Angel & Faith, Issue 8
"Daddy Issues, p3"
Script: Christos Gage, Art: Rebekah Isaacs, Colors: Dan Jackson, Letters: Richards Starkings & Jimmy Betancourt (Comicraft)
Cover: Steve Morris
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.
My Blurb: I've included bloody screen cap of drawn grue for those unusually sensitive. Caution advised.
Page 01: So, last issue Faith had to leave her newly returned dad in her flat to take care of something that she'd received an urgent phone call about.
This turns out to be about Nadira, who is off on a guilt-ridden, rage-fuelled tear through London. She's attempting to beat the location out of anyone and everyone who may or may not have a hint of where Nash and Pearl are holed up. Y'See, back during the Twilight Debacle, Pearl and Nash were part of the Twi-Angel army and they'd slaughtered all of Nadira's team. This black hole is eating up Nadira's insides.
When Faith arrives, she finds Nadira fighting her fellow London squad-mates. Faith waves the others aside and tells Nadira that if she wants to do this right, then to do it with a sword and tosses one to her, when she then also engages her in combat.
Page 02: Nadira lashes out at Faith with her newly acquired sword, pinning the blame on her fellow Slayers for attacking her, where one of the squad explains about Nadira being out of control.
Page 03: Her fellows tells Faith during the fight that no one knows where Pearl and Nash are located. But when Faith tries to repeat to Nadira that she's been working on finding them, her fellow Slayer yells at her for taking too long about it.
Another one of the Slayers wants to step in, but Faith shouts her off.
Page 04: While dodging Nadira's attempts to run her through with a sword, she tells her that she gets what she's going through, and it's called survivor's guilt.
Page 05: Faith grabs her by the wrist and slams Nadira to the pavement. She explains exactly what has been running through her head, because she's already gone through it herself. With Nadira breaking down into tears, Faith tells her she's got a better shot at finding Pearl and Nash with the help of her Slayer sisters.
Nadira tells her she just wants (the pain) to stop. Faith tells her there are better ways than suicide by Slayer.
She brings up knowing a way to make the pain stop.
Page 06: Faith hints at "Mother Superior" aka Drusilla and her Lorophage as a way to remove the pain without removing the memories. Nadira doesn't take kindly to this... at all... and slugs Faith in the face for even suggesting it.
Nadira shouts at Faith about needing her pain, wanting it to eat at her driving her to avenge their deaths and then to eat at her more so that she'll be sure to never allow such a slaughter to happen again. Faith points out that the path she's on is going to kill her.
Nadira storms away, telling Faith she can't trust her anymore.
Commentary: I'll say! Oh, Faith... really... how could you suggest the Lorophage as the answer. Wow.... Just... No.
I liked these first pages though, as I've liked the Faith/Nadira dynamic mirroring in some ways the Buffy/Faith dynamic of S3 without being a carbon copy, but allowing Faith to put into practice what she's come to learn in the years since her meltdown in Sunnydale and
Page 07: When Faith arrives back home, she finds Angel. They both mention that each looks like they've had a wild night.
From a study they hear the sounds of glass smashing and Faith races to find out what has happened to her dad in there.
She finds him sitting with a booze bottle in his hands and surrounded by smashed glass. She complains that he's been sober six months, but he assures her that he hasn't fallen off the wagon. He tells her he'll replace the alcohol, but he was feeling a wicked bad impulse to get drunk again and had to smash the bottles to stop himself. He tells her that he's in some real trouble.
Page 08: Faith's dad is in large with a mobster back in Boston by the name of Handsome Jimmy Mulligan and he can't cover the debt.
Faith comments on the brilliance of rushing to England to escape Irish Mob, and then berates her father for coming all the way over to England with his whole bs story about reconnecting with his daughter just to drain her bank account. She tells him she'll cover his debt, despite being outraged.
He tells her though that she's wrong. He really has sobered up, is in meetings and wants very much for them to reconnect. But he also tells her that his problems are about money -- Handsome Jimmy knows things about Mr. Lehane from the old days, things that he's holding over his head. He promises Faith that Jimmy is never going to let him go. He's come to England to ask Faith to kill Handsome Jimmy.
Page 09: Faith objects that she's not a murderer and only kills vampires and demons, but Mr. Lehane (douchebag) brings up her stretch in prison. He points out that with her temper, she's probably killed more than just Sunnydale's Deputy Mayor in her past. He also points out that since Angel isn't casting reflections, he can guess that she's not exactly hanging around with the innocent these days, either.
