Review by Frank Plowright
Strange Bedfellows collects three stories and one short, all set early during Angel Season One, although from different times during that continuity.
‘The Changeling Wife’ supplies the premise in the title. Angel stops a man assaulting his wife, who he claims has been taken over by some form of demon and is ruining his life. As if. This being Angel’s world, however, perhaps there is some truth. This is the first of two stories drawn by Eric Powell. His art’s imaginative, and detailed with a darkness about it, but also restrained for having to conform to the needs of a TV tie-in. Powell’s illustration looks far better when he lets his imagination fly on his own projects. Golden lets the readers in on what’s happening early, while Angel remains ignorant, which is an overplayed device, but the story is very much a contracted re-run of Earthly Possessions’ opening chapter, but with the woman this time possessed.
Christian Zanier drawing the title story has improved since Surrogates. He manages better cast likenesses without the stiffness, and while the environments still look sparsely populated there’s a good sense of Angel going about his business. That’s dealing with a vampire prostitute, who comes to wider attention by feeding on the wrong senator. Between them Golden, Sniegoski and Zanier create the necessary seedy atmosphere with a hint of eroticism, although Zanier’s figurework actually deteriorates when it comes to picturing women in provocative underwear.
Powell’s second story is a Cordelia solo, what happens when she has to guard a desirable item with only a ghost to protect her. It’s a variation on Home Alone, with the hapless assassin defeated at every turn, and while nicely drawn it’s an obvious comical farce.
Angel TV show writer David Fury writes the short ‘Point of Order’, exquisitely drawn by Ryan Sook, who’s channelling Jim Steranko in places. Still, when you’re only drawing eight pages it’s easier to look good. Fury’s plot is a nice piece of grandstanding, easily imagined as a TV scene that was never filmed.
Strange Bedfellows is a decent collection overall, with everything available in the Angel Omnibus if that’s the preferred package, or spread over the first two Angel Legacy Editions. Golden and Sniegoski’s final Angel stories are collected in Autumnal. Before then, there’s a teaming with Buffy the Vampire Slayer in Past Lives.