It Came From the NYPL
Fallen Angel: Reborn
Written by Peter David
Illustrated by J.K. Woodward
Lettered Chris Mowry & Neil Uyetake
Published by IDW
I am not a Buffy fan and, consequently, am totally unfamiliar with Illyria. I’ve also fallen behind reading Fallen Angel, which prevented me from understanding the roles of several supporting characters – the final page for example. So perhaps my overall indifference to Fallen Angel: Reborn is partially rooted in those twin disconnects. But not entirely.
I actually went to the library hoping for one of the recent Fallen Angel omnibus editions (my preferred comic format: many hundreds of pages, reasonable financial cost!), aiming to catch up and reimmerse myself in Peter David’s tale of a guardian angel, cast down to Earth, and the mystic city she now protects. Alas, the library had only one book, this one. It’s as close to the itch as I could scratch, so I requested a copy.
The art, by J.K. Woodward, is stiff, but stylish, and laid out effectively. For his part, David crafts a strong arc here, two women of Biblical (not quite literally, though the intent is there) origins, fallen, seeking redemption. Liandra, the titular Fallen Angel, doesn’t get as strong a raison d’être – Illyria attempts to kill her, and so Liandra accompanies her on a quest to collect tokens of incredible power. Um, okay. Illyria, from whose perspective David narrates, gets more shrift, a compelling saga of trying to return to past glories rather than moving forward with one’s life.
The book’s entertaining on that level, a compelling tale of Illyria, but it’s not focused on the Fallen Angel in the way that I – as a non-Buffy fan – would’ve liked. David’s seeming indifference to his own mythology stands out the oddest aspect of the book. I can appreciate hoping the Buffy-lure draws in some readers and wanting to give those readers their money’s worth of Illyria, but Reborn doesn’t offer enough Fallen Angel to entice me to pick up the core series. Fans of Peter David’s work are probably better served to pick up the omnibus collections (the parts I’ve read are quite good); Buffy fans and committed Fallen Angel readers are more likely to appreciate the side-journey of Fallen Angel: Reborn.