Christos Gage (script), Rebekah Isaacs (art), Dan Jackson (colours), Chris Samnee (art, Women of a Certain Age), Jordie Bellaire (colours, Women of a Certain Age), Steve Morris (cover) etc
Genre: graphic novel
Angel & Faith: (1) Live Through This
Angel & Faith: (1) Live Through This
It’s been too long since I’ve read anything and since I had just finished my review of Buffy: Freefall but couldn’t manage to find my copy of Buffy: On Your Own from wherever it decided to hide itself on my laptop, I decided on the next best thing: Angel & Faith. One issue, I promised myself. Yeah, right. I finished the whole arc, went to bed at three in the morning and felt like crap when I woke up. But it was worth it and I’m going to tell you why.
Something is making its way across London, making people crazy and lash out at the people around them with devastating consequences. In the course of his bring-Giles-back-to-life mission, Angel has been poring over the Watcher’s journals and thinks he knows who the culprit is. The Lorophage demon feeds on the trauma of others to the point of death, but there have been rare reported cases of the Lorophage being interrupted in its feeding process, with the victim merely becoming insane – Giles was one such victim. There must be something controlling the Lorophage in order for it to be leaving this many victims alive, and whatever it is, it must be pretty damn powerful …
Meanwhile, Faith is still having a hard time controlling one of her girls. All Nadira wants to do is avenge the deaths of her slayer-sisters but her survivor-guilt is eating away at her so that she’s channelling out her rage during patrols and on her fellow slayers. It’s a sure path to self-destruction and Faith recognises the signs all too well: she’s been in exactly the same place before. Her own guilt still eats at her every day, but with Angel’s help, she’s learnt how to deal and try to make amends. If Nadira wasn’t presenting enough of a thorn in her side, Faith’s father is in town …
But what if all that guilt, regret and trauma could be taken away? There’s a new female vampire in town calling herself ‘Mother Superior’. By exerting her influence over the Lorophage, he only extracts the trauma, leaving his ‘patient’ perfectly whole, sane and content with their lives. It may seem like an altruistic thing to do, but there’s the sad fact that some ‘patients’ suffer adverse side-effects and Mother Superior must be stopped … and then A&F discover her true identity: Drusilla. A sane Drusilla.
As might be expected, Drusilla has an ulterior motive for being in town. Angel might have driven her utterly crazy before sentencing her to an eternity of said craziness, but with her now-clear head, she doesn’t blame him one bit. Instead, all she wants to do is help him by taking his own nightmares away. Angel’s not too happy: the horrors he committed as Angelus are what keeps Angel on the surface and spur him on every day to make amends – without the guilt, he’d be nothing and he’s determined to keep his sadistic memories, whatever the cost.
In Women of a Certain Age (issue 5), A&F are graced by a visit from Giles’ great-aunts – and the couple of dozen demons that have come to collect on their debts. Magic runs in the family and they’ve used theirs to keep themselves eternally young; now with the death of magic, grey hairs are starting to crop up aplenty and Sophronia and Lavinia are in hot water. They might have come to London to seek protection, but that’s not all they want …
I loved this. Angel’s goal of bringing Giles back to life wasn’t hugely prominent, but there were hints throughout and everything came to light and fit together by the end. I’m not too crazy on being kept in the dark right like that, but that’s suspense for you. I love Angel’s determination to right this wrong, however impossible or improbable it seems to be since Giles died a natural death. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big Buffy-Angel shipper. Their reunion in Buffy Season 8 was literally my dream come true, and the ending of that season was devastating for me. I’m secretly hoping that if Angel succeeds, he and Buffy will end up back together, but I know that Joss Whedon will never do the obvious and give much such happiness.
I’m a big fan of Drusilla, and Juliet Landau who plays her in the series. She captures the crazy, British bitch perfectly (like Olivia Williams as Adelle DeWitt in Dollhouse, crazy is debatable) and I love her all the more for it. She’s a tortured soul and you can’t help but feel a little sorry for her at the torture she suffered at the hands of Angelus, but then she turns around and kills a kitten* or something and you remember just how dangerous she is.
Drusilla, sane, was something of a novelty that I’m reluctantly marvelling at, but wary that there’s every possibility that the act could be completely fake and she’ll turn around, go vamp-y face and kill everyone. You know, the norm. One of the things I adore about Drusilla is how she has a tendency to speak in rhyme, riddle and prophecy and so it was a shame to see it gone. The new Drusilla is disconcertingly nice and so you know she must have something up her sleeve. It was an interesting arc to read and with the Faith-Faith’s father story taking place too, it made for a very intertwine-y chapter in the whole picture.
The fifth issue was illuminating. We see that Giles’ magical abilities first came to light in an accident created by L&S and from that moment, he was packed off to be a Watcher and follow in his father’s and grandmother’s footsteps. He lost his innocence at a young age and after a particularly trying ordeal, we see the events that force Giles into the Ripper years of his life. I feel that we’ve learnt more about Giles’ history during the course of the graphic novels and while I wish that the Giles Ripper television spin-off had taken off, I’m perfectly happy to see more of his history unfold in future issues.
Overall, a fantastic episode. There’s been just enough unanswered questions and doors opened that multiple theories are revolving in my brain and sparking my need for Volume 3: Family Reunion, but not too many that my brain is on overload and annoyed at the number of unresolved issues. The gorgeous cover for volume three shows an appearance by Connor, Angel’s son (yay! more family!) and I’m beyond excited. Are you?
*I don’t think this ever happened on the show, but think of something equally horrible.
Images courtesy of Book Depository and NetGalley