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27 November 2014 @ 06:39 am
Angel & Faith Reviewed: Season 8 (not 10), Issue 08  
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cover


Angel & Faith
Season [8], Issue 08

Lost and Found” part III

Writer: Victor Gischler, Art: Will Conrad, Coloring: Michelle Madsen, Lettering: Richard Starkings & [Comicraft’s] Jimmy Betancourt
Cover: Scott Fischer

Blurb: Faith decided to stay in the employ of Deepscan when she found out that her next mission concerned the missing Riley Finn - a guy with whom she has a past. Now, Faith and a team of Slayers search the South American jungle for Riley, his wife, and a missing tycoon, Walt Zane. In London’s Magic Town, Angel does his best to aid the people transformed by the magical virus he helped cause - currently he’s occupied with a request from an old Wiccan friend, Amy Madison.


Page 01: We open in the midst of a revolution. We’re in England [? Hey, what do I know?] during one of these historical events. Also there is Angelus, half-heartedly whipping up the commoners against the royal family, but actually more interested in the free food that comes for vampires with these things.


Page 02: Angelus storms the Royal Palace with the rebels. He finds a retreating noble lady and after slapping her guardsman away, sinks his fangs in her.


Page 03: The guardsman recovers too late to help the lady he was attempting to escort to safety but does point his gun at Angelus. Before he can figure out how little guns do against vampires, especially pistols of the era, he ‘becomes’ a modern officer pointing a modern firearm and ordering somebody to “hold it!”.


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This somebody snatches the officer off the ground and plucks the gun from his hand. As the officer is panicking, we see his assailant is Angelus… or Angel… things are getting pretty blurry just now. Both the vampire and the cop are surrounded by slaughtered people and appear to be in America - judging strictly by the uniforms.


Commentary: I can’t remember just now if I’ve given Will Conrad and Michelle Madsen proper kudos for their artwork tag team, so let me here: These pages look great.


Page 04: Angel wakes up from what appears to have been nothing more than a vicious nightmare. He goes straight for a bottle of Dark Horse Tennessee Whiskey [I want, I want, I want], whose label looks suspiciously like Jack Daniels.


Page 05: Over in Suriname, Samantha Finn has led Faith and her team to a path that will lead back to their waiting escape boat. She is very clear that she won’t be coming with them as she needs to get back to the vampire camp where the prisoners, including Riley are being held captive.

No one questions what vampires are taking prisoners for… [except me, because I find it odd that they took captives].


Page 06: Faith, obviously, isn’t going to let Sam rush off to face the vampire hoard alone. She orders the others to follow her instructions for getting out, while she accompanies Finn back to the vampire camp.

There isn’t any way that the Slayers, with the exception of the injured Martina and her escorting teammate, are letting Faith go back without coming also. And, Miss Zane isn’t about to leave without her father, either - no matter how many times she’s told that her safety cannot be guaranteed.

Sam admits she’s glad for the backup, even though she doesn’t think any of them are acting wisely. She asks who she has to thank for the extra muscle. When Faith gives her name, we see Sam get a flat look in her face of displeased recognition.

It appears that Riley has shared just about everything with his wife about his adventures in Sunnydale.


Commentary: I’m just not sure about comic-Sam. She feels like she’s written pretty flatly, like maybe the writers don’t have a clear sense of who she is either? She certainly is different than her Season 8 appearance, which is understandable given the situation and her concern for her husband being in vampire hands, but I’m having trouble discerning any real personality to her in this arc and it’s mildly disappointing -- I wish they’d gone back and re-watched her appearance in Season 6 and incorporated more of her sense of warm humor in spite of the dire circumstances. It also felt like this page was largely unnecessary since only two non-roles were sent packing and none of the dialog here was interesting or unexpected, so it felt like a wasted “scene”.

But what really annoyed me is the Zane character who seems ill-equipped to be sneaking through jungles and fighting vampires. It doesn’t really matter that she’s “footing the bill”, she’s putting all of them at a disadvantage by continue to be there, and it’s annoying that nobody at least confronted her about that -- especially Sam Finn herself.



Page 07: Back in London, Angel has dropped in on Alasdair. He’s looking for anything magical that may have remained after Whistler’s theft in the ex-Watcher’s collection. Specifically, Angel is concerned with dealing with Amy and wants something that can neutralize a witch, if it becomes necessary.

At first it appears to be a bust, but then Alasdair gets a thought, which isn’t shared with us.


