Category Archives: Angel & Faith

ANGEL AND FAITH #21 Review — Can You See An Animated Movie?


With this new arc, “What You Want, Not What You Need,” the scope of this saga hits you. A story has been allowed to breathe freely and unfold luxuriously. It feels well lived in and we don’t want it to stop. You don’t care, on some level, if Rupert Giles ever comes back to life. Part of you knows it’s just wrong. And part of you knows that some things just need to happen. And that’s okay. It’s not like the characters are totally in agreement on what should happen next! That’s okay too. We want conflict. And, you read it here at Comics Grinder first, there’s a lot to be said for taking this whole thing and turning it into an animated movie! That says a lot for the comic, is what I’m saying, really. It does engage you in such a way that you get lost in the characters. Now, the fact is, stories should get to breathe and follow one thought to the next. That is what supposedly happens when you have an event comic but, in reality, that is too often an opportunity to just string along a fan base. Not so here. Dark Horse Comics cares about its readers and “Angel and Faith” is an excellent case in point.

We love Christos Gage in charge of the script. We love Rebekah Isaacs in charge of the art. The whole look and feel is outstanding. And where did Faith’s tattoo come from? I’m sorry, maybe that’s from the original television series. Well, I’m sure it is but I have only seen a few episodes. Not a true believer, huh? I have to do some marathon viewing someday. Is anyone rocking a Faith tattoo? You’re probably out there. Ah, those little details. Then there’s Angel’s nipple ring! We know, for sure, what that’s all about. It is a little relic that helped in the hunt for remnants of the soul of Ruper Giles. And here we are, all the elements to the Giles soul have been safely gathered into a magic bowl and the body of Ruper Giles has been carefully preserved and sits nearby on an operating table. The question is, What to do next? Proceed? Or run like hell? Well, there’s always that tricky question of getting enough super magic juice to jump start this project. That sticky issue comes to a head here because where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Is that Pearl we see reflected in Faith’s sword on the cover art above? Why, I believe it is. And why would that be, do you think? Well, Pearl and Nash are the baddies feverishly looking for any bits of magic still around. And you’ve also got Whistler, Angel’s former mentor, now arch-nemesis, in on the hunt too. Since Angel needs magic like nobody’s business, there’s a strong likelihood of there being a clash and so it is in this issue. It is a wonderful clash, interlaced with the action involved in attempting to bring Giles back from the dead! When you think of all the explanations out there for time travel, some tend to be more poetic and some try to sound as authentic as possible. We’ve got a little of both going on with the Giles resurrection project. Alasdair Coames, in all his fuddy-duddy wizardy, leads the operation in a brilliant fashion. But, as the title for this final arc suggests, is it all for naught? Or worse yet, should one really give pause and ask if they should be careful for what they wish for? At such a late date, should this still be a question? Well, read and find out.

“Angel and Faith #21” is available as of April 24. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics here.

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Angel and Faith 19.jpg

“Angel and Faith #19” closes out the story arc, “Death and Consequences” to set the stage for what’s got to be one of the most anticipated finales in comics. Think about how much comics goodness A&F provide and they aren’t being hyped as some big comics event. No, it’s just really good stuff. You see it in how carefully the fight scenes are choreographed. And you certainly see it, even feel it, in all that quintessential Whedon banter going on.


Try as I might to simply comment and keep to what has already been made known, one can never be too sure so I tread lightly and give you a full warning before I say anything that might be considered spoiler dirt. I’m not going to go over the whole story anyway but, still, we want to be respectful and allow everyone a safe and enjoyable A&F reading experience.

That said, what I wish to share with you mostly is the continued joy in reading the words of Christos Gage and “reading” the art of Rebekah Isaacs. Funny, but there actually is a lot of reading of the art in A&F. All you have to do is consider the multitude of attitude we get from slayer Nadira. Fun to watch. You get plenty of dynamic body language throughout whether it’s Angel and Spike exchanging zingers about Buffy or Faith having to hold her own in various encounters and confrontations. Even such a huge mess as that colossal demon, Eyghon, comes to life under the adroit fingers of Ms. Issacs.

