Comic Review: Angel and Faith Season 10 #4

Check out my review of Angel & Faith season 10 issue #1 here.

angel & faith 4

The first mini-arc of Angel & Faith season 10 wraps up with a bang and a new revelation in issue #4. The story is very Angel-heavy, and focuses on his big fight with Pearl. My biggest concern here is that three characters have been brought back as adversaries/companions. Why do we keep re-treading old ground? As much as I enjoy seeing old favorites, I’d like to meet some new big bads even more.

The art continues to impress me, and I’m very excited to see what plan our new (old) villain has for Angel – and how Faith will end up back at his side.

Plot

“Angel’s taking some beatings in Magic Town, while Faith is dishing them out, whether they’re deserved or not. The two remain a world apart, dealing with a demonic rock god and a city preyed on by the magical powers exploding inside it.”

Deets

Writer: Victor Gischler
Artist: Will Conrad
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Cover Artist: Scott Fischer

Buy it here!

[Disclaimer: A review copy was provided for me to review this comic.]

Comic Review: Angel and Faith Season 10 #3

Check out my review of Angel & Faith season 10 issue #1 here.

angel & faith

I loved last month’s cover, and this time it’s even better. I hope Scott Fischer stays forever. The art continues to perfectly match the magic of the series, which, although it’s more mystical than the television show, stays true to the feeling of loneliness that runs through the series.

As for the story, it’s finally picking up; I’m just loving the diversity of the new cast and the awesome revelations from the old cast. If you liked last season, definitely pick this one up!

Now I REALLY can’t wait for the next issue.

Plot

“Angel has found everyone is going to the same person in London’s Magic Town for advice—and it’s decidedly not him. But she is someone Angel can take partial credit for… And the pixie menaces have stepped up their muscle with another lady from Angel’s past. Meanwhile, Faith is screwing up. Again.”

Deets

Writer: Victor Gischler
Artist: Will Conrad
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Cover Artist: Scott Fischer

Buy it here!

[Disclaimer: A review copy was provided for me to review this comic.]

Comic Review: Angel and Faith Season 10 #2

Check out my review of Angel & Faith season 10 issue #1 here.

This is probaby my favorite cover ever. It’s gorgeous: Scott Fischer outdid himself. Speaking of gorgeous, an old character is back, and her design is also quite interesting. I’m still loving Conrad’s style, and I’m excited to see more new, crazy-looking monsters.

angel and faith

This issue didn’t hook me quite as well as the first one, mostly because it was a bit predictable. All of its plot points also covered old ground. I was pleased to see the introduction of a new black character as someone more than “random passerby” or “member of a group;” that’s one area in which I think the comics are really lacking. Although I’m 98% sure he’s going to die, just like I’m 98% sure Faith is getting fired in the next issue.

Either way, I’m sticking around!

Plot

“As Faith awkwardly settles into her new job at Kennedy’s bodyguards-for-hire company, Angel is finding that he knows less than everyone about what is going on in London’s magic town. Trying to get to the bottom of a fiendish group of scheming pixies, Angel travels further down a really wrong road…”

Deets

Writer: Victor Gischler
Artist: Will Conrad
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Cover Artist: Scott Fischer

Buy it here!

[Disclaimer: A review copy was provided for me to review this comic.]

Comic Review: Angel and Faith Season 10 #1

It’s back! It’s finally back! The Angel & Faith series continues today with issue #1 of Season 10. I previously reviewed the first 25 issues of Angel & Faith, which were part of Season 9 in the Buffyverse.

angel and faith #1

Victor Gischler and Will Conrad are taking over the series from Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs, who have both been moved over to the Buffy team. I’m not sure how I feel about this yet, so keep your eyes on my future reviews.

So far, the writing is very comfortable and familiar territory for any Angel fan, with laughs, backstory, and sadness woven into one engaging story. Also, file this issue under: things I didn’t see coming. Because whoa. Besides Angel’s dorky humor and terrible luck, there’s also Faith’s story. As we all know, Faith is at her best when she’s far away from Buffy. How will this reunion affect her? Is she finally mature enough to get over her Buffy envy?

As a side note: I really love how seamlessly Buffy Season 10 #1 and Angel & Faith Season 10 #1 are woven together. If you’re reading both (which I recommend), you’ll even notice a few pages where the same scene is happening, just from a different perspective. Very interesting.

So, pick up this issue of Angel & Faith, and be sure you’re also reading Buffy, because all signs point to this being a wild ride.

