Preview pages for issue 1 below, out on the 18th Jan.
The first was a smaller file which is likely because it appears to be a spread (pages 4-8 in total going by the file names).
I know what you mean. I really like the detailing on the dream sequence but I don't like the main character depictions. It doesn't look like Fred at all and the Angel pics are pretty poor and a little inconsistent as well. :s I'll definitely get them as I'm a bit anal when it comes to having complete sets and the extra cost of this isn't a problem for me, so I'll read them. It will be a hard sell for me to love them though because I don't like Fred's return and how they are depicting the balance between her/Illyria either.
I have never like the Return of Fred - especially more now that I have been watching AS5. I watched "A Hole in the World" the other night - I feel even more that bringing her back diminishes the events of the series a great deal. Thus far, there has been very little to make me feel good about bringing her back. Her story, the relationships she developed and her death are so much more compelling than what they have done with the character in the comics.
I'm not much liking this artwork style either - especially for Angel. He looks too young in some of the panels. In a couple of the drawings he looks like a combination of a young Xander and young Angel.
I do like the Smoke Creatures and what I take as references-winks at The Little Shop of Horrors. I'm very interested in seeing if there are thematic connections to that story. If the covers are good depictions of what is coming in this story, I think it will be interesting. I always like going back into the history of Angel-Angelus.
Issue #1 is out today and I can't say it worked for me personally. It might improve in the following issues where it isn't setting up the situation and the writer gets more into the main story perhaps, but the varying turns/moments in this initial issue just felt unearned throughout. Everything just happened easily and clunked from one plot point and easy turn to the next whilst the characters explained or discussed it all in a very blunt way. There wasn't any atmosphere or tone and the voicing was odd, the characterisations felt weak. The Fred/Illyria situation in their ability to sense each other felt, although not implausible or totally unsupported by last season, like it was just being used/developed here for blunt plot convenience and Illyria just popped up for exposition as desired. Her sudden free and easy attitude towards time travel seems to directly contradict season 9, although I may be misremembering her attitude towards what Severin was doing I suppose it was a while ago and I haven't reread it more recently. But again the simple 'knowledge' that whatever was coming was worth any risks by time travelling to prevent happening is just about getting where the writer wants to be rather than scaffolding the story and actions of the characters well. The writing just felt very awkward and basic to me I'm afraid. Based on this issue I'd expect the less openly explained mystery of what the visions (that it is just accepted Angel seems to be having) are about will just be understood by the characters later and at that point they will just tell us what they think it all means. This could all be exceptionally harsh and it may turn out the writing simply didn't get into a comfortable groove straight away, but I'm afraid this is how the issue struck me on a first read. All of this wasn't helped by not enjoying the art on the characters either, although that wasn't a surprise as I'd seen the previews, but I did still like the detailing around the vision that we'd seen previously.
There are Q&As on at SlayAlive with the writer and artist I think. Not sure I'll come up with anything to ask.
Did a quick read last night - agree with your comments on the "flatness" of the characters, particularly Illyria who could be such a powerful character but for some reason, IMHO, is always held back to service the human character storyline. With the exception of the Wesley-Fred-Illyria relationship, which held a lot of dramatic power for me, the story that would, I think be extremely interesting is Illyria as the voice of the conflicts of power and rulers. She has enormous powers and yet human Fred can control her? Makes as little logic to me as early Buffy's dogma that Soul Angel is not Angelus.
This conflict and premise of human Fred with the ability and power to control Illyria must be addressed this season or it will pretty much be a failed season for me. I'm well beyond being asked to do the Angel Is Good Polka without his having to suffer any real consequences for his choices and conduct. Same goes for resurrected Fred why does she now have all this power to control or subjugate Illyria to her will? And why the hell did Fred even return and what happened to her soul? Her soul was destroyed at her death by Illyria take over of her human body. I don't recall if that theme has been addressed in the comic books or interviews - anyone have info that I can check?
Stoney - that entire Seven/Illyria Time/Energy/Magic explosion has still not be sufficiently addressed for me and I don't think it ever will be. HOPEFULLY I am wrong because it was a huge moment of transition for Illyria, the original magics that were established in the Buffyverse and Angelverse as well as just about all of the primary characters.
