Avox in Arcadia (perpetual) wrote,
Avox in Arcadia

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Summary and what all for A&F #2

I haz a summary:

We open with Faith, Nadira, and a squad of Slayers fighting vampires on the street. One has a briefcase and a machine gun, and wounds Nadira's leg when she separates from the group (against Faith's order) to chase him. He's decapitated by an Angel-shaped shadow before he can do any more damage, but Faith is trying to finish off her own opponent, a ram-skull-headed demon, before Nadira can come help (because she believes she's too angry to be effective). The demon takes off with his briefcase and the Slayers regroup.

They find a bottle of smelly green liquid in the case, and Faith takes it away to ask around, dodging around the issue of who saved Nadira. When she rejoins Angel, she tells him it was stupid to get near someone who wants to kill him, and then confronts him about his crazy idea to bring Giles back from a natural death. They hash out the particulars - Angel claims that the key is in Giles' magic-immersed life, which he hopes will leave a spiritual connection that can allow the soul to be returned to the body.

Faith isn't buying it and Angel can tell, but she does see how this is the only thing motivating his recuperation, and also, as his only friend, doesn't want to abandon him. When he goes to leave, weapon in hand, she comes with him, claiming she's just "wingman for a night".

We cut to "Demontown", a bar where demons are fighting each other for bragging rights, trying to establish a new hierarchy amongst themselves now that magic is gone. Angel finds a demon called Kurth and asks him about business - specifically, his business of "selling body parts to rich scumbags". Kurth corrects him, saying they've moved on to a higher class of business, but won't say more, so Faith attacks him, and within the space of a few panels, a full-on bar fight breaks out.

Faith and Angel leave bruised and bloody and Kurth appears to have escaped, but Angel says he can track him by scent. As they hunt, Faith shows some concern about the way Angel doesn't seem to feel anything when he fights. They find Kurth meeting up with the horned demon from the first pages, asking him for a "dose". The demon gives him the green vial and he pours it over his back, and we see his third arm (which Angel ripped off during the fight) instantly grow back. Faith and Angel observe, unseen from the rooftop.

Angel explains Mohra blood to Faith, touching briefly on his own experience with it in "I Will Remember You", but focusing on how it can be used to reanimate Giles' body. He asks if she's with him - we don't see her answer, but the next page has them leaping into the lair brandishing their weapons magnificently. Angel says that the leader's power is in its horns, so he lops them off, and Faith thinks about how excited his new purpose - and her apparent cooperation - is making him.

Faith accidentally incinerates the table holding the Mohra blood, but Angel says there must be more where that came from, because it deteriorates when exposed to open air, so the dealers must be getting it fresh. He pins the hornless demon against the wall and demands to know where they get it, and he says he'll tell.

Faith flashes back to a conversation she had with Giles, not so long ago. She's looking for a way to bring back the man she killed - the professor, not the deputy mayor - and he tells her he'd know if there was a way, and there isn't. He also dispenses some Giles-style wisdom about guilt and atonement. Back in the present, Faith hopes that she can keep Angel out of trouble and make him let himself off the hook, but she doesn't try to convince him that he's on a fool's errand.

Final page, Pearl and Nash meet up with Kurth; poor guy gets another arm ripped off. They want Mohra blood too.


There. Journalistic neutrality shield, power off.

I loved this issue. My doubts about Christos Gage are all but evaporated: he keeps delivering what the reader needs while balancing it with a sense of unpredictability and a smooth style for pacing and dialogue. Angel's and Faith's voices are quite close to the mark, and perhaps more importantly, the trademark Whedonverse humor is back. The only thing I'm currently unhappy about is how weak Buffy's Season 9 series looks in comparison.

When I say that the readers are getting what we need, I mean first of all that elephants are being spotted in various rooms. We've been in the 'verse long enough to know why people can't be brought back from a natural death, especially with magic being gone, so it was a relief to see that Angel's trying to work around those rules and not rely on the rules to change for the sake of his plot. (I honestly don't care if the exposition gets a little overly. Well-written exposition is no different than any other well-written part of the story.) We also get some nice continuity nods - the IWRY flashback panel, the demon hierarchy flip-flopping, and Faith's past duly considered. We are in the Buffyverse. It looks like it, it sounds like it, and it matters like it.

I also had a few old-fashioned fangirl squee moments, which I'm pretty sure was a null total during the Buffy issue. In addition to the B/A kissyface panel, we had Faith saying "five by five" (it's been a long time), Giles being called a warlock (first time ever), and a joke about/reference to Angel's Catholic heritage. It also didn't hurt to see a few well-crafted images of unmitigated badassery. When Angel and Faith get into deep conversations about themselves and their none-too-simple emotional issues, it's easy to forget that they're also superheroes and they're gorgeous on the battlefield. Action scenes are never my favorite, but here, they're an absolute necessity and I'm happy to see the team doing them justice.

The bottom line is that Angel and Faith are two of the finest characters that Joss Whedon ever created, and for once, they're not being wasted. Angel is swaggering into demon bars to win fights, hating himself all the way, and Faith is mentally cataloging her responsibilities while demonstrating how she got banned from chem lab. They're the tragic heroes, the rebel Slayer and the vampire with a soul, but they're also the wild child and the broken rule, and they're showing every part of that.

Things are alright.
Tags: comic review, dark horse buffy comics
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