Angel: Long Night’s Journey by Brett Matthews and Joss Whedon: C-

From the back cover:
An enemy from Angel’s past has come to L.A., and enlisted three powerful supernatural creatures to break Angel’s spirit before killing him. In one catastrophic night, Angel has to figure out who’s after him, and then bring him down, in a climactic battle above the glittering Los Angeles skyline.

Wow, this is really lousy. It’s written at least partly by Joss, but it’s so lackluster that it’d pass for something written by Keith R. A. DeCandido.

The basic plot is thus: a boobalicious snake lady (Joss seems to like these, since one appears in the Buffy season 8 comics), a fiery stone guy, and a knight with a glowy sword all attack Angel and are eventually bested. A symbol on the knight’s chest (Joss seems to like this idea, too, since it also figures into the season 8 comics) clues him in to the fact that his foe is a Chinese vampire he once met.

Turns out the Chinese vamp is upset because he was supposed to be the champion vamp with a soul but instead Angel has that role. This plot is pretty irksome, because it all of a sudden introduces notions like that when Angel was cursed, he was just a test subject for the real deal, and that perhaps the soul he received isn’t even his. It’s annoying and vague and I’m happy all of these ideas were dropped along with Dark Horse’s publication of Angel comics after this miniseries.

The art is competent enough except that nobody looks like they should. I conducted a test by obscuring all but one panel, which featured Cordelia and Wesley, and asking my Whedon-loving coworker, “Who are these people?” She stared at it for a full minute and could not hazard a guess, even though she’d surmised the answer was probably Whedon-related. Cordelia comes off the worst, looking either trampy or middle-aged, and sometimes both at once. Still, it’s so nice to see her appear in a comic at all that I have revised the grade slightly upward from the D this dreck truly deserves.

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  1. The Angel art has really been a problem altogether. I haven’t read this one, but you know my opinion on the art in the official S6 comics. Blah.

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