Angel & Faith
"What You Want, Not What You Need" part 3
Writer: Christos Gage, Art: Rebekah Isaacs, Colors: Dan Jackson, Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft's Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Steve Morris
Blurb: Angel's plan to resurrect Rupert Giles has come to fruition. Just not exactly as everyone had expected. But they'll have to deal with the fallout from that later. Right now, Angel and Faith need all the help they can get to defeat Whistler, Pearl and Nash, and their plans to overhaul life on earth with a magical virus!
Page 01: We open with Whistler working over his pile of purloined magickal items in an attempt to release a plague on humanity that will help them "evolve".
Faith and Angel have dropped in on his rooftop aerie, where Faith has already managed to shoot Pearl in the shoulder with her trusty crossbow. Whistler orders the twins to deal with the distraction, while he remains focused on the "big picture".
Page 02: As Faith follows up her distance attack with a gut kick to Pearl, Angel beams Nash in the head with a mace left handed before having to fight with his right handed sword vs. an energy blade. He still manages to shout at Whistler to stop or he'll be guilt of the murder of billions.
Whistler's not worried about that, since ultimately he'll be saving the world.
In the meantime, Angel's distraction with Whistler has him distracted enough to allow Nash to grab him by the throat and promise an imminent beheading.
Page 03: Over with Pearl, she's yanked the bolt from her shoulder and returned it to Faith, spiced up with her energy field, to the leg. She gloats that they've won. Faith isn't ready to admit defeat and grabs the energy-laced bolt from her leg while head butting Pearl. She sends the shaft across the rooftop at Whistler, but only managing to knock his hat off.
He swears at the twins that they need to keep the attackers back, or he'll mess this up and turn London into a smoking crater.
Commentary: I already love this issue just for the battle panels! The opening move with Faith was made of neat already, but the yanking of the bolt from her leg and sending it flying at Whistler was just awesome. It was QUITE satisfying to watch Faith headbutt that cow in the face.
Page 04: As Whistler gets his mystic ball of virus under control, Pearl complains she could use some help. Whistler begs off, needing to catch his breath. Meanwhile, she's wrestling Faith for control of the battle axe that Faith brought with her for those times when the crossbow just won't do.
Over with Nash, Angel is able to dislodge his energized hand before his head gets sent flying. Their wrestling match is interrupted by the arrival of Nadira, who slashes Nash across the back.
Page 05: Nadira sends Angel after Whistler, while she tangles with Nash.
Faith, blocking an energy-blade stroke of Pearl's with the head of her axe, shouts for Nadira to fall back. Nadira isn't having any of it. She wants some roarin' rampage of revenging upon the twins for their slaughter last season of her Slayer sisters. This she delivers in small part with a power-kick to Nash's walnuts.
She simultaneously shouts at Faith that she's a Slayer, and this is why she's here.
Commentary: Which, yeah... I agree with her completely. I'm not quite sure why Faith is trying to order Nadira out of the fight with things this desperate. Nadira is an experienced Slayer and even though she and Faith have had problems that the latter truly regrets, it did strike me as maybe a bit out of character for Faith to split her attention to Nadira's welfare in this circumstance, instead of remaining focused on her own fight. I could've even understood if she tried to order Nadira to go for back up with the other disbanded Slayers, but this page strikes me as Faith trying to save Nadira from risking herself in this battle.
I suppose Faith could just be concerned that Nadira is too emotionally invested to watch her back and she'll fight impulsively and get herself killed, but the page didn't make Faith's concern clear, so I'm just trying to read into it.
Page 06: Angel, meanwhile, is confronting Whistler. Whistler isn't in the mood to stop and listen to reason. And when Angel points out that he just took a lot out of himself and can't win a fight, Whistler disagrees.
Pointing out to Angel that his father was a Power-That-Be and his mother was Pureblood Demon, he sheds his human guise to Angel's shock.
Commentary: Which would've been a much more significant moment if last issues' Rebekah cover hadn't already spoiled it.
Page 07: Whistler tells Angel that since the day he'd met him he knew that they'd either be saving the world together, or one of them would kill the other. He's just sorry that it has to end with him killing Angel.
Page 08: On the other end of the roof, Nadira is continuing to inflict injury on Nash, but not enough to put him down, dammit.
Faith is keeping one eye on the battle and doesn't like what she sees. Nadira is so full of hatred, and that is exactly what Faith had wanted to help her let go of through her mentoring.
When Nash delivers a wicked leap-kick to Nadira's face, Faith tries to get to her to intervene, but Pearl grabs Faith by her hair.
Page 09: Nash pulls out his eyebeams, but Nadira blocks them with her sword. She actually gets the blade to his throat. Meanwhile, Faith is forced to block the eyebeams from Pearl, which destroys half of her axe.
This doesn't stop her from monologuing how she's failed turning aside Nadira's darkness.
Page 10: Faith promises herself that it won't be too late to keep Nadira from mistakes similar to Faith's. She shouts at Nadira to stop raging and fight smart.
Something she should've paid attention to herself, since she left herself open to Pearl who grabs her up and floats off the rooftop. She recognizes that Nadira is somehow a protege and instructs her brother to give Faith a lesson in the pain of loss.
Faith struggles in the grasp of Pearl, while Nash flashes a power-strobe into Nadira's face.
Page 11: With Nadira blinded, she swings wildly in Nash's general direction. Faith tries to shout positional instruction to her, but Nash is able to hit her full-on with his flesh melting eyebeams. Nadira goes down, half of her face destroyed.
