REVIEW: Angel & Faith #25 (of 25)

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In the summer of 2011, Dark Horse Comics expanded their ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ universe with a spinoff featuring her ex-beau and her erstwhile replacement in adventures of their own.  Problem is, DC’s New 52, Marvel NOW!, and enormous sea-changes in the comics industry since then pushed the adventures of slayer and vamp off the front page, to the point where I dropped the title and forgot about it.  Two years later, things are wrapping up for Angel & Faith, but where will the chips fall?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

SUMMARY

Pros
A nice closure.
The characters feel accurate.
Cons

Seems like this arc took FOREVER.
Some character moments feel arbitrary.

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

READER RATING!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)


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Angel&Faith25CoverANGEL & FAITH #25
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Rebekah Isaacs
Colorist: Dan Jackson
Letterer(s): Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Editor(s): Scott Allie and Sierra Hahn
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Angel & Faith: After the death of Rupert Giles at the end of Season 8, Angel blamed himself (in his Twilight persona) for all the chaos that had occurred.  Since Giles had left him his ancestral home, Angel set out to resurrect the Watcher, before revealing that Giles had left ANOTHER gift: his mind, trapped in Angel’s head.  Now, months later, his old friend Whistler has teamed up with Pearl and Nash, two vampiric creatures who want Angel dead, to stop them from transforming the planet with a magical virus, while Angel has been successful in bringing Giles back to life, but as a child.  Things are about to get really ugly for Angel & Faith, it seems…

IS ‘ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE?’ AN UNFORGIVABLE CLICHE?

Yeah, it probably is.  Bygones…

Aaaanyway, we open in mid-battle as Angel fights off a mystically-transformed Whistler (a character from his own television show who represents some sort of mystical balance between good and evil or something) while his virus transforms the denizens of London in monstrous forms.  The battle itself goes exactly the way I expect it to, which is somewhat disappointing to me, as the plotting is exactly like the various Buffy finales: Plan, setback, face turn, setback, heroic moment for somebody.  The interesting part, though, is that the magical Maguffin is taken care of halfway through the issue, the plan finally defeated, and a beloved supporting character about to die to tug on the heartstrings.

“IF YOU STARE TOO HARD AT THE BRASS RING, SOMETIMES YOU FORGET THE POINT IS THE RIDE…”

Where Gage excels, though, is what happens AFTER the end of the end of the world, as we get to see the characters dealing with the aftermath of their decisions throughout the series.  There’s a possible sequel hook in play, as well, with the transformed Londonites staying magically transformed into centaurs, medusas and the like, and talk of them moving together into a place that the locals call “Magictown.”  Angel gets a little bit of closure on his guilt, and Faith comes to a decision that changes everything.  From an art perspective, the issue is pretty good, neither overly-flashy nor awful (though some of the Faith close-ups veer into bizarre territory as they try to convey her internal conflict.)  Faith leaves London behind, Giles goes to find Buffy, and Angel walks off into the sunset in a solid wrap-up to this book.

THE BOTTOM LINE: A NICE, SOLID WHEDON-ESQUE ENDING.

The best parts of the issue are in the details, and there is a nice tie-in to the Buffy Season 9 comic as Faith considers a job offer working for Kennedy in her security agency (staffed by former slayers, one might recall) but things never quite get up to speed for me.  I really appreciate that the big fighty-fighty wasn’t the only focus of this last issue, and honestly prefer that we got to see more of the aftermath, but the way this issue breaks down really undermines the seriousness of the threat that we spent two years establishing.  It’s a good issue, but one that doesn’t quite give me the emotional punch that I was looking for, while the decisions of our three lead characters to go their separate way feels less than organic, more like an editorial decision to set up the next season of stories.  All in all, though, Angel & Faith #25 serves as a better-than-average climax to a better-than-average story that kind of got buried in the hype of the last couple of years of comics, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall.  If there is more for these characters in the works, though, I’d be willing to give it a chance, but I’m not sure I can sign on for another two-year tour of duty…

Rating: ★★★☆☆