I’m pretty sure that most “Angel” fans agree with me that the original Holtz/Connor/Quor’toth storyline in “Angel” seasons 3-4 was the low point of the series. Needlessly annoying at best, the mere idea of Quor’toth being revisited in “Angel & Faith” was distasteful. So that’s why I’m writing this review, to make sure that other “Angel” fans know that the impossible has happened: Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs have created a good story about Quor’toth.
The plot for this third chapter of “Family Reunion” is primarily an action sequence, but it works as part of the greater storyline. By this point we’ve learned about the good denizens of Quor’toth, as well as wanting to see this strange mix of Angel, Faith, Willow and Connor to succeed. What’s nice is that the goals of everyone but Connor at this point have all been temporarily put aside, and at no point did I feel like Gage was stalling. This is a natural progression of the storyline up until this point, and the lead-up to next month’s conclusion is fun. Gage also gets extra-credit for making the post-magic-departure Connor an interesting character. The rewrite of his memories in “Angel” Season 5 had turned an awful character into an interesting one, and with magic getting wiped from the planet we could have had a switch back to annoying Connor. Instead Gage has made him the kind of character that one wishes he’d been in “Angel” Seasons 3-4. It’s a smart decision on how to approach the character, and watching him interact with Angel and Faith in particular makes me think that Connor sticking around wouldn’t be such a bad thing at all.
I’ve also found myself enjoying the side plot with Sophronia and Lavinia Fairweather back at Giles’ estate. Characters that at first appeared to be no more than a one-off joke are serving a function, and watching them interact with Whistler and his gang is vastly entertaining. If all they do from this point on is introduce future storylines, I’d be pleased.
Isaacs’ art looks just as great as it did in her “DV8: Gods and Monsters” mini-series. She’s an artist who understands facial expressions and postures; from fighting monsters in a hell dimension to seeing Lavinia and Sophronia rolling their eyes at their attackers, every page and panel feels extremely natural. You get the sense right from the start that Isaacs can see the characters actually moving in her head, and that flow jumps right onto the page thanks to her art. She’s also excellent at likenesses of actors when necessary; so often characters like Angel or Willow would come across looking stiff, but all of the returning characters from the television show are just as lively and fresh as those created specifically for “Angel & Faith.”
“Angel & Faith” #13 is another solid chapter in a series that has rapidly eclipsed its parent title. Gage and Isaacs are taking a slightly strange odd couple of the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” universe and making it compelling and inviting reading. This is how a media-tie-in comic series should be handled. Good show, Gage and Isaacs.