Review, Angel & Faith #24 (What you want, not what you need, Part 4)

31 07 2013


Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Rebekah Isaacs
Colorist: Dan Jackson

Angel and Faith will need all the help they can get when it comes to stopping this season’s ubervillains from unleashing a magic-fueled plague on the earth. Enter an archmage, a former Watcher, and two socialites who’ve dabbled in magic . . . Will it be enough?

* Final Arc!

* Battle to the death!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Angel’s plan to resurrect Rupert Giles has come to fruition. Just not exactly as everyone had expected. But they’ll have to deal with the fallout from that later. Right now, Angel and Faith need all the help they can get to defeat Whistler, Pearl, and Nash, and their plan to overhaul life on earth with a magical virus!

And here we are, just one issue before “…the end. For someone, anyway” to quote the editor, Scott Allie. Because we all know who the other someone is, although we were kind of fooled and she actually dies in this issue, not the previous one. You’ve all guessed by now who that person is.

It’s an issue that has a lot of fight. Almost all of it. But it didn’t get me bored, although fighting scenes that take most of the comic pages are not my thing. It’s because things actually happen, but mostly because of the amazing art drawn by Rebekah Isaaks. What an artist!

But let’s get back to the story. In this season of A&F, we’ve been introduced to 7 new key characters. The aunts, Alasdair, Nadira, Pearl, Nash and Whistler. I am counting Whistler in those, because it’s the first time that we’ve got some background story for that character. He wasn’t so important in BtVS, and the only people that have ever given so much attention to his character are the tralalalaland Bangels. Angel didn’t mention Whistler, not even once, in his own show (maybe the very first episode, but I don’t think). So, why am I saying all that? Because I feel for them. All of them, one way or another. I just love the aunts, and after this issue I love them even more. I like Alasdair, I just detest the evil twins, feel so sorry for Nadira, and that Whistler totally disgusts me. And this is the way on how to introduce new characters in a story and make your readership feel for them. Unlike Buffy’s title and characters like Billy, Koh, the police officer (whose name I have totally forgotten, seriously!) that every time I see them in any panel, I just want to cry for the money I’ve wasted. Maybe it’s because this title has a writer who writes comics for a living, and not when he’s not busy writing TV scripts or producing TV shows, like the writers from Buffy’s title.

Not that I don’t have any problem with the way this book is written. And as a Spike fan, I hate the way that his character was misused in A&f #19-20. I will quote Vampmogs here, and a post he’s written in about A%F #22
One the one hand I found Giles’ resurrection very underwhelming in comparison to how Buffy’s was explored in Bargaining. Of course I wouldn’t want an exact replay of what happened in S6 but that episode really gave gravitas to the magnitude of what Buffy had just went through (dying is no easy thing) and seeing her traumatised and walking the streets of Sunnydale was very effective. In episodes like Flooded we were still seeing signs that Buffy had yet to fully readjust (staring into the running tap etc) and of course she spent all of S6 coming to terms with her trauma and the repercussions of being back. Here, Giles may be in a younger body but he’s amazingly coherent for a guy who had been dead for months. And that, combined with the humorous tone of the issue, left me feeling pretty deflated all things considered. I do respect that Buffy and Giles’ situations were pretty different as Giles seems to have been conscious in Angel’s mind for quite some time and didn’t wake up in his own grave living out one of his worst fears ( “What are you afraid of, Slayer? How about being buried alive?” Nightmares) but this issue really could have benefited from slowing down the pace and focusing solely on Giles’ resurrection. Having it placed on the backburner because the characters have an apocalypse to deal with, again, makes logical sense, but I wish Gage had structured the season differently to allow adequate exploration of what had just happened. It all feels way too easy which it really shouldn’t have as it took 22 issues to get here. In S6 Joss spoke about having to “earn” Buffy’s resurrection and I think they really did given the significant fallout from it all and the lengths it took to bring Buffy back (Willow slaying the deer and having to endure torture etc). However, whilst Gage did spend adequate time building up to the resurrection (we can gripe about the plot contrivances in a supposedly magicless world but at least it took the characters all season to be able to perform the spell) so far the fallout has been underwhelming, to say the least. It also didn’t help that the first words out of Giles’ mouth were “Yes, yes. You’ve resurrected me. Huzzah’s all round” which made a mockery of the whole thing. Talk about taking the punch out of your own story.

