What it is: Angel and Faith #1
Who done it: Christos Gage (w), Rebekah Isaacs (a)
When it came out: August 31, 2011
So Angel is finally officially back in the Dark Horse stable. Depending on whom you ask, that’s either great news or the worst thing ever. However you might feel about rival publishing houses, though, the most important question remains – is this first issue any good?
It’s so good, in fact, that it easily outshines DC’s huge new 52 event happening today. Or it should. With a strong story, accurate characterization, some of the best art I’ve seen on any Whedon book, and a story that’s loaded with potential, Angel and Faith #1 hits the ground running and should make even the most jaded fans hungry for more.
For those worrying about the loss of Giles, it’s nice to start with a flashback to a time before his passing. Facing off against a possessed little girl, Giles does exactly what you’d expect him to do – set aside his own safety to protect the innocent. He succeeds, but at a great personal price. In locking away a vicious demon, he sacrificed a part of himself. Specifically, Giles loses the memory of falling in love with Jenny Calendar.
Gage and Isaacs really capture Giles perfectly here. His behavior is totally believable and, in removing this key part of Giles personal history, we get an interesting explanation as to why Giles hasn’t been quite himself these last few years.
From there on out, it’s all about our title characters. Angel and Faith return to that same little girl and finish what Giles started, which they succeed at handily. In fact, it seems that a big element to Angel’s narrative this season will be his need to pick up where Giles left off. Faith, who you might recall received essentially all of Giles’s earthly possessions, also feels the pull to continue the Watcher’s good work.
Faith and Angel are two characters who seemed destined to be under the same banner. They’re both into redemption but their best intentions also have a tendency to pave them straight to hell. They’ve got a shared past, one that has been evolving towards this place for a long time. They trust each other both to not trust each other and that makes for an interesting dynamic that’s not always safe or predictable.
In addition to all that, we get some new villains in the form of Pearl and Nash, two demons whose strength is derived from primal emotions, who used to work for Angel back when he was Twilight. We’ve got Nadia, a former member of the slayer army. We’ve got an ambiguous but probably evil Whistler who still seems bent on bringing about some kind of New World Order. We even get mention of IDW’s Angel: After the Fall.
With a final line that will leave fans arguing for the next month, we’re already in very murky moral territory. That’s exactly where Faith and Angel ought to live.
Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs have crafted a near perfect first issue. The only flaw, as some have pointed out, is the need for a better understanding of modern day London. Sounds like a perfect excuse to renew the old passport and take a trip across the pond if ever we heard one.
That’s what we think. How about you?