Angel Returns in a Surprise Release
Boom! Studios, trying to make the most of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer license, released the first issue of an Angel series. Only they did it in unusual fashion.
They announced Angel #0 on April 9 for release April 17 as the beginning of a new monthly series. Since most comics in the direct market system are solicited at least two months before release, this one-week turnaround is pretty amazing. Stores are getting copies equal to their orders for Buffy the Vampire Slayer #4, which shipped the same week.
(This used to be called — maybe still is, I don’t work with comic retail as much as I used to — a “match to”. Wizard magazine used it, for example, to ship unsolicited special issues. That process made retailers mad, since they were charged for postage costs and the specials didn’t have the same audience the regular magazine did. That shouldn’t be a problem in this case, since Buffy #4 directly ties into the comic, with Angel’s first appearance. That may also be why Boom! emphasized it as a benefit to retailers, see below.)
It’s written by Bryan Edward Hill and illustrated by Gleb Melnikov. I can’t tell you what I think about the comic, because Boom! also didn’t release it as part of their usual review copies. The description simply says, “a brand new, modern take on one of the most iconic vampires in pop culture.” In addition to the cover shown above, there’s a “Thank You” variant by the same artist sent one per store. (It looks like this one, only showing Angel’s vamp face and exposed fangs.) The press release has more information on the upcoming point of the series:
Meet Angel — a vampire cursed with a soul who has spent centuries protecting humanity from the monsters that lurk in the dark… including himself. Now, looking for redemption for the atrocities committed by the monster he was when he was first turned at the age of 18, Angel stumbles upon a new demon uprising and a shocking truth: The restoration of his humanity can only come if he takes one more life: a certain Slayer from Sunnydale who he’s never met… but may now be his greatest enemy.
I haven’t been impressed so far with the Buffy series. It’s fallen into the relaunch trap, where everyone’s just waiting around to see what the “new” version is for all the previous characters. So far, Cordelia’s nicer, Drusilla isn’t as crazy, Buffy’s mom has a boyfriend, Willow is a lesbian from the start, and something bad may happen to Xander. I’d like to see what the writer Jordie Bellaire will actually do with a story, once we get to one.
This sneak release has had an interesting side effect. Angel #0 is not yet available online, either legitimately — ComiXology lists a release date of May 1 — or, after a casual search, through an unauthorized copy. Boom! was promoting this as an “exclusive” to benefit to the local comic shop. That there are no easily-found copies floating around suggests to me that instead of scanning, many pirates these days are screen-capturing existing digital copies.
Angel #1 is due in stores May 29.
This monster-themed variant cover shows Der Kindestod, from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer season two episode “Killed by Death”.