Commentary: I’m glad to see Alasdair again, and I give a kudo to his mentioning Spike’s cockroach alien friends in his list of insane catastrophes Angel might be facing that has caused him to drop by. With Giles staying in America, it’d be nice if Alasdair became another regularly recurring character -- though I still wouldn’t mind Laura Weathermill making a cross-company leap.


Page 08: Alasdair doesn’t have any objects that fit the bill with just about his entire collection having been destroyed by Whistler. He does however know somebody who has an unusual collection of lesser magical creatures, one of which is a magic eater. Angel seems to recognize the name.


Page 09: In the jungles of South America, the squad under Sam’s direction stops for a respite. Dawn is approaching, giving them a rest from any hunting parties. Mai goes off to recon the vampire village where the prisoners are being kept.

Miss Zane offers that she’s missing her desk, while Faith is surprised herself missing the lumpy mattress in the Deepscan bunk room. Sam acts surprised by Deepscan’s name being brought up and offers that she thought Faith and her squad were internal Zane Corporate security. She mentions that the Slayers used to have another Faith as a member.

To Faith’s look, Sam acknowledges that she’s heard the tales of Faith’s misadventures. Faith offers that she was looking for a way to broach that subject.


Commentary: I’m not sure how to take this scene. It feels pretty clear to me that Sam Finn already knew who Faith was and that her team were Slayers, whether with Deepscan or Zane security. But, I’m not sure if that was just a wrong assumption by me. This feels either like awkward writing, or clever writing in making Sam broach the topic sitting between her and Faith in a non-direct route.

The problem is that Sam Riley is too much of a cipher for us to determine how this scene is supposed to be playing out. I like the idea that Sam already recognized Faith’s name and that she was aware she was working with a group of Slayers and drew the appropriate conclusion regarding her identity… but I’m not sure that I’m not reading things that weren’t actually meant by the writing. If Victor wanted this to be a revelation though, it fell flat. Either way though, this moment can’t have the impact it should, because we don’t have a solid feel for Sam as a character since she’s been stripped of any sort of individual personality quirks to become a bland, she-Rambo.



Page 10: Over in Magic Town, Angel questions Rory in an attempt to track down where Amy is calling home these days. The bar keep sends him over to “The Pharmacist”… where a witch may acquire more exotic ingredients for spell casting.


Page 11: Angel’s drop-in on the neighborhood pharmacy starts roughly, as everyone is aware of Angel’s propensity for bringing trouble in his wake. The Pharmacist offers that dabblers and wannabe mages tend to make up his clientele these days in the wake of the Magic Bomb - but he doesn’t ask for names.


Page 12: The Pharmacist continues to be unhelpful and Angel just asks that if a new customer - a young blonde woman - stops in that he inform Angel.

Once the vampire leaves, one of Corky’s old crew comes out of the backroom. He compliments The Pharmacist on keeping his mouth shut and collects some herbs for Amy.


Page 13: Naturally when the Pixie flies off down the block with his sack, Angel is watching and following.


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Page 14: In the jungles, Sam and Faith have separated from Mai and Reese Zane while they recon for sentries to take out quietly prior to invading the vampire village. With the heavy canopy, catching all of the vampires in sleep-mode isn’t really a likely scenario.

Faith takes the opportunity to bring up her past associations with Riley, something which Samantha confirms she already knows. Riley Finn did in fact dump everything out about his time in Sunnydale prior to marrying Sam in order for them to start with a clean slate.

Faith offers that she understands if Samantha is pissed at her for her deception on behalf of her husband.


Commentary: I really like the idea that Riley would just data-dump everything about Sunnydale to Sam so they could start without any secret drama between them. I think it fits his character well, and I’m glad that Faith isn’t to be used as a sort of springboard to cause a rift in the Finn marriage. Unlike the majority of fandom, I didn’t hate Sam when she showed up on Buffy to… uh… show up Buffy unintentionally, so I don’t have lingering negative feelings to get in the way and therefore don’t mind her being happily married to Buffy’s ex.


Page 15: Faith apologizes to Sam, but Samantha is quick to point out that Faith wronged Riley, not her. Plus, anything that happened between them was stuff from before she’d even met her husband. She accuses Faith of trying to take the easy way out by seeking absolution from her, when she really needs to be upfront about seeking forgiveness from Riley directly.

She asks her to keep her mind focused for now on the mission to get their people out safely and deal with the rest later.


Commentary: I enjoyed this dialog a lot. I liked that Sam was pretty clear-eyed about what Faith was trying to do by apologizing to somebody that her body-swap didn’t actually wrong. I also really liked that Samantha was bothered by Faith’s past actions, but she can’t hold a grudge about things that happened in somebody else’s past.


