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Artistic License: Angel, Star Trek and Buffy, Oh My!

Three major comics came out this week, with some disappointments

Fans of television and movie comic tie-ins will be pleased this week, with several issues of popular series hitting the comic book shelves. However, of the ones I’ve read so far, they are a bit hit and miss.

IDW Publishing brings us installments in two fan favorite series, Angel and Star Trek.

Angel has been somewhat slow of late, but it looks as if they are gearing up for a new big bad to visit our heroes. In this issue (No. 36), we are seeing the start of two potentially powerful storylines. What worries me though is that sometimes when a title tries to do too much at once, the stories can suffer. I hope this does not end up being the case here.

I’d rather see them tackle one plot and then the other, perhaps letting one simmer in the background and ripen, to come to the foreground at a later time. The writing is well done and consistent, but personally, I’m ready for a bit more developmental action, rather than shorter stories that are gone after an issue or two. Enough appetizers, let’s get to a new main course.

There was another installment of the second feature starring Eddie Hope, and that was nice, but that story has gotten slow as well. The fight between Eddie and Gunn was good, but actually dragged a bit. Hopefully with the arrival of Angel and Spike to that story, things will get more exciting.

Across the universe, Star Trek: Burden of Knowledge continued this week with issue No. 3. I loved the opening page, which seemed to me like a tribute to the old series, and the relationship between Spock and Bones. That is something that is sometimes missing in these comics, as the characterization often has to take a back seat to the action and the main story.

In this issue, the crew does what it always does best, solve a mystery and prevent an interstellar incident at the same time. The story was nice, but strikes me as average. Nothing wrong with it, but not so gripping that I could not wait to turn every page, and a major part was actually predictable.

The setup for the next issue was interesting, and I hope the story will be worth the wait. It looks as if these one-issue missions will all tie together somehow in the end, and if so, that may be the payoff for this slight lull.

Dark Horse Comics, Joss Whedon and company are making readers wait a bit for the last arc of Season 8 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer/ This week’s issue does tie in to Season 8, but it is a one-shot, starring Riley Finn.

In Riley: Commitment through Distance, Virtue through Sin, we see some of the background regarding Riley’s involvement with Twilight. Earlier issues of Season 8 have shown Riley working with Twilight, while also revealing that he was doing so as a double agent (the Retreat story arc). This issue follows Riley and his wife Sam as they decide if Riley will help Buffy as asked.

The Finns are asked by the government to solve the mystery surrounding some missiles, and the investigation leads them to where they are confronted by Twilight, who wants to know if Riley will accept his offer to join his fight. It appears that Riley does not know the identity of Twilight, but the conversations between Angel and Whistler would seem to indicate that Angel’s involvement of Riley in his organization is part of a larger plan, not simply an attempt to use people who know Buffy.

While I enjoyed the issue, I have to admit that it was a bit confusing until I went back over some of the information in previous issues, as the arc with Riley happened quite a bit earlier in the series. Maybe it would been better timing if this one-shot had been released a bit closer to that arc, but the way it was written, it could not have been released until after Angel was revealed to be Twilight. Perhaps simply a little different planning and small rewrites would have made it fit more smoothly into the story.

Hopefully, the things hinted at in this issue will be explained more fully in the final story arc.

So, not a bad week for some of our favorite television heroes, but not a banner week either. I believe they are all moving toward a big, crucial storyline, and hopefully things will pick up for these titles in the issues to come.

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Could they be a Rut-ro! Shaggy
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