My rating: 3 of 5 stars
My first thought was 'what the heck IS this nonsense. The first volume ended on a cliffhanger but it also started months into their time in hell (in which time we’re expected mopey, blaming himself Angel, ignores his son because that’s consistent with the show, uh-huh, right). This very small volume was dedicated not to picking up at the cliffhanger but rather on the ‘First Night’ (it took spotting that on the cover about a third of the way in before I realized that this was what the volume was about, which is a failure in and of itself).
Each character got their own first night in hell (except Angel, ironically). Spike’s was just confusing a bit too fractured. Betta George (a giant telepathic betta fish demon that so far is just a weird waste of space) didn’t interest me at all. Lorne’s was interesting in that it was done as a rhyme. Gwen’s was very good. Wesley’s was too. Then there was Connor’s which was also just confusing because we see him regaining All his memories including ones before he was even born (um….) so we get pages of him running, hiding and puking at the confusion the memories caused. But…Connor regained his memories on the show. He fought next to Angel, so this was just weird because it felt like a retconning. We also get Kate (whom I always loved and was sad she was gone) and through her we see more of Connor as she sort of inspires him to fight (did he need that? I’m not sure that he’s ever needed that). However, I did like Connor trying to sort through his three fathers. That was a nice touch. Gunn’s story was interesting enough. And oh, there was a short story about a couple of civilians which I sort of enjoyed.
I hate to say it the art was pretty awful. It was done by multiple artists, each story getting its own art. Spike and Gwen’s art was nice. Wesley’s was fantastic. Lorne was done by John Bryne who I am very well acquainted with but this was most assuredly not his best work. Mooney’s art for Connor and Kate made me wonder if he knew what humans look like and the Betta George stuff looked like I drew it (which is not a compliment).
In the back matter, Lynch talked about why they did what they did. It was risky constructing the story this way. Uh-huh, the word I would have used is annoying. My only consolation is I’m getting all of this at the library. If I had paid money for this, I’d be much more disappointed.
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