You may say "wait, haven't you already reviewed this figure?" Well, no: Angel was in the first series of Buffy figures - there's no way he wouldn't be in the initial selection of his own new line!
A 246-year-old vampire with a soul,
thanks to a gypsy curse, Angel begins a new chapter in his life when he moves away from Sunnydale and takes up residence in the City of Angels as a private investigator. As one of the most vicious vampires the world has ever known, Angelus' bloodlust was legendary. Now, Angel is driven to atone for his formerly wicked ways by protecting the innocent against those who would do them harm.
Having graduated from Buffy, Angel moved to his own spin-off show. He took Cordelia in his wake, and gained a supporting cast of his own. While the series isn't as dark as the writers intended (a vampire with a soul should be the equivalent of a recovering alcoholic), it still managed to find its own voice, distinct from Sunnydale.
It's been quite a while since we've had an Angel action figure (three series of figures, in fact), and things have certainly changed. The last Angel looked pretty good, but didn't move much. He lacked many accessories, and his base wasn't anything special. Today's Angel turns that all around.
First, the looks. While the body is very good, with the grey shirt and black pants, the face leaves a lot to be desired; the original Angel looked much more like David Boreanaz, even in vampface. This one has a hugely exaggerated forehead and his hair grows straight up, which looks bloody stupid. Bleh. And thanks to differing neck constructions, you can't even boil 'n' pop them. Bad show, MAC.
Angel stands nearly 6½" tall and is articulated at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees and ankles. That's a ton more than before, and a great improvement. The variant even comes with interchangeable arms: two are articulated and have long sleeves; the others bare his arms and sacrifice movement to give us hands sculpted in position to hold the stakes that he's strappin'. The fingernails are sharp, since he's in monster mode.
In addition to the stakes, Vampire Angel
has an impressive arsenal: a long sword, the double-bladed axe, and a dagger. The normal version included a katana and sheathe, double-bladed axe, a larger axe, a Scottish dirk and two sais. It's slightly annoying that you have to buy both to get the whole deal, but think of it like this: if you want both, the overlap is minimal, meaning you don't have duplicates to toss in a box somewhere.
Both Angels come with the same base - a pretty cool section of sidewalk with a crumbling brick wall and a removable manhole cover. That rules! The base is 5½" across, 3¾" deep and 3¼" tall. And come on: how many dozens of figures can you think of off the top of your head who would look good standing on a dirty bit of street? Judging by the size of the manhole, though, it's more scaled for 2" and 3¾" figures than 6".
In case one variant Angel wasn't enough for you, there's even a variant of the variant! The super-rare version was available to members of the Moore Collectors' Club, and the difference between him and the others is that he's wearing a real black lambskin leather coat. I don't know how many were produced, but the serial number on mine is 5,999, which I think is kinda cool. Or maybe it's 6,665; it's a bit hard to tell.
Regular Angel has better weapons, the variant variant was better wardrobe, but original Angel has a better face. Which should you get? I'll leave that up to you.