"Angel & Faith #22" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Christos Gage
Illustrated by Rebekah Isaacs
24 Pages, $3.99
Published on May 29th, 2013
Since Buffy Season 9 began, Angel & Faith has been barreling down an unsteady path towards the resurrection of Giles. Angel snapped the Watcher's neck while he was under the influence of Twilight (not to be confused with the sparkly vampire romance series) at the end of the previous season. Since then, he's been trying to make amends and at long last the vampire with a soul has all the pieces necessary to bring Giles back to life in a world without magic. But will it work?
The entire series to date has hammered home the fact that it's impossible or at the very least, frowned upon, to try to bring someone back from the grave if they died a natural death. Buffy was brought back, but her demise was covered in magical mojo and it was clearly not her time to go. She had to go on and mope around for a few more seasons while her friends did interesting things around her. After getting this far, I'm not sure what I believe. I know that I want to see Angel succeed because it will hopefully provide him with some much needed closure.
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I'm not going to get into the specifics, but suffice it to say, I did not see the events of this issue coming. Author Christos Gage takes a strange turn with this arc. It's one that could have easily been ridiculous and unbelievable in the wrong hands, but he frames this situation with the reactions of the nearby characters and it makes it work so well. On its own, this would be in line with the more out-there concepts that have been tossed around in the current Buffy comic (e.g. Robo-Buffy getting pregnant, Spike hanging out with giant space bugs). Instead, we get a touching character profile of Angel, Faith, and Giles' two aunts and how the Watcher made each of them the person they are today.
Rebekah Isaacs continues to turn in fantastic artwork. All those emotional scenes that I mentioned before with each character thinking of what Giles meant to them? They would be half as effective if it weren't for Isaacs' pencils. She captures that love and affection on the faces of Angel, Faith, and everyone else. You can see how much they care for the deceased Watcher from a look in their eyes. Gage fills the pages with a lot of exposition this month, but there's also a lot he doesn't have to say thanks to the art.
This issue also sets up the season finale with Angel's forces preparing to battle Whistler, Pearl, and Nash, and prevent a magical apocalypse. I've said it several times before, but Angel & Faith is so much more exciting and interesting to read than the main Buffy book this season. This is where the action is. This is what matters. Whether or not Buffy can hold down a job at a coffee shop pales in comparison to the life and death struggles that these characters are about to go through.
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