Written by Christos Gage
Art by Rebekah Isaacs
Published by Dark Horse Comics
It’s oddly fitting that the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel comics should have ended up at different publishers for so many years, the two TV series having been similarly seperated in their original form by Buffy‘s premature cancellation by the WB and subsequent resurrection (both literal and figurative) by UPN while WB continued with Angel. Crossover elements became necessarily subtler but both series thrived seperately. Sadly this was not the case in the comics, where IDW’s Angel series became a slow paced, grey and dull affair while Dark Horse’s Buffy Season Eight, while certainly arguably overlong was a bright, fun and entertaining adventure.
Now back under the Dark Horse banner and completely rebuilt from the ground up with a brand new direction, title, a brand-new London setting and a central cast pared down to just the two title characters (or three if you count Giles), Angel and Faith got off to a roaring start with #1 and continues to deliver with #2.
Christos Gage (Avengers Academy) impresses with a story with strong ties to both the original Buffy and Angel TV shows’ history as well as recent events as Angel’s plan to atone for his actions at the end of Buffy Season Eight unfold. Gage clearly knows the Buffyverse well and writes both lead character’s voices authentically and recognisably without once falling into the licensed-comic trap of catchphrases and recycling of iconic dialogue. Granted Faith does say “five by five” but that’s Faith, she always says that. It’s not like those horrible Army Of Darkness comics where it’s all “groovy” this and “boomstick” that.
One criticism that can be levelled at the series so far is that Rebekah Isaacs’ art, gorgeous as it is doesn’t quite capture David Boreanaz’ likeness. Given the overall quality on display however, that feels like a very minor quibble. At the very least it doesn’t fall into that other typical licensed-comic trap, the overly photo-referenced art that comes across horribly stiff and posed. I can do without 100% accurate likenesses if it gets me comic art that looks like comic art.
Overall this a very exciting series to be following, and a fresh take on two fantastic, complex characters that’s been a long time coming. More of this sort of thing please.