The thing that struck me more than anything else about After the Fall #2 was the amount of exposition it contained. Almost all the questions that were raised by the first issue - bam! - they're answered now. Although there are plenty of other questions raised for future explanation. It certainly keeps the story moving along at a fast pace, and it's a big contrast to Buffy Season 8 which seems more like the weaving of a vast tapestry with occasional clue-threads being woven into the mesh. Of course, I think part of this is the effects of 40 issues versus 12; unlike Joss, Brian doesn't have the luxury of hanging around. Personally, I don't have a problem with either approach, but I suspect the AtF approach will be more accessible to a lot of readers.
The issue starts with basically a recap of the Wesley situation from the previous issue: Angel doesn't trust him, and feels guilty about that because his current situation is Angel's fault. Nothing new here - but it reinforces the theme of how isolated Angel is.
I was confused by the reflections in Wes's glasses until I realised it was the taillights of Angel's car. Another fun little touch was the change to the Hollywood sign...
Angel's deadpan approach to Nina - even half-asking her for a date - is funny. It makes me wonder if her hostility to him is genuine, based on her thinking he's betrayed them all, or if it's just another side-effect of werewolfism along with her bloodlust, bicuriousness, staring button eyes and unfeasibly enhanced curves. She's certainly talking to Angel perfectly reasonably by the end of their encounter.
Best joke of the issue would be the new Lord of Westwood being eaten by an allosaurus demon. And then we get Angel's first encounter with Connor - and, not entirely unpredicably but still effectively, father and son get on together perfectly well. I liked this scene - especially Connor's reaction to the news that Angel killed Burge's son.
Gwen isn't a character I'm particularly in tune with, because I've not watched the episodes she appears in quite so miuch as some of the others. Still, it's nice to see the episode has a tough, capable and competent woman in it.
The scene with Gunn is the highlight of the episode, both for his interaction with George (who is seriously cute) and the insight into his personality. We definitely have proof now - if it were still needed - that the personality of the human dictates the personality of the vampire. Gunn refusing to admit he's a vampire is a clever twist - and it seems his vampire minions are rather sarcastic about this when they're out of his earshot. Him thinking that he's still the good guy, that Angel has lost the mission, and it's up to Gunn to set things right is even more of a clever twist. And he thinks that having a soul isn't important, even as he proves it really is by beating George to a pulp and thus ruining any chance of getting his willing cooperation... something he's even fully aware of himself, yet can't stop himself. I'm actually reminded of Spike in seasons 5-6 here, in the belief that he can be a white hat even without a soul. I can't see this ending well...
Note that we get an explanation of who vamped Gunn - not Spike or Angel, but (so far as we know) some random vampires. Plus the mystic orb gets a name and a description of its powers.
Angel has apparently named his dragon "Dfddrh". I've a feeling that's not his real name, and the font was supposed to be too small to read. :-)
And now we cut to Spike and his devoted harem of demon chicks. And apparently he's now the lord of Beverley Hills. According to his story, he thinks he's been sent to Heaven as a reward for his role in the fight - although presumably this is a special demonic annex of Heaven for vampires with souls. It's not entirely clear if he genuinely believes this, or he's just spinning a line. Certainly, he's another one who thinks Angel betrayed him, by setting off the apocalypse - I suspect Spike's main complaint is that Angel promised him a fight against insurmountable odds, without mentioning that W&H would also end the world and make all the innocent humans suffer too.
I wonder if Spider is going to be an important character? She seems to have supernatural senses.
And the final reveal... seems to be a case of mistaken identity. Angel saw the runes that Gunn's vampires drew on the stadium walls, recognised the script - and jumped to the false conclusion that Illyria was responsible. Oh, and if Spike is a Lord, and he's also Illyria's pet, what does that make Illyria?
And that's it for another month...