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October 1, 2009

Princess Powerful Attacks: Not Fade Away

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Although I will be discussing the events of the Not Fade Away adaptation, I will also have to discuss the events that lead up to it.  It is considered spoilers to the Angel saga Seasons 1-5.

Doyle

Allen "Doyle" Doyle

In Season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel realized that his relationship with Buffy wouldn’t work out.  He left Sunnyvale for L.A. where he continued to atone for his past actions. Not having developed people skills, he tried and failed (which is hilarious to watch by the way) and  Doyle, a man who has visions from The Powers That Be of people in need, decided to help Angel on his path of redemption.

Later in season 1 after Doyle’s untimely death, Wesley (an ex Watcher that knew Angel from Sunnydale) joined the team.  Within the Scrolls of Aberjian, he found a Shanshu Prophecy that described a vampire with a soul who would play a pivotal role in the apocalypse, and as a reward will be restored as a human being.

Angel’s arch rival on the show is the international and inter-dimensional law firm Wolfram & Hart, who defends an assorted category of evil.  IE: Wolfram & Hart  defends clients who are  stalkers, mobsters, murderers, etc.

Despite both sides experiencing causalities, it wasn’t until season 4 of Angel when the tables were turned.  Cordelia and Connor are 2 key figures who play a part in this.

Cordelia Chase

Cordelia Chase

Cordelia moved to LA in hopes of starting an acting career.  She ran into Angel, who saved her from a vampire, and decided to join his team in their quest to help the helpless.  By the end of season 1’s episode, entitled Hero, she was given the gift of vision from Doyle.  However in season 3, her visions start to take their toll on her body.  She would repeatedly get hurt or experience bruises that would relate to her sight.  In Birthday (season 3), Cordelia learned from a demon named Skip that her visions were slowly killing her, because human beings aren’t built for receiving them. In order to save her life, she accepts to be turned into a half-demon with new powers in order to harbor her visions safely.  Later in the season, she ascends to a different dimension. After becoming bored on her plane, she returns to L.A. in season 4 (but more on that later).

Connor Angel as a teenager

Connor Angel as a teenager

The 2nd  key figure is Connor Angel. Angel slept with Darla (without losing his soul), to which she gave birth to a half-demon baby later named Connor.  Because Darla died in order for Connor to be born, he was taken care of by Angel Investigations.  In the Nyazian Scrolls, Connor is mentioned.  The Nyazian Scrolls is an ancient relic that contains a prophecy that announces the arrival of the Tro-Clon, a series of events that would either bring ruination/purification of mankind or both. In reality, Connor is prophesied to destroy the time-shifting demon Sahjhan, who was made immaterial along with others like him by Wolfram & Hart and Mesektet.  Sahjhan is the demon race of the Grankok, who are known to to be very chaotic and unpredictable.  Sahjhan brought Daniel Holtz, a vampire hunter with ties to Angel and Darla, to the present to hunt them both.  He also alters the passage in the Nyazian Scrolls to ‘The Father Will Kill the Son’ in relation to Angel and Connor.  He did this in order to prevent his death, as Connor is destined to defeat him.  Changing the scrolls causes a lot of confusion to Angel Investigations.  Wesley (who translated the scroll) betrayed Angel by kidnapping Connor in hopes to save him.  Justine, a devoted helper to Holtz, abducts Connor with plans to raise him with Holtz on their own.

In a 4-way confrontation with Sahjhan, Angel, Holtz, and Wolfram & Hart begin to fight.  Sahjhan opens a hellish portal to Quor-Toth as a threat to swallow everyone in.   As a last minute decision, Holtz leaps into the portal with baby Connor in his arms.

For years Connor was raised by Holtz in Quor-Toth (where time moves faster than Earth’s time) to hate Angel and be a skilled fighter. Connor, now a teenager, finds a way back to Earth.  Holtz devised a plan to frame his death so Connor would go on the path to kill Angel (which would fulfill his ambition).  Angel survived the onslaught and returned to Angel Investigations, where he kicked Connor out.  Although Connor found out the truth behind his life, he continued to remain edgy around Angel.

When Cordelia arrived to L.A. from a different dimension, she encountered amnesia. Not trusting Angel Investigations, she left and crossed paths with Connor.  Connor decided to take care of her while she recovered.

The Beast

The Beast

After the demon The Beast arose from Connor’s birth place, Connor felt responsible for the destruction the demon set upon the town.  He looked to Cordelia for solace and they consummated with each other. Unknown to everyone, a powerful cosmic entity piggy-backed on (and later possessed) Cordelia when she came back to L.A.  Angel Investigations used a magic spell to revive Cordelia’s memories, but unfortunately unlocked the entity’s instead.  This broke the safeguard that The Powers That Be put on Cordelia in order to protect her and others when she arrived back to Earth.

Angel Investigations are constantly distracted with situations set up by Cordelia’s baby Connor and her conceived a few weeks before.  They are later told of Cordelia’s plan through Skip.  Everything that happened in L.A. during the 1st 4 seasons of Angel was constructed in order for the entity that’s inside of Cordelia to come to Earth. A spell was performed so that any records regarding the entity and her associates being in Angel‘s reality were erased.  Cordelia successfully gave birth to her baby, named Jasmine.  Jasmine was born not as a baby, but as a woman.  She caused everyone in her presence to be immensely joyous and at peace, yet there was downside to her power.

Jasmine in human form

Jasmine in human form

In another dimension, a race of insectoid demons referred to Jasmine as The Blessed Devourer.  She is called the The Blessed Devourer because she needs to devour a certain amount of people  in order to maintain her force.  She later abandoned the insectoids, leaving the society to crumble.  Jasmine also assumed a similar shape to her zealots in order to dominate them.  Her plan was to bring world peace and eliminate evil on Earth starting with L.A. It is uncertain on whether or not she would eventually leave them like she did with the insectoid demons.

