The Angel solo series from BOOM! Studios, where Bryan Edward Hill revamped the world of the 2000s’ best moody and broody vampire, has become Angel & Spike. The Hellmouth event, which saw Buffy and Angel crossover, left their self-titled solo series to develop their respective side characters. For Angel, this meant developing Fred, Gunn, introducing Lorne, and of course bringing Spike to the Los Angeles team, well before he showed up in the television series, the new BOOM! Buffyverse is adapting. The last issue saw the beginning of this new title, and now Angel & Spike #10 gives fans a look a nearly full team.
Angel & Spike #10 is written by Hill with Gleb Melnikov on art, Roman Titov on colors, and Ed Dukeshire serving as the letterer. Last issue, Angel jumped back into his old life and was left to adapt to the new team dynamic which brought Spike, his long-held rival, and not very good guy on their side. Additionally, we were introduced to Detective Lockley and a new demon in town that smells like death and has no eyes. Now, in Angel & Spike #10, Angel and his team, including Spike, set out to help Lockley and the demon she’s crossed paths with.
Hill’s writing of Spike has been even better than Joss Whedon (the creator of the character). Spike is dismissive, brash, and yet, there is that underlying emotion that greets Angel’s sadness with his own. Their self-hate is the same, even if their coping isn’t. In Angel & Spike #10 there is a conversation between the two that highlights this and showcases just how well Hill understands what makes the two vampires fan favorites and connected despite their dislike of each other. As Spike says, vampires see other vampires as mirrors for themselves.
I may have fallen off of reviewing the series consistently but I am beyond excited to be back, not only for Hill’s story but for Melnikov’s amazing art. In each issue, I fall more in love with the characters he has illustrated, and in some cases more than their live-action counterparts. When it comes to adapting existing characters to the page, it’s hard to get them right, but Melnikov not only captures their essence and likeness, but he also exceeds all expectations and leaves fans who had posters of Spike and Angel on their walls as teens swooning even more.
But beyond that, as I’ve stated in my other reviews, Melnikov’s art is also some of the best horror imaginings in all of comics. The demonic and the violent come out quickly in the first part of Angel & Spike #10. With a silhouette that evokes The Exorcist, a transformed Angel, and shards of glass coming out of his body, the opening fight is brutal. The dynamic action of the opening is too good not to note, and it continues this new arc in a Hellmouth world wonderfully given the set up the last issue. With few words in this fight, the art and Titov’s colors do a lot of the talking in greens, pinks, and black, it’s all dark and full of terror, the way a demonic fight should be.
This is a strength of the series. Where one issue brings in a lot of words and exposition, the next brings in the action, as Hill chooses to show you what is happening now that the set up is in place instead of telling you again. There is respect between the creative team that makes the Angel the strong series that it is. In each issue, there are moments where Hill’s dialogue grabs you, others where Hill removes his words as Melnikov executes the script with beautiful art that Titov saturates with both vibrant and dark colors, while Dukeshire’s lettering accents the panels perfectly.
Overall, Angel & Spike #10. With a new big bad for Angel’s team to take on, there is action, and as Angel deals with life after Hell, there is emotion to unpack. Everything there is to love about the Buffyverse is in this issue and the series as a whole.
Angel & Spike #10 is available now wherever comic books are sold.
Angel & Spike #10
Angel & Spike #10 solidifies the strength of the series on every level. With a new big bad for Angel’s team to take on, there is action, and as Angel deals with life after Hell, there is emotion to unpack. Everything there is to love about the Buffyverse is in this issue and the series as a whole.
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.