Spike and Illyria go off on their own adventures toward the end of the period of IDW’s “Angel” ongoing series. Two four-issue miniseries — “Spike: The Devil You Know” and “Illyria: Haunted” – let us know what they’re up to, with varying degrees of entertainment value.
Starting with three transitional issues (36-38) where they share plotting and scripting duties with Bill Willingham, the duo of David Tischman and Mariah Huehner takes IDW’s “Angel” series to the finish line in Issues 36-44 (August 2010-April 2011). It’s a notch below Willingham’s run on Issues 28-35 that breathed new life into the title: not terrible, but there’s also a reason why these issues didn’t stick in my head as well as “Buffy” Season 8, which was published by Dark Horse at the same time.
The first 27 issues of IDW’s main “Angel” title were collected under the “Season Six” banner, and that works out well because writer Bill Willingham’s run on the series from Issues 28-35 (December 2009-July 2010) feels like the launch of a new season – in a good way. While “After the Fall” (Issues 1-17) was strong, the title lost focus and momentum after that. Willingham, working with artists Brian Denham (28-32) and Elena Casagrande (33-35), brings a confident sense of direction to what I like to call “Season Seven.” And the artists also draw a Kate who looks like Kate for the first time in too long.
While IDW’s “Angel” title still resists an ongoing narrative, the five-issue “Auld Lang Syne” (November 2006-March 2007) is a nice step up from the standard tortured-Angel story “The Curse” and the catching-up-with-the-gang “Old Friends.” Scott Tipton, who had shown a good grasp of Wesley in “Spotlight” and “Masks,” turns his focus to two living (well, undead) characters – Angel and Spike – in this third series set after Season 5.
IDW’s Seasons 10 and 11, despite initially being canonical, ended up being an interesting “what if” story when Chris Carter changed his mind and wrote a new story for TV. The one-shot comic “X-Files: Deviations” (March) is an alternate-universe story right from the get-go. In the spirit of Marvel’s “What If?” and Dark Horse’s “Star Wars Infinities” titles, the “Deviations” series tells “what if” stories in the worlds of “X-Files,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Ghostbusters,” “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe.”
IDW’s “X-Files” Season 10 comics mark the first time Chris Carter has a story credit on an “X-Files” comic – he co-wrote Issues 1-5, “Believers,” with series helmer Joe Harris – but, ironically, IDW’s series now seems less canonical than Topps’ or Wildstorm’s. Although neither Carter nor Harris has issued a statement about the canonicity of the series, it seems pretty obvious that this is what happened: When IDW’s “X-Files” launched in 2013, it was intended to be canonical. Then, in 2016, Carter changed his mind when he relaunched “The X-Files” for TV, no doubt figuring that too much of the TV audience was unfamiliar with the comic to make the new episodes tie in with the comic.