Looking back on this last stand-alone issue, it gets even better with more readings. While we’ve read quite a lot about “a world without magic,” number 15 of “Angel and Faith” does a great job of elaborating on the subject without being redundant. In fact, I have to say, this issue goes to show how Dark Horse goes that extra mile. I got to thinking about all the people I see in a day, walking down the sidewalk, on the bus, in elevators and in escalators, up and down, and all the ones out there who read comics and particularly Dark Horse comics. That’s a special group of people and they expect something special from Dark Horse. Now, let’s go over what’s working so well in this two-parter, all-in-one issue, “A Hero of His Own Story.”
The first part is dedicated to Angel’s old mentor, Whistler. I love the retro/urban feel going on in this story set in a London diner: a fedora, a checkered floor and a pizza and pint of beer anchor the compositions. It is all nicely delineated right down to when Whistler, in a fit of rage, karate chops his dining table in half. “My bad,” he tells the owners, “I got carried away.” The art honors go to Lee Garbett on pencils and Derek Fridolfs on inks. The script for both of these stories is by Christos Gage. What we have here is a significant conversation between Angel and Whistler, not only a mentor to Angel but an entity powerful enough to hold the key to Earth’s future. Whistler doesn’t like how he’s been unappreciated by Angel. Of course, Angel points out, that’s complicated. This interlude provides a fascinating backstory on Whistler, who is literally half good and half evil. He’d just like to bestow his charms on Earth, give it a real kick in the pants and exact a true balance.
And consider how readable this comic is, a true Dark Horse hallmark. The art is crisp and makes sense. The writing is well-paced and rings true. The whole back and forth between Whistler and Angel is like a fine one-act play. Seriously, I think too many comics, high and low tier, think they can phone it in because readers can be taken for granted on some level. What remains remarkable about Dark Horse is their attention to quality. Christos Gage is one hell of a writer too. I mean, I just know I want to read more about Whistler, especially after he warned Angel to never see him again!
The second part is dedicated to Pearl and Nash and this one is a keeper too. We begin with an appropriately disturbing image: it’s the worst day of the Dust Bowl, 1935, and in an old shack, the walls smeared with demonic rants, a naked emaciated young woman, covered in demonic tattoos, has summoned a demon. It doesn’t get much more spooky than this. The demon is pretty horrific, his saving grace is that he’s really open to helping out this misbegotten soul. Gold, might that do the trick? How about a cure for cancer? No, this creepy little woman wants to mate with the demon. Well, then, hold all calls. This, brace yourselves, is how Pearl and Nash were conceived. All this time, and I didn’t take them for coming from such dire straits. This little ditty is drawn by none other than David Lapham, who knows a thing or two about dire straits. Suffice it to say, you’ve got yourself a diabolically good story. Both parts are excellent and will fit beautifully into a collection or as a single. Issue 15 is currently out and a must-read, especially to get some thoughtful insights on what has come before and what lays ahead.
And talking about must-reads, we jump right back into the fray with “Angel and Faith #16″ as Angel is ever closer to bringing Giles back to life in the new arc, “Death and Consequences.”
“Angel and Faith #16″ will be out on November 28 and we’ll have a review for you before that date. For now, here is cover art by Steve Morris. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics.