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17 March 2014 @ 08:10 pm
Angel & Faith, Issue 17 -- the review  
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Angel & Faith
Season not9, Issue 17

"Death and Consequences" part II

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

Blurb: Resurrecting Giles in a world without magic seems to be closer than ever before as Angel gathers more and more pieces of the former Watcher's soul. Faith has served as Angel's right hand, while at the same time being urged by all around her to make sure he doesn't cross a line. Her other focus since the end of magic - that is, watching out for the displaced Slayers - hasn't been going as well. For now, Angel and Faith have each other...


Page 01: We open in the past, in a rundown building in Soho, London, England. We're with a very young Ethan Rayne and the friends from back in the day. And, they're getting their demonic tattoos, which we'll recognize as Eyghon's mark.

As Ethan is giving Diedre her finishing touch, she's expressing her worry about this whole thing, but Ethan is all "we're rebels, breaking down old barriers" speech. It'd all sound so much more convincing if Randall wasn't currently seizing on the floor.


Commentary: And it was right here that I was starting to get worried about what happened to Giles. It surely cannot be a coincidence that we're diving into his Eyghon history right after we've found out his body is missing and he is allegedly in a old manor promising resurrections.

Why oh why do they want to hurt me so?



Page 02: It turns out that Randall's cutting the mystic drug with Tannis Root causes a case of demonic transformation. Ethan insists that he can undo the shape shifting/possession, though first he needs to remember the incantation. Diedre is very obvs thinking she's gotten in deeper than she wanted.

Especially when Rayne isn't able to recall the incantation necessary to return Randall to himself.

Thankfully for the three of them, Rupert Giles makes the scene.


Page 03: Ethan is snitting that he could handle it, but Rupe's attention is on Diedre. It appears that if Ethan thought he was gettin' lucky with Diedre later by impressing her with this magic, he's just lost out to Ripper.

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Page 04: Back with Faith and Angel in the shortly distant past, Faith is just clicking the front door shut on the storming away London Slayers.

Angel suggests perhaps they just need some time to cool off.


Page 05: Faith rails at Angel about killing Giles, about the mad plan to resurrect him, and about her choice to put him ahead of her plans to help out the other Slayers because she felt like she owed him for helping her when she was at rock bottom.

Well, now, she goes on to yell -- the debt is paid, and more - it's time that he owed her.


Commentary: I really appreciate Christos acknowledging just how little mentoring Faith has actually done in-story. I thought that the other Slayers were just side characters to pop up occassionally and cause a fuss, but it turns out that Faith not actually mentoring all that much was part of the arc.

I also really like how Faith's dialog is handled here.



Page 06: Angel asks how he can repay her, and she tells him that he's going through with bringing Giles back for her -- there will be no last minute pussying out on it, even if it kills him.

Angel agrees. But, they're still left without a body and they need to figure out where it went from the funeral home.


Page 07: Rupert's currently in Guilford, talking to Nadira and the London squad.

Despite coming to the-still-unknown-to-be-dead-Giles, Nadira is generally hostile toward his claims that he can bring back the killed Marianne. Rupert starts out sounding kind, but quickly tires of her suspicion and wonders at her whether she's actually there to steal from him, rather than to bring back her deteriorating friend.


Page 08: Rupert calms the situation by offering to step Nadira through what he is doing. He can do so with confidence, because he already knows that the group of young Slayers don't have the training to recognize bad ju-ju... like, say, including the Mark of Eyghon among the "Sumerian pictographs" that he paints on Marianne's body.

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Commentary: Yeah -- my feeling is Rupert isn't Rupert at all, and my heart breaks a little bit where it had been healed. Oh, Giles! This is why Watchers (and Slayers) should be cremated upon death.

The "Men of Letters" over on Supernatural would know this [seriously, BTVS is ALL over the SPN-verse].

Any guesses that Rupert is actually going to be Eyghon, and that his body was inhabited because - unlike Ethan - Rupert never did get that tattoo removed? Ugh, I do not want to see this.



Page 09: Back with Faith and Angel, they investigate the funeral parlor, but there isn't any help there. Faith suggests sweating Liv and Sophie over what exactly happened at the "normal folks" viewing of Rupert, and especially what happened immediately afterward when his body was supposed to be going directly to the cemetery.


Page 10: In Guilford, Rupert has escorted the Slayers out of the room with Marianne. He explains that he needs to be naked to perform the ritual, and doesn't want young eyes in the room. The Slayers are sent to meditate during this.

Nadira - still untrustful and hostile - only gives it a few minutes before she's all "I'm going in there", but before she can open the door, Marianne and a suspiciously-quickly-dressed-Rupert appear.

Other than looking awfully pale, Marianne appears to be resurrected, after all.


Page 11: At Faith's residence, she and Angel have gotten to talking to Rupert's surviving relatives about that second viewing of his body where only the "normals" were present.

At first this looks like another dead end, until Angel comes across a scrawled entry in the guest book. When they take a look closer, they find that the signature supposedly belongs to one Ethan Rayne!


Page 12: Angel insists on whether the girls actually saw and recognized Rayne, to their surprise. Lavinia insists that she saw Ethan herself, and other than being a little older, it was definitely him at the service.

But obvs, that shouldn't be possible - Ethan had already been killed by that point in BTVS, S8. Also - apparently the fact that he destroyed the symbol on his arm did not allow him to escape from Eyghon's [or his followers'] eyesight.

Angel admits to Faith that after Sunnydale, he was too out of it to have given any thought to what happened at the government facility where Ethan was being held, under Twilight's direction. He'd assumed that the government had scrubbed the place after the end of the Twi-debacle.


