In Review: Angel & Faith Season 10 #13

Koh confronts his fears and Illyria wakes up. Things couldn't be better.

The covers:  Scott Fischer has created a spectacular cover with Nadira floating in the air, connected to the back of Faith’s head, who’s walking somewhere, with a swirl of vines behind her. Beautiful, detailed, and freaky. This is a cover to chase down! The Variant cover is by Mike Norton with Mark Englert. Angel is crouched down on the top of building, looking down on some prey with a snarl on his face. He’s being backlit by a full moon that reveals that Koh is behind him, about to attack him as his prey. Nice layout, with good coloring, especially on Angel’s jacket, but Koh is too distant to inspire any real fear. Overall grades: Main A+ and Variant B

The story: Last issue ended with Angel punching Eldre Koh to the floor at Rory’s. Koh rubs his jaw and realizes he was wrong for acting improperly to Angel. The vampire helps him up and asks why he has to continue with his vengeance; he should adjust to his new life. The demon leaves to considers his words. Meanwhile, Faith and Fred awaken at Giles’s aunts’ place thinking they need to get their own places. Over breakfast, Faith suggests that Fred go to her employers at Zane and get herself tested to see if the uber demon Illyria can be removed from her. She’s not keen with the idea, but any reader will know she’s going to do it and things will not go well. Victor Gischler is doing a great job on this installment, balancing Fred’s querry quest with Koh’s search for enlightenment, making readers wonder whom the title of “United” refers to. Highlights include Angel’s comment in the third panel on Page 7, the return of the young couple on 8, every scene with Nadira, and the cliffhanger final page with it’s damning last bit of dialogue. I loved this. Overall grade: A+

The art: Cliff Richards is the artist on this book and his work looks good. He nicely captures the likenesses of the actors fans are familiar with. Angel looks good, Faith fine, and Fred super. Fred’s alter identity also looks really good, striking just the right balance of evil and threat. Two other characters stole the book for me: Koh and Nadira. Always looking as though he’s a monster (and he’s not, he’s a warrior), Koh always looks like he’s on the edge of tearing someone’s head off. However, he’s so much more than that, and Richards makes him into the noble warrior that long time readers know him to be. Nadira has always been an incredibly visual character, with the luminescent tattoos on the left side of her body. She’s beautiful and mysterious all at once. Having these characters meet up is a visual delight. Richards has set up his page layout and panel execution so well, words aren’t necessary to glean what’s inside each, though they are necessary to tell the story. Koh’s stares are wonderful. The final two panels of this book are perfect, leaving the reader exactly in Koh’s state of mind. Richards is only around for this one issue, but anytime he can return would be more than welcome by me. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Excellent, subtle coloring by Michelle Madsen on this issue. Look at how she uses coloring on the first page to age the bar; it’s got all the grainy splotches of discoloration one would expect in such an establishment. On Page 2 Angel’s hair changes color at the tips because of its distance from the light source. The same can be said of the extra in the back of the first panel on 3; his jeans have a coloring change to show depth in them. This is some clever detail that a reader wouldn’t notice unless they’re really paying close attention. It’s also done when Faith and Fred are having a moment in the flat. Faith’s hand at the bottom of Page 5 is outstanding. Things only improve when Koh visits Nadira, and then Illyria appears. Madsen can be as dramatic as the story needs, or as subtle as possible when a quitter moment is needed. She’s tops! Overall grade: A+

The letters: The Whedonverse comic combo of Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt have created dialogue, story title, some dialogue piped in from another room, yells, and sounds. I like that during the violent ending, the sounds are not one uniform font, but instead change style based on the damage being done, such as KRASH versus FWAP on 19. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Koh confronts his fears and Illyria wakes up. Things couldn’t be better. 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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