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24 January 2015 @ 01:13 pm
Angel & Faith Reviewed: [Season 8], Issue 10  
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Angel & Faith
Season [8], Issue 10

Lost and Found”, part V

Writer: Victor Gischler, Art: Will Conrad, Color: Michelle Madsen, Letters: Richard Starkings & [Comicraft’s] Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Scott Fischer

Blurb: Faith decided to stay in the employ of Deepsdan when she fuond out that her next mission concerned the missing Riley Finn - a guy with whom she has past. Now, Faith, a team of Slayers, and Riley’s wife, Sam, search the South American jungle for Riley and a missing tycoon, Walt Zane. In London’s Magic Town, Angel does his best to aid the people transformed by the magical virus he helped cause - currently he’s occupied with a request from an old Wiccan friend, Amy Madison.


Page 01: We open in the forests? jungles? forest-jungles? of Suriname where there is a confusing reunion between Reese Zane and her missing father, Walt Zane. Confusing because Walt has become undead since he last spoke to his daughter and is now leading a village of the vampires set up.

Reese naturally finds this change a bit disconcerting.


Page 02: Walt shares with his daughter that on arriving in Rio to get the expedition organized, he met a woman. Things moved quickly and she was invited to go on his expedition with him. She was a vampire. She bit him. She fed him.


Page 03: The New Walt Zane has big plans, which he’s only to happy to blab about to his daughter. He tells her that he’d decided to stay in Suriname with the natives, because they were more accepting of it as a gift rather than being afraid of it. And with this slowly expanding army of converts, he’s building a power base.

He hints that this power base is ultimately to “rescue” a sizable proportion of humanity from the plagues of disease that Zane Pharmaceuticals was founded to fight. But, of course, not everyone can be so “blessed” what with their needing a ready blood supply to feed to the converted.


Commentary: So, basically Vampire-Zane is looking to set up a BLADE (the movies) situation, where the vampires become the elite and everybody else becomes cattle. Also a slightly more ambitious version of The Master’s “automation” dream revealed in the alternate wish world created by Cordelia in S4 of Buffy.

Only he’s starting small and keeping quiet about it -- something I’d never expect The Master to have been able to do.



Page 04: Back in Magic Town, Amy is riding high on defeating the magic-eating demon spider and mocking Angel. She tells him that the more she taps into the Magic Town magic, the more she realizes she’s not recognizing the limits of its potential yet.

Angel uses this as a reason that she needs to slow her roll, as she’s falling into an addiction pattern. The more she gets of it, the more she wants it until it destroys her.

[He doesn’t use those words, exactly, but the implication of Amy going the way of Dark Willow is pretty clear.]

He offers that if Amy won’t listen to reason…


Page 05: … he’ll just have to knock some sense back into her.

[Oh, Angel. Really? Because trying to physically confront her as worked so well thus far?]

Amy puts paid to any such notion. He gets a rampaging magic rhino body slamming him into the wall behind him, leaving him stunned on the floor. Brandt meantime draws his gun and orders Amy to stand down.

Which… yeah. She says it best, “Guns? How cute. You must be new.

05


Commentary: So, I want to discuss this part a little bit. I don’t understand Angel’s plan here and he looks particularly doltish in his planning. The magic-eater was wise, of course, but now it appears he has zero plan to deal with her if his plan went sideways and lo, and behold….

What exactly was the point of not having a backup plan in the works that involved some people who could actually fight Amy off? But worse, why would Angel actually bring the jar o’ Warren to this meeting? That part is what really gets me. There is no sensible reasoning behind his bringing Warren to this meeting, rather than destroying it and playing Amy in the meantime, except of course, somebody wants to play the “will Warren return” game, and as I’ve stated -- I don’t need or want him back in play.



Page 06: Amy heats the gun stocks to being dropped. Brandt calls a retreat, making it clear that Angel really didn’t have a backup plan to the spider doing all the work required.

Perry Faerie warns Amy that the good guys hoofed it, probably to seek out some cavalry. This is something Amy actually wants, as she’s sure that Angel will be making an urgent call to her nemesis, and she’ll be ready for her.


Commentary: I do continue to like this darkly semi-humorous touch of Amy being obsessed with the rivalry against Willow, while Wills in San Francisco hasn’t given a thought to Amy at all.

If only Amy realized that her epic rivalry is not.



Page 07: In the jungle-forest that night, Zane Senior is telling his daughter that he sees so much more clearly now. As a mortal he’d really been after conquering death, though he didn’t realize that was his intent then. But now, he knows he can do it and he wants her with him. His plan is to engage the locals in one of their rituals they’ve apparently concocted for vampirizing themselves. He’ll then change Reese so that they can work on his ultimate goal as partners.


Page 08: As Walt and Reese discuss the new facts about their lives, Faith is formulating an escape. She warns Mai not to rely on Reese, as she seems to be too far under her father’s sway to be of help.

