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Just as his earlier ANGEL novel BRUJA featured a face from Angel's past, so Mel Odom's sees the vampire come up against someone he knew back when he was the scourge of Europe. But when he painted Darla in 1815, Gabriel Dantz seemed human, so what's he doing in 21st century Los Angeles?

Dantz isn't the only artist that Angel Investigations are interested in. A young street artist named Faroe Burke is just about to hit the big time, but she's got a bunch of demons and our old friends Wolfram & Hart after her.

There's also a rather tedious subplot involving a Hollywood studio and a blackmailer that provides some humour with a stripping demon, but that's about it. To be honest, the novel could have done without this storyline, which would have allowed the author to concentrate on the artists and Cordy's vision of a young boy threatened by a demon.

There are some interesting concepts in Image. The idea of the Weid Deus talent is interesting, although at first glance it seemed little different from the CHARMED episode PAINTED WORLD (which has always reminded slightly me of SAPPHIRE & STEEL: ASSIGNMENT FOUR). There's also a flashback to Angel and Darla in Switzerland, where Mary Shelley was inspired to write Frankenstein.

Sadly, neither of these is really exploited to their potential. The idea of Angel meeting Byron is potentially fascinating, except that they don't meet and events in Geneva are reduced to a bit of night-time skulking around the villa.

Another problem with Pocket Books' ANGEL and BUFFY novels has been continuity with the television series. Okay, so we know that IMAGE must be set towards the end of season 2 (there's no Kate, Darla is confined to flashbacks and they haven't met Fred yet), but exactly when? Wesley isn't the pratfalling comic that he was in the past, but Cordy should have been a lot sharper in my opinion. She's also rather dense when it comes to her mobile.

All-in-all, a couple of potentially good ideas spoiled by the inclusion of a tedious subplot, some rather average writing and far too many fight scenes. One of the weaker ANGEL novels. back to the top





RATING: 6/10