Cover art for Angel & Faith 14
Cover art for Angel & Faith #14

For those who have not been reading, Angel & Faith it follows the vampire with a soul as he tries to assert himself as the protector of an small area of London that has become known as “Magic Town”—this was a place where a great deal of magic spilled back into the world, causing all of the normal citizens nearby to be fundamentally changed into some sort of magical being. It’s a place and event that, naturally, Angel feels responsible for. In the previous season, which could technically be noted as “season one” of Angel & Faith, he and Faith were partners that were very like-minded and had each other’s back at every turn.

It’s interesting reading the title when those two characters don’t have that anymore. In some ways it’s almost more interesting to see how things will develop when that partnership is nearly gone. They do still share the same space, and we don’t have to divvy up the plot to focus on their separate adventures, but putting the two of them back together in London doesn’t necessarily mean anything’s changed since when we left them at the end of the season.

Angel faces down IllyriaIn the continuing plot arc, however, both Angel and Faith have taken a back seat to the return of Fred. Fans always speculated that this beloved Angel character would one day return in the comics, but fans also loved Illyria, the Elder God in human form who took Fred’s place. Even that character was thought to be dead at the end of Buffy’s ninth comic season. Having both Fred and Illyria return as two beings having to share the same body is great, but I worry somewhat about how they’re handling it. It could lead to some wonderful storytelling, however, and hopefully it will. The only problem is that now that Fred’s around, Illyria’s immediately the bad guy. That takes down years of character development on Illyria’s part. This was a character who benefitted from the transition to comics because she was a unique new creation who appeared right before Angel was cancelled and was never given the proper room to develop on TV. Now, she returns to the way she was first written, as an all-powerful villainess with no real rhyme or reason. It’s almost like making Willow dark again without giving an explanation as to why.

Luckily the other characters are quick to point out this change in her personality, which means there has to be some reason for it. The last time readers saw Illyria, she appeared to by dying to save the world. Maybe that moment of selflessness, of vulnerability, has caused her to revert. Maybe she’s doing it because she’s scared and unsure how to deal with her own feelings and is lashing out at people because of that. We’ll just have to wait and see how the story unfolds.

Angel & Faith cover paintingTo everyone who is curious about the current state of the Buffy comics, now is as good a time as any to get on board. The overall plot in both series is clearly moving toward something big. Even though we’re halfway through the run, this current arc isn’t a bad time to jump on Angel & Faith because it’s actually the first to feature both of them together this season.

Overall, this issue had some character missteps but to be fair they’re about the first of the season and will probably be explained fairly quickly, so we’ll see how things go from here.

WICKED RATING: 6/10 [usr 6]