Angel & Faith
Season (7), Issue 24
"What You Want, Not What You Need" part 4
Script: Christos Gage, Artwork: Rebekah Isaacs, Coloring: Dan Jackson, Lettering: Richard Starkings & (Comicraft's) Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Rebekah Isaacs, Dan Jackson
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 plan to overhaul life on [E]arth with a magical virus!
Page 01: Last issue, the mystical spell ball virus of Whistler's fell to the street below and raining down mystic sparkles as it went [I thought it had exploded, but no -- it didn't -- this is just a taste of what will happen when it reaches its maximum output].
Now on the block, people are being horribly mutated into all sorts of new life forms -- most of them hideous and pain-wracked.
Pearl and Nash celebrate their mother's dream coming to completion.
Page 02: Up on the roof, Whistler orders the twins to get the orb to the upper atmosphere before it reaches critical mass. Angel sends Faith to stop them, while he tries his best to take down the big boss.
Page 03: Faith leaps out into space and down at the levitating Nash. She hits him in the head with her mace. Despite Slayer strength, the dude's magic refuses to buckle and he's only injured... again....
Pearl rushes to his aid and tries to blast her as she continues her downward trajectory, but Faith is lost in the smokes coming from sudden fires below [some of the transformed are emitting energy blasts uncontrollably and one woman is pulling a Human Torch].
Nash calls her off Faith-hunt for a moment to just look at the fruits of their labors and to appreciate that they finally won.
Page 04: Down in a convenience store, Rupert and Alasdair has fled with a woman who suddenly has sprouted faerie wings and lost her boyfriend.
They're soon joined by Sophie and Liv. Alasdair wants to find a way to help the infected, but Giles states that nothing they do will matter if the magic virus bomb detonates. He sends his great aunts to do what they can to recover the 'glow ball' since for the moment they're protected from the leaking transformative energy by the rune stones that Alasdair handed out.
He then tells Alasdair that they'll head to the west. Alasdair seems to think ahead of what Giles plans to do to help, but we don't get a share yet.
Page 05: On the rooftop, Whistler punches Angel away. He yells at Angel to stop fighting him and let him finish what Angel didn't have the cojones to do for the good of the world.
Angel grabs Whistler by his horns and forces him to look below with, "If you're so proud of yourself, why won't you look at it?"
Commentary: I am really liking the dialog in this issue and Rebekah and Dan continue providing some great artwork. The season has been stronger than Buffy's season 9 and I am enjoying this final few issues to wrap up the season not-9-but-7-dammit.
Before I said that I wasn't keen on making Whistler the sudden bad guy with awesome powers -- I've changed my mind about the former. I still think that he's been made a bit too powerful just to make him more physically dangerous than was needed. I've been enjoying the psychological/emotional hits between he and Angel more than the fisticuffs. And despite the issues that crop up whenever we have to revisit Season 8 of BTVS, I've come around on not just ignoring it completely. Christos has done a marvelous job of taking S8's mess and addressing what it means for Angel through first, Giles' fate and now this confrontation with Whistler who has become a desperate, unstable man without magic in the world.
Page 06: On the streets below, a man has merged with his guitar. A woman has become a gorgon and turned someone else into a shattered statue. Angel emphasizes to Whistler that he did all of this damage. A little boy grows spider legs from his hips, but his mother can't comfort him because she's on fire.
Page 07: Angel goes on to tell Whistler that these are real people, not "necessary losses" and places this as to why Buffy was able to convince him that they couldn't finish the plan to birth the new, more perfect universe. He insists to his mentor that there has to be a better way forward.
He continues to hammer Whistler about the consequences of what he's done. He sympathizes with Whistler's loss of balance that drove him to try so hard to restore magic, but the costs aren't worth doing it his way.
Below, four people have merged into a blob of flesh [clearly inspired by Carpenter's The Thing]. Elsewhere, a man has gone skinless. A woman is barfing up black butterflies and another man's features have become elongated and twisted [again reminiscent of The Thing].
Whistler almost looks like he's going to shatter under Angel's pointing out what is happening to real people below them.
Page 08: Instead, he knocks Angel off of him. He yells that Earth will die without magic. Angel points out that he couldn't have tried every other way to restore it and that he's being supremely selfish because he's suffering without Earth's magic. He wants it back for himself and isn't willing to be patient and research an alternative way to restore the balance he seeks.
Whistler isn't willing to listen any further and takes out his rage on trying to pummel Angel into paste.
Page 09: Nearby, lying with most of her body burned Nadira grasps at the rooftop. She tells herself that she isn't dying yet, while there is more fighting to do. She forces herself up.
Page 10: A short distance away, the twins have drifted own into striking distance of Faith. Pearl takes a blow to her shoulder before Faith throws the mace into Nash's abdomen. She berates herself for not listening to Nadira before about keeping her attention where it should've been -- stopping the killers of Nadira's old squad.
She spots the magical ball, but it's then blasted out of her reach by more of the twin's eye blasts. Pearl tells her it's way past time that they finally wiped her off the face of the planet.
Commentary: Pearl and Nash have been an issue for me all season. I think they'd have been more tolerable if they weren't the brash, gloater types. I've found them more irritating, than threatening despite their powers and it's probably amplified because we've already gotten irritating talkers in Liv and Sophie. That, and the fact that one or the other of them won't flipping die, already to justify the roaring rampage of revenge toward Faith.
They're kinda villainy hacks.
