Review by Frank Plowright
The Hollower tested the waters for an Angel solo series, and it arrived with Surrogates, the intention being to tie it in closely with the then newly launched Angel TV show in 1999. It’s fair to say that the desired connection between comics and TV wasn’t as smooth as anticipated. However, that’s now long in the past, enabling Christopher Golden’s stories to be assessed independently. He filters in the TV show’s supporting cast of Doyle and Alexis, along with Cordelia, also transferred from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and repositions Angel as a Los Angeles investigator protecting the city from paranormal intrusions.
Suffice to say the title ties in with a wacky idea, and to say much more would drop into spoiler territory. It may be a neat idea, but too much of Golden’s plot pushes Angel into the background while it focuses on others, and keeping him out of action for an entire chapter when only three are provided isn’t making the most of the lead character.
Artist Christian Zanier isn’t the best at this early stage of his career. His people are strangely thin, stretched and misproportioned, he’s not keen on anyone moving, and when a big climactic scene arrives, Zanier restricts the uglies to a single spread. He makes a little more effort later for what amounts to an epilogue conflict. Much of this could be overlooked if he were producing good cast likenesses, but these are frequently vague and generic.
Where Surrogates scores is with the personalities. Golden’s dialogue prompts the authentic voices of the TV cast in your head as the dialogue is read and that papers some cracks. This is better than The Hollower, and the continuity heads next into Earthly Possessions. Alternatively that’s collected along with this in the Angel Omnibus, and both can also be found in the first Angel Legacy Edition.