Basic info is handled with grace too. It is not some heavy burden to dole out. The things we need to know, or be reminded of, are referred to very naturally. Yeah, the comic rests on a solid foundation of Buffy canon, dedicated fans, and dedicated Dark Horse comics talent. This comic embraces what it’s all about and you end up with a clear and clean artistic expression. Ultimately, you get the pay offs to the build up. Angel is looking at his worst, and at his best, right now. The stage is set, my friend, and we salute Dark Horse for the effort.

“Angel and Faith #19” is out now. Grab yourself a copy. Visit our friends at Dark Horse.

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“Angel and Faith #18” brings us back to the massive attack of zombies from the last issue. The fighting is stranger than usual. Just a bonk on the head and, anyone who gets knocked out, is in danger of being possessed by the arch-demon, Eyghon. Nadira and her slayer posse have really walked into this one. As Nadira puts it, “This has all gone pear shaped!” But, before all hope is lost, Angel and Faith burst onto the scene. Faith provides the obligatory quip, “Hardcore fans don’t like zombies who run!” And things look good until Faith gets bonked on the head! Here is where Nadira provides a good turn by slicing into Faith’s belly but not to kill her. The flesh wound keeps Faith awake and alert.

Part 3 (of 4) to “Death and Consequences” packs a lot of zombie fighting action as well as explanation of events. You learn that Eyghon almost bit the dust during the Twilight crisis but he was quick enough to possess a dead rat which led to possessing an exhausted homeless man until, a few more possessions later, the demon came back into his own. Possession, we come to see, is not an easy thing. Your average body is going to wear out fairly soon under the demonic pressure. This leads to finding someone more sturdy enfused with magic: Rupert Giles.

At the end of this issue, Nadira, along with her slayers, and Faith have buried the hatchet, quite literally into a number of zombies, and have decided it’s time to work as a team of rivals and make for a fast retreat. Now, unless you find common knowledge to be a spoiler, don’t read the next few we often have a cliffhanger guest appearance, who do you think appears to the rescue? It’s none other than…yes, Spike! We have to be grown-ups and just admit it. We’ll be on our way to the final arc by Issue 20 which makes clear what lies ahead: Angel and Faith and Spike.

Angel and Faith 20

“Angel and Faith 18” is available as of January 30. Then we tie up loose ends in #19, due out February 27. And on to the final arc starting with #20, due out March 27. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics.

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Angel and Faith 17

“Angel and Faith #17″stays true to Buffy canon with the story about Ethan Rayne and Rupert Giles, known in his youth as “Ripper.” We begin with a flashback to ’70s Soho, London, as a bunch of punks into the occult pursue the ultimate high, acting as host to the demon, Eyghon. We see Ethan tattooing Eyghon’s mark into a girl’s arm. We see as one member of the group, Randal, is consumed by Eyghon. The little demon game is not working out at all. This leads to the big bust up between Ethan and Rupert, one turning to chaos, the other turning to order with their fates forever intertwined.

Part Two of “Death and Consequences” reveals more and more of an exquisitely plotted tale. True to its title, we are seeing what happens to those to dare play around with death. Bringing the dead back to life has got to rank very high in the most horrific of quests. While the bereaved may be blind to it, the idea wreaks of something so unnatural. How could it ever work out? Even if a resurrection were possible, wouldn’t you always wonder if what you got was the same as the original? Well, without getting into matters of a religous nature, the whole concept, ironically, smacks of something, how should I put it…unholy! Fascinating stuff, when you start to think about it. Here is Angel determined to bring his friend and mentor, Rupert Giles, back to life. And what if he should succeed??

You know, we ended the last issue with such a tantalizing situation. Nadira, the ultimate surly Slayer, and her crew of Slayers, which she highjacked away from Faith, is even more bound and determined to bring her friend, Marianne, back to life. So, after one last plea for help from Angel, she and her gang march off, in great desperation, to a most foul source. When they arrive at this mansion in Guildford, they are welcomed by someone with a striking resemblance to Rupert Giles! We also know, from the last issue, that the body of Rupert Giles was stolen. So, we’ve got a reanimated corpse walking around and it claims it can help Nadira with her problem. Quite a problem.