Page 16: Over in London, Angel drops in on Amy Madison. Before he does so, though, Corky’s gang member tells Amy that he’s pretty sure that he glimpsed the vampire following him.

This was expected by Amy, so she isn’t displeased to know that he’ll be stopping by soon with his answer to her request for assistance.

This happens only minutes later. Angel tells Amy that at first his answer seemed obvious to him and was going to be a quick and firm ‘no’, but then he started thinking what she said in regards to him being at fault for Warren’s second death.


Page 17: He tells her that she got to him when she accused him of doing whatever he wanted, but when someone else wanted the exact same thing, he got self-righteous about it and slammed the proverbial door in their face.

But then he tells her that after thinking about it, he’s decided he can live with that. There is no way he’s helping her.

Amy is so very not pleased… like black-eyed not pleased.


Commentary: Yes! I loved the fact that Angel actually acknowledges one of his least attractive qualities after the whole Angelus thing… his penchant for ignoring when everyone tells him something is a bad idea and his equally annoying penchant for grandstanding when anyone else wants to follow in his footsteps after he’s gotten what he wanted by doing exactly what he’s arrogantly ordering everyone else not to do.

Obviously, his dialog makes it clear he can live with his choices. I just got a kick out of his acknowledgement of his hypocrisy.



Page 18: Now enraged, Amy turns her magic on Angel. She blasts him with giant fists which lift him off the ground and put the squeeze on his frame.


Page 19: Angel gets slammed against the ceiling and floor of Amy’s apartment. In the meantime, she rants that she doesn’t need him anyway, because of all of the loose magic she’s collected. She suggests that even Willow couldn’t stop her now and promises that Angel is going to die for denying her.


Page 20: In the jungle, Mai takes out a sentry but is spotted by another one blowing her cover. Thankfully, before an alarm can be sounded to the other vampires, Faith is there to high kick him to the face.


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Page 21: They tag team dust it. The two of them rejoin Samantha and Reese where they confirm that all of the sentries have been accounted for and dusted without the village being any the wiser.

They start spying on what is happening….


Page 22: Faith reports three men, injured but alive. One of these is Riley.

Samantha is upset, rather than happy. She tells Faith they need to move in on a rescue immediately. Faith wants to wait for the back up that should be coming when Martina makes it back to base. But Sam shares that when she left before, there were still seven men. The vampires have been feeding on them in the meantime [explaining why they were taken captive… they’ve been acting as a larder for the village].

She wants to move in before Riley is consumed.


The Good: It doesn't affect scoring, but I've really been enjoying the Conrad/Madsen art team. Also, since they don't get enough love -- the letterers have been doing a very nice job of transcribing dialog and giving monstrous or angry exclamations the special attention due as well.

I was glad to see Alasdair making a return. I'd like to see him as another recurring character in Magic Town.

I really liked how the Faith/Sam interactions were handled as well as the fact that Riley would tell his fiance everything about Sunnydale prior to her marrying him.

I also really loved the fact that Angel acknowledges he's a bit of a hypocrit when it comes to doing things that everyone agrees is a bad idea and then gets on his high horse when anyone else wants to follow suit. I also like that he doesn't let it change his behavior in the least when he's made up his mind.


The Bad: Nothing ended up here.


Other Thoughts: I'm glad that there was a sorta-explanation for the vampires taking captives, because that had struck me as a bit weird. It's still awfully convenient for Riley that they weren't just devouring everyone immediately, though. The village seems pretty well populated for four guys to have kept everyone fed so Riley wasn't simply killed immediately.

I wish that Samantha Finn was written with some of her bubbly quirks intact, despite the circumstances. I could definitely see her reacting to stress and worry with some inappropriately sunny humor, based on what little we've seen in the past of her and it'd be better than her overall blandness in this story. I'm also annoyed that Sam wouldn't have at least lodged a minor complaint with Faith about letting an untrained civilian wander on their rescue mission into Vamp-Central with her husband's life hanging in the balance.


The Score: This one was mostly enjoyable for individual scenes with some sparkling dialog and character interactions. I'm finding Faith's plot to be more interesting, but Angel's storyline to have more interesting things to say, so they end up a wash with one another.

I've gotten used to the two-story per issue format, splitting time equally between Angel and Faith. I'm on the fence though about continuing to have them separated over the entire season... I've stopped chomping at the bit to have Faith rejoin him in London, though. We could really use somebody from Angel's old crew on his team, though with my personal choice being Connor.


This issue earns: 3.75 out of 5



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