Sam and Riley want to know the plan, but Faith can only tell them that it’s a work in progress and just follow her lead when she makes her  move.


Commentary: There was one slight thing I was surprised about in looking back. Walt makes specific mention of Reese’s first meal being the blood of a Slayer with the implication being Faith. I’m surprised that he wouldn’t have already fed on Mai nearly immediately for the power-boost he seems to instinctively know will result.

And for that reason, I’m more surprised he’d allow Reese -- even if she is his daughter, considering he’s a vampire now -- anywhere near Slayer blood. I’d think that this would be kept as his private stock to keep him more powerful than any of the underlings, especially somebody as ambitious as his daughter.

I had a vision of Reese getting turned, drinking from Faith or killing Mai, then thanking her father for his “gift” before she kills him and takes over. But I didn’t actually get the sense that the story would go that way… still it would’ve been an expected alternate take on the plot.



Page 09: Back in Magic Town, a couple has come to Nadira to seek council. He’s human, she’s transformed human and they’re worried about the consequences of being together… specifically if others will accept them.

Nadira puzzle-talks over making them realize that other people’s opinions on the matter aren’t relevant.

As they leave, secure in the knowledge that being together will see them through any of the trials and tribulations of others’ narrow mindedness [yeah, sorry -- my cynic is roaring at the naivety] Nadira senses Angel. She asks him slightly amused if he’s going to bother to come in.


Page 10: Angel is there to confirm what Nadira already knows through her mystic link with the magic: things didn’t go according to plan [half-assed as it was]. He’s at a loss as to how to stop Amy when she’s manipulating such a powerful force. Angel mentions that Amy seems to only be concerned about Willow stopping her, but even then she certainly believes that she’ll soon be powerful enough to stop even the Eastern hemisphere’s most powerful witch.

Nadira suggests that Angel had the answer he was looking for all along then, and he just needs to get himself his own Willow.


Commentary: I’m not sure what exactly it was about this scene between Nadira and Angel, but I suddenly wanted a YouTube video about Amy Madison. I find her so often annoying and over the top and a ridiculous… well… bitch, but I also find myself drawn to the tragedy within her character. Amy could be just as powerful a witch in her own right and do a crapload of good with it, if she wasn’t so obsessed with being better than Willow. And after she seemed to recover from her mother’s magical abuse, there is something very sad in seeing what she’s become.

Wow. Where did all of that come from? Anyway, you KNOW somebody vidded about her.



Page 11: Back in Suriname, Walt tells Reese that it’ll only sting for a moment [understatement, surely] and then she’ll stand with him as his little princess.

Reese tells her father she’s thought it over, and she doesn’t think she wants to be his princess any longer. She stakes him so suddenly, he doesn’t know what hit him.


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Faith takes the opening.


Commentary: I liked this. I was 50/50 on whether Reese was going to play the hero or join her father and get staked and I think I’m happier with her staying human. I like the implications also of her having to “gain her adulthood” by breaking away from her father’s image by destroying it through the vampire wearing his face. It’s a bit of a cliché again, but it’s not a bad one.


Page 12: Mai and Faith use the confusion to get a knife away from one of the native vampires. This is used by Sam to free her husband, the other surviving soldier and herself from their rope bonds.

Meanwhile, Faith notices Reese standing in shock at what’s not left of her father. She shouts at her that they need to move out right now.


Page 13: Everyone gets an escape from the village, but they’re still going to be pursued as soon as the villagers regroup. Sam points the way to their escape point on the river.


Page 14: Fortunately for the non-Slayer team members, a chopper swoops over the jungle-forest. They explain that when they found the expeditionary team hadn’t returned to base camp, they decided to take a chance with a search of the area. They happened to have seen the bonfire to narrow down the search area.

The extraction is a success, though the vampires are still out there.


Page 15: At Amy’s place, Parry assures Amy that all is ready to spring her trap.

Angel drops by and she snarks at him as to whether he brought along a demon earwig or a kung-fu cockroach this time out. But Angel tells her that he decided it was time for the big guns. We see a woman in the shadows, looking vaguely Willow-ish.


Page 16: Which is why it isn’t Willow. This brings up Amy short during her “so at last…” diatribe. It turns out that Angel’s big gun is Nadira, herself.

Amy mocks her as the guru-woman and tells her that a trap designed for Willow is more than enough to take care of her, too. She starts her Chant of Entrapment/Destruction.


Commentary: And all I can think is it’s a good thing they didn’t come in with “guns blazing” so to speak. Amy’s now got to waste valuable time chanting, when she could be being forced to dodge and defend right now. That seems a bit short-sighted of her.


Page 17: Amy’s magical bottle bombs detonate, surrounding Nadira with a magical effect and highlighting ruins that Amy’d prepared on the floor. Angel has to shield his eyes from the blue light effect, but Nadira stands tall. She calmly tells Amy that she can stop now.


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Page 18: Amy stands flabbergasted, so sure was she that the amount of magic she just dumped into Nadira should’ve consumed her [as Angel warned Amy that she was going to end up consumed, actually].

