Gage writes this issue, the second in the arc, as if a TV season is coming to an end. The big arcs seem to be coming to a head, and the two heroes are getting cross. Some TV shows can’t accomplish this without having it feel forced, but Gage has always made plot developments feel natural. He’s hinted and teased the big arcs just enough to keep the readers attention. The small group of former Slayers haven’t done much this season, but Gage has finally put them to good use here. It’s a little convenient, but still works for the story. And with any classic Angel episode/issue, the drama needs to be undercut by humor. The sisters of Giles are used perfectly here, walking the line between snarky and annoying. Their British accent isn’t over used. Gage is the master at writing regional jargon, and having it come off as necessary. Most writers use it as a joke, thus belittling the words that were used.
One of the things that brought me into this series when it launched was the connection to Giles’ past. He’s was a very interesting character, and his history has been quite vague. We have a few solid details, but these have big gaps in between. If this season was going to go on a lot longer, I’d say Gage should have crafted a lot of arcs based on this. Angel and Faith cleaning up Giles’ mess would have made one hell of a series. I almost forgot about Ethan Rayne as a character. He’s always been on the fringe of Buffy stories, never appearing more than an issue/episode or two at a time. Rayne is nothing but a deus ex machina in my mind, and this issue does nothing to change my mind. Yes, he’s interesting, but never used as well as he could have been. If Joss Whedon had done that Ripper series with the BBC that wanted, I’m sure Rayne would have received some much needed development.
If you’ve read any of my past reviews for this series, you know I think Rebekah Isaacs is brilliant on pencils. Characters resemble their actor counterparts without sacrificing believability. The women seem to bear a resemblance to Faith this issue, something I didn’t notice in previous issues. Giles’ neck snap is creepily awesome. Action scenes flow like a break down for a movie. Isaacs doesn’t get a lot of credit for the monsters that she designed. The last page has an incredible amount of detail, and looks just plain awesome. Dan Jackson’s colors make the vibrant world pop off the page. The Buffyverse is a colorful place, so why not have everything be colorful.
Angel & Faith has been consistently strong since the launch last year. If you loved the Angel TV show, do yourself a favor and catch up on the series.
Angel & Faith #17 gets 4/5.