Commentary: Okay, despite the silly comic convention of people having complex monologues during the heat of life-or-death battle, I really liked these pages. The creative team, especially the art team of Rebekah and Dan have been totally on top of their game for several issues, and this is continuing that trend with some fantastic work.
Page 12: Elsewhere, Lavinia, Sophronia, Alasdair and Rupert are racing to the scene. Upon arrival, the girls grab weapons to join the battle at the rooftop. Rupert suggests that he and Alasdair will be more useful tapping the ambient mystical energy of Nash, Pearl and Whistler's ongoing mysticism and holding off what he is attempting to do.
Page 13: As Giles' team is readying to throw their efforts in, uptop Faith is still being held by Pearl. She promises to kill the bitch, but Nash assures his sister that if she'll just hold her a moment more, he'll fuse the Slayer's sassy mouth shut.
Whistler, still trying to pound Angel, nixes Nash's fun by ordering him to take the ball of viral energy and getting up into the atmosphere for maximum dispersal.
Angel orders Nash to drop it, but Whistler tells Angel it is over. He fires off his magical spell at the viral energy ball to ready it for detonation.
Page 14: Angel punches Whistler in the face. He tells him that they were supposed to be helping people. He tells him that is why he wasn't able to stick with the Twilight plan when he saw all of the death he was causing.
Whistler tells him that he blew it. Instead of the death toll being in the millions due to Twilight's plan, now it'll be in the billions.
[Hmm. I think this is to suggest that there really was a plan at some point to shift Earth's population to 'paradise' once the new universe had been born in Twi-Realm. Again though, that story arc was such a confused mess that I don't want to analyze it to see if that was in the original storyline. I'm trying so hard to just broadstroke that it happened and let it fall away into the past. Why do they keep trying to explain it now?]
He accuses Angel of always thinking that there is a way to avoid the hard choices. He tells him sometimes you just gotta accept that you have to hurt people you really don't want to hurt for the greater good.
Page 15: As Angel is being hoisted off his feet and Faith is wrestling with Pearl and Nash is carrying the magic ball away, Giles' great-aunts arrive. They toss a sword into Angel's hands. The attempt to toss the heavy mace to Faith falls short, but Faith says it is close enough as she pile drives Pearl's head into it on the ground.
With this darring-do, the sisters decide they've performed their heroic deed and retreat back into the staircase.
Meanwhile, Angel puts the sword to good use by cutting off one of Whistler's hands.
Page 16: Angel goes to intercept Nash, but Whistler points out that everyone who can fly is on his team. Faith shouts at Angel to go, as she leap kicks Whistler in the face to knock him away.
Angel lines up his sword and throws it like a javelin at Nash.
Page 17: And has it easily batted away!
With the sword clanging back onto the rooftop, Angel, Faith and Whistler all watch the mystic bomb powering up for detonation in Nash's grasp.
Whistler tells Angel he likes that he fought to the end, but also shares that this really is the end of his resistance.
Commentary: That was completely awesome! This whole issue has really just been a long battle and that can be boring, but in this case it wasn't. All of the panels have been bold, colorful and dynamic. The "moves" of our static characters have been well realized and the whole thing has been infused with a sense of excitement and tense momentum. This issue just kicks ass.
Page 18: With the primary team a bust, down below, Alasdair and Giles are working their mojo. Or trying - Alasdair complains bitterly that their spells aren't doing jack to interrupt what is happening.
Rupert suggests instead of trying to stop the mystic bomb out right, they need to lure it ground-ward and direct the blast away from the population. He unleashes a stream of magic in Nash's direction.
Page 19: Nash sees it from the corner of his eye, but not soon enough to react. He's hit in the back, adding to what Nadira had already inflicted on him. He drops the ball of viral magick.
Page 20: As it hits the roof, it turns out to be a bouncy ball of mystic viral energy. There is a scramble to grab it, but ultimately it ends up flying off the roof...
Page 21: And explodes! Into glitter! Pretty, mystic glitter!
Alas, the beauty very quickly reveals itself to have ugly consequences, as the people who were drawn to the spectacle going on in the neighborhood end up beginning to mutate in horrific ways.
Alasdair and Giles are protected by Runestones that was already mentioned, but for the population of civilians, things just went south.
Page 22: As the horrific mutations grab hold of the populace in this Hackney neighborhood, Nash and Pearl smile broadly [oh, c'mon - can't Nash at least finally be dead!?!].
Pearl states first Hackney, and then the world....
The Good: Oh my goodness, I love the entire issue long battle sequence.
I loved the pacing! It was exciting, fast-paced and dynamic throughout.
I actually loved Nash and Pearl in this one. My worries over Whistler being the villain were allayed - he was great, and I loved the team work depicted on both sides.
It was great to give Nadira a major role in the fight to wrap up her appearances [okay, not really - we see her again, but that's spoiler territory] and to justify Rupert's resurrection by making him the "savior" [almost] of the world, rather than Angel or Faith.
The Bad: Nuthin'.
Other Thoughts: Even the great-aunts didn't grate on my nerves!
It did bug me though how much injury Nash was shrugging off... I'm starting to think he's as tough as Whistler.
And I did have to overlook the comic convention in regards to verbose monologues as free actions unhindered by life and death battles.
The Score: Love this issue. It wasn't perfect... since we're a bit light on meaningful character moments and story to focus on action, action, action, but so what?
I had a load of fun!
4.50 out of 5 stars