From the very beginning of its run, Angel & Faith outclassed Buffy: Season 9. Perhaps it is the smaller cast, the clearly defined goals, or the higher stakes. Maybe it’s all of the above, or some other more nebulous quality. Either way, A&F is a great read.
This week’s issue begins with a flashback to Giles’ past – during his Ripper/Punk Rock days. He is quickly chastised by his grandmother, who is likely the one to return him to the straight and narrow he (mostly) stuck to the rest of his life. In the present, the London Slayers are in trouble, with Eyghon possessing several already and more every time one gets knocked out. His army of zombies quickly overwhelms the ladies and Angel, forcing a strategic retreat.
Once the group reconvenes with Alasdair the Ex-Mage, Eyghon’s journey from his last appearance in Buffy is re-capped, and his goals made clear: team up with Big Bads Pearl, Nash, and Whistler to conquer the world – or at least half of it. Eyghon can then use his Slayer army to protect himself from the Siblings, or perhaps strike first. Angel then comes up with a plan: the Slayers will keep the demon’s proxies occupied while he strikes at the head. But he’ll need back up. Another vampire with a soul. And who should come knocking at the door just then?
This issue had a lot going for it. The flashbacks to Giles’ youth are always entertaining, and this one was no exception. Giles’ gran is a great character – stern, stuffy, but also genuinely concerned for her grandson. There was further clarification on why Giles can be brought back from a non-magical death when normally that is impossible. Faith finally tells Nadira to shut up. The series is clearly preparing to enter its final act.
As always, Rebekah Isaacs turns in stellar work. The art resembles the real-life actors just enough without feeling like a slave to them, and it matches Georges Jeanty’s work on Buffy very well. The series explores a world without magic from the perspective of the Used-to-Haves, rather than the Never-Hads like in Buffy. This allows us to see factions forming while allies gather and desperately hoard magical items. It feels personal, but also has a great sense of scope. The final arc will no-doubt continue the great run, and hopefully further alter the status-quo.
Ultimately, Angel and Faith is a fantastic comic. The two lead characters have a great dynamic, there’s a clear and focused threat, and really fun connections to continuity from both Angel and Buffy. Be sure to get caught up before it begins wrapping up in a few months!