right into the specifics of his past, but from what is shown, this is very much the Angel we know. We see images of his experience as a soulless demon and the curse that changed his life, which essentially keeps him on the same track without any mention of Darla being his sire (for now).

In this title so far, Angel is entirely conflicted about his own existence. There’s this undeniable thirst for redemption that’s almost the character’s identity when we meet him, with his sole purpose stemming from his regret over the evil he’s committed for centuries. They certainly kept Angel’s complex morality as the primary theme for the title which is addressed by editor Sierra Hahn in the final page with the utmost respect to the Whedon world. This is shown more clearly than ever with BOOM! Studios, as we watch this brief and unique platonic relationship Angel forms with newbie Helen very early on.

Her character has experienced the devastating loss of her father from the hands (or mouth) of a demon that has scarred her psyche ever since. Angel takes Helen under his wing against his better judgement, and in a single issue, there are extreme lows and highs that are a massive feat for a comic to pull off in an introductory issue with limited pages. Without spoiling the outcome or role of Helen, we can say that the narrative is off to an utterly stellar start that stays true to the spirit of the original Angel series.

Something the series does almost from the beginning is introducing two new characters exclusive to the series, named Fee-Fee and Helen (mentioned above). Fee-Fee definitely feels like she’ll be a recurring character in Angel, as someone giving him vague and or murky fortunes about his future or where he needs to go on his journey of redemption. Fee-Fee seems like she’s used in place of Doyle (the initial heart of the series) which is slightly disappointing for Doyle fans, but she also adds an element of mystery that makes her role in Angel intriguingly unpredictable. The new character is also the reason Angel ends up in Sunnydale, meaning that her abilities must be more accurate and connected to something greater that will hopefully be explored at one point down the road. Anyone else wondering if the powers that be are making a comeback through Fee-Fee?

The art is a very different visual asset than the art in the Buffy title, but it quickly begins to feel fitting for the grittier attitude of Angel’s title, and even more so when getting into the action and gore that is tackled in the introductory chapter. The script by Hill manages to find a seamless blend of references to the past without being a focal point and blending it in with present day. By doing so, it doesn’t get caught up in his past life as much this time around. Overall, the creativity of Angel with everyone involved is off to an unforgettable first installment that only sets the bar higher for forthcoming issues.

If you are a fan of the Buffyverse or even Angel on his own, then the new series is immediately a stellar spin-off of the world many cherish. Angel No. 0 is available in comic shops now from BOOM! Studios with digital release kicking off next month.

What were your thoughts on the debut of Angel?