Written by Christos Gage
Illustrated by Rebekah Isaacs
As Angel continues his quest to resurrect the dead by following leads he digs out of the Watcher’s Files, Faith has second thoughts about supporting his seemingly impossible venture. A new ally warns her to weigh the consequences–good and bad–of Angel’s endeavor. Meanwhile, amidst clubbing, mentoring, and slaying, Faith has her own concerns counseling a damaged and vengeance-seeking Slayer! There’s pressure from all sides. Can Faith handle it?
It’s been a few weeks, but I’m back with another installment of Buffyversity, and I brought Angel and Faith along with me! I didn’t particularly care for the previous issue, because it felt like it dragged, but another month another book! This book still gives me high hopes; check the cut for my thoughts!
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. In fact, the book was a marked improvement from the previous issue in both the writing and art department. In fact, I only have one complaint from this issue, and that’s that this issue and issue three could have easily been one issue, and the story would not have suffered. Now, this issue still feels complete, which is still a good thing.
What’s that you asked? Was there plot development on the whole “Angel needs to resurrect Giles” front? Why yes there was! While not all threads were resolved in that area, this issue was a big game changer in the narrative of Angel’s plots and motives. In two pages, the question “Is he in control?” was turned on its head, and not necessarily with positive implications in store for our ennobled vampire. In fact, the last two pages in this book change that context completely, and are probably the best single pages in a Buffyverse book this season.
If you couldn’t tell, I really liked this book. It wasn’t limited to those two pages, either; there was a tragic moment when they realized their plans would not work as they hoped it would, and changes how we might think of magic’s place in a world without The Seed to ground all of nature’s forces. While it’s a little bit perplexing that our heroes still haven’t realized that the magic they’re used to doesn’t exist anymore due to the actions from Season 8; it’s fun to see how things work now. In Buffy #3, we learned that vampires are now little more than rabid animals without either a soul or a demon to control the dead body. In A&F #4, the game was changed just as radically, even though the plot device that was changed was a newer creation than vampires.
The slept on subplot in the series on my part, however, is Faith’s relationship with the former slayers in London. They do NOT like Angel because A) he’s a vampire, and B) they blame him for the loss of their powers. This is a completely believable consequence of the end of last season. Look out for this subplot to come to a head soon and possibly in the couple of arcs.
It other areas in the book, this title is starting to weave a complicated mythology all its own that does not rely on the parent series in the slightest. The inclusion of Whistler, an old “pal” (for lack of a better term) of Angel’s and that of a colleague of sorts to the late Giles makes for a richer read. Whistler in particular, while a character originally from the older seasons of Buffy, is the most interesting addition. While he is a character from as far back as Becoming Pt 1 in Season Two of Buffy, he was always part of Angel’s quest rather than Buffy. What does he stand to gain from assisting the Wonder Twins? Sure, he’s all about balance: but what is he balancing? What do his partners have to do with the Greater Good? That’s the $64,000 question, and it’s one that I am really looking forward to behind answered sooner rather than later.Continued below
Alas, onto the art. Rebekah Isaacs’ art seems to just get better with ever issue as well. Her characters are beautifully rendered with an appropriately stylized technique that fits with the tone of the book, merging the tone of the book with the style of the universe. Isaacs’ style has a slight similarity to the Georges Jeanty’s style creative style, and in retrospect, it certainly gives the whole franchise a definite cohesive tone. Her sense of action has a graceful energy to it, which works in a sort of balance with the gruesome characters being displayed on the page. She and Gage in particular work really well together crafting a story that emulates how this might read as a TV Show. Faith in particular SOUNDS like Faith in my head, and that’s not just because the character has a clear resemblance to Eliza Dushku. And without spoiling it, this is crucial to the construction of the book. Every character reads like they should, even when you don’t expect it. When you reach the moment in question, you might be surprised as to how subtle and seamless the tone of the book changes not from the words, but from the gorgeous work on the page. Once again, kudos to Rebekah and her astounding work.
Basically, this book is worth reading. Fans of the franchise will in my view really enjoy what’s going on in the pages after a shaky (at best) third issue. Now is not the time to pick it up if you’re a new fan of the franchise, but if you’re not a fan in the first place, then you probably wouldn’t want to read it anyway.
Final Verdict: 8.0 — Buy!