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16 April 2014 @ 03:00 pm
Reviewed: Angel & Faith, issue 20  
cover


Angel & Faith
Issue 20

Spike and Faith

Script: Christos Gage, Art: Rebekah Isaacs, Colors: Dan Jackson, Letters: Richard Starkings & Jimmy Betancourt (Comicraft), Cover: Steve Morris

Blurb: The final piece of Giles’ soul has been gathered, but naturally, bigger problem arise for our heroes! Having three personalities within Angel – himself plus Angelus and Giles – has the ensouled vampire struggling for his sanity. And, since he’s the only one who was actually privy to the ultimate plan for Giles’ resurrection, Spike and Faith have their hands full working out how to safely bring Angel back to his senses…


Page 01: In the aftermath of Eyghon’s defeat, Spike tells Faith they should get a pint. This outrages her, but Spike isn’t as dense as he’s playing – he realizes that they have a problem.

Which is currently curled on the floor, with Giles’ memories of finding Jenny Calendar’s body in his bed driving him to his knees.


Commentary: And I find myself saying “good!” despite all that Angel has done since then to make amends. “Passion” is an episode that left its mark on my mind and I’m feeling a little vindictive about it, still.


Page 02: Alasdair is angry over the outcome of Angel’s plan for resurrecting Giles, and turns on Faith for not stopping this from happening. His big worry is that while Angel is struggling for control, Angelus will grab the wheel and kill them all.

[Hard to slight him for that.]

Alasdair suggests getting Angel to someplace secure and Faith tells him and Spike about the cellar at the house, where she suggests that she’s had to keep Angel  before. Apparently, right after the Giles killing, Angel had gotten in the habit of hurting himself.


Page 03: Conversation turns to how to extract Rupert from Angel and where to put him. Alasdair mentions that he has an Orb of Thesulah, but not the lost Ritual of Restoration. And with spells no longer effective, they can’t depend on that avenue. He suggests an artifact is badly needed.

Spike tells him the only thing he can think off hand is the Essuary, but it’s been lost for awhile now. That isn’t an issue as Alasdair does know its location, and it just happens to be in London. However, the artifact is in possession of Enders – things that not even Spike wants to tangle with.

Alasdair explains to Faith that the demons can extract and eat souls, using them as food, and thereby causing the ‘end’ of any person they feed on forever.


Page 04: Spike makes a suggestion that they just use the Tooth of Ammut to pull Giles’ soul from Angel and release it to wherever it is meant to go without trying to mess with a resurrection.

Alasdair would be onboard with this, if he was sure that it would be Rupert that they’d set loose. He’s afraid that Angel would sacrifice himself, instead, and then they’d risk Angelus taking control.

Faith, pissed now, hands Spike a stake and suggests they just kill Angel and Giles and make it easier for everyone. Spike backs off.

She’s not done railing though and tells the other two that she’s going to the Enders, she’s going to kill them, she’s going to grab the MacGuffin and she’s going to save Angel and Giles. She further tells them to either help, or screw off.


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Obvs, they agree to help… however, reluctantly. Alasdair is left to store Rupert’s body somewhere.


Commentary: I really like this page, and having Spike make the suggestion that all of this risk just might not be worth pursuing. It would’ve been easy to have Alasdair say all of these things to hack off Faith, and then have Spike support her position so I really appreciate that they didn’t go that route.  By doing it the way they did, it stops Alasdair from being written off by the readers as the villain and immediately discounting his very appropriate concerns in order to instinctively jump on Faith’s side.


Page 05: Faith and Spike drag Angel back to Faith’s home and secure him in the cellar with chains.

Spike makes a comment about Rupert’s kinky side, which Faith doesn’t find funny. He comments on how she isn’t as fun as she used to be. She feeds Angel a glass of blood.

Spike tries to approach how dangerous resurrection is again, and how he’s seen it go bad before. Faith mentions that he’s also seen it go right.


