Angel – “Strange Bedfellows”
Dark Horse Comics – Aug-Sept 2000
Writer: Christopher Golden
Artist(s): Christian Zanier, Andy Owens, Derek Fridolfs, Lee Loughridge
Editor: Scott Allie

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Its Angel vs the vampire hookers. Seriously. That’s the plot. Its pretty well told, though, and could actually be an episode of the show, its that good. Christopher Golden, somewhere along the way, has gotten a touch better at writing, and the “Angel” line of comics never felt forced to use that stupid “feral, bat-like” vampire look its parent comic adhered to for far too long, so when this series attempts to tell a down-to-earth and within-the-feel-of-the-show type of narrative, it really works.

First things first, the plot is actually not too cheesy or dumb, and the new characters introduced – namely the mistress of the vampire brothel, are fully realized and interesting. The way they play against the main characters is natural and fluid and the conclusion seems just and earned. Even Kate’s inclusion feels like part of her progression from the show. Its real solid.

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It is also funny; the sequence at the brothel with Angel and Wesley stands out as accurate and to the point, and though there are some superfluous story beats (looking at you, Cordelia) the story holds up and never feels forced or like it is treading water in any parts. And that moment with the bad guy(girl) chomping on that rat in the shadow is a legitimately unsettling image, drawn very well. Kudos.

The action is well drawn and the characters more or less look like their real-life counterparts. If I have to nitpick, the hooker vampires are drawn so sluty its almost juvenile. I get that they are prostitutes so skimpy clothing is a must, but the poses, the features, and the curvature of the bodies is drawn mostly as wank material for Jr. High readers. It’s OK, but it is definitely not something you’re going to want to be seen reading in a pediatric clinic waiting room. Don’t ask me why I know that.

It is alarming, just as an aside, how much better these comics are on average than the “BtVS” issues I’ve read thus far. Just alarming.

Is This Comic Good?: Yes. Yes it is.

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