Page 11: On the streets, Liv and Sophie are making their way toward the site of battle. There is a man with his intestines falling out, probably having to do with the werewolf attacking a couple of policemen on the scene. A woman nearby is radiating electricity that she can't control.
Liv complains that it looks like The Blitz all over again, before realizing that is still an old trauma of Sophie's. She apologizes, but Sophie angrily tells her she's right, it is just like The Blitz with the power elite playing their games over the right to reshape the world in their image, while everyone else ends up suffering for their madness.
Page 12: Not seeing the mystic ball, both sisters decide that helping those who need it is within their powers, while stopping Whistler, Nash and Pearl from just re-taking their magic bomb isn't. They give up the search to focus on calming the situation around them.
Page 13: With Whistler, Angel tells him that he knows he can see that it's worse than he thought it would be. He again mentions that he had to give up on Twilight Dimension when Buffy forced him to see what it really meant.
Whistler berates him, before knocking him through a wall. He mentions that he was in Hiroshima during the bomb and saw those horrors up close, but that he also agrees that history would've been much bloodier and destructive if there had been an invasion of Japan. He tells Angel that this destruction of the human race into something new is the only way.
Commentary: It's interesting that both the great aunts and Whistler fall back on comparisons to WWII and that carnage but from different perspectives. But, at the same time, we never get a scene that this mutual comparison would seem to build toward -- it's a missed opportunity for Sophie not to have a scene where she and Whistler are the ones arguing about how much horror is too much to restore magic. With her being a witch, having witnessed the same horrors as he and with their mutual disgust with what is happening [it's obvs that Whistler isn't taking any pleasure in the real world effects of what he's "forced" to do] now, you'd think that the scene would've been included.
Page 14: After knocking Angel out, Whistler goes to check on Pearl, Nash and the glow ball. He finds the twins trying to fry Faith with her defending herself with her retrieved mace and an impromptu shield made of a car door.
He yells at them for taking their eye off the literal ball.
Meanwhile, Giles is rushing with it down the block on Alasdair's huffing and puffing heels. Alasdair offers that he doesn't understand just what they're going to do with it now that they've gotten it.
Page 15: They have an argument after Rupert offers that they need to release the energy in a controlled fashion about which of them will do so.
Alasdair offers that he's old and without magic, just a feeble elder. But Giles isn't pleased with his current condition either, being stuck without any use as a pubescent teen. He tells Alasdair that he feels like he's going mad.
Page 16: They both finally agree to do it together and ditch their rune stones. But just as they begin a spell, Nash blasts the bauble out of their hands, and it rolls to his waiting foot.
Page 17: He tells them that it's a good thing that they stopped to natter on and comments that old people and teenagers both love the sound of their own voices [Hah -- I'd say that applies to Pearl and Nash just as succinctly]. He takes to the air with the magic virus ball.
Angel spots Nash, but he's busy with Whistler. He calls to Faith, and she's trying to get to him, but her path is currently being blocked by Pearl.
Page 18: But Nadira, being a Slayer, has managed to make it to the edge of the rooftop. She throws herself with her long dagger into Nash's back, pinning him deeply through the back.
Page 19: He's able to whack Nadira off of him as he tells her it wasn't quite good enough. But Faith, now driven by her anger about Nadira's fate, is able to knock Pearl aside as her fellow Slayer falls to the ground in a heap. She rushes the drifting downward Nash and uses her mace to drive Nadira's dagger completely through Nash's chest.
Page 20: Over with Pearl, she feels her brother's impalement [and hopefully final death] and reacts with an uncontrolled power release that knocks her off of her feet.
Faith crawls over to Nadira.
Page 21: Faith grabs the magic ball and tries to use it's leaking power to heal Nadira. But Giles and Alasdair have finally caught up with them again.
Giles tells Faith that trying to use the magic didn't work for he and Alasdair and nearly led to disaster. Alasdair reminds Faith that time is growing short to stop what the ball is designed to do. She regretfully gives it up to them.
But this is again interrupted by Whistler, who hasn't give up on his plans for world reshaping, yet.
Page 22: Whistler snatches the ball from the heroes. He complains that with Faith having taken out his two fliers, he'll have to improvise. He goes to throw the approaching critical mass mystic virus ball o' doom as high as he can manage.
But, Angel grabs his wrist. He stares down Whistler while the ball in Whistler's hand approaches detonation.
"You always said it's the big moments that show who you are. Let's find out."
Comment: I got a tiny chill. That was a perfect exit line, tying all the way back to Whistler's voiceover in BECOMING.
The Good: I loved the dialog in the confrontations between Angel and Whistler, including the references to Twi-Debacle [against my better judgement]; Especially ending on Angel paroting Whistler back at him.
And tied with the above, I've completely embraced Whistler as our Big Bad for this season.
There was some nice designs on the transformed to really emphasize the horror of what Whistler wanted to do.
The Bad: Mostly, I'm just annoyed [maybe more than I should be] with the amount of time that Nash takes a head blow and is still going on like nothing happened even though we're seeing blood rushing from his wound. He and Pearl are too much, especially in this 'world without magic' where their magic isn't the least bit inconvenienced.
Other Thoughts: It's surprising to me that there is such a strong tie between Sophie's experiences and Whistler's in WWII, and yet we don't get a scene of them arguing over the level of destruction for the greater good. Even Angel saw some of the Great Second War, but really it's Sophie who should've had a powerful dialog scene against Whistler about the necessity of his actions vs. the ultimate costs of same.
The Score: Another strong action issue that included some great dialog in the confrontations; I really enjoyed this issue as well.
4.25 out of 5 stars