Page 06: In Kensal Green Cemetery a bit later, a Goth-emo-pained boy has just figured out that maybe oblivion isn’t exactly the way to deal with life’s traumas. There are two Enders there, which he obviously had contacted specifically to feed himself to in order to end it all; until he’s come face to face with the moment.

The Enders are not about to let him back out of it, though. Fortunately for him, Faith’s sword stroke comes from off panel and slices through the tentacles of one of the creatures, giving the young man a chance to flee.


Commentary: It’s not specified, but it’d be cool if this kid was one of the people that Drusilla had helped with her Lorophage, before Angel and Faith undid it.  You could certainly make the connection with the Lorophage having been hanging out in a cemetery to feed on those filled with pain, and now these creatures doing the same thing but whether the echo is deliberate on Christos’ part I can’t tell.


Page 07: The Enders go on the offensive, and Spike quickly finds himself wrapped up. His attacker goes to start the feeding, but he fangs out and bites deep into the creature’s arm.


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Page 08: Both of the Enders are killed by our heroes, but it doesn’t get them what they need. Faith worries momentarily about Spike’s having been partially soul-sucked but he assures her that he’s okay.

She offers that he doesn’t need to come with her and risk losing what he went to so much trouble to get, but he bluntly tells her that she’s good, but not that good. They still need to take on the Enders coven to retrieve the Essuary.

He tells her that he wasn’t all that bad as a demonic vampire, so if he loses his soul again, it may not be that bad. Plus, there were some who might have preferred him that way, anyway [small shot at Buffy, obvs].


Page 09: As Faith and Spike head down into some catacombs beneath the city, Spike mentions what Wood must think of her shacking up with a vampire, but she mentions how they’re exes now. She also tells him that she and Angel aren’t shacking up in that way and the only thing he’s doing for her love life is to keep her too busy running around and fighting to have one.

He suggests that they may be able to help one another out after they’ve saved Angel but Faith puts the kibosh on that, telling him he’s a bit too much like Angel these days to his shocked dismay.


Commentary: At first, this little bit was set to annoy me because it felt out of place and Faith following in Buffy’s footsteps would’ve annoyed me. But the scene won me over with its humor and with Faith telling Spike that she’s nobody’s rebound girl. Since I was left smirking, I have to give a kudo to a page that I started out wanting to hate. Not bad!


Page 10: Spike denies strenuously that he’s anything like Angel, but Faith lists the lampshades the similarities in their histories since meeting Buffy and accuses them of having a bromance going… which she slash-ifies by calling it a “backdoor bromance”.

Faith tells her that not only is there no bromance, but there is nothing involving back doors between he and Angel and that circumstances just continue to thrust them… er, not thrust… draws them together… or, no… Look, they just move in the same circles, alright!

As Spike is ranting about how he and Angel are not anything alike, he’s axing the Enders.


Commentary: More humor! I might have to withdraw my concern about Spike getting into this title, as well.


Page 11: As Faith and Spike are arguing/killing, the Enders grab up some old coffins and try to bludgeon them with them.  Meanwhile Faith points out how it’s obvs that he’s still pining for Buffy and yet he isn’t with her, and accuses him of pulling the exact same “we’re not good for each other” thing that Angel pulled when he left Sunnydale.

Spike, genuinely enraged now at being compared to Angel [and the implication he’s become a pale imitation] smashes a thrown coffin out of midair with a fist. Faith isn’t so lucky and gets nailed in the head.

Spike continues with his axe against his foes, while ranting about how he’s done things with his life – important things – which were very different from what Angel has done.


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Meanwhile, unnoticed, Faith is lying under the thrown coffin, as the Ender squirms over her and readies himself to yank her soul from her.


Page 12: She’s saved, when it turns out that her attacker is the only one left and Spike makes short work of it as well.

She stands up and brushes off, commenting that he killed ‘em all and didn’t even freak out over that whole “they’ll steal my soul” thing he was doing at Alasdair’s.

Spike grins and tells her that she was clever to say all those things to piss him off so he’d become an unstoppable rage machine. She tells him she actually meant every word, with a mischievous glance.