Plot

Angel’s work is never done. During his most recent world saving, a part of London was transformed and flooded with magic. Who better to watch over this magical community than Angel? At least, that’s what he thinks. Meanwhile, Faith starts a new chapter in her life—slaying zompires alongside Buffy?!

Deets

Writer: Victor Gischler
Artist: Will Conrad
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Cover Artist: Scott Fischer

Buy it here!

[Disclaimer: A review copy was provided for me to review this comic.]

iZombie: Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues

Liv & Clive in Redneck Central

Welcome back to a week with a forgettable Brain of the Week – I think the writers themselves forgot about it until the last five minutes – some more jamming Peyton pathos in to spackle over the cracks, and Blaine! Blaine makes everything better.

This episode opens with a bunch of pervy, idiotic high school boys (all high school boys) finding a gun in the bushes. Despite all the leading imagery with the convenience store robbery, I really kept hoping that gun was Major’s. I don’t think he’d be that stupid, but man’s been cracking like a Cadbury egg lately. His brains are starting to ooze out like a disgusting fondant creme people only eat because it’s tradition, is what I’m saying.

Because we’re still going to get you to care about Peyton, we open on her doing some weird hiphop dance yoga PSL white lady thing. Liv swings by to thank her for the birthday cake, and to inject in a friendship that would have made more sense in the last season. I’m glad that not everyone is all, “Ah! Liv zombie! Kill with fire!” and Peyton, after taking a beach vacation for six months because she’s a secret Trump or something, is surprisingly cool with it all. But there was just almost nothing there before beyond the occasional exposition, and I’m not sure if Peyton’s been interesting enough beyond she’s a lawyer and hot, and a lawyer and hot! Hopefully they’ll do something beyond her getting frisky with Blaine and a dumb love triangle.

Who wouldn’t want to see Peyton go all Rambo the way Major did? That’d be something new.

Speaking of the zombie assassin, he’s in deep waking up at Rita/Gilda’s place (Liv doesn’t seem fazed at all that her roommates keep having second and third homes) and regretting every moment he’s in his skin. There’s a lot of man pain on display, but in this case, I think the guy’s earned it. He never really mourned Liv dumping him, never mourned losing all those kids from his job to Blaine, never came to terms with the whole zombie apocalypse, and is just snorting/licking/rubbing in his hair utopium to smooth out the pain.

Ravi’s apparently done something to his car, which we’ve never seen, but it was really an excuse to have Liv bump into Major again as she swings by to pick him up for another murder. We also get to learn that Ravi named the dog Minor, because of course he did. You’re just lucky you’re cute, Punman!

To our brain of the week – it’s a waitress at a country music joint in the Little Redneck district of Seattle. Lacy was strangled by someone waiting in her closet. Liv finds piles of unopened letters that our dead waitress sent to someone in prison. Of course the guy was released a month ago from the joint and she cheated on him, and he was in jail for beating a guy with a pool cue.

The country song backstory was worth it to have Ravi sidle up next to Clive and whisper, “Thank you for doing sex with me.” Go and try this, preferably with your significant other. It’s 0-100% guaranteed to work. I am totally with Liv, “make love” needs to die in a glittery fire of molotav cocktails.

Out of the brain of the week to what seems a distraction about the convenience store shooter. We learn that Clive’s working for Amanda Waller now (run, Clive!) and the FBI sent in a blonde lady named after the mayor of some city. Seems the FBI is really concerned about all these rich white guys disappearing. It’s only been a few days, a week at the most for some, but damn it! This shall not stand! What’s that? Blaine killed over a hundred people for party trays at his zombie soireés? Were they rich? Who cares!

Liv and Clive swing by a pawn shop, giving the writers the chance to use “Pawn of the Dead” for their scene card. We got another glitter molotav cocktail for that pun? Matt Sudek, Lacy’s jailbird boyfriend, works there – but mostly it gives Liv a chance to start speaking in Apple Jack level of countryisms. I’m surprised they didn’t make the actress adopt a yee-haw texas accent as well. They did force Liv to get big into singing and, after running into a wall with the investigation, she buys a guitar.

After some teasing for a few weeks, we finally meet Stephanie and she’s freaking adorable. Ravi talks about how he’s wearing a cologne with pheromones so he can be a walking sex experiment, and Steph’s joking back, wondering where they got the pheromones from. Now that, that’s a good start of a relationship. Not long glares, silent stares, or watching people while they sleep. People bantering and building off one another.

