We’re one issue away from the finale now. And as good as the issue is, it feels a little abrupt. All that really gets set up is a big action sequence, which is interesting because it didn’t necessarily feel like the season was truly winding down in the past few issues.

Still, we’ve got all the pieces in play for one hell of a battle in the finale, so that’s definitely something to be excited for. The best news, I think, is that it looks like I can finally put to rest one of the major worries I’ve been very vocal about with this book since the character came into play: It looks like they are going to take Illyria in an interesting direction. At the very least, they’re not outright vilifying her, which was my major concern.

What surprised me most and turned out to be the highlight of Angel & Faith #24 was Eldre K’oh. Buffy and Angel have always been known for incredible character development. When a lot of new characters, like K’oh, were introduced in season nine, they didn’t get room to develop because there were just too many stories to balance at that point. Many of them were written out completely. K’oh was a major part of the last season and they managed to find a way for him to stick around by transporting him to Angel & Faith. It’s worked remarkabaly well and he’s shown a surprising amount of depth.

Angel & FaithThis character is relatively new, having only been introduced in the previous comic season and all we’ve learned about him in that time is that he is driven by vengeance and holds to a specific code of honor. The fact that he is now putting his need for vengeance aside and giving what appears to be an earnest, heartfelt speech to the being that killed his family is amazing. This is the kind of character development that these books are supposed to represent. I’m so happy to see that hasn’t been forgotten. The best thing about this moment in the book is that it feels exactly like the kind of quiet, dramatic character moment that would have happened on one of the shows.

The issue itself is essentially just a long action sequence with occasional interruptions. It takes place on a battlefield that just gets bigger by the end, picking up right where the fight began last issue. Still, there are some great character moments in here that are made even better by the fact that they star characters that haven’t really gotten the spotlight much this season.

This results in an issue that develops character and plot with great balance, although there really isn’t all that much going on in it. It makes up for that with great characterization and dialogue.

WICKED RATING: [usr 7.5]