In Review: Angel & Faith: Season 10 #19

I love everyone involved with making this book an absolute treat as it continues the adventures of two of the best characters ever created.

The covers: A pair for you to find your favorite. The Main cover by Scott Fischer is a beautiful cover of Faith holding two wide swords, with Angel in the foreground holding one of his own. Within the blades are the image of a woman. I can’t tell who she, but she’s very pretty. The two title characters look terrific, with Faith colored in faded rusts, while Angel is in grey. Falling leaves surround the pair. The details are terrific, with the hilt on Angel’s sword impressive. The Variant cover is by Mike Norton and Michelle Madsen. This has Faith surrounded by three vampires. She’s just staked the vamp in front of her, which is bursting into flame. Leaping down before a full moon is Angel ready to join the fight. Nice layout, with Angel looking fairly generic, and Faith just okay. The coloring is good, though. Overall grades: Main A+ and Variant C+

The story: The first chapter of “A Little More Than Kin” by Victor Gischler opens with four teens walking down the streets of Magic Town, causing trouble by knocking over a woman’s bag of groceries. Fred helps to pick up her purchases and then can’t help but comment, “This isn’t the kind of place where you want to make enemies, jerks. There are people all around here you don’t want to cross.” This causes one of the teens to turn, showing her fangs and orange eyes. They start after Fred, who has stakes to fight back, but she’s quickly pinned by the quartet. The lead vampire says, “Nobody around. No guardian Angel. Who will save you now, little lamb?” That’s when purple veins begin to appear on her cheeks and temples, with her eyes going violet. The four vamps back off. “Ah. Okay. Our mistake. No harm done, right?” Two of them die as if they were taken down by Daleks: their bodies turn to silhouettes as their skeletons show. Another changes to a bat and begins to fly off. It doesn’t get far. And the female leader? She gets a death that’s seen for blocks. The next four pages deal with Fred playing catch up with returned Angel, and other characters listen to him tell about his recent trip to California to help Buffy stop Archaeus. That U.S. foe is responsible for buffing up Drusilla. The issue includes a fun setting from this issue taking a beating, which I admit to making me sad, culminating in Dru going gaining the “key to the city.” What that is and how she gets it is pretty major stuff. I’m happy to see the return of this “key” who’s been intriguing since this character’s first reappearance. I’m very interested to see what happens next! Overall grade: A+

The art: Spectacular art again from Will Conrad. His character likenesses are out of this world. Fred’s opening sequence on the street was great, as was her transformation into “someone else.” Angel’s first appearance in this issue is a perfect way to show this character, with his pose summing up so much about his character in one panel. Naturally, he gets to go into full on vampire mode, and when he does he looks exactly as he did on television. There’s not too much Faith in this issue (Hey, she got a lot of time over the last few months), but she looks excellent, too. Dru also looks great: incredibly attractive and horrendously evil. I’m also completely taken by the character that embodies the heart of Magic Town; I am so impressed with the work done on the left side of this character’s body. The action sequences are great, with Fred’s opening smack down thrilling, and the closing chase sharp — people jumping through windows is always an impressive visual when done correctly, and Conrad is certainly doing it right. What Conrad is also doing exceptionally well are the settings. Look at the detail of the opening street scene, with the angles being sensational; he’s always moving the reader’s point of view around to make things interesting. There’s a sweet bird’s eye view shot on 9 that rivals any director’s point of view done on either of Wedon’s supernatural series. When the action starts for the final time, the setting is made of wood and I’m stunned at all the line work done in each panel on the wall — it’s beautiful. Conrad is a top notch artist. Overall grade: A+ 

The colors: Superb work is also done by Michelle Madsen on this installment. Right out of the gate, her coloring is wonderfully dingy for the streets of Magic Town. I really like how she highlighted the one individual abused by the gang — the coloring is beautiful on that character. Also slick is the coloring on the title, which is just a tad paler than the abused woman, though it stands our sharply against the street. When Fred turns, the colors used for the power she wields are strong; more than a match for the imagery. The shading done on flesh is great, with Faith looking like photographs with Madsen’s touch. As much as I love these, I’m absolutely swept away by the greens on the character that appears on the final eight pages; it’s impossible not to focus on the bright colors. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, sounds, opening title, vampire speak, yells, and next issue’s tease are all crafted by Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt. The vampire dialogue is so darn sweet, and the sounds spectacular! I felt like I was ten years old seeing the glorious sound that ended Page 5. Overall grade: A+

The final line: I love Angel. I love Faith. I love everyone involved with making this book an absolute treat as it continues the adventures of two of the best characters ever created. 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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