Created by, Joss Whedon
Bryan Edward Hill, writer
Gleb Melnikov, illustrator
Ed Dukeshire, letters
This story is a tie in to the Hellmouth comic book, which had large battles between demonic forces as Buffy and friends struggled to stop Hellmouth. This issue slows the narrative storytelling and dives deep into the characters who make up this world. Charles and Winifred, who are both allies of Angel, are tasked with saving Los Angeles from Hellmouth. Winifred has recovered from the mind-hold from earlier. In this issue, she is labeled the “Baphomet”, the benefactor, because she possesses magick. Charles must break free from the distraction presented by Poet, the vampire, to focus on how he can help Winifred. Winifred must believe that she has the capacity to harness the powers she’s been given to win the upcoming conflict.
The author organizes the story for the reader by giving characters specific roles. This is appreciated and necessary given the number of characters and the complexity of the story. Lilith meets with Charles and gives him the task of protecting this world, specifically, L.A. She states that the Hellmouth is Angel’s task. Poet, the vampire, is tasked to protect Winifred Burkle from magick connected to The Baphomet and The Templar’s. Finally, Lilith explains that Winifred is tasked to believe in her capacity and power to aid the custodians who still believe. The dilemmas set forth by Lilith lends insight into the story to come. Winifred, Charles, and The Poet must protect this world, overcome deep magick, by being convinced of their worth and capacities.
In addition, The author creates depth by connecting the story to an elevated narrative: A few gods control the wealth of the world. These gods are evil and want to keep the power differential that way. The heroes have another task, not only to protect the world from evil, but also to balance the tables and spread the wealth equitably. My only critique is that the author doesn’t explain the mechanism for this change.
The art is perfectly matched to the darkness and intrigue of the story. The faces of characters are often hidden in shadows. The facial expressions are blunt and emotional in some cases and flat in others. This difference matches the differing capacities of each character to feel. Horned heads signify demon-like vampires. This story is filling out while increasing in its intensity. I highly recommend this story to fans of Buffy and the vampire lore. Overall 8.5/10