In Review: Angel & Faith: Season 10 #24

I am constantly in awe with how good this series is. Recommended.

The covers: The Main cover is another strong showing from Scott Fischer. Angel is wearing a Bela Lugosi cloak and is holding two swords which are crossed before him. Being protected by those swords is Nadira whose eyes are closed as if she’s tapping into the spirit of Magic Town. The setting behind the two is being created by the expulsions of two gigantic skulls in profile. Trippy, eerie, and just flat out cool! The Variant cover is by Mike Norton with colors by Michelle Madsen. This features the title characters close-up in a forest, he with a sword and she with a wooden stake. The coloring is black and white, and the image has been manipulated to be slightly askew: the top fifth of the image is at the bottom, making this appear like a film cell that’s gotten stuck in a projector. It looks good, but I have no idea how this image fits in with this story. Overall grades: Main A+ and Variant B-

The story: This is the penultimate issue and things are not going well for our heroes. Angel and Faith are looking for Nadira in Magic Town, but can’t find her. A distant explosion of blue energy gets their attention. At the source of the blast, Illyria is doing battle with the statue that has recently come to life. She taunts the creature as they battle, with it continually thwarting all that she can do. Their fight is interrupted by Eldre Koh, who inserts himself between the two so that Nadira may address the statue. Illyria grabs Koh by the throat and begins to vent her anger on him. What writer Victor Gischler does next is exactly what one would expect from a product created by Joss Whedon: the characters have to work things out. There’s no fighting, no punching, but a brutally honest conversation and the choices individuals make. There’s tension, to be sure, but the conflict has to be resolved with words. The question is if the words from one will be strong enough to convince another. The conflict between the supposed allies is addressed and it’s writing gold. Once the situation is halted, this season’s Big Bad appears to stir the pot. And he’s brought allies of his own. Anything could happen, but that will have to be answered next month. Wow, Gischler is good. Overall grade: A+

The art: If one has been longing to see characters from Angel in new adventures, Will Conrad will make his or her heart sing. The bottom panel of Page 1 brilliantly shows how capable he is of rendering the stars of that series. With a turn of a page the threat of Illyria returns: her bugged out eyes and veiny forehead are a joy and a fright to behold once again. She and the statue don’t just blast one another with energy, each gets pretty physical, allowing Conrad to show he can also illustrate a fine setting shown from a multitude of angles, and the people and vehicles that inhabit it, which are caught in the fisticuffs. His close-ups of characters are outstanding; just look at Illyria and Nadira on Pages 4 and 5. When the Big Bad enters the story he dominates every panel, as he should, and he emotes wonderfully, which is amazing given his mouth can’t really open. It’s the way that Conrad is able to pose the character which makes him look so good. One of my favorite Whedon villiains returns on Page 21 and she’s incredible looking. This truly is like looking at a lost season. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Michelle Madsen continues to show that she is a coloring force to be reckoned with. Look at the slick coloring she puts on Faith and Angel to insinuate the glow from the blast far off. The glowing blue eyes of the statue are magnificent, his rusted orange skin excellent, the luminescent green of Nadira’s tattoos spectacular, the flesh on Koh strong, the powerful blasts of color in each sound effect, and the red and white of the Big Bad instant sources of focus. With her coloring, Madsen directs the reader where to look in each panel. Overall grade: A+

The letters: The Whedon tag team of Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt create dialogue, sounds, the story title, a whisper, the deliciously dark font for the speech of the Big Bad, and the tease for the final issue. It’s always great to see a character get a dialogue font that’s unlike the “normal” characters to further distance them from humanity, and the sounds on this book are terrific. Overall grade: A+

The final line: The characters and visuals never fail to raise pulses and incite tears of joy. I am constantly in awe with how good this series is. Recommended. 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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