But still, despite the problems, we have a story that has been planned very well from the beginning, and the minute you just ignore S8 you can start enjoying the story. Now, let’s go back to the issue itself.

Unfortunately, here in a magicless world we get another Deux ex machina, some ruby stones that protect the characters from the magical virus. Please bring back magic, because Angel has already used more magic in a world without magic than he used in his own show. There is also a flashback panel of the aunts, learning a little bit more about their story, and what they’ll try to do afterwards just make them adorable. On the other hand, you’ll become even more sick of Pearl and Nash, as they watch and enjoy the monsters they’ve created (humans becoming all kind of monsters, incredible drawing from Isaaks, really). And even more sick of Whistler, who watches everything as Angel tries to get him to his senses, and we find out that Whistler was also responsible about Hirossima. He justifies it by saying that an invasion would have cost more souls than that. I know it’s a real historical event added in a fictional story, but still it makes me sick when I think of it. Especially considering that Whister’s visions are not 100% accurate. He didn’t see Angel losing his soul back in S2 of BtVS, and he certainly didn’t predict the outcome of S8, Buffy denying Twilight!paradise and breaking the seed to save the world.

We also have Nadira’s heroic death which seems that will move forward Faith’s story next season. Alasdair and Giles trying to find a way to stop the madness, leaving us wondering which one of them is not going to make it in the following issue, and Angel who tries to change Whistler’s mind, reminding him and us, twice, that Buffy was the one who made him change his mind last season, when she showed him what would happen to humanity if they had decided to stay in paradise.

So, that was it, leaving us wondering how Angel is going to stop Whistler, and who’s going to die. My prediction is not on Alasdair or Giles, I still think that Whistler will die. Probably Angel will bite him, I don’t know! But I don’t think that such a character deserves to see another season. And since all the clues are leaving us wondering if Giles or Alasdair will die, my bets are still on Whistler. Christos Gage’s story has been a little bit predictable for me this season. I hope he’ll prove me wrong and that he’ll give me an end I don’t expect to read.

Oh, and again, really, what an amazing artist Rebekah Isaaks is! You’ll be amazed, really, like I have! I hope she’ll continue drawing for the Buffyverse next season!

So, a very good issue. Just forget what happened in S8 and enjoy the story that Christos has written. That’s what I have been doing, and it’s working for me. Can’t wait to read the end.





11 responses

31 07 2013

It looked like he was about to rip Whistler’s arm off to get the sphere.

Do you think the two deaths aren’t just Nash and Nadira? I can’t remember how definitive the ‘two’ were anyway but I just assumed this issue covered it. It will get immensely tedious if Nadira has yet another death spasm/the only time they manage to hit someone with their laser power it fails or if Nash is rescued by Pearl or some such. Stay down, both of you!!

The Spike stuff from Gage was beyond blearrgh and there are real issues in them trying to realign our responses to S8 but generally A&F has had purpose and pace. I think it was Shipperx who pointed out that Angel had an identifiable goal all season and that makes a real difference to cohesion and is definitely where BtVS is lacking.

31 07 2013

I believe one character is already dead in this issue. Scott in the letter column says that it’s the end for someone next issue, so one is down already. I saw somebody saying that it is Nash who’s dead, KoC I think in BFs, but I don’t agree, I think Nadira died in this issue.

Now back to the comic in general. If you go back and read all the issues, there is a consistency, it’s a solid title. Unlike Buffy’s title, which is a mess. A robot story for what? A false pregnancy for what? W&H was used for what? That guy she was trying to save in that arc and all the hints about his company drawn in previous issues, for what? 2 issues dedicated to an unknown character with no development in the main story for what? The police officer totally forgotten, maybe still in hospital, who knows. Illyria has been used in a hit and miss opportunity. No background story for Koh, while OTOH Gage with just one panel, one flashback of the aunts in this issue, makes us feel for them. A story for Xander, totally wasted, while they should have been building his betrayal all season long, not just come up with it in #20. And a story that now runs out of pages and everything happens too quickly to make any sense.

