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Joss Whedon Is Still Our Master:
Dark Horse's Angel and Faith #1

Angel and Faith #1
writer: Christos Gage
artist: Rebekah Isaacs

If Joss Whedon had time, a willing producer, and the ability to make David Boreanaz look exactly as he did the last time Angel was on the air, Angel & Faith would be a great television series. As it is, it makes a great comic book.

Should you not be a follower of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel & Faith stands well enough on its own. Maybe it's the influence of DC's "New 52" – even though this is Dark Horse – or maybe it's that more comics should be doing this anyway. Whatever the reason, writer Christos Gage gives new readers everything they need to get up to speed without boring the faithful.

And for the faithful, we're getting a glimpse of what might have been – the long-rumored but never fulfilled BBC series Ripper. That would have been the adventures of Buffy's long-time mentor Giles as he struggled against the supernatural in England; Gage (and executive producer Joss Whedon) give us a slice of one such case, and the consequences of it.

Of course, the person who has to pick up the pieces now is Angel, who at the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 killed Giles while under the influence of an evil force. Now trying to clear his muddled mind and conscience, Angel has Giles' journals and uses them to continue the Watcher's unfinished business.

It's a good reboot for Angel, and a good use for the rogue vampire slayer Faith Lehane. Helped on the road to redemption by both Angel and Giles, she can now return the favor to one. And the fact that, powers or no powers, she can kick the ass of any demon who crosses her path doesn't hurt.

Hints get dropped that this series will likely weave in and out of Buffy: Season 9, but already this seems much more accessible a book. It also has much clearer layouts with the art of Rebekah Isaacs, who draws dynamic action scenes, quiet introspection, and captures the likenesses and even occasionally the body language of the actors who originally played these characters. She even manages to give Faith the relatively petite figure of actress Eliza Dushku while still maintaining how intimidating she can be.

Do not mourn for Giles too much; likely we'll get a few more flashbacks with him. In the meantime, this book hurtles forward with more visits from old friends. If you've given in to the DC hype and plan to pick up Justice League, you're also going to want to look to the top of the new releases rack and take a chance on Angel and Faith #1.

Derek McCaw

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