As a whole, “Angel & Faith: Season 10” has traveled down an interesting road. Victor Gischler and Will Conrad inherited the setup from the previous “season,” which had the two characters heading their separate ways, and — though they took their time in reuniting the duo — it’s a plan that’s paid off well. “Angel & Faith: Season 10” #23 continues the final storyline by pulling together multiple plot points from the past two years, giving readers something to get excited about.
Part of what makes “Angel & Faith: Season 10” #23 work so well is seeing our protagonists be proactive. Their confrontation with Brandt could have easily been set up as a huge surprise, but – instead — our heroes come across as in control of the situation and able to use it to their advantage. That’s really important, since it makes them come across as heroes who have genuine victories. With Archaeus’ own plans coming together, there needs to be some sort of balance to keep “Angel & Faith Season 10” from feeling like an elegy of miseries.
The two characters also continue to have a strong chemistry together; it’s something that worked wonderfully on the “Angel” television series and was brought to the page earlier by Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs. Gischler and Conrad also make that friendship and mutual understanding of one another feel real. The additions of characters like Fred, Nadira and Koh all work out well, even as each have their own part to play in advancing the plot as the forces of Magic Town finally take over the statue. I appreciate that it isn’t something as simple as the colossus suddenly going on a rampage, and that instead there’s a tentative, questioning approach. While there’s an inevitable misunderstanding, Gischler keeps it from escalating in a cringe-worthy manner. Instead, it feels like the misunderstandings are dealt with in an adult way, and that — while the end of the issue is almost inevitable — it was despite the best efforts of all involved, not because of any boneheaded decisions.
Conrad’s art continues to capture the likenesses of the actors from the television show and feels energetic and dynamic rather than posed or stiff. The terror in Fred’s eyes is palpable when she’s attacked by the colossus, and I love how you can tell the transformation from Fred to Illyria has occurred simply by how Conrad draws her eye in the inset panel. As for the statue itself, I appreciate that it feels really strong and imposing. The moment where it almost stomps on one of the denizens of Magic Town works in no small part because of how Conrad draws the scene; the perspective of the intended victim looking up at the foot coming down gives readers a real sense of the colossus’ looming presence. This is a fine looking comic.
While I worry about the series’ conclusion, if only because Archaeus is also the main villain of “Buffy the Vampire: Slayer Season 10,” the comic has been on track enough that I’m hopeful the series will end on a strong note, regardless of what still has to happen in the parent title. If Gischler and Conrad team up for more comics down the line (either “Angel & Faith: Season 11” or something entirely different), I’ll certainly pick up a copy. They’ve done a nice job with this series, and I’m genuinely eager to see how they wrap things up. Good job.