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22 March 2014 @ 06:41 pm
Angel & Faith, Issue 19 -- the review  
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Angel & Faith
Issue 19

“Death and Consequences”, part IV

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…

My Blurb: What is going on with this cover??


Page 01: We open the issue in London, in the past. This is sometime after Giles has told Edna about being involved in the Eyghon affair and is most assuredly in the 70’s or very early 80’s as we’re in a disco club.

They’re taking on a vampire group to Rupert’s elation… it’s just what he needed, as Edna had assured him. She tells Giles to remain focused and that he shouldn’t be fooled by any of the vampires who try to makes themselves look helpless, as it’s a common ploy.

Giles assures her back that she need not worry – the hint of disco sends him into a murderous rage.


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Commentary: While I cannot sign on with Giles’ opinion of disco music, I can totally support him destroying these particular disco vampires. Their outfits alone have earned them death!

Oh, and it’s pretty awesome that Rupert stakes a vampire [tackily dressed in a Native American-inspired body suit] with the broken end of a guitar while Edna wields a sword like she’s the Slayer.



Page 02: Post-slaying, Edna revisits Rupert’s ungrounded state and presses him to return to his Watcher training. She does apologize for pushing him into it before he was ready, but she tells him that he has a natural gift for it.


Page 03: Giles admits to wondering what might have happened if his father hadn’t demanded him be exposed to so much monstrous things at so young an age. Edna has had about enough of his self-pity though and points out that her first vampire experience was when she was 10! And it and its sire had tried to kill her. Rupert points out that his mistakes got people killed [not just Randall either – we know from an earlier issue that his classmates were slaughtered by the Lorophage and he felt responsible before pinning the blame on his father].

Edna again slaps some sense into him, telling him the very fact that he understands the results of making such mistakes and acting irresponsibly with magic MAKES him a good Watcher candidate.

She also points out that what is done is done as far as Eyghon. She admits that he may be damned for what he’s done, but that just makes it more a responsibility that he make amends and that can be done by being the Watcher he was destined to be and take his mentoring of potential Slayers seriously.


Page 04: Back in the present, Angel and Spike’s meeting goes about as well as expected. Spike needles Angel about mucking things up again and needing to be bailed out. Meanwhile, when Angel finds out that the Bug Ship is no more and then wonders how Spike got there so fast, throws out the likelihood that Buffy brushed him off, again.


Commentary: The only part I don’t like about this page is Faith’s “You called Spike?” response. She was in the back seat when he made his mysterious phone call! I don’t see how a conversation between Spike and Angel would’ve occurred where it didn’t become obvious that he’s who Angel was talking to. It’s not like these two could ever just have a normal, civil conversation.

Keeping it from us is one thing for the dramatic, but trying to pretend that it could’ve escaped Faith’s notice is just silly.



Page 05: Spike informs Angel snottily that he left of his own accord, and then throws out that at least Buffy can still stand the sight of him, unlike the other vampire in the room. Faith is stuck rolling her eyes as the usual bitch-fight starts up in earnest.

Spike almost spills about the recent trauma of Buffy thinking she was pregnant [while in the Buffybot body], but it’s interrupted by Nadira and the still mind-free London Squad.

Nadira addresses Spike as a murderer of two Slayers, before telling him she has something for him….


Page 06: The implied fight between Nadira and Spike by her dialog doesn’t happen, though. She just hands him a special “vorpal blade” from Alasdair’s weapon’s stock in order to decapitate Eyghon.

Angel is outraged at this, seeing it as giving Spike a pass for his killing Slayers personally, where Twi-Angel only ordered a hit on Nadira’s old squad. But, she turns it around and tells him that the fact he’s still alive [so to speak] indicates he’s gotten a pass as well.

With the bitchfest between Angel and Spike put to the side for the moment, Faith gets him caught up on current events. She also worries that with her brief mind-link, Eyghon may know what she knew and could be on his way to Alasdair’s even as they speak.

This turns out to be completely correct, as the giant hand through the window indicates.


Page 07: With Eyghon tearing the wall out of Alasdair’s home, the mind controlled zombies, London Slayers, Ethan and Giles rush in on the attack.

Angel yells at the girls to stick to the attack plan. Meanwhile Giles tells them the plan is for them to all die. Spike blocks a sword strike from Ripper-zombie and tells him that even undead, he’s a crap fighter.

He kicks Giles’ away and then tells him that he and Angel may not agree on much, but they both know that when they’re put together… there will be blood.


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Commentary: Yeah, okay – Spike’s line was awesome. I’m a little more *whimper* about his utter lack of regard for Rupert’s misuse as a demon’s slave though.


