This issue of "Charmed", which hit stores yesterday, once again starts off with an in-character (but this time unsigned) recap.
We then move into the Charmed ones investigating the status of their innocents, with Piper in the attic and Phoebe at work. Paige orbs in to say that she brought Billie from LA (where she'd apparently been) back East to keep an eye on Darryl and family. There was a quick panel explaining Brittany's state from the last issue, then more innocent searching, leading Paige and Piper to the home of Tyler Michaels (the 11-year-old firestarter from the Season 4 episode "Lost and Bound"). Predictably, they orb into a fire.
Meanwhile, Phoebe is officiating a mass wedding, as part of a publicity stunt put together for the paper by Elise. She's reluctant, until her empathy power kicks in and she feels the incredible love of one of the couples.
In the underworld, the two new demons on the scene are at the burial site of The Hollow. They distract the guardians and take a sample of soil back to their misty master, who wants to destroy the Charmed Ones (don't they all?).
Piper and Paige manage to orb around the fire and find Tyler, with a demon taking some kind of blood sample from him. Piper blows up the demon -- and another attacking from behind -- and when a third demon shows up, Paige creates some kind of orb shield (ooh! new powers!) to protect them, then Piper blows up the demon and they all orb back to the attic.
Back in the park, Phoebe finds out the love-y couple knows she's a Charmed One. Coop shows up to fill her in: the couple is Romeo and Juliet, cursed by Shakespeare's play to meet, marry and die over and over in an endless cycle. They hope that by being married by a Charmed One, it'll break the curse, and in their explanation of it, Juliet gives a little perspective to Phoebe on the whole mass wedding thing.
When Phoebe gets home, she has the happy news that her powers are coming back, and the living room is filling up with innocents, so the Charmed Ones are ready to kick some underworld ass (Paige's words, not mine, and Phoebe and Piper were just as confused as you probably were).
The underworld ass they have to kick gets much better at the end, when all the ingredients (as it were) are put together and a ritual is performed and, lo-and-behold, the Source of All Evil is back in town.
As a long-time "Charmed" fan, I'm really enjoying the "this is your life" style jaunt through the series via the re-saving of past innocents. I even liked the Romeo and Juliet thing, because it calls back to a common technique of some of the later seasons of "Charmed", when they'd pull from pop culture, fairy tales and other non-traditional sources for the inspiration for their magical tales.
The artwork continues to improve with each issue, though some of that this month can be attributed to the complete absence of the Charmed Kids, who'd been the most inconsistently drawn through the first two issues. I thought Juliet was hot (what? I can't think that about a fictional comic book character?) but while her character model looked fine in both modern and classic styles, Romeo looked a little too classic even in his modern depiction.
As I alluded to above, I'm a fan of the Charmed Ones getting new powers. For awhile on the show, this was a pretty regular occurrence, but budget cuts caused some power cutbacks in Seasons 7 and 8 (stupid real world problems getting in the way of our fiction!). With no special effects budget to worry about, they can really do some interesting things -- including giving Phoebe back the powers she was long deprived of.
The resurrection of The Source (for, by my count, the fourth time, if you count Phoebe and Cole's baby) might seem trite, but The Source has always been the driving force behind some of the most powerful conflicts in "Charmed" history and if they weren't going to introduce a new demon -- one who likely would have paled in comparison to The Source -- then this is the best way to go. Plus, if the Charmed Ones have new powers, then The Source likely does too, and he may not be so easy to vanquish this time, not that he ever was.
I know it's still early in the series, but so far I have to say resurrecting "Charmed" in comic form was a good move.
Previous Issue#2, No Rest For The Wicca
#4, Mortal Enemies