Back at the ranch, or other mansion, I shoud say, Faith’s London home: Faith is pretty pissed off to see all this animosity coming from Nadira and her girls. She feels betrayed and just plain stomped upon. Come to think of it, she can blame Angel! Faith feels a need to go over all that she’s sacrificed for Angel’s quest to bring Giles back from the dead. Just like any person who feels used in a relationship, Faith says that she has seen her own purpose in life fade away in favor of helping Angel. It’s a solid moment in a very sturdy comic. After that dust up, hell’s bells, Angel is more fired up than ever to get it right. They will bring Rupert Giles back to life even if it kills them!

What a piece of work. All thank yous to the wrting talent of Christos Gage and the artistic talent of Rebekah Isaacs. This comic remains inspired, looking out for all the details, and even asking the big philosophical questions in the bargain!

“Angel and Faith #17” comes out December 19. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics.

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“Angel and Faith #16” starts the new four-part arc, “Death and Consequences.” There’s a scene early on that bodes well, in its lightheartedness, for this new story by Christos Gage: Angel has just lobbed a bomb at a big ugly demon when he yells out, “Fire in the whole!” Faith just looks at him, the two are at a safe distance and can afford a quick little quip between them. “I always thought that sounded dirty,” she says, “Seriously, if I worked demolitions, I’d be giggling like a twelve-year-old every time I said it.” Angel doesn’t miss a beat and replies, “If you worked demolitions, I’d be running for my life.” And, with that, Angel, like Indiana Jones, has managed to run off with another relic by the skin of his teeth, and Faith’s, by the way! Ah, one step closer to having all the mad ingredients needed to bring back to life a much beloved mentor, one Rupert Giles.

No one seems to bothering to ask if it’s worth it anymore. That was Faith’s job. All that appears to remain is one last part of the Giles soul to start some serious conjuring. But could it really be all that simple? No, no, not by a long shot. Hey, Faith finds herself imagining a whole conversation with Giles which leaves her less than motivated. Of course, there’s always drawbacks along the way and this story provides a whopper of a problem. And then there’s Faith’s nemesis, Nadira, and her Slayer posse, who don’t know when to stop holding Faith accountable for everything that has gone wrong in their lives. What animosity! Rebekah Issacs seems to enjoy drawing Nadira’s rage and her crew’s put-upon expressions. Poor Faith. But here’s the kicker: Nadira’s plans collide directly with Angel’s plans! Angel is not the only one with a beloved soul to resurrect.

Angel and Faith may be back in London and appear closer than ever to achieving Angel’s dream of bringing back Giles but there is hardly any guarantee that things will go Angel’s way. Nadira, in all her beautiful rage, makes a case that Angel is delusional but then can’t see how even more futile her dream is of bringing back to life a mere mortal. The anguish and determination coming from Nadira is quite palpable. It brings Faith a few notches back to her skepticism. But that’s not all. The twist at the end will surprise even the most jaded reader. It is a most satisfying twist and, just like the wry remarks between Angel and Faith at the start, bodes very well for us readers.

“Angel and Faith #16” releases November 28. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics.

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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.

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“Angel and Faith #14” is the fourth and final chapter to “Family Reunion” and a lesson learned for Willow for insisting on trying to tap into magic from a hell dimension. Not a good idea — but not an entirely bad idea either. If there really is any good to be found from this fine mess, Willow and Angel will need to act fast. As you may assume, they do manage to figure something out and that will take them in new directions.

This is issue is all about finding some resolution, of course, and Christos Gage’s script does a good job of that. The most riveting development is Willow getting too close to the dark side. This is something Rebekah Isaacs brings out with her art. We do get to see a good bit of the Dark Willow and that may or may not play into Willow’s new path in her own series starting up November 7. This story, among other things, is a great set up for her new adventures.

“Family Reunion” ends up being a good opportunity for characters to connect a little more with each other and themselves: Angel with his son, Connor; Angel with Willow; Angel with Faith; Willow with Willow; and Faith with Faith. Yeah, and Angel with Angel. I think Connor turned out to be the most adjusted and didn’t really need to do too much soul-searching. Willow and Faith and Connor were pretty much already cool with each other. You get your priorities straightened out fairly quickly when you’re trapped in Quor’toth, the most putrid and disgusting dimension of hell.

“Angel and Faith #14” comes out September 26, 2012. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics.

