Angel & Faith, #7
"Daddy Issues, part II"
Script: Christos Gage, Art: Rebekah Isaacs, Colors: Dan Jackson, Letters: Richard Starkings & Jimmy Betancourt (Comicraft)
Cover: Rebekah Isaacs
Blurb: While keeping the streets of London safe, Angel and Faith struggle with their sin-filled pasts. For now, Faith finds some peace in guiding a group of Slayers - one of whom has a lethal grudge against Angel. With reluctant assistance from Faith, Angel seeks to undo his greatest sin and resurrect Giles from a natural death... somehow... in a world without magic.
Page 01: We start this issue in a flashback, an Angelus one. Considering how the last issue left off, I think you'll not be shocked to learn that this is of 1860 and revolves around Drusilla. We see a replay of when Angelus first saw Dru and knew that she'd be his masterpiece.
Page 02: We see the appalling replay of events in Angelus' play: his slaughtering Drusilla's family, his following her to the convent where she seeked sanctuary and his slaying all of the nuns there, his driving her to madness, and finally his turning her so that she'd be trapped in an eternity of insanity. He wanted this masterwork to endure.
Page 03: In the here and now, Angel is voiceovering that his greatest triumphs have turned to his greatest sins since he got his soul back. And now, Drusilla has changed also.
He repeats to her that she's sane and asks her how that could be.
Page 04: Drusilla tells Angel about how a friend suggested to her a Lorophage Demon as a pet to replace all of the puppies, kittens... and orphans... she used to keep and accidentally kill (we can add songbirds to the list too, but I guess the 'orphans' thing sorta trumps all). They're much sturdier. Dru went looking for one, and when she found this specimen, it was oh-so-hungry. Now normally, it wouldn't care about a vampire because it feeds on trauma -- but well, with everything she was carrying around with her thanks to Angelus, she was an exception.
She felt the Lorophage draw all of that confusion, pain and torment out of her and she was free. The revelation of her sanity decided her new path: She'd be like her 'daddy' and help the helpless. Normally, the Lorophage killed its victims by drawing all of that trauma to the surface to draw out much too quickly and it's fatal to whoever is subjected to it (well, except when its using its claws to cleave through a head, like with blond-kid from Giles' past). But with Dru's guidance, she's been able to help it feed slowly, leaving the person suffering alive and free of their emotional disability.
And now, she's ready to offer Angel the peace of reconciliation and release of his own past misdeeds via the Lorophage.
Page 05: Well, Angel unsurprisingly can only see the Lorophage feeding on people and wants to put a stop to it immediately. Of course, there is also the still-insane ones that went on killing sprees.
Drusilla poo-poos this. After all, she can't help EVERYone. But she has a whole room full of people that has been helped by her.
Page 06: Drusilla then tells Angel that she saw that he was in London via vision. She has been very careful to follow the rules set down by that twit, Harmony [Dru doing what Harmony wants is one of the funniest things I've ever heard!] and that her helped do give her blood, but only a bit from each -- no killing or turning is going on.
She expresses that she feels sorry for Angel's being trapped in the past by his crushing guilt and wants to help him, if only he'd let her [And this is exactly the message he'd received from Harmony -- stop obsessing on his past].
Angel, naturally declines... in vamp!face, even.
Meanwhile, Faith is watching all of this with various looks of consternation, but not interfering with more than a hand on his shoulder.
Commentary: This is really interesting, because of the way that it ties into Harmony's visit from issue 5. Also, I love the idea of Drusilla obeying Harmony's rules and putting her outside of Angel's retribution, unless he wants to ignore those carefully set up ideas among the vampire population, which would lead to the very thing that Faith and the Slayers are trying to avoid -- open warfare again. It's kinda delicious.
But more, Dru could easily have gotten cured and then left town with her new "pet". I love the fact that she's staying right there where Angel will have to deal with her presence, even if he tries to avoid her.
But seriously, I cannot read Dru's line about her obeying Harmony's Rules and not chuckle.
