A recent announcement from Dark Horse, followed by a joint statement from Dark Horse and IDW, confirms that the spin-off comic series Angel will be returning to Dark Horse’s 2011 line-up. It appears that the storylines will intersect as Buffy season 9 will be released in tandem with the new Angel issues.
The fan reaction insofar is split. On the one hand, IDW’s Angel series has been popular, sold well, and previously IDW assured readers that the two continuities would be kept separate. The switch back to Dark Horse and an in-tandem release with the continuing Buffy comic, where Angel was revealed to be the villain at the end of the season 8 arc, suggests that that may not end up being true.
In January, after the reveal of Angel in the Buffy season 8 arc, Bill Willingham delivered a comment to Comic Books Resources that stated in no uncertain terms that he had never collaborated with Dark Horse, Joss Whedon, or anyone related to the Buffy comic during his work on Angel and absolutely did not plan on ever working his continuity to match the Dark Horse Buffy continuity.
That makes me a little curious as to how this whole switchover happened and how it’s going to work. Meshing together two comics that happen to be in the same universe but were never in any way connected might be, to say the least, difficult. It might result in some fantastic, huge plot holes and grumpy, grumpy fan audiences. (Or, I may be misunderstanding the various news releases, and Dark Horse does not plan on integrating the two series? Do they plan on keeping the writers the way they are and keeping the separate continuities? That would be—interesting. I didn’t get that vibe from their press releases, though.)
On the other hand, though IDW seems to have given up Angel, they have a Spike spin-off scheduled for the fall this year.
Thoughts, fellow comic fans? Tentative interest, disgruntled anger, what? (I happen to love Dark Horse, but I just don’t know how to feel about this whole deal. I guess I’ll wait and see?)