Faith pulls herself together and orders him out. But he falls apart and tells Faith that if she doesn't help him, she may as well put a bullet in the back of his head herself. He also tells her that Jimmy found out where he went and he's on his way to London now.
Page 10: In the meantime, Handsome Jimmy has in fact found Faith's place and has pulled up with some of the boys.
Angel and Faith meet him at the door. They've got $200k in a suitcase -- that apparently they just keep hanging around the house in case they run out of milk??
Angel warns Jimmy off by offering him the money to release Pat Lehane from any further obligations. Except he does so in an ordering manner, so naturally Jimmy insists that he'll be done with somebody when he's ready to be done with somebody. He's glad to see that Pat has ended up with a rich relative so close to the homeland, though, because he's thinking that Faith can solve a lot of his non-Pat related problems just as well.
Commentary: Jimmy calls Angel a "pretty boy", and Angel responds with "And you're a bad Irish stereotype."
OH - HOW AWESOME WOULD IT HAVE BEEN IF ANGEL HAD LAPSED INTO DAVID B-BAD OIRISH ACCENT for this line?!? What a missed opportunity.
Page 11: Angel offers to solve Handsome Jimmy's problems... by flashing his vamp!face and going into scary voice. Amazingly in a world where everyone knows about them, the vampires don't seem so scary. So, instead of running away or surrendering, Jimmy and his boys brings out the guns.
Jimmy orders the boys to shoot him in the head, while Angel informs them that is for zombies. Angel takes a bullet to the chest, knocking him off of his feet, while Jimmy cracks Faith over the back of the head while she's kicking out at one of the gun-boys.
Jimmy re-aims at Angel and points out to him that a lot of things can be taken care of if you blow their heads off...
Commentary: I like this page just for the fact that no one immediately flips out and surrenders/runs away just because of Angel's fang-out. Everyone has gotten too comfortable with them, for them to present that sort of 'piss my pants' terror anymore just by existing. It's also kinda awesome how quickly Angel is taken down with a nice, powerful slug to the chest -- just because it can't kill him, doesn't mean he isn't still vulnerable to gunfire. You'd think that his other times of being shot throughout his history would have wizened him up about that.
Page 12: With Angel about to have his brains aerated, Faith (who wasn't knocked out by a simple blow to the head) snatches the sword from her back. She slashes out, cutting one goons wrist and forcing him to drop the gun. But Handsome Jimmy gets a even bigger shock, when he finds his hand removed at the forearm.
This pretty much stops the skirmish in its, now bloody, tracks. Angel leaps in with his belt to tie off Jimmy's stump before he can bleed out. Faith meanwhile, is left standing in shock at what she's done. She drops her sword to the street and just stares at her handiwork.
Page 13: With Faith unable to provide any assistance, Angel orders gun-boy to dial 999 (that would be 911 for us Americans), while he also instructs slashed gunboy to follow his example to stop up his own wound. He warns them to not tell the police what actually happened.
Finally he gives Handsome Jimmy the money he had offered. He warns him that right now, he more wants to grab Jimmy's new stump and drink from it like a hose. Handsome is warned that if he shows up in the neighborhood again, he'll be dealt with more permanently.
He escorts the shaken Faith back into the house, leaving the mobsters cowed.
Commentary: I'm not really liking how this one is left dangling though. I have a feeling that Jimmy's involvement is over at this point, and that's something that I'm just now buying. I think it would be far more likely that he'll run back to America, and then put out a demon-contract on Angel and Faith.
I hope that we'll revisit the issue at some point, maybe next season. A Slayer vs. Mob war for a short arc?
But the way this is written, it feels like he was a one issue guest character and this is meant to resolve Pat's problems.
Page 14: Back in the house, Faith is still stunned at the blood on her hands. She tells Angel that she didn't even think before she cut off the guy's hand.
Meanwhile, Pat comes out of the kitchen having heard the screaming [which nevertheless attracted absolutely zero attention from any of Faith's neighbors -- what, the live in NY?]. He gleefully asks if Faith has killed the thugs for him.
Faith's answer is to turn on Pat for his life of crime. She orders Pat, again, to get out of her house.
Page 15: Pat Lehane gives her a brief look of sadness at her outburst, but he's trash, so this is immediately spun toward trying to make Faith feel bad for putting on airs, just because she has money now. He tells Faith that he knows what she really is.
This causes, to Angel's further shock now, Faith to go postal. She punches her father to the floor, and yells at him that she's exactly what he has turned her into.
