“Angel & Faith (Season 10) #6” 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 September 3rd, 2014
Things get personal this month in Angel & Faith, as people from the past catch up to the title characters. Angel is busy as the unofficial sheriff of Magic Town (the area of England drastically changed after a supernatural bomb went off at the end of Season 9) when he meets Amy. Remember her? She was the girl that got turned into a rat, then in Buffy Season 8 she showed up with Warren to cause some havoc. Meanwhile, Faith is halfway around the world with DeepScan (the slayer bodyguard / special ops group) trying to track down Riley who has gone missing while protecting the CEO of a pharmaceutical company in the jungle.
A big part of Angel & Faith this time around has been about rebuilding. Last season was about redemption as Angel struggled to make up for killing Giles. Considering the fact that he successfully brought the Watcher back from the dead (albeit as a teenager), I'd say he has been redeemed. Now he's trying to protect the residents of Magic Town, but he's bearing this burden on his own. He's in his element, tracking down leads and punching big ugly demons in the mouth, not unlike the old Angel Investigations. He has no backup though. Whereas Buffy has the Scooby Gang back together and Faith at least has the other slayers in DeepScan, Angel really doesn't have anyone watching his back. He can't even bounce clues off of someone. There's a cop from Scotland Yard that shows up every so often, but he's a minor character at best.
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Part of the reason why Buffy works so well (and why the previous season of Angel & Faith was so awesome) is the group of characters working together. As the two title characters are out finding themselves in this new world, there's not a lot of teamwork going on. Angel bumbles from one fight to another, forever brooding his way through England. Faith is faring a bit better, although she's still keeping her fellow DeepScan agents at arm's length. No one knows much about her aside from the fact that she used to run with Buffy. This loner attitude, coupled with her stab first and ask questions later approach, is making her a pretty lousy soldier.
Faith is getting a bit better. She's learning to work with a team and how to take orders, which are things that are pretty foreign to her. She definitely has the opportunity to really grow as a character and become a better slayer, not to mention a more well-rounded individual. This mission to find Riley is a personal one for Faith, as she's trying to make up for the bad things she's done to him in the past.
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Will Conrad's artwork provides a sense of realism to all this character development. You can feel the emotion in both Angel and Faith as they try to figure out their next moves. When a fight breaks out, it's sudden and often gruesome. Angel has a weird fight with “Catfish Bob” (whatever you're thinking is probably along the right track as to what this guy looks like) at the beginning, but Faith's battle towards the end of the issue really stands out. It comes out of nowhere and escalates very quickly. Conrad hides the real danger of her opponents, revealing it only when they've moved in for the kill. It changes the entire scene and it makes for a great fight.
Angel & Faith continues to delve into the minds of the two anti-heroes. They spent last season coming together for a common cause, now they're working separately to build their own lives back up to some level of normalcy. They don't have the benefit of a Scooby Gang like Buffy, so they seem to be struggling to come to grips with the new status quo now that magic has been re-introduced to the world.