Angel & Faith #22

With "Angel & Faith" set to wrap up in August (with issue #25), it's a little sad to see "Angel & Faith" #22 hit stores this month, because it means the end is nigh. For a strange sister title to its main parent "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9," though, "Angel & Faith" has ended up the real winner. Here, Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs once more remind readers how a strong creative team can make all the difference in the world.

After all, on its surface, an entire book revolving around Angel and Faith trying to bring Giles back from the dead could have gone horribly awry and even dull. But in "Angel & Faith" #22, when the book finally achieves its goal, not only is there still a final twist, but it feels right. Everything from the previous 21 issues has led up to this, both directly and indirectly. In other words, it feels like Gage has had a 2-year plan meticulously plotted out from day one, and let's be honest: how often do you actually get that in both practice and reality?

I also appreciate that the twist itself in terms of Giles' return could have felt lame or annoying, but instead is taken seriously but with also a nice slice of humor. It's a strange decision on the surface, but as you take into account everything we've learned about Giles' life as well as his family, it makes sense and more importantly Gage is actually doing something interesting with it. I'm not sure where it'll go from here, but with three issues to go I feel like the sky's the limit. That is exactly the sort of feeling you should get from a comic, but especially one that's moving through its final storyline.

Isaacs' art, as always, looks great. She's good with likenesses, but she's also able to keep her characters feel animated and non-posed; that's something rare in a licensed comic book. Pages are cleanly laid out and easy to follow, the individual panels are carefully rendered to focus your eyes on just the right thing, and backgrounds are present and well fleshed-out. All of these seem like obvious things to want in a comic's visuals, but at the same time you'd be surprised how some or all of these fail to show up. Add in a great overall artistic style with some nice thick ink lines and you end up with another smart looking comic.

"Angel & Faith" #22 is another in a long line of good comics from Gage and Isaacs. Fans of the stars of this comic should definitely be buying these; definitely one of the best licensed books I've read in a while. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if Gage and Isaacs work on a comic together, I'll buy it, no questions asked. As always, good times.

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