Page 13: With more discussion, the sisters admit that Ethan was wearing a hat pulled low over his forehead, and Faith guesses he was wearing a hair piece as well to hide the damage to his head.

Liv insists that she knows a zombie when she sees one, and Ethan wasn't -- he was talking with them about old times and all.

But, Angel now knows that this is Eyghon's work and that Rayne must not have made it to cremation -- which Twi-Angel had as the SOP for deaths in the base.


Commentary: Hmmm. I'm having trouble buying that a "hair piece" would've hidden the gaping hole in the back of Rayne's head, or that there would've been a reason for Eyghon to find him after so long, without the tattoo as a guiding beacon, and to have remained in that damaged body all the way over to England for Giles' burial. And, just HOW DID the demon get into Twi-Angel's base in order to take possession of Rayne?

Yeah, I'm gonna need a bit more on this sequence of events.



Page 14: Back with Nadira's group, the girls are overjoyed that the resurrection appears to have been a success. Nadira - despite this being her idea - is still suspicious and hostile.

As the other Slayers are crying and hugging, Nadira crosses her arms in front of her chest with a scowl. She asks Marianne if she remembers how she died, but Marianne claims everything is fuzzy -- she does remember it was violent.

Nadira is not satisfied with this answer and asks her for her last name. Marianne claims not to be able to remember.


Page 15: Rupert did warn them about the mental confusion beforehand and now he warns Nadira that she's risking irreperable harm by pushing her friend this way. Nadira doesn't buy this and pleads with Marianne to just tell her one personal thing about herself to prove that it is really her.

She gets a blank look in return. Now pissed and sure that they've been had, Nadira yanks the scarf of Marianne to reveal that she's still sporting the torn throat from Dru's attack. She shouts at the others that Marianne is still very dead.

Giles gives her a "Well, if you're going to be prejudiced about it" before calling for some help by his goon squad. When he turns his head to summon assistance, his neck is still very clearly snapped.

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Commentary: UGH! Nice job with the artwork and sound effect for Giles' broken neck....

This is... almost... too much to take. If this were live action, I'd be huddled in a corner of the couch and whimpering right about now.



Page 16: With the jig up, Nadira and the squad go on the attack. Rupert makes it clear that he was hoping to take all of the Slayers unawares as they slept later through Marianne. But he also admits that doing things the messy way is a lot more fun.

The London Slayers quickly find themselves outnumbered by an army of the dead and possessed.


Page 17: Back at Faith's, they're putting together what must have happened and start looking for any record of Ethan Rayne's life after such time as he shouldn't have had one. They find it in property records, where they locate the Guilford property bought under his name.

Angel isn't fooled about who "Ethan" really is... and guesses that they'll find Rupert being possessed. They don't bother naming Eyghon outright for reasons, but we know the deal.

Angel also tells Faith that Eyghon will have the last bits of Giles' soul that he needs.


Page 18: We jumpcut to Randall showing bits of Eyghon's real face peaking through and shouting his name. Randall/Eyghon has been tied to a chair and Rupert and Ethan are attempting to exorcise the demon.

If you remember "The Dark Age", you'll know that things don't go so well for Randall. We find out here that Ethan convinced Giles to use a spell meant for objects, not people, to try to drive Eyghon out of Randall.


Page 19: Eyghon calls them all fools and warns that they belong to him body and soul... just as Randall's body explodes in a geyser of bloody bits.

Ethan is too relieved to bother mourning [and he's an ass], but Rupert warns that some day they'll all pay for what they've done.


Page 20: Back in Guilford, things aren't going well for our heroes. The Slayers discover that all it takes to be controlled by the demon is for them to be knocked out during the fight.


Page 21: Nadira trades barbs with Giles and he confirms that he's not the one in charge. She decides to stop wasting any more time fighting with him, and breaks free for a door leading deeper into the manor. She tells him that she wants to see the one in charge, to which Giles deals with amusement.


Page 22: As Nadira enters another room, after kicking in a door, she finds Eyghon... not possessed-body Eyghon, but a very real, flesh and blood demon Eyghon. He introduces himself thusly:

"I am Eyghon. And very soon... you will be too."


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Commentary: Great ending to this issue. Rebekah and Dan did a marvelous job with Eyghon's artwork. He looks like a "corrupter", and the blood drenched mouth and "throne" was a really nice touch. This really does take what we saw in that Season 2 episode and then raises the bar on the creep-factor.


The Good: As a continuity-fan, I love that they went back to BTVS, S2 in order to bring back a villain who would have a special kink for stealing Giles' body. And, I really like what they did visually with him.

I liked that Nadira remained suspicious and hostile, despite her desire for Marianne to really be back. While the others were too overjoyed to find anything amiss, Nadira was a doubting Thomasina from the start.

I liked Faith lashing out at Angel for the problems his actions have continued to cause.

I also really love that Steve Morris cover.


The Bad: Nothing.


Other Thoughts: I'm not entirely happy about how Faith's huge blowup at Angel over his working to resurrect Giles and leading her all over creation to do it, when she should've been in London watching over the junior Slayers, leads to her wanting him to just continue. It felt like an awkward transition from her anger at him over the whole thing to her basically just saying, "So, yeah, but continue what you're doing... while I pout about it".

I do needs some more detail about how Eyghon brought this all together. First, how he managed to survive/stay around after Angelus expelled him from Angel's body and then how he managed to get to Ethan, and then how he managed to keep Rupert from melting into a pile of CGI goop at some point over the past year.


The Score: This was a really solid issue. In fact, for a middle-of-the-arc issue, it was very good.

3.75 out of 5 stars.


Next Review: Angel & Faith, issue 18


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