Angel and Faith Season 10 #1
I enjoyed the previous run of the series due in large part to how well writer Christos Gage and artist Rebekah Isaacs captured the characters authentically. Now they’ve been promoted to the main Buffy book, and we’re left here with Victor Gischler, whose writing I did not at all care for on the Spike miniseries he did, and Will Conrad.
This isn’t a great issue to evaluate, by the way. The title characters are separated, with Faith off meeting Buffy in the U.S. (tying into the Buffy #1, but more on that later) and Angel moping around “Magic Town”. That’s the new high concept, that part of London is this lawless area with magical baddies and odd happenings. Which seems a bit like a throwback to the show, where the same thing happened to L.A., but fans like the familiar. So far all we see of it is some killer pixies, which means too many pages of Angel fighting them while monologuing, and a typical “ooh, they killed a random to show how bad-ass they are” scene.
Two of the characters Gage introduced that I liked, Giles’ self-centered magic-using aunts, show up, but without much of the froth and individuality I associate with them. The likenesses, where we have actor reference, are good but static, a risk of using photo reference. Sometimes the storytelling lacks from panel to panel, with each one being understandable but how we got from one to another unclear or choppy.
I thought it would be interesting to see the Buffy/Faith/Giles meetup from Faith’s perspective, but I’m left with the nagging impression that the two creative teams weren’t guided enough editorially. Faith in this version shows up in a muscle car with the dialogue papering over the private jet referred to in the Buffy version.
Overall — and this is my main gripe with Gischler’s writing — this comic is mediocre. It hits the expected beats, but with nothing particularly memorable or outstanding, particularly in the dialogue, which is traditionally the appeal of Joss Whedon shows. Characters tell each other things they already know in interchangeable voices, without the spark I’m looking for. Angel’s frequent monologues are unnecessary, as though they’re just there to make some kind of word count or not leave wordless panels on the page.
Worst of all, Gischler pulls a standard superhero writing trick that I hate. He’s building up to the reveal of some mysterious character, whom we see on the last page — but I have no idea who this person is or why we should care. I’m not as big a Whedon fan as some — and googling turns up that this person was in the comic previously, although clearly not distinctly enough to make a huge impression on me — but this whole “look! it’s so-and-so!” when I don’t recognize so-and-so makes me feel left out. And a #1 issue shouldn’t do that.
I’ll check back in later, presumably when Angel and Faith are back working together, to see if their interactions improve for me, but I suspect that my dislike of the writer’s style will prevent this book from being as enjoyable as it was previously.