So we now have a Time Travel story that, going with the artwork symbolism, will be about Transformations & Creations and Consequences. The use of the old/former sailing vessel - is that a potential visual foreshadow, not only about dimensional travel but for a transformed Angel/Angelus? Probably not as Illyria states that it is an enormously important event that must be kept from occurring and effecting this timeline. I'm going with "this has the potential" for a good story.
Don't know how many of the Angel fans feel - but I think that I've simply lost my interest in the character which is really too bad because Angel, once you get beyond all the Bangel love forever storyline, was a very interesting character with the potential to have become Great Interesting Character. The trouble with Angel and Angel/Angelus is that he was gradually diminished with all those easy plot "get out of jail cards" and he seldom, if ever, had to really face any lasting consequences for his choices and actions.
While doing my yearly January file cleaning I ran across the crossover of his visit to San Francisco and was again reminded of how, IMHO, the Buffy-Angel relationship has been one great big screw-up from the perspective in the comic books. Imagine all that he did - all the events and killings and deaths and the, in my opinion, sexual and emotional manipulation of Buffy that he help caused. Now go back and look at their first encounter again and I think that a lot of readers and fans who be very disappointed with how their reunion was handled. Don't know, perhaps I just expect too much from the comic books.
I will be posting the issue, hopefully tonight.
Here is a detail from Illyria on what is happening. I will post more images later tonight but hope to have the issue done.
Did anyone read the IDW Angel story that had the visiting Angels that totally screwed with Angel and the timelines? That was one of the most significant story events in the IDW series run. As I recall - Angel and Illyria were both affected by time travel events in that series. Was that story the last events we know about Angel just before the Twilight saga begins?
What strikes me most about this setup issue is that it appears that Fred only can exist in this world at the severance of Illyria. How do you interpret the dynamics of existence/subjugation between Fred and Illyria?
There doesn't seem to be much activity around it. Some posts say they aren't sure or felt it was weak, some say they quite liked it but don't really expand particularly. There is acknowledgement that it was a set up issue in a way that sounds like it is excusing/explaining the fact it wasn't great to me (and could be the reason it was weak as I had said myself). I haven't seen any posts on it that are analytical thoughts on the full issue, they are all brief posts, so it hasn't really got people talking. And I'd guess I've probably only seen those brief comments from less than ten readers in total. The Q&As at SlayAlive took two days to fill up the number allowed for the writer and the one for the artist is still only two thirds full. I contributed to them mainly because it felt awkward as there was so little interest in talking to them. :s
I think the justification for Fred's return is so horrifically weak and it is terrible to do that to such an amazing arc from the tv shows. Well, you know that we are in agreement on this having been an awful idea. There have been questions related to Fred/Illyria on the SlayAlive Q&A so we'll see if there is anything said that expands on the situation. As far as I recall the idea was that when the seed exploded with Illyria in there that it reset Fred as well as Illyria because it 'recreated' what had been destroyed (because Illyria herself couldn't die as an Old One, unless I'm misremembering) and Fred was inextricably a part of what was 'reset' and so a complete 'Fred' was returned itoo. It is weak ass imo. Fred's story was great across AtS and I never had an issue with her being killed off, or particularly felt she was being fridged to be honest. She was naturally curious and the lives they lead exposed her to great cost from that. I'm not expecting really for them to bother trying to justify it more. I find it difficult to try and explain the Fred/Illyria balance they are trying to play off at the moment as it does seem to demand an inexplicable character shift for Illyria that hasn't been justified for me.
If you're referring to After the Fall Cil, then yes I do think those were the last events we knew before Angel became Twilight. I really need to reread AtF, it is all a bit murky in my head now it was so long ago that I did.
Actually I've just checked and Corinna's Q&A isn't complete yet, there are still three spaces as Wenxina is sending 20 to her, not 15. So you could still pop another question in if the existing ones don't cover anything you are pondering on in regards to Fred/Illyria Cil. :)