“ANGEL AND FAITH” takes a definitive turn with the new arc, “Family Reunion.” There is a very animated feeling going in as Willow makes a surprise entrance which is such a game changer that, well, it totally changes everyone’s game! Willow knows what she wants but, alas, she can’t claim to know that she’s going to get it. She needs Angel’s help like it’s nobody’s business. But what would motivate him to help her in the first place? They aren’t exactly close.
It’s not long before it’s Willow vs. Angel! He’s had it trying to make sense of what Willow’s proposing. It’s too nutty and just plain too dangerous. Angel, ever the martyr, at first has a hard time making eye contact with Willow, given he and Buffy ended up wiping out magic in the world. But when Willow’s answer to that is to put Angel’s son, Connor, to work to bring back magic, that settles it. Willow would have Connor return to a form of hell so scary that even demons avoid it. Quor’toth was where Connor grew up and eventually escaped from. It is only through Quor’toth that Willow can proceed to other realms in her pursuit to restore magic. She will need to use Connor as a magic compass. Of course, Angel reacts badly to this and tells Willow that she is no better than he is for causing disaster. Willow turns around and slaps Angel. She brings him down a few pegs. When the dust settles, Angel is at her mercy, more or less. The compromise is that they will seek out Connor and let him decide if he wants to help!
Christos Gage, as fans already appreciate, is quite good with writing about family dynamics. Angel may have just given a half-hearted approval to Willow’s plans but he really doesn’t approve. Gage presents us with a very conflicted father. He deeply loves his son but, at the same time, he has concluded that he shouldn’t upset the balance and interfere with Connor’s life, especially now that Connor really has a well-put-togehter life. How can he step in now and possibly destroy any chance of happiness for Connor? Or is he mistaken?
Rebekah Isaacs does a beautiful job of teasing out all this angst. Her drawing goes beyond bringing the characters to life. Here we see poor Angel caught between doing his own thing, which is resurrecting Giles; leaving his son to do his own thing, which is majoring in social work; and allowing their paths to cross all thanks to Willow. Angel is wrung through the wringer. We see him go through more emotions, and facial expressions, than we’re used to.
And Willow makes a very good case – for those of a zealous bent. The way she sees it, she and Angel need each other. Angel can’t resurrect Giles without magic in the world (no matter how hard he tries) and Willow can’t restore magic to the world without working with Angel and Connor. Neither Angel nor Willow will ever admit that their own plans might be impossible to achieve. And that’s another reason why these two need each other.
“Angel and Faith #11” comes out June 27. Visit Dark Horse Comics.