Commentary: Yeah, fine! I’m totally on board Spike’s appearance in this title. These few pages were awesome dialog wise, including acknowledging the slashtastic-overtones in the Angel/Spike dynamic and tweaking how Spike’s character arc has seemed like it’s been copied from Angel’s after David moved on to his own show. And there are the subtle nods to when Faith took over Buffy’s body and Faith and Spike's conversation in BTVS, S7 after he found out it wasn’t Buffy in The Bronze… these last few pages were made of win all around, is what I’m saying.

I don’t even mind that the Enders didn’t seem all that bad ass.



Page 13: Faith tells him that bringing up Buffy then and there wasn’t exactly an accident – he was right that she wanted him distracted and angry so he’d kick ass. But she also tells him that maybe he should get over Buffy before worrying about trying to get laid.

He tries to repeat that he’s moved on already, but then admits even he isn’t buying his own b.s.


Page 14: Back at the house, as Alasdair and Faith are speaking in the background, Spike tries to pick up one or both of Giles’ great aunts.

This goes nowhere, except for him to hear that he seems like the type to get attached and make an uncomplicated shag into anything but.

They join Faith and Alasdair, leaving Spike to drink his absinthe alone.


Page 15: Alasdair begins to get ready for the big ritual and Spike is sent off to watch over Angel and ensure that Angelus doesn’t get loose, in case he makes his presence known.


Page 16: In the cellar, Angel is stuck in Liam’s past with his domineering, uncaring father. Spike rants at him for having it so easy after his soul return, when Spike’s been in hell through it.

He wonders if Buffy might not have wanted him to stay the monster.


Commentary: It’s interesting that Spike would bring up Buffy wanting a monster so much, since that is exactly what he told Riley would lead to his and Buffy’s breakup. And though I wouldn’t make the generalization that Buffy wants a monster in her man, at this point I’m not sure I’d be willing to argue against that notion, either. It’s hard to know what Buffy wants – and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know what she’s looking for.

As to the rest of Spike’s rant: I’ve talked ever-on in regards to my feelings about the contention that Spike’s trip to Africa was about his “winning his soul for Buffy” so I’ll not argue the point here. I’m aware that the ME-PTB insist that he always wanted to be worthy of Buffy’s love and that’s why he went through the trials.

What-ever. That isn’t how it was filmed, that isn’t what the wish-granting demon’s demeanor suggested when he pulled the mojo, and it isn’t what Spike’s reaction intimated when his soul was being restored.

I continue to call “crap” on it and in my head-canon, he’s been practicing some revisionism in his memories about the whole thing.



Scene 17: Upstairs, the aunts and Faith are calling to Giles. Faith basically admits that Giles was the best father figure she’d ever gotten into her life and that she needs him to be there for her again, badly.


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Commentary: Awwwww… love it. Love.


Page 18: In the cellar, Spike continues to rant at Buffy for saying she wants one kind of man, but when he becomes that, she suddenly finds him to be a bore. He then admits to Angel, though only because he’s currently a “drooling vegetable” that he admires him for the way he moved on from Buffy and wished he’d known how he did it.

Which is Angel’s cue, of course, to be back. He tells Spike that when he figures it out, he’ll let him know.


Page 19: Spike clumsily switches gears and claims that his going on and on about his feelings was to keep Angel grounded during the ritual and that he doesn’t expect thanks from an Irishman, despite it being the only decent thing to do.

Meanwhile, Angel slips out of the iron cuffs. He thanks Spike for making sure that he didn’t hurt the rest of them during this dangerous maneuver. In addition, he texts a “thank you” in the form of a number to somebody who can keep him good a distracted when his obsession over Buffy gets too much… apparently somebody that he’d turn to himself… and probably sexual in nature.


Page 20: The following morning, Faith asks Angel about the final step. They’ve used the Crown of Coils to regenerate Rupert’s body, and they’ve got his soul held in the Essuary. Now, they need to transfer and revive. Angel says he’ll tell her all soon, and she playfully accuses him of not knowing and winging the whole thing.

As they reach the second floor, while talking, Faith notes somebody is in her bathroom and using the hot water. She yells at Spike that he better not be using it up.

