Angel Annual #1


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Angel Annual #1


  • Words: Brian Lynch
  • Art: Stephen Mooney
  • Colors: Leonard O’Grady
  • Story Title: Last Angel in Hell
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing
  • Price: $7.99
  • Release Date: Dec 29, 2009

The worst kind of joke is one that requires explanation. Some people will get it and some will not. That’s a cardinal rule of comedy in any medium. The entire conceit of this annual is one big, double-sized issue of a single gag. This book starts with a full-page explanation of the joke you are about to read. Before we are able to decide whether it’s funny or not, we’re told what we should laugh at.

For those not familiar with the current comic incarnation of Angel, this series is acting as an in continuity Season 6, taking place after the events of the television show. In the previous overarching story, the entirety of Los Angeles was sent to hell. Literally. Over the next seventeen or so issues, Angel and gang saved the day, brought LA back to earth and rescued the survivors. The only problem is that all those survivors remember everything, making Angel a local celebrity.

This is all the set up you need. What follows in the annual is a comic book adaptation of a movie based on the events of the first eighteen issues of this current series, which itself is a sequel to a television show. It gets very meta-contextual, especially when you have the likenesses of actors like Nicolas Cage and Jorge Garcia filling in for actual actors likenesses in the comic’s proper universe.

This may sound like a funny idea, but the giddiness ends after the set up. What follows is an over-written, overly clichéd and ham-fisted series of winks and nods that come off as annoying rather than funny—as if the creative team is pushing an applause button, forcing us to enjoy it.

Again, if you have to explain a joke, it’s not funny. Period.

The art by Stephen Mooney was serviceable, even though some of the inks looked muddy, and the colors were consistent with the tone of the series thus far. Having read the first dozen and a half Angel issues, I was becoming a fan of Lynch’s writing style. He is able to accurately capture the voices of pre-established characters and channel what makes them lasting. Here, his voice remains intact, but the endeavor as a whole is wanting.

There are a few inspired choices here, like making the character of Spike a woman and scorned lover of Angel’s, which fans of the show will find humorous for all the previous jokes of their old married couple routine. There is also a throwaway joke about a dragon that serves up a giggle.

It’s not all bad here, but at the end of the day, the annual missed its mark.

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