Angel & Faith #1
Writer: Christos Gage
Artists: Rebekah Isaacs & Dan Jackson
Covers: Steve Morris, Jo Chen and Georges Jeanty, Dexter Vines & JD Mettler
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
After a short break between “seasons,” the Buffyverse is back with two finite series that together form Season Nine. After a tumultuous Season Eight, creator Joss Whedon has promised that Season Nine will focus more on the characters than the epic events of the prior season. His pledge is off to a good start with the first issue of Angel & Faith.
First, a quick catch-up for new readers. (Waring: spoilers for the end of Buffy Season Eight.) Magic is mostly gone, though some vestiges remain, and long-time character, Watcher, and father figure Rupert Giles was killed by Angel while the latter was being possessed by a sentient universe he and Buffy boinked into existence. (It makes sense in context. Sort of.) So now Angel is shunned by his former friends, all except for roguish Slayer Faith. You see, back when BtVS and Angel were still on the air, Faith went to a very dark place, and Angel, vampire with a soul and no slouch in the repentance department, was the only one willing to help her through it. Wanting to return the favor, she took in the catatonic vamp and has been watching over him in London since the end of the last comic series.
Finally getting Angel back into the game after reading him one of Giles’s Watcher Diary entries, they go out and take care of a demon that was possessing a little girl, mostly by slicing it apart. Afterward, Faith catches up with some fellow ex-Slayers, one of whom tells the story of the slaughter of her friends by two new characters named Pearl and Nash, who were doing it to impress Season Eight’s Big Bad, Twilight. (Save the jokes; I’ve heard ‘em all already.) This isn’t good, because Twilight turned out to actually be Angel. We then see these baddies enjoying a drink after slaughtering the other patrons of a bar, and having a conversation with long-time mysterious recurring character Whistler. Finally, in the apartment that Giles left Faith, she and Angel talk about his Twilight actions (and bring non-IDW readers up to speed on what was going in over in their Angel books). It ends with an interesting plan by Angel, one that Buffy fans should know never really turns out well for those who attempt it.
This is a pretty good first issue. I’ve been a big fan of Christos Gage for a while now, and was thrilled when it was announced he’d be scripting the series. Gage is great at characterizations, and he pretty much nails both main characters right out of the gate. The only time I’ve seen Rebekah Isaacs’s art before this was on a short arc of Hack/Slash, though I’ve heard good things about the series DV8 from WildStorm. I really dig her work here, especially when it comes to body language and facial expressions. I’ll definitely count myself as a fan if she keeps up this quality. On the whole, I’m looking forward to both seeing where this series goes and how it will interact with the new Buffy series. Angel & Faith #1 gets 4 out of 5 human dart boards.