Jasmine’s mind control over humans eliminates their free will and as a result, they do nothing but praise and serve her.  Angel Investigations was able to break free from Jasmine’s control and succeeded in stopping her. When her human followers see her true face, her control over them is gone, thus creating chaos around the city.  Angel confronts Jasmine, to whom he offers to take care of.  She refuses and starts a fight with him.  Connor tracks them down and destroys Jasmine. All Jasmine’s deeds in the show were for a greater purpose, but whether or not her ends were justified is open for debate.

Angel Investigations felt uneasy by thwarting Jasmine’s plans, because she abolished all suffering and could have brought in a Golden Age.  Wolfram & Hart congratulated them for ending world peace and offered them head positions at their company as a reward.  They were also given information on the situation in Sunnydale and an amulet with purifying/cleansing powers as an exchange.  Angel accepted the offer, as long as Connor’s past history was erased and rewritten (the Angel Investigations’ history was altered as a result).  Cordelia’s body was also transported to Wolfram & Hart’s hospital to be watched over as well.

Illyria (reincarnated)

Illyria (reincarnated)

In Season 5, working at Wolfram & Hart had strayed Angel Investigations off their path to help the helpless.  There had been a lot of distracting occurrences like the death of Fred (the pure-demon Illyria reincarnated into her), and the arrival of Spike after he was consumed by the amulet he chose to wear in order to save Sunnydale from The First.

In Your Welcome from season 5, Cordelia wakes up.  She reminded Angel of his original objective.  She revealed a vision in which it explained that the secret society Circle of the Black Thorn was the true power behind Wolfram & Hart. Later that same episode, Cordelia revealed to Angel that her return was temporary as a favor from The Powers That Be.  Angel and Cordelia said their goodbyes before he received a call informing him of Cordelia dying in her coma.

Spike suggested to Angel to destroy the secret society the Circle of the Black Thorn, who was the earthly instrument of the Senior Partners (who are the creators of the law firm).

For months, Angel pretended to become corrupted by his C.E.O. position at Wolfram & Hart in order to show his loyalty to the secret society. So Angel Investigations decide to confront Angel about his corrupted actions. This leads the audience to the last episode in season 5 of Angel, entitled Not Fade Away.

In Not Fade Away, Angel Investigations act out their plan to take out the Circle of the Black Thorn.  They live their lives as if it were their last before their plans were put into action.

Marcus Hamilton

Marcus Hamilton, liaison to Wolfram & Hart

After Angel won the fight against Hamilton, a liaison to Wolfram & Hart, the L.A. branch began to crumble.  Angel Investigations meet up at the Hyperion Hotel’s alley after completing their tasks (minus Wesley, who died trying to take out one of the society members). Wolfram & Hart retaliated against Angel Investigations by sending an army of demons to destroy them as vengeance for their actions.

Angel swung his sword as he uttered the series’ epitaph: “Let’s go to work.”

This is one of the most talked about Angel episodes apart from Smile Time (also from season 5). The audience was left unsure of the group’s outcome for 3 years when the show disbanded.  The Angel series was continued in the comic Angel: After the Fall in 2007, which depicted the events after the group’s fight with Wolfram’s demon army.

Not Fade Away was adapted into a comic book in 2009.

Not Fade Away Cover for Issue #3

Not Fade Away Cover for Issue #3

Title: Not Fade Away
Story: Joss Whedon & Jeffrey Bell
Writer: Scott Tipton
Cover: Stephen Mooney
Letters: Robbie Robbins
Color: Ciaran Lucas
Issues: #1-3
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Pages: 32 (per issue)
Price: 3.99
Released: #1-May 13, 2009; #2-June 3, 2009; #3-July 8, 2009

Side Notes: A preview of each issue is available online.  There is a tradeback for Not Fade Away that comes out on October 28, 2009 for $19.99 with 120 pages.

Comments: The art for Not Fade Away was wonderful despite having some awkward pictures here and there.  It’s not terribly bad since I have seen worse, but I won’t name names in fear of why it was approved to print.

The comic is a direct copy of the episode of the same title and I should be happy, but I’m not.  The panels mirror the episode’s direction and there was little artistic license in depicting the story.  There was also nothing to hold my interest in continuing to read the comic besides familiarity of the story and a wonderful color job on the comic.

Not Fade Away is a fantastic episode. Although important story information later in season 5 was rushed (due to the show’s station, the WB, canceling the series), it ended on a high note. Even though Not Fade Away isn’t my ultimate favorite episode like Smile Time or Life of the Party from season 5, it’s certainly the most memorable.

Princess Powerful
princesspowerful@comicattack.net

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5 Comments


  1. InfiniteSpeech

    I didn’t get into Angel until the 3rd season but I was surprised at how much I actually liked it though I was TICKED at how it “ended” i’m glad it picked back up in comic form


  2. Princess Powerful

    Lol we all were. I think WB even had that “Thanks for watching!” at the end which angered me more…but I might be mistaken that with the season finale of Buffy S6 (which is just as upsetting).

    But yea, the comic? I fell on the floor with shock/glee. I never thought it would actually continue.


  3. InfiniteSpeech

    I actually laughed at myself for being so ticked off at now BOTH ended when in the beginning I hated both! I actually started watching them around their third seasons and i’m enjoying both books so far. I’m still a little on the fence about what happened to Gunn but oh well lol


  4. Princess Powerful

    They discuss what happens to Gunn in After the Fall. But I don’t know exactly how it happened seeing as how I’m not too far in Angel S6.
    But…you’re not going to like it lol.



  5. Holy crap that’s some detail!! I always wondered where ‘Not Fade Away’ fit within the ‘Angel’ canon; now I know!



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