Page 08: Meanwhile, the London Slayers are fighting their mind-controlled cohorts. Eyghon through them taunts that they’re doomed because they won’t kill their friends to save themselves. Faith tells him they don’t need to – as the London Mind-frees use the tactic of throwing nets and handcuffs to take out their companions without damaging them.

This prompts Giles to focus on Faith with a psychological attack about her self-loathing.


Page 09: Giles-zombie tells Faith she’s been such a disappointment to him, but Faith doesn’t let herself buy that Giles would actually feel that way about her. She’s able to easily disarm him of his sword.

Giles taunts her some more to decapitate him so that Eyghon can enjoy her anguish, but the other Slayers are free to turn the net/cuffs plan on him next.


Page 10: Meanwhile, out on the front lawn, Angel and Spike take on Eyghon directly. Angel is quickly slapped into the side of the house, while Spike is grabbed in a tight fisted hold.


Page 11: Eyghon tells Spike that he could use his strong body, but Spike points out he already has a demon in residence so that’s a no go.

Except it isn’t. Eyghon tells Spike that if he was still stuck in another dimension working through an intermediary, then Spike could resist him… but not now. He informs him that his wimpy internal demon is outmatched.

Spike’s face mutates into the Eyghon-inhabited face. He’s then used to launch an attack on Faith inside the house too small for Eyghon’s actual body to enter.


Page 12: Angel has used this time to try to get around behind the demon, but Eyghon’s tail is prehensile and he grabs the sword right out of his hand. Angel is snatched up, and he starts sporting the demon-inhabited face as well.

Eyghon is then shocked to find that Angel throws off his possession… again… even under these circumstances. Angel informs him that he’s not just fighting Angel and Angelus this time, but an Angel/Angelus/Rupert Giles triumvirate.


Commentary: OH! The nipple piercing holding the bits of Giles’ soul!! It’s been actually allowing Giles to reside in Angel’s body this whole time – which was hinted at on the last page of issue 4!

That was also pretty awesome.



Page 13: Eyghon sees the nipple piercing and realizes what Angel’s done. But he’s actually happy with this development, because he’s already gotten Giles under his power. He uses this to start gaining control over the suddenly vulnerable Angel.

But with this, Giles comes fully to the fore in Angel’s head. He tells Eyghon that he came to him of his own free will, but that the rest of them are innocents and he’ll not allow their continued enslavement.

Eyghon smacktalks. But then finds that he cannot dominate the Giles persona, no matter how much he insists that Giles is without his own will and belongs to him fully. Rupert tells the demon that at some point, each damnation has come down to a personal choice – and Giles is choosing not to submit this time. He balls up Angel’s fist…


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Page 14: … and sends it right through Eyghon’s eye!

Eyghon screeches in pain, and drops Angel. Meanwhile, Faith has gotten the upper… uh, lower… foot, planting it in Spike’s crotch, putting his inhabited ass down on the ground.

She snatches up the vorpal blade and tosses it to Angel, as Spike re-launches himself at Faith, parroting with his master that ‘all must be Eyghon’.


Page 15: Inside the Alasdair home, the Slayers are still fighting savagely with the zombies, as Angel decapitates Eyghon. All of the zombies immediately collapse, and Spike returns to his right mind.


Page 16: With Eyghon’s real death, his hold over the enslaved souls is also broken and the rest of Giles’ rushes into Angel through the Tooth of Ammut. Angel is wracked by images of Giles’ life, including holding Jenny’s lifeless body in his bed, going after Angel with the baseball bat, bonding with Faith after a battle, training a Slayer, confronting Dark Willow, and finally the last moment of his life as he felt his neck twisted.


Page 17: As everyone else is recovering, and Spike is wondering why his bollocks are hurting, Angel collapses against a nearby tree.

Faith and Spike check on him, but he’s stuck in his own world – or rather, Giles’ world. He tells his Gran that he will in fact finish his Watcher’s studies.


Commentary: And, wow. Obvs Rebekah enjoyed drawing Angel in panel two, because he’s lookin’ f*ing HOT.

Ugh. So twisted – entirely inappropriate thought considering Angel’s obvious mental trauma.

But seriously – I’m totally digging those abs and tight pants.



Page 18: Faith helps Angel to his feet, as she clues in Spike that Angel was talking like Giles. She asks Angel if he’ll be okay, but to her horror Angelus answers – berating her for worrying over Angel after he’s all but destroyed her life. His big mouth earns him a fist to the face.

When Angel collapses onto the ground, he’s back to himself – but stuck in L.A.

He talks to Wes and asks him to let him lie down and to tell Cordelia not to interrupt him with any calls….


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Commentary: Ugh. Nice. I totally got sentimental-feels unexpectedly on realizing that we haven’t seen any Wesley or Cordy since IDW. And, as far as we can know, Wes is still stuck serving Wolfram & Hart…!

