When it was first announced, the concept of “Angel & Faith” sounded a bit questionable. The two characters interacted well together in the past on the “Angel” television show, but a spin-off comic with the two of them as co-leads seemed almost destined for mediocrity. Then Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs quickly demonstrated how wrong those assumptions were, and “Angel & Faith” #25 close out a little over two years of strong comics. Here’s the great thing: it all really does come together just about perfectly.
Gage told a story about two characters trying to find their own way in the world; they’re both adrift when “Angel & Faith” #1 opens, with a connection in Angel having killed Faith’s mentor Giles as part of the conclusion of the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8” comic series. When “Angel & Faith” #25 wraps up and enters the epilogue portion of the comic, both characters are situated in a very different position than where they started. They’re understanding where they need to go next in life, and these 25 issues have carefully guided them through that process. It’s a genuine pleasure to see a series not only structured so carefully, but then execute that plan with grace and finesse. Angel, Faith and the rest of the cast have all sounded internally consistent and (when originating on the television show) sounded true to what readers had seen in the past.
Just as importantly, this issue also works well as a single unit. Gage wraps up the story of Whistler and company’s magic plague story in a manner that is exciting and fun; it’s a smart way to have it all come to an end, and I like that the collateral damage isn’t neatly whisked away. The plague has consequences, and there’s still a nasty body count because of their plan. Of course, readers even get a good moment with Lavina and Sophronia; two characters who should have been too annoying for words, but in fact have been a fun addition to the cast.
It also goes without saying that Isaacs’ art looks excellent as ever. Just as she has since the first issue, Isaacs both nails likenesses and also doesn’t abandon her own art style in the process. Angel and Faith each look like the actors who played them on the show, with everything from Angel’s sheepish smile as Lavina and Sophronia talk to the reporter, to Faith’s troubled expression when she tells Angel what she has in store for her life next. There’s so much detail in this pages too; everything from wrinkled sheets to little bits of glass flying everywhere when a car is smashed to pieces. You’d almost expect Isaacs to need to cut corners somewhere to fit all of this in, but every page looks great.
“Angel & Faith” #25 was a great conclusion to a series that will be genuinely missed. All of the other “Buffyverse” comics over the years have had ups and downs, but credit to Gage and Isaacs: this has been a remarkably consistent and good comic. I wish all licensed books took this much care. In the meantime, next time Gage and Isaacs work on a comic, I’ll be first in line to buy it, no questions asked. Gage and Isaacs have created a comic that all future “Buffy” creators should use as a model. Well done.