Written by Victor Gischler
Art by Will Conrad. Colours by Michelle Madsen.
Covers by Scott Fischer, and Variant Covers by Chris Samnee and Jordie Bellaire
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Three issues into the new season of Angel & Faith and it is becoming apparent that the title of the comic is a tad misleading; at least, when met with the expectations of what last season’s Angel & Faith was. While last volume was very much a “team up” series between the two lost souls of the Buffyverse, the current volume has thus far divided them. The ampersand separating Angel and Faith in the title has taken on new meaning. This is a comic telling two stories concurrently: the story of Angel, and the story of Faith. It’s an interesting approach, and doesn’t cheapen the heartfelt ending of last volume’s Angel & Faith.
Or maybe the opening arc is leading us on, intentionally playing against our expectations, and Angel and Faith will be reunited just a few issues from now. Who knows! And really, who cares; as long as the stories being told right now are interesting.
Faith has accepted Kennedy’s invitation to join her bodyguards-for-hire organization run and employed by Slayers who lost their way after the destruction of the Seed. This is something Buffy previously ventured into, in a three issue story arc in Season 9, and so far this story has felt a bit repetitious. Like Buffy, Faith isn’t much of a joiner. An outcast among the other bodyguards, they never found comfortable footing among the group, and both fail their first assignments (with Buffy, it was just her training exercise, whereas Faith screws up an actual mission and puts lives at stake). Faith’s moral code conflicts with the job at hand, employed to protect a dubious villain who would normally be a one-off Big Bad. Faith will likely grow more comfortable with Kennedy’s organization, but then, so did Buffy, and what this story needs desperately is to not play out like a copy of Season 9’s “Guarded” story line. Hopefully #4 has some surprises in store.
Across the first three issues, Faith’s story has run approximately 25 pages, versus around 38 pages for Angel, so there’s no question as to what the A plot/B plot is. Angel’s story has been the better of the two, as he is left to clean up the mess of Magic Town in the aftermath of last volume’s explosive finale. He does some classic Angel-TV-series style detective work, walks down about a dozen dark alleys, and faces off against a couple gruesome monsters. Will Conrad’s drawings are a lot livelier in the Angel segments than they are in the Faith segments. He does supernatural horror very well, and Angel’s pages in #3 are reminiscent of books like Hellblazer, especially from pages 12-15. In them, Angel ventures into a dark abandoned warehouse, while a tentacle monster (first unseen), ominously speaks to him from all directions. This is effectively achieved by not using speech balloons for the monster’s dialogue; instead, the text dances across the bare artwork, wavy and large, overpowering the panels. It’s a clever way of illustrating the power of a monster in a way only comics can achieve. The last pages of #3 see Angel face off against a familiar villain, in what is the series’ strongest cliffhanger yet. “Where the River Meets the Sea” concludes with a fourth issue July 2nd.