Oh, man. Now, I’m all having the blues and shit.



Page 19: As Angel continues his mental meltdown, Spike expresses worry about the glimpse of Angelus coming out to play. Nadira comes up with a sword and claims she has an answer for any problem.

Faith grabs her arm and tells her that Angel just saved all of their lives and that is who he is… not Angelus, and not the shattered man sitting on the lawn. Furthermore she says that if Nadira wouldn’t kill her friends when they were possessed, then she has no right thinking that she can kill Angel now… and if she wants to try it anyway, she’ll have to go through Faith to do it. Finally, Faith isn’t going to apologize for standing by Angel to anyone.


Page 20: Nadira accepts that Angel’s earned his chance to make it through this, but she turns her anger back toward Faith’s betrayal of their trust by siding with Angel in the first place. She tells Faith that she’s still persona non grata as far as Nadira is concerned.

She next turns her ire on her fellow Slayers, for the look of defeat in their eyes. She mentions them all “going through with it”, and we realize in following dialog that they’re all quitting. Nadira is outraged that they’re not going to keep at it in order to hunt down Drusilla and avenge her, but that they’re all packing it in on her.

She storms out, to Spike calling her a drama queen.

Meanwhile Faith asks Daphne if it’s true that the London Squad is disbanding. Daphne admits that Nadira has issues, but she wasn’t wrong.


Page 21: Daphne goes on to tell Faith that they’re grateful for her helping them get their feet back under them after the world turned on them, and the whole Twi-Debacle happened, but that they’ve been talking amongst themselves, and they just don’t want this.

Daphne doesn’t have any hard feelings toward Faith, but she’s just not in a following mood anymore.


Page 22: As Faith deals with this news, and with Angel being a lump of useless folded in on himself on the lawn, Spike turns on Alasdair as their “poor man’s Giles” to fix Angel by getting Giles out of him.

Alasdair informs him it isn’t that simple. They could accidentally summon Angelus, instead. Spike doesn’t buy that, as he’s sure that Giles wants to leap back to his own body, but Alasdair points out that just moving Giles from point A to point B isn’t enough. He still wouldn’t be resurrected, which is what Angel has been trying to accomplish in the first place.

At this latest snag, Spike rolls his eyes and assumes that somebody had a plan for these contingencies before they started collecting bits and bobs of Giles from all over.

Faith confirms this… but alas, only Angel knew what he was planning on doing at this point. And he’s not really in an information sharing frame of mind at the moment.


Commentary: And I have fears that with Angel blacked out, we’re going to see Spike dominate what should now be Faith’s comic as whenever Spike gets involved he seems to take over. That would really, really annoy me.



The Good: I liked the fact that Angel and Spike wasn’t in the same room for five minutes before they started arguing and Faith’s “here we go again” response.

I really liked the entirety of the battle scenes with Eyghon and his subjects. Especially the return of seeing Ethan Rayne’s body in the background, still around and the way that Eyghon cut everyone down verbally was pretty cool too.

It was a nice touch to have traumatized Angel mentioning Wes and Cordy – hurtful, but a nice touch.

I’m also glad to see the hangers-on London Slayers being shown the door [with a caveat].


The Bad: Nothing, again.


Other Thoughts: Well, there is that caveat about the London Squad – it felt a bit sudden for the Slayers to disband, except for Nadira. I’m not sure I completely can buy into it, even though I’m not at all sorry to have them shoved on a bus.

I’m also reserving judgment still on Spike’s coming into this title. I hope that he isn’t going to play the big hero or suck up all of the page space that should belong to Faith.

I appreciate that killing Eyghon isn’t solving the resurrection issue so easily, but I again return to Angel’s continued tight-lipness about the ‘how to’ planning and wish that Faith would be a little more angry about it as well. This final mess is totally on Angel not talking to Faith, despite all of that partner-crap he kept spewing!


The Score: I really had fun with this issue and the battle with Eyghon, but I felt that the Slayer exit was both rather sudden, and not well explained. And, anytime that Spike shows up in a title, you gotta wonder just how much space is going to be devoted to author-love, rather than focusing on the story being told and the actual stars of the title….

4.0 out of 5 stars.


Next Up: Comic-wise, we’ll return to BTVS for that next arc. But first, the next actual review will be putting my repaired DVD-ROM to use with “THEM”.


--end—
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
harsens_robharsens_rob on March 23rd, 2014 10:41 am (UTC)
Welcome back.
Yes, the Bug Ship was a bit out of place in BTVS, what with the aliens and all. It's finally gone and the Bugs were left on... uh... Christmas Island? Easter Island? One of them there, where they're living in a cave away from humanity.

It was very awesome when Giles got up in Eyghon's face using Angel's body... and a well placed vampire-strength fist.

Yes - that's the one.