But Nadira has the special link with the magic’s consciousness, let’s call it for now. She tells Amy that the magic wouldn’t harm a friend. Amy looks at her like she’s a bit crazy-cakes.

But Nadira isn’t nuts, she’s just otherworldly these days. The consciousness suggests to Nadira that Amy is miserable as a person, but was happier in her other form. The magic reaches out and transforms Amy Madison back into a rat, which she’ll remain as.


Commentary: Hmmm. How do I feel about this? I can’t decide. I’d come to like Amy as the antagonist, especially with the way her dialog was handled in Angel & Faith, so it feels like a bummer that she’s been reduced back to rat-ness and left to live a ratty life. And not even in a container when she can be fed and petted.

On the other hand, how many times could we deal with “I hate Willow, I want Warren back” without it becoming one-note. And this way, maybe we will see Amy again if somebody more powerful than Nadira takes an interest. Also, best of all, there isn’t anyone left to resurrect Warren which is a very good [though really -- destroy his remains already!].

So, I don’t hate Amy’s fate but I’m kind of blah about it.



Page 19: Back at the base camp in South America, Faith approaches Riley with an apology. He’s accepting of it, but he also tells her it won’t absolve her of what she did to him by leaving him feeling like a chump for thinking he was mending his relationship with Buffy only for it to be a trick. He tells her the only thing she can do now is to be the type of person who wouldn’t do that to somebody again.


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This leaves Faith unsatisfied, but she did what she could. Ms. Zane calls out to her for a moment of her time.


Page 20: Reese has a concern about redeeming her father’s company’s name and she admits that even before he was turned into a vampire, the biotech’s mission had degraded into his self-aggrandizement. But Reese would like to tempt Faith away from Deepscan’s mission to clear out the rest of the vampire nest in Suriname by hiring her as a chief of security.

But there is a snag. It would require her to relocate back to London… to Magic Town, actually where they’re setting up a new, advanced clinic to serve… and study one assumes… the DNA changes made to the denizens there in the wake of the magic bomb.

Faith is hesitant about returning to Angel’s turf, but she doesn’t dismiss the possibility outright.


Commentary: And of course, I wanted Faith to return to Angel’s side and have them in a team… until I saw what Deepscan was doing with her. Now, I kind of want her to stay on her own, leading a team….

Grrrr. I don’t know what to feel about this development either. Man! I’ve just been a load of wishy-washy indecisiveness lately haven’t I?



Page 21: Back in Magic Town, Angel is a bit put off by Nadira’s turning Amy back into a rat, but she clarifies the magic did it. Angel doesn’t see the difference and she gets a little impatient with him. She tells him that she’s not controlling the magic. She further claims that the Magic Town magic is alive and getting more so a little bit by the day.

She asks after the remaining bottles of concentrated magic. They’ve been given to Alasdair, along with the *sigh* remains of Warren for safe keeping.

Nadira suggest Angel go take a walk to clear his mind. Outdoors in the fog, he sees a figure dressed a lot like Faith may be dressed with the same hair.


Page 22: He chases after her, but when she turns around he finds Fred Burkle greeting him with surprise!


Commentary: You all already know how I feel about resurrections. Especially when the death was powerful and had a lasting effect that carried over throughout a work. It’s cheap and I don’t like this, assuming it’s really Fred and not Illyria doing the split-personality/shape shift thing again.


The Good: I enjoyed the Angel/Amy scenes, especially Amy's dialog.

I liked the suddeness with which Walt Zane was disposed of by his daughter. No muss, no fuss, no pages long confrontation monologues.


The Bad: I found Angel not having a back up plan to his magic eating spider to be clumsy plotting so that the issue could continue to hint that Willow would be making a guest appearance. That heavy hinting game was annoying.

I also don't get why Warren's remains are being disposed of properly -- it makes zero sense.


Other Thoughts: I'm trying to warm to Nadira as the major mystic in the title, and I am interested a bit in the Magic Town Consciousness angle developing. But Nadira... her trite "wisdom" irritates me.

I'm quite torn on how to feel about Amy being relegated back to non-threat via another rat transformation.

I was also left relatively unimpressed with Riley and Faith's conversation. I'm not sure what I wanted, but something more than the offhand dismissal of the whole thing, definitely.

I am also left dangling about how to feel with the prospect of Faith returning to Magic Town and Angel. I wanted that at first, but now, I was okay with how Faith was developing through Deepscan, so....

Finally, I'm not okay with Fred's apparent return but I'm not placing this in the bad until we know the story behind it and whether this is another miraculous return from the dead which wasn't supposed to be possible in Fred's case.


The Score: The writing was good, but the arc elements were skimming cliche a bit too much. I thought I was going to rate this higher, but after all of the things that I'm left ambiguous about, I think we'll have to go with:


3.25 out of 5 stars


Next Up: Supernatural's "Faith"


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