Page 16: Faith rages at Pat for her own desperate need for a family, and how it's made her vulnerable to being used. She references the Mayor's attention in Sunnydale, and the killing she did for his approval.
She picks Pat clear up off the floor by his throat, and starts strangling him. She tells him that she'll never escape what she is because of the sort of father he was to her, so why should she even try. The implication being she may as well murder him, next.
Page 17: Angel intercedes with a calming hand on her arm. They share a long look at one another, before Faith drops her dad to the floor. Angel then drags Pat out of the front door, and warns him off next.
Faith watches her father leave, crying heavily.
Page 18: Angel returns, no doubt to tell Faith that she has a real family now in him, but she's not in the house any longer. He chases after her, first checking in on the Slayer group -- which he can't approach too closely because he's still enemy number three to Nadira (first is Pearl, then Nash).
He can see the group taking on a few zompires, but Faith isn't with them.
Commentary: I like this last panel with the Slayers, because it's a callback to a previous discussion between Faith and the Slayers about the zompire threat, and how since they're stronger and more savage, the girls should group up for patrol. We can see that they've listened.
Page 19: Without finding Faith, Angel wonders where she'd have gone to next.
We find out by following Faith... to Drusilla's pad. (Oh, dear. I've a bad feeling about this, after her suggestion to Nadira.) Dru is happy to see her, revealing she already knew that she'd come calling.
Page 20: Drusilla confirms that Faith has come for a Lorophage treatment to erase the pain. (Oh, Faith, no.)
Page 21: As Angel is racing over rooftops toward Dru's ex-church, she's asking Faith if she's sure that she wants to go through with it. Faith is nearly doubled over with her emotional suffering... she's sure.
Commentary: I like Drusilla's interaction here, too. It reinforces Dru's claim that she's grown more empathic with her powers since her madness has been lifted. I also like seeing Dru as less of an evil presence. I'm not sure that I'd want to see her join the title as an ongoing resource for Angel/Faith, but this turn in her character is interesting. And, it would give an excuse for a cross-title story with Spike dropping in on Angel & Faith to check on Drusilla after that adventure in Las Vegas he had.
Page 22: Angel arrives a bit too late. He finds Faith telling Dru to take the pain away, and with the Lorophage's nails embedded in her head.... (Oh, Faith!)
The Good: I liked the scenes where Faith has her post cutting-off-limbs crisis. I also liked how she lashes out at Pat and you're not really sure that she wouldn't have killed him if it wasn't for Angel being there to see what she was doing.
I continue liking Drusilla's new outlook and her place in this story. I also continue liking the Lorophage, even though he doesn't have any sort of personality or dialog or thoughts... huh... maybe I just like his design that much. And his powers are neat.
I'm continuing to love (but no effect on scoring) the Isaacs/Jackson collaboration on artwork.
The Bad: Nuthin' badly done.
Other Thoughts: I'm not sure about the Nadira scenes to open the issue. I get that she's really suffering and I like that plot point, but this attack on her fellow Slayers and Faith seems really over the top (c'mon, she tried to bisect Faith with a sword!). I do like it when she punches out Faith for even suggesting that she 'cheat her pain away' by using the services of a demon. And, of course, it provides a hint of Faith's own choice at the end of the issue.
Pat Lehane's story also leaves me a bit 'meh'. I liked the insight that Faith has and her crisis of conscience that sets her up for the Lorophage, but I also found it relatively dull. Pat Lehane just isn't an interesting character because we don't really get enough of the backstory from Faith's childhood and how Pat's horrible choices affected her mother and so forth. It feels like we've only scratched enough of Faith's early history to drive her into Drusilla's healing clutches, so it leaves everything between them in a short hand. The whole Irish Mob bit is short changed as well with how quickly it, apparently, is resolved.
The Score: The overall issue isn't a bad read, but I also didn't find any points where I was on the edge of my seat. It felt like the Pat Lehane/Faith Lehane plot was handled perfunctorily so that Faith could end up in Dru's hands. That history between Faith and Pat simply wasn't given enough meat, so it ended up feeling short changed and as a plot mechanic rather than a storyline of its own. Since I personally would love to delve into Faith's past turmoil explaining exactly how she became the Slayer she was in Sunnydale, this left me a bit disappointed. But I really loved the emotional breakdown we see of Faith and even though she obviously is making the wrong choice, I can understand her impulse to let the Lorophage remove her pain. It's a good setup to see how it's resolved. On the other hand, Faith without that driving pain? Can that actually be interesting, or is her character going to lose its allure?
3.25 out of 5 stars
Next Up: Angel & Faith, issue 9