Of course, because we’ve got to throw another wrench into the mix, Peyton shows up unannounced and it seems, despite her being richer than Croesus – she’s going to move in with Major and Ravi. Not that Major felt the need to tell Ravi or anything. I went full team Steph when, after the awkwardness, she asked if that was Ravi’s ex and then went for a high five.

Doing some more investigation into the brain of the week, our crime prodding duo stop by Lacy’s place of work – a dive bar shipped plank by plank from the side of an interstate in Oklahoma into Seattle’s hipster paradise. The crimsoniest of red necks tells them that the night of Lacy’s death he saw her arguing with the owner and then dump hot coffee into his lap. This gives Liv her only zombie vision of the episode where Lacy asks for a loan advance from her boss Rick and, of course, the guy gets handsy. What do we have behind door number 1? I do believe it’s a red herring!

But who cares about that, we’ve got Blaine! Seems he’s noticed a few of his zombie customers have gone missing, and he isn’t happy about that. He’s also gotten himself a new zombie thug who’s either mute or, knowing Blaine, had his tongue ripped out. He speaks through his phone, which leads to some great one-liners. As Blaine’s about to send Lenny 2 out to figure out what’s going on, Don E pops up to announce that he’s found the guy who made the tainted utopium, but there’s a problem – he’s found Jesus.

Blaine tries to torture Gabe into giving up his formula while Lenny beats him with a bible, but there’s no budging Gabe’s faith. He’s in it hardcore.

Back to our brain of the week; Rick voluntarily turns himself in, along with his pregnant wife, now spinning the story that Lacy was hopelessly in love with him so when he told her he was married, she went crazy and pelted his crotch with coffee. Of course, Liv calls him on it: “You offered her cash for sex, that’s what those blisters are about.” And his wife loses it, whacking Rick about the head and says he was going to use her to lie as an alibi.

Sadly, the hope of solving this early and spending the rest of the episode with Blaine’s merry band of misfits is dashed as Clive does his awesome detective stuff without having to be an insufferable ass in a scarf by talking the wife into a trap. He asks if there was any blood on Rick’s clothes, and she says of course she saw it, then he tells her that Lacy was strangled. There was no blood.

I’m not sure if we got the scene of Liv singing in the dive bar so the actress could show off her pipes (which were nice) or just to see Ravi in full on cowboy hat and fancy shirt. If it was the latter, totally worth it. That man must have a wardrobe that could rival Cher from Clueless, or maybe he’s got an in with a costume shop.

While Liv’s singing her little zombie heart out, Clive’s trying to call her about the false-false alibi from Rick’s wife. While there, a woman finally realizes her dumbass son found the gun and drops it off at the police station. But Clive’s so distracted he passes it off to the scented candle cop (I have no idea where that candle guy setup is going, just run with it).

Somehow, Liv’s song about Matt and Lacy stirs up all these feelings and she has to run out of there to find Major. Ravi shouts to her: “You’re gonna miss me trying to convince one of these lovelies to play cowgirl and Indian.”

At the car, Matt pops up looking super creepy. Because he missed the “how not to be a creep” lessons, he leans close to this barely known woman in a dark parking lot, huffing through his words, and saying love a lot. I’m surprised Liv didn’t slip right into zombie mode there. But Matt’s scene was just to prove he’s not the killer because he really loved Lacy, and murderers never kill people they love. Liv rushes off to Major to finally cut him free. She pours her little heart out (not in song) and Major’s response is “Okay, cool” as he shuts the door.

Liv’s not having this, and runs back in because somehow everything is always abut Liv. She even blames Major for her going to the party because he wanted her to have some fun. “How could I become your wife? I was a monster.” There’s an interesting selfishness that bobs up often in Liv. Whenever she lets people down, it’s often played as the brains at work, but I wonder how true that is. Liv often does questionable things just so she won’t be alone. But that doesn’t make her a bad person, just human. It’s refreshing, as female characters tend to either be devils or saints – there’s almost never any nuance. Which isn’t all the fault of writers; the public in general has trouble accepting grey in a woman. If she isn’t a perfect singing nun at all times, then she’s a shrieking harpy a la Skyler from Breaking Bad. Why couldn’t she just let Walt run his own meth making ring and been happy for it? It’s not like she was saddled to this monster through her children or anything.

Anyway, back at Blaine’s, where I’m really glad they brought back Scott E in the form of his twin Don E. The actor hits it out of the park, explaining to our mute zombie about religion and the eucharist, “Jesus rose from the dead, but that doesn’t make him a zombie if he doesn’t eat brains. I don’t know what you qualify as when you require other people to eat you.”

