Angel & Faith
"The Hero of His Own Story: Pearl and Nash"
Script: Christos Gage, Line Art: David Lapham, Colors: Dan Jackson
Letters: Richard Starkings & (Comicraft's) Jimmy Betancourt, Cover: Steve Morris
Blurb: While he resides in London with rebel Slayer Faith Lehane, Angel has begun a quest to bring Giles back from the dead that has put him in contact with a few old friends. But Whistler and half-demon siblings Pearl and Nash have their own agendas since Twilight's betrayal led to the world's loss of magic...
My Blurb: Issue 15 was divided into two stories. The Whistler review was handled separately during last post.
Also -- snow sucks and should be banned in any area not within 20 miles of a ski resort. Yes, I'm giving up on my decades-long claim that snow is nice for a White Christmas, as long as it doesn't blizzard and doesn't stick around.
Faint praise for it, as that was. Now it sucks, always.
Page 14: We open in 1935 - Black Sunday. It is the worst day of the environmental crisis in the Mid-West U.S. known as "The Dust Bowl" period.
At a farmhouse, whose farm has long since been buried in sand, a reed-thin woman marked up with symbols has summoned herself a demonic visitor.
Commentary: First, already I really like David's artwork -- kudos.
But also, since they made specific mention, have a photo of 1935's Black Sunday:
And, also a linkage to the tragic day.
Page 15: The demon complains about barely literate humans who manage summonings thanks to that idiot, Gutenberg and his printing press. But since rules is rules in these sorts of things, he tells the woman she can request one task it to perform, before he leaves her miserable hovel.
The demon asks what she wants, being entirely snarky about it the whole time and hoping that she asked him there to redecorate her appalling abode. He asks that she hurry, so he can get back to the flaying he was performing.
She shocks him by wishing that he grant her a pregnancy... by him, personally. The demon is suddenly much less interested in an immediate leave.
Page 16: We skip forward in time by five years. The woman has two angelic-looking, half-elven children [I suppose we'll be marking that down as magic -- since the demon father, well, wasn't an elf].
On this particular day, the Sheriff has shown up at the door.
Meanwhile, our mother assures the children that they'll be helping bring magic to all of humanity, making it a part and parcel of their lives as they have children and those children have children. She regards them as saviors, but warns that it won't be easy and they'll get the sort of pain in their lives that she's seen.
The Sheriff interrupts this life lesson to deliver a notice of eviction. This gets him killed. Well, slaughtered really.
Page 17: We skip forward again thirty years later. Nash and Pearl are again using their deadly eye beams.
We're deeply in the 1970's where black hunks had the awesomest facial hair - ever. As we can see by the man fighting demons, along with his crew. They're destroying Pearl's children even as the twins return the violence in an attempt to save them.
None of the demons are looking like elves.
Page 18: During the battle, Alasdair manages to strike down Nash - but before a killing blow can be delivered, their mother -- now aged -- fires a shotgun that blows out the face of one of his compatriots. With the others also having fallen in the raid, Alasdair retreats.
The damage is down though, as Pearl and Nash weep for their lost children and their mother complains about the quarter century of "fine breeding" that has gone down the tubes.
Page 19: Pearl, distraught, tells her mother she can't go through the same thing again. Mother is unsympathetic in her advice to buck up and carry on. She tells the others that in future, perhaps they should focus on breeding with humans who have strong magic in them. She admits that demon-children were impossible to have blend in.
Nash, also weeping, tells his mother there has to be a better way to lift humanity. At this, the old woman admits that her children are beyond her mystically. She tells them that she did the best she could with the tools that she had, and wishes him luck in finding a new and better way to bring about their dreams.
She pours gasoline over her grandchildren and strikes up a match. As the children's bodies burn, she tells them to draw the pain into their hearts and let it fester and burn there as inspiration.
Commentary: I know. Charming woman, right?
You can almost have sympathy for her and her general goal after the horrors she encountered as a woman who lost everything in the '30s. But then: NO - BECAUSE SHE'S FUCKING FROZEN TO HER MARROW.
Page 20: Another time jump has us join Nash and Pearl during their recruitment by Twilight for the Twi-Debacle.
They're fully onboard because of Twit's rambling about forcing a new universe and evolution of humanity -- the general goal that they've been raised to being about, themselves.
The fact that Twilight promises a lot of blood for this process only makes them sign aboard faster.
Commentary: So, we're not just going to broad stroke S8 and then ignore it, huh? Okay, I'll deep breath my way through.
Page 21: We skip forward a year to the present. Mother lies in a hospital bed, being kept barely alive in a losing proposition by a huge black-widow looking spider demon.
Pearl and Nash are at her bedside, full of regret for their failure to bring about her big plans through Twit-Light.
Mother is all forgiveness, telling them that failure was always a possibility and the important thing is that they've brushed themselves off and tried again. But this is little consolation to Pearl, who blames her and her brother for ultimately ending magic through their alliance and causing the old woman to fade into death too soon.
Page 22: Their mother tells them that she tried to warn them to be suspicious of Twilight from the get go, but what's done is done. She tells them now, though, that they can believe in Whistler. He's been a legend since the old times and is far more powerful than anyone else knows. She assures her children that with him on their side, they'll finally bring about their goals to fruition.
But now isn't time to celebrate the coming lifting of humanity. It is a time of sorrow. The old woman asks her children to get on with saving her from any more of her hellacious pain. Her children respond by eyebeaming her into a steaming mess.
Pulling themselves together, they promise that Twilight had been right about one thing -- there is going to be a lot of blood. Pearl tells her brother she's not sure which she's looking forward to more: the Salvation or the Revenge.
The Good: I loved this background on the Twins, which actually did make them much more interesting. And, I really found myself respecting the cold-iron determination of their mother, despite her villainy.
The artwork is really good for this dark story. I'd like to have more issues with David Lapham's line art and Dan's coloring work really makes the images pop. I also like the subtle nods to comic characters past. The 70's anti-demon line up has shades of the Nightstalkers (Marvel) in there and I know that I've seen an image of a mystic hero swinging a lamp and teleporting -- I just don't know where (possibly an original Green Lantern cover?).
The Bad: Nothing.
Other Thoughts: I like the way that Nash/Pearl and Whistler are all being tied into the attempt to birth the Twi-Verse, even if I want to forget large parts of S8's actual storyline. It's almost convinced me that last season actually did make sense. But I'd still like to not dwell on it.
The Score: Really good writing, especially in the character of Pearl and Nash's mother. I found myself really liking this issue, and you know something good happened when two characters you really don't care about suddenly become interesting in light of a half-issue character's story. Really good job.
4.0 out of 5 stars.
Next Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, S9 Issues 14 & 15