In Review: Angel & Faith Season 10 #11

I fall in love with these characters every time a new issue comes out, and this issue had me gushing.

The covers: The traditional pair of covers with the leads still separated, hopefully for the last time. The Main cover is by Scott Fischer with a spectacular painting of Angel in vampire mode in a bar. There’s a pool cue shoved through his back, a jumble of hands and claws on the floor, and behind him is a gigantic rack of billiard balls, each with a face of death in it. Terrific composition with sensational colors. A winner in every way. The Variant cover is by Mike Norton with Mark Englert. Against the backdrop of a London street, Faith joyfully has gone out a third story window holding a stake ready to stab into the vampire she’s holding by the neck. The look on Faith’s face is priceless, and I love that the double decker bus going by has on its side “Guess Who’s Back In Town?” I’m such a Faith fan, I had to buy this cover, but the more I look at that Fischer cover makes me want to go back into my local store and pick it up. Overall grades: Both A+

The story: Picking up from last issue’s shocker, Angel has run across Fred, who mutters “Angel…Illyria. She’s…” and passes out. Angel takes his lost friend off to safety as the fog grows thicker. Victor Gischler’s “United” then moves to the young couple that were asking advice from Nadira last issue about their relationship. They’re walking home, when they are accosted by several of Magic Town’s miscreants. Before they can be assaulted, a robed figure appears and breaks the bones of the attackers. The couple want to help their savior, who forgoes any assistance, claiming to have been looking for someone but failed. The boy recommends he go to Nadira for help. This name is familiar to the individual, who resembles someone familiar to fans. The scene then moves to a pair of characters related to a Buffy the Vampire Slayer character and a recent arrival from the Amazon. The dialogue between these three women is terrific, and the closing line on Page 7 hilarious. Angel takes Fred to the one person who he knows can help, and Fred’s past is given to bring new readers up to speed. Gischler cuts back and forth between Fred and Faith’s story until the reunion that fans have been waiting for occurs. The moment is priceless and the dialogue leading up to it great. It was everything I wanted it to be. That alone was worth the cover price, but the final page shows the familiar face creating the conflict in this storyline. Outstanding. Overall grade: A+

The art: Will Conrad continues to make magic on this book. His likenesses of the characters to the actors is amazing. Because of this, it’s impossible not to hear the dialogue in the actors’ voices, such as Faith on Page 7 and 15 – 20; Angel on 1, 9, 14, and 20; and Fred on 13 and 14. The emotion he can get out of each character is wonderful and Page 21 is fantastic. I love the look on the two leads and in the big panel. His settings are exceptional. Look at the backgrounds on the first page alone. They are magnificent, and the growing fog amazing. The fight scenes on the next two pages also have backgrounds. Did they need them? Conrad could have done without, but he did them because he’s a pro! I love the setting that begins on Page 5, with a great painting behind the pair of speakers–irony, much? A turn of the page produces the absolute opposite of the two speakers and it’s excellently rendered. Also excellent is the creature that Faith encounters and their battle’s ending is great! The visuals on this book are spectacular. It’s that simple. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Also of merit is the work by Michelle Madsen on this book. I love the grey coloring used to create the creeping fog of Magic Town. The pea green title at the bottom of Page 1 only made the book appear more English. The last panel on Page 2 has no background, but Madsen puts in a pale blue swirl behind the character to show that the fog exists everywhere. The eyes on the couple’s savior are a brilliant orange that look more like a photograph than a coloring job–it’s that good! The browns used for Nadira’s room are gorgeous, as are the luminescent greens on her body. I also liked that narration boxes were given colors, with Nadira’s being orange, Angel’s blue, and Fred’s black. An excellent way to show who’s talking when not in the panel. Beautiful work. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Whedon book go-tos Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt provide dialogue, story title, sounds, and the “To be continued…” All look great, with the fight scene looking like perfect comic book action because of the sounds. Overall grade: A+

The final line: I fall in love with these characters every time a new issue comes out, and this issue had me gushing. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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