Page 07: Angel is not buying Drusilla's sudden selflessness, pointing out that without a soul she isn't capable of acting for anyone but herself.
She doesn't deny this; she is getting something out of it: a life of comfort and being well fed. She just happens to be helping people, too.
Faith finally intervenes and tells Angel that they should go, seeing the writing on the wall. They can't stop Dru without breaking their 'treaty' with the underworld.
Drusilla calls after him that she isn't going anywhere and he should come back when he's ready. She offers that she and he will always be a part of each other and he's always welcome.
Commentary: And, yes, I am still really digging the idea that Faith is the calm and considering one in this partnership! That is a riot.
Page 08: As Faith and Angel are returning to their place, Angel is on the "abused turned into abuser, and it's all my fault" train. He insists that Drusilla is messing with their heads, the way he did to her.
Faith rolls her eyes and tells him she's heard the "everything is my fault" tune. She points out that being sane, even if they did look a bit emo-groupie about it has to be better than being addicts and basket cases over their traumas. And, from what she saw, there isn't anything to act on.
This line of debate is interrupted though, when she finds her father waiting for her at the house.
Page 09: Faith's father greets her, but when he reaches to stroke her face, he gets slapped off her. He's come because he's been sober for six months and insists to Faith that he's cleaned up his act. This is a story that Faith has heard too many times before to bother listening to now.
Her father tells her he just wants to try to fix things between them.
Page 10: Faith's answer is to turn and march away from him. He tells her that he'll be in London for a few days if she changes her mind.
When he's gone, Angel tells her that he didn't scent any alcohol on her father, but she doesn't care. She's still sure that he's a bum. And besides, Angel is hardly the one to talk about dealing with family seeing as how he's avoided his own kid's calls for months.
Commentary: Owie. That was harsh. But, I gotta love the continuity of not forgetting Connor is still in L.A. running Angel Investigations. Hopefully, this means we'll be building some rebuilding bridges between Angel's TV Show Past and Buffy's TV Show Past that were strained by the comic books being at different publisher's.
[Future!Me: Yes, we do! Illyria drops in on Buffy. Yay!! Now, if we can just get 'Supernatural' on board, maybe we can get a breakup for Dawn/Xan and a hook up for Dawn/Sam... *sigh-grin* Fanfic Fun is fun.]
Page 11: Angel tells Faith that he's dropped out of Connor's life for his own good. He guilts about costing Connor is childhood [nice way to relieve a dead man of that responsibility, but that was Wes' fault with some big help from Holtz, full stop] and about how Angel's baggage will only drag him down.
Faith tells him in so many words that's BS. Angel offers that he's not trying to tell Faith what to do, he's just reminding her that as a human being, her father can change.
Faith takes this to heart and runs back down the block calling out for her dad.
Commentary: I can't help but be highly suspicious. Thanks, WATCHERS. You've totally ruined any happy-reunions for Faith and her dad.
Page 12: Presumably the same night, Angel has wandered to an abandoned home in The East End. When he opens the door, he's assaulted by memories from Angelus of Dru's terrified family just before he slaughtered them all.
He also finds Drusilla there, too. She's got memories of her own, like how she used to write 'dadaist' lyrics to her family's screams in her head.
Commentary: I know that Dru is as evil as they come, but she's always been such a favorite of mine because she's so damaged that I can't help but feel sorry for her. I really don't want her to be staked, even though she really should be. Truth to tell, I know she can't stay a neutral-good character but I'd really love to see her stay just as she's presented herself to be for awhile. I think continued interactions between a sane and not-killer Dru and Angel would be endlessly fascinating. Even with her murdering Kendra and playing with Giles' mind, I always find myself ready to forgive her if she'd just try....
Page 13: Dru offers to Angel that she's thinking of buying the old place and fill it with new memories. She also turns away Angel's apologies for what he did to her, telling him that she was never going to have much of a life with constantly condemning herself due to her visions. She offers that Angelus set her free.
I find this an odd thing to say -- and the Lorophage in the background isn't making me feel any better.
