2maggie2 (2maggie2) wrote,

Angel and Faith #2 (SPOILERS)

The reviews are all right on. This is a terrific issue. Some details and reactions  (apologies for no cut, but LJ keeps mucking with the formatting):

1. The fight in the preview pages opens up the issue -- it follows immediately on Angel's revelation to Faith at the end of #1. After the fight, Faith meets up with Angel and argues with him about it. She hits the notes we'd all hit: a snapped neck isn't a mystical death; if resurrection could be done, why didn't he resurrect Cordy when he was at W&H, etc. Angel's reply on the mystical death thing is that the reason resurrection is hard is cause in a natural death the soul goes wherever it goes. But because Giles was a mage, there might be something holding his soul back somehow.

I love Faith's reaction: "You think you can put his soul back together? He's Giles! Not a damn car engine! Why can't you let him rest? What're you gonna do next, dig him up?" And Angel's reply "Not until I have to".

Faith is enraged by all this, but then Angel grabs her and points to a watcher's file and says Giles is going to tell him how to do it. Faith's reaction is in voice over: "This is what got Angel back on his feet. Not anything I did." Great character moment.

And it fuels the rest of Faith's reaction. She isn't able to help Angel in any meaningful way, but she owes him for having made a difference for her back in the day, so she's going to stand by him. We get a *lot* of voice over repeating this point. She also tells him that straight up. Either this is over-repeated, or the point is being stressed to explain why Faith is going to stand by and watch Angel pursue something that's pretty ridiculous.

2. The poignancy of Faith's dilemma gets underscored in the flashback to her time with Giles -- which was about her desire to resurrect the professor she killed as a way of atoning. Giles tells her that in his vast library there's not a single reference to a normal human being resurrected from a natural death. Faith asks him if she could travel back in time to undo it. But Giles is firm... some things cannot be undone. "We can punish ourselves for them in pointless, indulgent ways. Acts that serve no purpose beyond wallowing in self-pity. Or we can try to atone for them. Not to erase what we did. Not to justify the unjustifiable. But to counter the evil we've done with a lifetime of good."

So that's the lesson Faith learned from Giles, and she's been doing a good job (so far) of living it out. But check out where it puts her now: She can't help Angel the way Giles helped her. Angel isn't listening. So she's super-aware of how off Angel is now. He's trying something that's physically impossible (so far as Giles knows) and is morally off the mark. You have to know when you can't erase a mistake, and learn to live with the consequences in some more healthy way. Faith's last note is that she is going to try to make Angel figure this out -- but as she's observed earlier, Angel's pretty desperate right now, and if you took away the illusion that he can erase the mistake, he wouldn't figure out how to live with it -- he'd probably do something more desperate.

Anyway, all of this is great -- a good interweaving of Faith's history with her current situation with Angel, and I love that Gage gets how complicated it all is. Faith even knows that Angel's a vampire with a soul... "a monster who hates himself for being a monster" and that's why he's never going to let himself off the hook.

3. Faith buys Giles' explanation of atonement and thinks to herself that Angel had already "made up" for Giles before he snapped his neck. I don't think atonement actually works that way, so it'll be interesting to see if part of what Faith learns that real atonement also requires attention to whatever it is that drove one to the monstrous act in the first place. Without that, Angel can keep being schizophrenic forever. Save a bunch of people and use that as 'balance' for the times he goes off the rails and hurts people. Angel is clearly energized by the various fights with demons he has this issue, and Faith tells Angel that she's worried about his ability to do such violence without feeling anything. So an issue could be lurking there. (See also Angel observing about another demon that he radiates cold because "there's nothing inside but a void.") It'd be fantastic if they end up following up that thought. Despair and desperation are powerful dramatic forces.

4. Angel tells Faith about his experience with a Mohra demon. The Bangels will be happy that when he does so we see a panel of him remembering his day with Buffy. Faith also observes that killing Giles is the worst thing Angel ever did. It could be she thinks that Angel thinks that because killing Giles is (a) killing someone he knew personally and respected and (b) it was awful to kill Giles in front of Buffy; or she could think it's the worst thing because she loved Giles. Or both. Either way, what Angel did to Giles was terrible, but I don't actually think it's the worst thing he's done. Tied for first with a whole bunch of other things, perhaps, but not by itself the worst. It'll be interesting to see how they unfold that.

I've skipped over all the fights cause I never find those interesting. Nash and Pearl are after the Mohra demon's blood, too. That's the last page, and serves as the cliff-hanger, I suppose. No Whistler this issue.

The art works fine for me. But I'd love to see Dushku and Boreanaz act out the scenes between the two of them. The writing is so alive with their histories together -- it really does feel like a continuation of the show. More so than maybe anything I've seen in the comics so far. And we have a good emotional stew out of which all sorts of interesting twists and turns could arise.

Thumbs up.
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