They’re in charge of watching over poor Gabe, who Blaine’s got in a coffin. Gabe still refuses to give up his formula, so Blaine has Lenny 2 slice him up with his fingernail. They throw Gabe back into the coffin and screw it down. “Gonna be a fresh angry zombie soon. Might want to use more screws.”

Peyton’s continuing her two-face transition by trying to find someone, anything willing to take down Stacy Boss (Voss?), but of course everyone’s far too scared to take the deal – until a white haired angel comes through her door. Yup, Blaine’s plans to take down this Boss involve him working closely with Peyton. There’s some mafia-babble about the utopium coming out of Singapore and Hong Kong, which you’d think would get the DEA or someone other than a lone Seattle lawyer on the case but, eh, the FBI’s busy looking out for missing rich guys.

We also see the start of Blaine flirting with Peyton, because that girl has got the widest tastes imaginable. Back when Ravi first wanted Liv to set them up, she talked about all the random dudes Peyton kept on speed dial. Now she’s piqued by the white haired major drug criminal who waltzed into her door to take down some Boss Boss? Girl, buy a few standards.

Just to remind the viewers at home how evil (and awesome) Blaine is, he’s taunting our new zombie Gabe with some brains. He promises him all he can eat and even to cure the zombie out of him if he’ll just share his formula. I’m not sure why they didn’t go to the come-to-Jesus guy with the promise that if he helps in the investigation he could save hundreds, perhaps thousands of lives from a looming zombie apocalypse. You’d think Gabe would jump at that chance far before all the Bible beating and coffin screwing.

Gabe believes that Blaine is testing his faith, so Blaine does what he does best by throwing Gabe out into the wilderness for “40 days” to get him good and hungry and send him running back with the formula. An interesting idea, but Blaine better hope he comes back to the dark side before going full feral. Gabe seems to be the only hope for a cure. Though they’re also relying a lot on a strung out junkie/drug dealer remembering a formula he mixed up a year and a half ago. I don’t foresee that type keeping stringent lab notes.

Major, in his ‘doesn’t give a shit about anything’ state, managed to lose the dog. Ravi’s the one to find Minor sniffing around the park where Major first abducted him and his old owner. Of course, this breaks our little Ken Doll and he goes chasing after more utopium. Is this…I do believe we’ve finally hit rock bottom when he realizes he’s buying it off one of the kids he knew from his old days in the shelter.

As he’s about to leave, guilty pills in hand, Rita/Gilda hits him up for some Netflix and chill. Major’s life is not in a good place.

Oh right, that brain of the week. We should probably solve that. I mean Clive, he always solves it. Turns out that the convenience store killer, after ditching the gun, ran into Lacy’s closet for reasons that only make sense to someone losing blood flow to the brain due to the Spanx over their face. He jumped out and killed Lacy just because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Life’s cruel like that. Anyway, moving on…

Our final stinger is Major, red-eyed and barely able to stand, begging for Liv to help him. She does this by jamming her tongue down his throat. I’d have suggested a glass of water and a nap first, but you do you, Liv.

So we’ve got Peyton playing with two kinds of fire, Major trying to rebuild himself with probably the worst option available (Ravi seems like the more considerate one – tongue jamming optional), and Blaine working to take down the Boss, probably learn Major’s the zombie assassin, and trace the cure for his own means.

Can’t wait to see what happens next.

Comic Review: Angel & Faith #25

As you know, I’m a huge Angel fan. For more information on this series, check out my first Angel & Faith review.

Angel & Faith #25 (Steve Morris cover) is the finale of the series, finally ending the fight that began in another series. While the ending makes sense and sets characters up for their next move, I admit to being a little disappointed in the cheesiness with which it is accomplished. The let-down is probably also due to how amazing issue #24 was.

angel and faith 25

Plot

Millions of lives hang in the balance, and Angel and Faith just might be on the losing end of this battle. It’s times like these that call for drastic measures…how far will they go to save the world?

Lives are lost, heroes are born, and as one chapter ends, another begins.

Deets

Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Rebekah Isaacs
Colorist: Dan Jackson
Cover Artist: Steve Morris

Buy it here!

[Disclaimer: A review copy was provided for me to review this comic.]

