Review: Angel & Faith #20
With Angel and Faith’s mission almost complete, there had to be some big complications before it was over. But thank god for those complications, as it gave us one of the best issues of Angel & Faith.
This issue is all about Spike and Faith. The two haven’t had much time together, and much levity is made of this. Christos Gage uses Spike’s situation to have the now mature Faith poke fun at him about Buffy. While long time readers will have noticed a growth in Faith, it’s astonishing how far the character has come since the TV show ended. The rest of the issue acts as a calm before the storm, setting all the characters up for the season ending issues. #20 is more about character development than plot though, and that works out for the best. Things that characters have been keeping to themselves, or have been bubbling, come to the surface. As with the best Angel episodes, there is a steady stream of humor throughout Angel & Faith #20. Whether it be from Faith or Spike, readers will be laughing hard. One character’s appearance near the end had me almost in tears laughing.
There are plenty of callbacks to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Gage works them in effortlessly, and brings lapsed readers up to speed quickly on the references. If the reference isn’t common knowledge, Gage gives just enough info for them to understand. Gage has always had a phenomenal grasp on the different voices of these characters, and never has that been more clear than this issue. Spike’s complaints about him and Angel having a “bromance” and how they are similar was stellar writing. Gage built on Victor Gischler’s Spike series really well. The ending brings up an interesting story beat, one I wasn’t sure if Gage was going to touch upon. As I don’t want to spoil the issue, and what has been going on in the series up to date, you’ll know what I’m talking about when you read the last couple of pages. The topic has been made light of by numerous characters, but here is the first time that it feels real.
As always, Rebekah Issacs artwork is perfect for this book. She nails all the subtle ticks and facial movements of the characters without them being as stiff as action figures. Even in the heat of a massive battle, Faith still looks like Eliza Dushku. Issacs may be the only artist I know with the talent to do that. Gage’s script may be filled with humor, but Issacs nails every comedic note. The expressions after a joke are priceless. The quick monster battle looks great, and not enough praise has been given to Issacs for her monster creations. The cover for this issue is also one of the best I’ve seen all year.
While Season 9 has been great for Angel & Faith, issue #20 is the creme de la creme. Fans of the Buffyverse, just read this book already.
Angel & Faith #20 gets 4.5/5.