I started reading the Angel & Faith comics back in 2012, thanks to advance reading copies from NetGalley. I read the first two volumes, but then dropped off for almost a year and a half. Now with Buffy the Vampire Slayer also in its tenth season and thus beginning a new phase in the series, I thought it’d be time to get back on track with Angel & Faith as well. And a while back I went and bought a number of the comics, to catch up. Still, with a new season now starting, being current is going to be very fun and rewarding I hope.
The new season sees Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs moving off to Buffy while Victor Gischler comes on board as writer and Will Conrad is brought in as the penciller. Being used to the previous team’s work, the adjustment is a bit rough in all aspects, since they captured the mood and atmosphere of the original series really well, but the new team is no slouch either and it keeps you entertained throughout. And the new issue really makes me want to go back and get caught up with Season 9.
At the end of Season 9, Angel and Faith got what they wanted: the return of a dear friend who had died because of the former. Angel has always been a tortured character ever since he got a soul, and Season 9 typified that with the meta-story being one of righting wrongs and redemption for him because of what he had done. Now, Angel and Faith have parted their ways. While Angel deals with the fallout of his actions in London, Faith takes their returned dear friend back to Los Angeles, to meet up with the rest of the Buffy crew, as we saw at the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #1. And in both places, there are some new challenges for both of them, and it is a fun time in all respects.
Where Angel is concerned, he does what he always does: saving people when and where he can. Of course, if those people are reluctant to acknowledge his help afterwards, that’s different, especially when they seem actively scared of him, as if he is going to do something really, really bad to them. And so he ends investigating a supernatural murder, the point of which was to send a strong message to him and throughout all of it, we really see a very classic Angel. Which means that new writer Gischler got the character’s voice down right, a significant thing for a tie-in comic like this.
For Faith, she is also doing what she always does best: killing vampires. If they happen to be the new zompire breed, all the better. Faith’s story here isn’t as immediately gripping or intense as Angel’s story is, but it has more emotion and more heart. There is a fantastic contrast between the two here and with Faith too Gischler gets her voice down right. She’s flippant and doesn’t acknowledge her emotions and yet she’d do anything for her friends. What’s not to like really?
If we compare this first issue to its sister title, then overall it is not quite as exciting, but the writer is still in setup mode and, I dare say, finding his feet with the characters. So it makes sense that he’d take it slow. He focuses on the smaller characters here and there, like Giles’ two aunts who are just wonderful under his pen as they were under Gage’s, and that helps to break the overall monotony of just seeing everything through the two main characters.
Will Conrad is on pencils here with Michelle Madsen on colours and Richard Starkings on the letters with Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt. I have to say that I certainly do miss Rebekah Isaacs and the rest of her art team on this title, but at the same time, Conrad & Co. do a fantastic job nonetheless. In fact, I’d say that Conrad’s characterwork is very much closer to how the characters look in real life, as portrayed by the actors themselves. Isaacs’ characters were a bit less “true” although I still enjoyed her work immensely. Nevertheless, the pencils and inks and colours in the new issue with the new team are all great, and I’m very hopeful about this series getting even better.
So yeah, I’m having a blast getting back into the Buffyverse with the two main series. Couldn’t be better!
More Buffyverse: (Season 10) #1.