Comic Review: Willow – Wonderland

Come for the Willow, stay for the art.

willow

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow – Wonderland is a mini-series all about Buffy fan-favorite Willow. It picks up right where we last saw Willow: hanging out with Angel & Faith in a hell dimension.

What follows is Willow’s personal quest. I really enjoy Parker and Gage’s ability to capture the quirky humor and underlying strength of Willow. They also do a great job with the suspense and pacing. This miniseries was really well-done all around!

The added bonus of getting the TPB is the collection of art in the back of the book. It’s just gorgeous. I highly recommend this to all Buffy and Wicca fans!

Plot

Armed with Buffy’s broken scythe, Willow has entered another dimension and begun a quest to somehow, someway, against all odds, bring magic back to Earth. She must keep her darkest self at bay while she battles demons – the scaly and horned type as well as her own! Collects the five-issue miniseries.

Deets

Writer: Jeff Parker, Christos Gage
Penciller: Brian Ching
Inker: Jason Gorder, Michelle Madsen
Cover Artist: David Mack

Buy the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow – Wonderland TPB here!

[Disclaimer: A review copy was provided for me to review this comic.]

Comic Review: Angel & Faith #24

As you know, I’m a huge Angel fan. For more information on this series, check out my first Angel & Faith review.

Angel & Faith #24 (Steve Morris cover) continues the mighty battle from #23 and it is so. Damn. Good. This is everything you remember from the show – humor mixed with chaos, edge-of-your-seat moments, and moments that make you yell, “YES KILL THAT ASSHOLE YES.” Or maybe that’s just me.

Again, Rebekah’s creatures get the chance to shine and sicken with their crazy forms and molten limbs. This is my favorite issue in the series so far, hands down.

angel and faith 24

Plot

Angel and Faith will need all the help they can get when it comes to stopping this season’s ubervillains from unleashing a magic-fueled plague on the earth. Enter an archmage, a former Watcher, and two socialites who’ve dabbled in magic…will it be enough?

Deets

Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Rebekah Isaacs
Colorist: Dan Jackson
Cover Artist: Steve Morris

Buy it here!

[Disclaimer: A review copy was provided for me to review this comic.]

Comic Review: Angel & Faith #23 (Steve Morris Cover)

As you know, I’m a huge Angel fan. For more information on this series, check out my first Angel & Faith review. Angel & Faith #23 (Steve Morris cover) starts off in the midst of battle, with our heroes each taking on their roles as warriors and back-up squad. The addition of Nadira to the battle felt a little contrived, as we’ve seen her type of character multiple times in the Buffyverse; I just didn’t see a purpose to her being there.

The art was great as usual, and Rebekah Isaacs does a great job of capturing emotion and energy in each panel. I could have used a few more splashy fight moves, but that’s nitpicking. Overall, this is a great series and I’m loving it.

angelandfaith23

Plot

Preventing Pearl, Nash, and Whistler from releasing their magical virus proves difficult for Angel and Faith. The duo is outmatched! Enter Nadira—could this hate-filled Slayer lend a helpful hand, or will she use this opportunity to end Angel for good?

Deets

Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Rebekah Isaacs
Colorist: Dan Jackson
Cover Artist: Steve Morris

Buy it here!

[Disclaimer: A review copy was provided for me to review this comic.]

Comic Review: Angel & Faith #22

As you know, I’m a huge Angel fan. For more information on this series, check out my first Angel & Faith review. Angel & Faith #22 (Steve Morris cover) starts off with a bang and ends with a ferocious cliffhanger. It’s clear that this is leading up to the final battle, and I can’t wait. We also have a lovely new twist that I think will add some zest to the character of Giles, so I’m interested to see how that will play out in this and other series in the Buffyverse.

angel&Faithstevemorriscover

The art was just gorgeous this time around. Rebekah Isaacs has such a talent for clothes, postures, and negative space. Her ability to convey so much feeling just in body posture is reminiscent of Whedon’s ability to have characters express feelings with made-up words. This was a great read, and if you’re a fan of the series, or Angel in general, you need to hop on this train before the final issue!

Plot

Angel’s plan to resurrect Rupert Giles has come to fruition—just not exactly as everyone had expected. But they’ll have to deal with the fallout from that later. Right now, Angel and Faith need all the help they can get to defeat Whistler, Pearl, Nash, and their plan to overhaul life on earth with a magical virus!

Deets

Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Rebekah Isaacs
Colorist: Dan Jackson
Cover Artist: Steve Morris

Buy it here!

[Disclaimer: A review copy was provided for me to review this comic.]