The Other Relaunch: Angel And Faith

It’s been a week of relaunches. But there are two others going on of note apart from the DC folk.

From Dark Horse we have the first issue of the new Buffy Season Nine comic, Angel And Faith. And from Marvel we have the final issue of The Incredible Hulks before the relaunch with Jason Aaron and Marc Silvestri.

More than ever Angel has a lot to atone for. And Faith knows what that’s like. Together, they fight crime demons on the streets of London.

At the end of Buffy Season Eight, (SPOILERS) Angel killed Giles, Buffy’s Watcher, under the influence of Twilight. No, not that Twilight, though if it was it might have made more sense, I’ve seen what that franchise has done to some people. Anyway. He’s feeling pretty bad about it, and this is a man who already has a hundred of years worth of guilt to deal with.

So he’s got hold of Giles notes and is trying to deal with all of Giles’ old cases from the flat Faith inherited from Giles. So, basically, yes, this may have two people listen in the lead, but really it’s a Faith, Angel And Ripper book. He’ll appear in flashback throughout… or possibly more.

In this case, Giles’ cold case a possession demon that was dealt with in the knowledge it would return. Which it’s doing now.

Buffy and Angel excel where they take the subtext of people’s lives very literally, turning it into text and then chopping its head off. Here that’s targeted at Angel’s specific life, creating a monster full of his guilt over Giles death, quite literally. And chopping it up. The monster goes away, the guilt doesn’t, indeed it quite literally gets worse.

And it drives people to do silly things. We’ve been down the road Angel is going before, with other Buffy characters and it never ends well. It’s a twist that Faith is now the voice of sane experience here, but again, that’s something the Buffy stories do well. She has become the Watcher, Angel is the Slayer and Giles is The Book.

So how are the Americans portraying London? Well there are only minor errors, plug sockets, bathroom rails, that scream American. Certain cobbled streets seem a little chocolate box covery, but these places do exist, you’d just be hard pressed to find them. I’ve never seen Brixton that empty at night, and the use of “chavs” here seems odd… wouldn’t “hoodies” be more appropriate for this kind of accusation? But it’s nice to hear “bloke” and “bloody” used like a native.

Pearl and Dash make for rather decent looking baddies, with a Season Two Spike and Drusilla feel about them, mixed with a little Cyclops and Emma Frost. And I don’t think any of this is an accident, we’re told that Buffy is trying to go back to basics and Angel & Faith seem to be joining them in that. Monster of the week month with a longer arc  bubbling under. We even get a couple of endings that fall right out of Claremont’s playbook. And Rebekah does a fine line in marble white hands dripping with blood to match.

As promised however, these are non cosmic end-of-the-universe stories, it’s not saving the world, it’s saving one person at a time. One comic at a time.

Angel & Faith #1 by Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs, published by Dark Horse Comics, 22 pages of story, $2.99.

Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics, London.

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