As “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10” rumbles on, the book has hit a logical point where a guest appearance by Angel can happen. With Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs as the former creative team on “Angel & Faith,” the duo takes time to not only have a fun comic waiting for readers, but also follow up a tiny bit on the events of those issues.
The reborn Giles has been a major part of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10” for so long, it’s easy to forget that the quest to bring him back took place in the original run of “Angel & Faith.” As a result, we get some nice little touches, like Angel’s regret on how it didn’t work out quite as planned, and Giles’ asking about Faith. At the same time, though, it doesn’t distract from the bigger plots involving Archaeus or Buffy and Spike’s relationship.
It’s that relationship that, in many ways, dominates the book (even as they rally against Archaeus) and, so far, Gage takes it at a good pace. Getting the two of them back together is certainly going to upset some fans while delighting others, and I like that it doesn’t feel like Gage is rushing into them being a couple once more. The little hesitant moments between them (as well as around Angel) feel natural. It also helps to distract from the fact that Archaeus still doesn’t feel quite in “big bad” territory just yet; with some future encounters that might change but, for the moment, he hardly feels like the foe that our cast needs to worry about. With strong character interactions and dynamics, though, there’s more than enough to compensate.
Isaacs’s art and Dan Jackson’s colors are pleasant as ever. Some of the little reaction shots here are especially strong, like Angel’s wide-eyed stare when he sees Buffy and Spike holding hands; you can almost see the rest of his body rearing back in surprise. Similarly, his stony-faced “It’s fine” at the bottom of the next page is sold as much by the cold look in his eyes as it is by Gage’s dialogue. The demonic attack in the hallway is well-handled; Isaacs understands quite well how to handle motion in a medium that, at its core, is static and — from Buffy whipping the scythe around to the poisonous bolts shooting out of the demon’s tail — the entire sequence feels fast-paced and furious.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10” #16 is another solid installment from a series that performs well. Gage and Isaacs clearly aren’t done with Angel’s arrival as a bit of a turbulence for Buffy and Spike’s new relationship and, considering how well previous relationship drama has been in this current series, we’ve got some fun times ahead. The “Season 10” issues are, once again, proving to be the most consistently good of the post-series “Buffy” comics to date. Keep up the good work, everyone.