Spoilers for season eight follow.
Surprising news emerged yesterday when Dark Horse’s Riley one-shot, part of the publisher’s Buffy line-up fronted by the excellent Season Eight ongoing, announced the return of the Angel licence to the publisher when Season Nine of Buffy launches late next year. It’s interesting, because IDW is still soliciting its Angel ongoing and other associated titles, with no announcement yet made by the publisher as to the status of the licence (IDW EIC Chris Ryall did post this short update, however).
So, what would this mean for the Angel licence? Well, if it’s to follow the template set out by the Buffy comics – which are excellent, by the way – it may lead to Dark Horse reeling in more high-profile writers to work on the character. Buffy Season Eight, for example, saw Whedon himself, Brad Meltzer, Brian K Vaughn, Jane Espenson and others contribute. Could a Whedon-overseen Angel comic court similar talent?
It’s worth saying that I think IDW has done a fine job with the series; Brian Lynch’s work on After The Fall was a particular highlight, even if the preceding Angel: Old Times and Old Friends miniseries left a lot to be desired. The advantage to having both series at Dark Horse is obvious – the writers would have access to characters from both series, something that’s been limited up until this point (despite the fact that the mysterious Twilight turned out to be Angel), plus they could stage crossover events with ease.
With The Avengers on Whedon’s plate, it’ll be interesting to see how much creative input he has on both series. Nevertheless, it could mark exciting times ahead for readers.