Last week, I covered the most recent issue of the Spike mini-series from Dark Horse. ComicBooked.com has also started doing some past reviews on the Buffyverse, starting with Season 1 of the fabled show. But the show is off the air, as is its spinoff, Angel. But Buffy mastermind Joss Whedon has permitted his creations to live on in comic format with the entire line existing at Dark Horse. There are 2 mini-series currently going on – the aforementioned Spike as well as one revolving around everyone’s favorite witch, Willow – as well as the 2 ongoing titles: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Season 9) and the title where this review falls: Angel & Faith.
So what’s happened so far… For those who didn’t read Season 8, this is a major spoiler. Stop reading now. If you’re planning on reading Season 8 before this current “season” of Buffy, I mean it – stop now.
If you’re still here, you know that in Season 8 longtime fan-favorite Rupert Giles, Buffy’s beloved Watcher, was killed. Not only was he killed, but he was killed by Angel (who thought he was an uber-vampire named Twilight – yes, Twilight). Not only was Giles killed but magic was also ripped from the world and no longer exists. All of the books that revolve around the Season 9 story arc are dealing with the fallout of magic, but Angel & Faith also contains the other main arc of Angel trying to make up for what he did by bringing Giles back to life. I mean, hey… he died of mystical means, and Buffy died of mystical means and SHE was brought back. Angel’s having a bit of a harder time of it, though, because… hey! No magic.
This issue has Angel and Faith both finally able to bring Giles back. They have several mystical artifacts including a crown that can restore a body to exactly how it was at the time of death. This means that even though Giles has been in the ground a while, the crown will make his body as it was when he died. Then the rest of the mysticism comes into place to restore his soul to the body. So, having gone to all the trouble to gather the artifacts that can restore Giles to life, imagine their surprise when they open his coffin to find out it’s empty!
As the duo confront Giles’ aunts to see if they know who could have done such a thing, the rest of the Slayers that Faith has been hanging with show up. They have not been fans of Angel for some time and they now know that Faith has been with him for some time now, which Faith kept from them. They don’t show up for such a confrontation, though; no, one of their own has been killed… by Drusilla. They’ve discovered that Angel and Faith have been hunting down artifacts to resurrect Giles and want them to use it to resurrect the dead Slayer. Unfortunately, since she was killed by non-mystical means (because the Seed of magic was destroyed), Angel can’t. So the Slayers fall back to plan B… which leads to a cliffhanger I can literally see in my head from the TV series.
Christos Gage is returning to the primary arc of this book with this issue after a couple of issues which gave Rebekah Issacs an artistic break from the title. Gage has the personalities of the characters down-pat – so much so that I can literally hear the actors’ voices as I read the book. Isaacs has a unique style that suits this book to a tee – it’s not too graphic, but has that element of fun that the show always embodied. The story pays homage to the previous seasons and what has happened before without needing to dive too much in, kind of like an episode, and the creative team is responsible for that. (That being said, not much reference is given to the Angel series that existed at IDW during Season 8 – there are probably contractual limits of what can be done here…)
For those who are new to the title, this issue is a definite starting point. It’s part 1 of a 4-part arc. You may be a little confused if you’re a new reader and have no background on the characters, but that’s what DVD box sets of the TV series and the trade collections of Season 8 and the previous issues of the Season 9 family are for! For long-time Buffy fans, this issue takes me back to the cliffhangers at the end of the first few seasons of each of the series… so you’re definitely in for a treat!