Angel Love #5 (1986)

Angel Love #5 (December, 1986)
“the search for Mary Beth, part 1”
Creator/Writer/Penciller – Barbara Slate
Inker – John Wm. Lopez
Letterer – Bill Yoshida
Colorist – Bob Le Rose
Editor – Karen Berger
Cover Price: $0.75

Okay, playtime’s over… check out that cover.  Things are about to get real.

We open with… oh wow, Wendy’s back in her nurses outfit… and we get the reappearance of Rose… ya know, the bird she almost got killed!  I never thought that would be mentioned again.  There’s a point in the continuity column for sure!  It’s scary that Angel Love has tighter continuity than contemporary Marvel!  Anyhoo… enter Everett… who’s got this really weird love-hate thing going on with Wendy.  He’s always in her space… yet he’s always mad at her.  Dude, you may wanna talk to somebody about your issues.

Today he’s mad that Wendy’s still playing nursy to the birdie.  When his attempts at reasoning fall on deaf ears, he goes and tattles to mommy… er, Angel.  Dude, really… don’t you have a girlfriend… and a home?  He talks Angel into confronting Wendy about her current avian obsession.  This intervention is immediately dismissed by Wendy because, ya see… this morning… the bird smiled at her.  Angel’s reaction is almost “Cocaine?!” level.

Later on, Angel’s back in the studio trying to summon Halo… but forgets to doodle on Halo’s… halo.  She is interrupted by this series’ plot-advancement tool… a ringing phone.  It is a Dr. Chin from Scranton, and she’s got bad news.  Angel’s mom is in a bad way… but, she won’t tell how how bad over the phone.  That’s kind of a crappy thing to do, Doc. 

So Angel packs a bag and prepares to go Pennsylvania-bound.  She is overcome with guilt over having left her mother to seek her fortune in New York’s art world.  Her mind wanders for the entire trip, only compounding her guilt.  With nothing else to do, she prays that God spare her mom.

Meanwhile, we watch Rose watch All My Children, and run poor Wendy ragged with her requests for treats.  As Wendy goes to fetch some grubs, Everett wanders in and finds the bird doing her calisthenic exercises.  A-ha!  As Ev reads the riot act to a tiny baby bird, Wendy wanders back in just in time to see Rose slump to the ground.  Jeez, Everett… I’m no fan of lying birds either… but get a grip, pal.

In Scranton, Angel is sitting at her mother’s bedside.  Mom seems totally at peace with whatever outcome she faces.  Angel’s adamant that her mother doesn’t give up hope.  Dr. Chin enters, and we learn that Mrs. Love has Acute Leukemia… and is not responsive to any pharmaceutical intervention.  She offers Angel a sliver of hope… they will need to perform a bone marrow transplant.  Angel is quick to offer herself up as a donor.  Angel is lead to Chin’s office, and has her blood drawn to see if she would be a likely candidate for the procedure.

Back in the city, Everett has bird-napped poor Rose, and has taken her to the park.  Once there, they run in to Rose’s sisters!  They get excited and do their best Sister Sledge impression as Everett smugly walks off… job well done, jerk.

His smug walk lasts just long enough for him to return to the building… where he is met by…

Back in Scranton, Angel is sleeping.  She is dreaming of the doctor happily sharing the news that she is the perfect bone marrow donor.  Too bad that it’s just a dream.

Dr. Chin breaks the bad news… Angel’s down… but she ain’t out!  There’s another blood relative she can shake down for some marrow… the storyline-titular Mary Beth.  We learn that Mary Beth had run out on the family some time earlier… so this will likely be no easy task.

Back in the City, Wendy is sobbing at the loss of her birdie.  The thing of it is… Rose knew how good she had it being waited on wing and talon.  She brings the family along, and before we know it they’ve made themselves at home.  I do love how theatrical Wendy is here… “I vant to be alone!”, awesome.

We wrap up this chapter with Angel returning to the city via bus.  We learn that Mary Beth escaped to New York some fifteen years ago.  I guess I’ll spoil it… not that I’ve read ahead, but it’s on a cover.  Mary Beth is Angel’s sister.  It’s a big city… this ain’t gonna be easy.

As we enter, what I figure will be our second act of Angel Love… things start getting real.  Angel’s got some actual non “bubblegum” problems rising to the surface in regard to her mother’s illness.  From the covers yet to come, I think this arc may play us right to the end of the series.

I really appreciate the juxtaposition between Angel’s non-acceptance of the news and her mother’s having already made peace with it.  It’s such an odd generational thing.  My family has recently gone through something quite similar.  My wife’s grandmother was diagnosed with an aggressive (but easily surgically treatable) cancer in her foot.  This would be her second go-round with the disease, and she initially decided against the procedure.  My wife and I couldn’t wrap our heads around it… but my in-laws understood, and accepted her decision.  She ultimately came around, and is currently cancer-free (and alive!).  It’s just so eye-opening that a person can make peace with a situation like this.  Perhaps we (relative) youngsters are a bit too selfish in situations such as this.

I’ll come right out and say, I’m not one’a those guys who will say “pull the plug” on me.  I don’t wanna die.  Hell, plug me into as many machines as you gotta.  Have children jump up and down on my chest to keep my heart beatin’ and lungs blowin’… so, I guess maybe I’m not in the right frame of mind to understand such things… maybe one’a these days I’ll get it.

The Wendy scenes were fun, but she’s starting to veer from cute to cartoony… or maybe that’s cartoony to cartoony-er.  Still enjoyable, but perhaps a hair too silly.  Then again, it may have been written as especially so to take a bit away from the heavy Angel bits.  Also, Wendy’s drawn as though she’s a cyclops in one panel.


Overall, still pleasantly surprised with this series… really glad I lucked into it.  If you happen across it in the cheap-o’s, I’d definitely recommend giving it a flip-through.

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