Page 14: The Lorophage makes its move, but Angel is able to grab its arm and pry the nails from his head. Drusilla asks him to take her help, but he accuses her of wanting to lobotomize him. As she smiles that he says 'tomato'... he and the Phage fight.
Page 15: The Lorophage is no slouch when it comes to fighting, and Angel takes some claws through the back. But when the Phage goes back to draining his pain, Dru calls it off.
She tells Angel that of course she misses the old ways, but that she's not clinging to the past. She believes that Angel should stop clinging so tightly to his self-flagellation. But she also says she won't force him, she'll wait until he's ready to final let it all go.
Commentary: I cannot figure out if Dru is sincere or playing a game... AND I LIKE IT.
Page 16: Drusilla suddenly tears the shirt that Angel is wearing open. She tells him that she knows what he is up to. Not only is her mind clearer, but so are her visions. She's aware that he's bonded "The Tooth of Ammut" to is own body and that the artifact has been absorbing traces of Giles from the places where he's been. She also explains that Giles is being reassembled within Angel's body.
Page 17: Drusilla confronts Angel on the impact that is being had on him. Giles is taking form within him, his voice and mannerisms becoming stronger the more that he pulls this on himself. She's seems genuinely concerned for his mental state, since he's already dealing with two personalities as it is.
Angel tries to deny Angelus, but Drusilla knows the truth. She tells him that Angelus isn't locked in some cage, silent. But he's always whispering temptations at him. She uses his feeding from the clerk who was shot in the 70's as an example of how Angelus is always pushing at him from within.
Page 18: Angel snots that he's good at ignoring people, like he's ignoring her right now. He stomps out.
Dru shouts after him that she knows what it is like to have voices in your head, and three will be too much for him to take. She nearly begs that he allow her to remove the guilt over killing Giles to put a stop to his insane plan.
And though Angel continues ignoring her as he rushes away, the look on his face is showing all sorts of doubt.
Page 19: Back at the residence, Faith is showing her dad around. He notes the weapons in a display case on the wall and she tries to play it off as something that Giles was collecting. But as we know from the pub, he's aware of her being a "warrior princess" and he tells her so.
Page 20: Faith is a bit nonplussed that he isn't more freaked out about her being a Slayer, but he tells her that he's actually relieved that it explains a lot, rather than his thought that some of the stuff he saw before was the DT-s. To her almost desperate question, he repeats that he really is sober and that with the new start for himself, he hopes that it'll be a new start of them.
Faith's cell goes off, interupting their reunion.
Page 21: Faith's call is important, but whether its Angel or the Slayers, we don't know yet. She leaves the house with a huge grin as her dad promises to be there when she returns.
As she's leaving, his cell phone rings, too.
Page 22: Whoever is on the other end is reminding Pat Lehane of a promise made. Pat tells the stranger not to worry, he'll soon get exactly what he asked for as Mr. Lehane fondles a magic globe from a shelf....
The Good: If y'all have been reading me for any amount of time, I'm sure you know I'm a real continuity-whore. So, obvs, I'm really happy with the flashbacking. And Drusilla & Angel together again.
I'm continuing to like the Lorophage Demon's design and his toughness -- I may be able to do without the trenchcoat look.
I really like the ambiguity of Drusilla's 'Mother Superior' operation.
Really liked Faith confronting Angel over Connor when telling him to stay out of her family business, and also his supportive advice.
The Bad: Nuthin'.
Other Thoughts: I'm not really into Lehane's family drama, but that may be only because WATCHERS handled it well already. And, also because we already had the Faith-trusts,She-gets-betrayed thing and I'm afraid that is what we're gearing up for again. On the other hand, I like that we're dealing with daddy-issues for her at the same time as Giles' flashback relationship with his father and Dru's relationship with "daddy" Angel - so it works.
The Score: 3.75 out of 5 stars, same as last issue. This one is lookin' to be a well written and interesting arc.
Next Up: BTVS, S9 issue 6 & 7