That is what I mean when I say that Gage has done a much better job. Yes his story has many problems, but there is a continuity. Unlike Buffy’s story, which is all over the place, not to mention it has an artist who probably has forgotten how to draw….

31 07 2013

O.M.G. Gage even mentioned Hiroshima to drive it home that Whistler is EVIL.

31 07 2013

Don’t worry, the tralalalalaland hardcore bangels will still see that a a good thing. No, a great thing, who needed all those japanese? They were evil, not Whistler! Tralalalala

3 08 2013


I agree that Buffy’s titles were a mess. But still, there weren’t without a purpose. For example – the false pregnancy – IMO this pregnancy show to us some great Spuffy moments. Some feelings which I didn’t know that Buffy feels to Spike. I would never forget this moment when SHE asks HIM, exactly HIM to go with her to the hospital for making an abortion. Why she doesn’t ask her sister, or her best FEMALE friend Willow ? Why she asks exactly Spike ? Because she feels that he is the only one she can count on and she knows that he never would judge her. And when she said to him that she want to escape with him, remember ? Remember after , when Spike told her “ Do you have any idea how I felt , when you told me you want to escape with me ? “ . I don’t sorry about the Buffybot story and the false pregnancy , because there were so many real Spuffy moments . And you right – in this A&F issue the art is amazing. I like it a lot ! But unlike you, I don’t believe that Whistler gonna die in the last issue. After all, he has a story since BTVS S 2 . And we have to agree that he was a good demon back then. I think that it is possible Pearl and Nash to be killed . Their story is not so interesting and I don’t see a big potential for both of them to stay in the comic any longer.

And thanks for the great review.

3 08 2013

She doesn’t ask Willow because Willow had already gone and she didn’t know where she was.

As for asking Spike to go with her, she also later told him that it wouldn’t have worked out and they would have ended in a small, lousy apartment. All those Spuffy moments could have come with a better story than one that was only written in order for Whedon to make some political statements about abortion.

4 08 2013

IMO she asks Spike, because she knew that he never would judge her. And he really didn’t. I never presume about the political statements about abortion. After all, Buffy makes a decision to do abortion which I don’t know what prooves to us – is abortion proper choice, or it isn’t ???.

And yes, I agree with you, that all those Spuffy moments could have come with a better story . But when he haven’t a better story, it is enough to me to have some Spuffy moments at least. I prefer this, instead the events in S 8.

4 08 2013

Like Joss Whedon said in interviews at the time, he was sick and tired of the situation that happens in the States, where people are “scared” to talk about abortion and some politician were thinking against it, things like that. So he wanted to make a statement, and have Buffy openly choosing the abortion option. (Although actually that is what Buffy did, chose to do it, but Whedon and team also themselves didn’t have what it actually takes to get the heroine have a real abortion. Instead, they just chose the safe way, making it a false pregnancy, hence the stupid robot plot which made no sense at all).

So, the political statement was that abortion is a choice that women should have, which is something obvious for us living in European countries. But it seems it’s not that obvious in the USA of the 21st century….

4 08 2013

I didn’t know about this interview which Joss gave at the time about an abortion. Thanks for mention it. I also live in Europe but I am against the abortion, too. I have a friend who makes an abortion while she was still in University and I see how bad and devastaed she feels after that – the guilt and all . I’m still not sure if she is able to forget what she has done before. I just try to said that if it was on screen S 7 Buffy, when Buffy becomes so responsible and reasonable, I am sure she never going to make an abortion. But this is so much off-topic about Angel&Faith comic. I am sorry. I don’t want to spam.

Hugs !

4 08 2013

It’s one thing to be against an abortion (about yourself and only) and a totally different thing to be against every woman’s right to HAVE A CHOICE for an abortion.

That is the problem in the States, if a woman has the right to choose whatever she wants about her own body. Or if she doesn’t have that choice.

I believe that every woman has that right to choose what’s best for her, for her life, and for her body. Even if she regrets it in the future, it was still her choice. And I am against anyone who would want to take that right away from any woman and make her a baby producing machine.

6 08 2013

I don’t know hon, it is very complicated. May be because I see very closely my friend, and I felt bad for her, too. I didn’t know that this is a problem in the States. As you know, in Europe the abortions are “free”, so to say.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: