I should be the target audience for Angel Season Eleven, and as a matter of fact, for a long time I was. I am a long-time fan of both television series, and a long-time comics reader. I’ve read and collected past comics of both Buffy and Angel, two shows whose runs have been extended by additional “seasons” of comics. I have even have gotten collections signed at comics conventions. As an added bonus, Joss Whedon had nothing to do with the creation of this book, so I can breathe a sigh of relief at not enabling him in light of recent accusations. All of this is to say, believe me when I tell you that this latest season… was not very good.
It’s not bad, mind you. The dialog can get a little stilted and exposition heavy, but is largely agreeable. The art is workmanlike, missing a lot of dynamism in the action or layouts, but perfectly easy to follow. Likenesses are fairly accurate, when appropriate. There’s nothing particularly offensive in the construction or the story of this comic. But it’s just so boring.
Even the plot, which as a time travel caper in a series largely about fate and prophecy should be new and exciting, turns out to be a bit of a bottle episode. The broad plot is a time travel paradox visiting Illyria’s origins, Angel’s origins, and a pirate ship. It would honestly be a perfectly fine Doctor Who story, but doesn’t seem to fit with previous Angel tales.
Normally, I would explain more about the characters or the setting in this review, but the book isn’t particularly interested in that, so why should I be? This is strictly for fans of the show and previous comics. There isn’t much attention given to who the characters are or what they can do, or establishing much in the way of personality. The main characters are Angel and Fred/Illyria. There are some interesting wrinkles to Fred’s situation as she shares a physical form with an ancient demon, where previously on the television show it was explained to be just the demon, but things change. Even coming from a fandom background I found myself lost at times. Perhaps I missed a season? Angel’s the same as he ever was at any rate. The rest of his supporting cast is absent, and the book takes place in Dublin rather than California.
The publisher does not provide a suggested age range for readers, but I would recommend older teens or adults. The time travel plot and paradox have hints of Doctor Who and it can be shelved very similarly. The content is about on par with the show, meaning there is horror and violence, but neither is taken to any extreme.
If your library already has the previous season collections of Angel this could be a good addition. Perhaps it makes more sense in company with comics Seasons Nine and Ten. It has been a while since I read those, and my memory is foggy. I would not recommend it as a standalone volume, however. It is unlikely to attract new readers to the series based on the art or writing merits, and will not make very much sense. If you’re just starting, I would recommend finding earlier seasons or the current reboot by Hill and Menikov.
Angel Season Eleven, Library Edition
By Corinna Bechko
Art by Geraldo Borges, Zé Carlos
BOOM! Studios, 2020
Related media: TV to Comic
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18)