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“Angel and Faith #13” continues where we left our heroes, deep in the bowels of a most demented dimension of hell, in order to find that missing ingredient, that elusive mojo, that might kickstart magic back into the world. Willow had managed to pick up enough of a spark to call it a day when a lost tribe of cute floppy eared dog people, deep, deep within hell, let out a little yelp for help. Being all nice and stuff, Willow, Faith, Angel, and his son, Connor, literally turned right around and back into mortal danger to help out their new friends. And so continues one of the funnest rides in comics. That is, if you don’t mind a ride in hell, which I’m fine with, especially one drawn by Rebekah Isaacs. This is Dark Horse Comics, after all.

As you can see from the above page of comics, Faith is momentarily caught in the spell from hell emanating from their current location, Quor’toth. Happy thoughts! Think happy thoughts! Whew, that does the trick. It gives Faith enough strength to press on and even a little reserve of energy to lament the fact that Angel and Connor have such a solid father and son relationship but her dad remains a pud.

But getting back to the idea of, on the verge of escape, retreating right back into the jaws of death. That, my friend, is very counter-intuitive and, interesting. I wouldn’t exactly want these characters to just go to a very strange and dangerous place, get what they were looking for, and then just skip right out through a convenient magic portal. No, we want conflict and this is something that will keep us reading and wondering. Yes, indeed, Part Three of “Family Reunion” has knocked all the blocks down and the repair work is under way.

It was Connor’s previous stay in Quor’toth that inspired a whole race of dog people to live in sheer harmony and embrace peace and love. Not exactly conduct becoming of a demon. No wonder they’re being “hounded” out by the powers that be. The game plan is to rescue the dog people being held captive and then high tail it out of hell! One member of the dog race lends a paw in the battle royale that ensues. The action is gungo-ho earnest but Faith can be relied upon to eventually provide some irony. And, just before the momentum is lost, we have a complete scene change, back to the Giles mansion to check in on those two cute and highly irresponsible housesitting sisters, Sophie and Lavinia. They have the most unwelcome of guests: Nash and Pearl! And Whistler, who has his own agenda.

Christos Gage’s story makes a good leap forward once we return to Quor’toth. The players know what is at stake, magic in the world and their very lives. There is no time to lose and it all hinges on what Willow does next. Everything hinging on Willow? Yep, that’s a good place to stop and pick things up next time.

“Angel and Faith #13” release date: August 29. Visit Dark Horse Comics.

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Quor’toth, the hell within a hell, never looked worse to Angel. His son, Connor, thinks it’s about the same since the last time he saw it. The family trip from hell, rather, to hell, was only meant to be a quick day trip in order to restore Willow’s magic which may lead to greater things like bringing back magic to the world and even resurrecting Giles. But to get all this, it meant going back to Quor’toth and sorting out the right mojo. As fate would have it, this would not be just a simple day trip. For starters, Willow drops a bomb with her declaring she is going to need a lot of time to get her magic groove thing back.

Part 2 of “Family Reunion” finds us deep in Quor’toth for much of the story where we find some marvelous ghoulies thanks to Rebekah Issacs’s wicked drawing. We begin with these muscular gorgons with dragon wings and bulbous heads with multiple eyes and sphincter-like faces. They are ready to attack until they get a look at Connor and declare his return, since his days as a boy, as the Second Coming, and the Wrath of the Destroyer.

It’s not long before Angel and Connor find old relics indicating that Connor was looked upon as some sort of god. All this overwhelms Angel and he feels sorry for the great burden that Connor has had endured. Here, Christos Gage’s writing comes back to family values and Connor reassures Angel that he’s been a good father to him: “You gave me what I needed to survive until I could stand on my own. That’s what a parent does, right? A good one, anyway.”

And to top off all the good feeling, Connor comes into contact with another band of creatures who utterly adore him because they came to understand that his power came from love and understanding! These are very faithful creatures and it makes sense they resemble shaggy dogs. They are in total of awe of Connor and his gospel of love. It leads Faith to snicker at Connor, “Look at you. Hipster Jesus!”

Away from this Edgar Rice Burroughs adventure, back in London we get to see what the Ab Fab sisters have been up to which isn’t much aside from being drunk and irresponsible. This sordid arrangement could only last for so long before something went awry. And something does go awry, very awry.

Angel and Faith is out now, June 25! Visit Dark Horse Comics!

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“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.


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