"Angel & Faith (Season 10) #10" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Victor Gischler
Illustrated by Will Conrad
2014, 24 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on January 7th, 2015
Things are never easy for Angel and Faith. When this issue opens up, Angel is in the midst of a battle with Amy (the witch that was turned into a rat but is now hellbent on bringing her old boyfriend, Warren, back to life). Meanwhile, halfway around the world, Faith is in the jungle dealing with a new breed of vampire and trying to save Buffy's old squeeze, Riley. It's time for them both to kick some ass.
Both characters have been somewhat aimless since Season 10 began. After successfully resurrecting Giles last season, albeit in a younger body, it's like neither of them know what to do next. Angel is moping around Magic Town, the area of London that was ground zero for a magic bomb, leaving a bunch of people changed on a genetic level. Faith has been trying her luck as a slayer-for-hire with Kennedy's organization, but is clearly not suited for it, as she has problems with authority and playing by the rules. It's like the first two story arcs serve as a reminder that they work better together than they do apart. Sure, they can get stuff done, but there's no real cohesion. They're two misfit toys that work well as a team.
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The inclusion of Amy and Riley feels a bit forced, like writer Victor Gischler is trying to gain interest in the book by trotting out characters from the TV show. Unfortunately, both have already made appearances in the post-TV show seasons of Buffy and don't pack much of a punch. Amy is obsessed with taking down Willow, even though she's not even on the same continent and carrying around a jar filled with Warren's remains in an attempt to bring him back to life. It's weird, but she never comes across as a satisfying villain. On the other end of the spectrum is Riley, who seems like a generic army guy now. He gives Faith a bit of closure to make her feel a little better about herself and her screwed up past, but she's still lost in life.
The idea of Angel (and hopefully Faith) patrolling Magic Town with its own unique set of rules is really fun. Although Buffy is literally writing the new rules of magic, this area is an anomaly, as if it's a place with its own laws of physics. There are creatures looking to take advantage of this and profit from it, but there are others who were once human and now find themselves deformed and in need of help. I just wish Gischler would tone down the "British talk" in the dialogue. One page manages to include the words "Oi," "mate," "wicked," and "rubbish". If he threw in "Cheerio" and "bloody", I would have won British Bingo.
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Will Conrad continues to deliver some dynamite artwork throughout Angel & Faith. He provides some near perfect likenesses for the main characters and a realistic approach to everyone appearing in the book. The design for former slayer / current magic guru Nadira is especially cool, with half of her body covered in darkness with glowing green lines swirling around it. She's probably the most interesting character in the book right now, as she's basically the soul of Magic Town. She's connected to it in a way that no one else is, so she has a very unique perspective on it and how this new form of magic works.
Angel & Faith has been missing that heart that it had in Season 9, but I'm hoping that after the title characters have spent some time apart, they'll eventually find their way back to one another. They can pull in the other stray dogs in the Buffyverse and have their own weird version of the Scooby Gang. In many ways, this season of Angel & Faith is reminding me of last season of Buffy, in which the main character was struggling to find her purpose in a new status quo. With luck, these two will find their stride heading into the next arc.