Angel & Faith #19-20
Yay! Spike is back!
He’s always been my favorite of the Buffyverse characters, mostly due to his wide-ranging character arc, from super-scary Big Bad to victim to lovestruck sex slave to redeemed savior of the world. That he’s not one of the biggest main characters allows writers to do more with him, too. Plus, his original attitude lets him snark off at the others when they’re being particularly drippy or self-obsessed, often reflecting the attitudes of the viewers.
Issue #19 concludes a four-part story arc written by Christos Gage and drawn by Rebekah Isaacs, although by the end, there are more questions than conclusions. I don’t recall the details of this particular storyline, but it falls into the overall plot of Angel trying to resurrect Giles. Faith is assisting, although she has qualms, and she’s going to do her best to stop him if anything goes wrong. Spike’s been called in to help due to his unique status, making him, like Angel, unpossessable.
This specific issue thus opens with a flashback to Giles’ younger days, in the kind of story that fans want to see. It’s perfectly suited to comics, since it’s easy (with just a little reference) to draw a period piece with a younger version of the likeness, while doing such a story on film requires expensive makeup, costumes, and special effects.
Most of the issue is a big fight, although as in the source material, battles reveal plot developments as well. Favorite line: Faith calls Angel and Spike “the Betty and Veronica of vampires”. Which leads nicely into the alternate cover for issue #20 (shown left), in the style of Archie comics.
As indicated by the standard cover (by Steve Morris), this issue puts Angel out of commission so Spike and Faith can share the screen time. Since both are angry and tactless, we wind up learning a lot about what they think without much filter. This truth-telling becomes immensely entertaining when they start talking about their sex lives.
Clearly, I really enjoy Christos Gage’s writing. He’s doing new, interesting things, but in the right character voices. I also like Rebekah Isaacs’ art, since she does the same with the visuals: getting the likenesses right, but without slavish faithfulness or static photo reference.
If you liked the TV series, this is a fun read with new directions and ideas. This is the Buffyverse comic I find captures best the appeal of the original show, back when it was great. I’m eager to see what happens next.