Review, Angel & Faith S10#05 (Old Habits)

6 08 2014


Writer: Victor Gischler
Pencillier: Derlis Santacruz
Inker: Andy Owens
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Cover Artist: Scott Fischer

Angel is plagued by nightmares and another menace for the streets of London: The new vampires, like the zompires before them, are leaving a trail of victims for the local police and Angel to pursue . . .

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While Faith is in America working for Kennedy’s rent-a-Slayer company, Deepscan, Angel is in London’s Magic Town trying to aid the people transformed by the magical virus he helped caused. But he’s just becoming aware of additional changes in the world, since Buffy and her gang planted a new seed of magic…

So, here’s the 5th issue of A&F. It’s going to be a spoilery one, so here’s a warning to stop reading my review unless you don’t mind. I’ve read the issue twice yesterday and once more before writing the review but I really can’t tell whether I liked it. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly didn’t dislike it and it’s hundreds of miles better than any of S9 issues, but let me explain better.

First of all, starting with the introduction to the story, telling us that Angel is in London helping the people who got transformed by the virus he helped caused. Wrong, mistake, error, who writes the small reviews and who checks them out? We can blame Angel for many things but he certainly didn’t help cause the virus last season. He was fighting the ones responsible all season long.

Then we have Faith, who totally shines by her 100% absence. No panel, no word dedicated to her, not even one mention of her. She shares the book’s title but she’s not there. That is so strange for me. I’ve been having problems with the separated stories for the 2 characters ever since the season began, hoping that their stories will finally meet, only to find out that she is absent in #5.

And then the story itself. I don’t want to get misunderstood, it was a nice standalone story, connected to S10, but the timing is not right. I believe it would have worked better as a story before S10 began, or as the 1st issue. It’s actually a story about Angel finding out that the vampire rules have changed, but not for him. There is no element of surprise for the reader, daywalkers, bats, mist, harder to stake, much stronger than usual vampires. Things that totally get Angel by surprise but not the reader who follows both titles. And I believe that the vast majority, if not all of the book’s readers, follow both titles. We know about the new kind of vampires and the reason for that for months now. Actually we even got a very good hint at the end of S09.

But there were also some good elements in the issue as well. First of all, the aunts, who weren’t that funny, but we have the chance to witness more aspects of their character. They are brave, resourceful, not afraid to fight and love each other.
We also see again detective Brandt, who takes his case to Angel and there is a bond building between the two for future interplay. And last but not least, the newspaper’s head title, leaving us with hints that either Angel can dream of the future, or he’s having a déjà vu all over again, dreaming of someone’s present life and actions, like in the TV series. That was the most interesting part of the story, since we’ve known all the rest like I said.

Santacruz’s art is nice and solid, but I have missed Will Conrad’s work. And I prefer his style than Santacruz’s for the book’s noir mood. I know that the artists need a break in order to be able to catch up, but when you get used to someone’s work, especially when you love it, it’s hard and many times not fair for the other artist to make comparisons.

Overall I give it a 3 out of 5. I believe the story could have been told in less pages, dedicating some space for Faith as well. Had it been released before the beginning of S10, I would have given it a 5 out of 5. In my opinion the timing was wrong.





3 responses

6 08 2014

Nice review! I haven’t read the issue, but I will – I’d love to see Angelus again even in a flashback. That’s about the missing Faith’s story is not good, but maybe we’ll see the next issue dedicated only to her, who knows! 😉
And I love Santacruz’s art, yeah Will Conrad is way better, but anyway – DH team is using very good guest artist for Angel&Faith comics, unlike for Buffy’s comics. I really can’t take another Buffy’s issue with Karl Moline’s art… 😦 Not after the nice art of Rebecca Issacs.

12 08 2014

thanks for review, Gigi! I agree with Veiri – the art here is so better than Buffy. May be Angel is easier for drawing, LOL. But his face is so good , unlike Buffy . I have to admit that that like the way Spike is pictired after all. I still didn’t read the issue, because I’m in the moutine and the interenet connection is very slow here. Thanks again, Gigi !

23 08 2014

* Angel is largely responsible for Magic Town. His insistence — over Alasdair’s objections — of using Alasdair’s magical items to bring Giles back is what led Whistler to get those magical items and thus create the orb.

* I like this artist’s style much better than Will Conrad’s.

* I consider the nun flashback to be about trying to get the readership to believe that Angel’s killing nuns was the worst thing he’s done.

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