The door opens… but it’s Harmony!


Page 21: Faith is unhappy to say the least, especially when Harmony is wearing her bathrobe. She wants to know what the hell, and Angel admits to giving Spike her phone number to help him get over Buffy.


Commentary: Which is… uh! Ack! No! What?! Uh-uh!

And, wait! Does this mean that Angel got “assistance” from Harmony? Is that what the conversation between he and Spike was hinting?! EW! NO! ACK! WHAT!?! NUH-UH!! NO WAY!!!
[And it basically carries on like that for the next five minutes….]



Page 22: From the guest bedroom, Harmony is calling to Spike that she found some toys and mentions the chains and irons. She plays that she’s all tied up and helpless and hoping the Big Bad doesn’t come in and ravage her.

Spike warns Faith and Angel that if he’s not out in six hours, they should form a search party. Angel chooses instead to take Faith out to breakfast. When she points out he’ll burst into flames, he says that’d be a good thing.



The Good:  Jenny’s mention. *sigh*

Faith’s anger at Spike and Alasdair over not wanting to do everything they can to save Angel from himself was well written.

The conversation where Faith cuts down Spike’s pretensions was excellent and funny.

Obvs, Faith telling the absent Rupert how much he meant to her and regretting not telling him before.


The Bad: I didn’t dislike anything.


Other Thoughts: There are a few things that I didn’t particularly like: More of Spike’s pining – it’s almost as annoying as Dawn’s constant whining in S6 of BTVS… almost.

The easily dispatched Enders was a bit of a bummer. The dialog was all excellent between Faith and Spike, but for all the talk about how they shouldn’t mess with the Enders, they sure were dispatched easily enough.

Harmony – I’m always so-so with her appearances. It bugs me a bit that she’d be given access to Faith’s home without consulting Faith first, but the appearance was short and wasn’t painful, so….


The Score: 3.75 out of 5 stars


Next Up: I'm going to be working on the reviews of both of the last arcs for BTVS, S9 and Angel & Faith, S not-9. But, I'm also going to be getting BTVS: Anne and SPN: Bugs in there somewhere. So, what I'm saying is I don't know what you'll see next up. I also discovered that I somehow missed the Best Of/Worst Of for BTVS, S8, I3. I skipped over it somehow, apparently. I intend to revisit that and post it's character judgements as well.

I do feel like I'm getting back into the swing of things after struggling for the last several months.



--end--
 
 
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Barbrahirah on April 17th, 2014 06:01 pm (UTC)
I liked 90% of this issue. I wasn't terribly thrilled with Angel and Faith snarking about how gross the Spike/Harmony sex was. The writer said in later interviews that he hadn't intended it to come off like Angel ordering up a prostitute for Spike, and then sneering at her for being one, but it definitely has more than a whiff of that.
harsens_robharsens_rob on April 18th, 2014 01:43 am (UTC)
Yea, I'd agree with you.
I did get the "here, this prostitute will make you forget all about Buffy" from the scene where Angel hands Spike the phone number.

But then Harmony showed up, and I guess my mind just shut off on that comparison. I couldn't get past the fact that he'd invited Harmony into somebody else's house without even bothering to mention it. He does remember that she's still a vampire... one without a soul or a brain chip, right?

And what would he have done if Faith stumbled to the bathroom in the middle of the night, bumped into Harmony in fang-face, and staked her immediately??

What about Giles' great-aunts?

Really, just rude.
Barbrahirah on April 18th, 2014 02:38 am (UTC)
Re: Yea, I'd agree with you.
A lot of times I think the writers forget about things like invites and vampire senses if it's inconvenient to the plot. I suppose you could stretch a point and say that Harmony's gone for years now without killing anyone save in self-defense, and Angel trusts her not to kill Faith or the aunts, and doesn't care if Faith or the aunts kill her. But that's still pretty sloppy, if only because Angel's made it clear on many occasions that he doesn't trust Harmony.

Edited at 2014-04-18 02:39 am (UTC)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )