Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Angel & Faith No. 3

Angel & Faith No. 3
Live Through This, Part 3

Another great issue from Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs.  I'm really enjoying this series so far, and I am almost happy that all of the weird things in season 8 happened, because it lead us here.

This issue starts off right in the thick of things:  Angel and Faith are smashing up ANOTHER establishment full of demons; this time it seems as though Angel has decided to go to the source of the Mohra blood: the crime boss Fraser, a smartly dressed man with devilish red horns coming out of his cheeks.  (How does he SHAVE?)  They fight, and we get an interesting line from Faith as to the legal status of demons in this brave new world.  "Killing demons is kind of a legal gray area, and you look to be at least half."  Interesting.  A few panels later, Angel mentions that "the police'll be here soon, and [they] don't need that kind of trouble for nothing."  This idea of demon killing being a potential police issue is a really new idea for this universe.  This whole concept seems to be especially relevant to what is happening over in the Buffy comic.  It seems that since the outing of the demon world to the general public last year, governments are having a lot of trouble finding the legal ramifications of everything.

Fraser claims not to have any Mohra blood.  Angel and Faith leave, but not before Fraser offers Angel some "honest" work as a vampiric prostitute.  Outside of the... um... club?  Was it a club?  Anyway, outside the club, Faith is angry at Angel for not letting her kill Fraser.  But Angel reveals that now that Fraser has outright denied having any Mohra blood, everyone is going to know that he has some.  He will get greedy and give Angel and Faith an in to get some.  Makes sense to me.

We get a return to the ending revelation of last issue: Faith intends on trying to force Angel to forgive himself by making him human.  She asks him if he's considered using the Mohra blood on himself, and he says that nothing has changed.  He claims that he still needs to be a vampire to do the things he needs to do, though he is nonspecific about what those things may be.  He remains very Angel-like in his fatalism.
"'Happily ever after' isn't what I've got coming.  A stake through the heart is.  Until then, I have things to do."
This is interesting to me, especially in contrast to Angel last season, high on Twilight-juice, trying to convince Buffy that they had finally gotten their "happily ever after."  I love the constant reminders to how far Angel has fallen as a result of his actions last season, and every great character moment like this, I become less disappointed with last season.

Faith gets an entire page to ruminate on Angel and his potential for a human life.  She wonders what would happen if she forced him to become human, and if he would be able to forgive himself if he were no longer a monster.  I can understand why she would think so, but I think she's doing the same thing that Angel is trying to do by resurrect Giles.  We can't undo the mistakes of our past, we can only try to move on from them and make amends as best we can.  Turning Angel human doesn't erase his past, and he will probably be less able to deal with his regrets as a human than he would as a vampire.  I.  LOVE.  THIS.  STORY.

Angel and Faith go around to clients of Fraser who claim to have received Mohra blood.  Many of the clients have gone missing, something Faith thinks indicates a scam.  Angel isn't so sure though, and wants to know more about Mohra demons, as the watchers files aren't clear on them.  So they decide to go to one of Giles' old coleagues: Alasdair Coames, who has gone from being one of the most badass archmages ever to an adorable old man living alone in his flat with fairies, winged cats, and TINY DRAGONS.

Alasdair is really endearing right off the bat.  He explains that he has been collecting magical beings to protect them and that he is a magical biologist.  Which: awesome.  He reveals that a Mohra demon would require some type of magical cage as well as vast quantities of salt to eat.  The salt is the key apparently, as a lot of salt being delivered to a private home should be traceable.

Faith gets a call from one of the London slayers and heads down to a bar where Nadira has been taking out her frustrations on a... soccer team?  Or football I guess?  Anyway, some type of sports team consisting of large men.  The image of the guys being thrown in the air in the back of one of panels is particularly amusing. Faith distracts the guys with beer, and the fighting stops.

We get another tidbit about this new world from one of the slayers, who reveals why Nadira had to resort to fighting a soccer team in a bar instead of the legions of hell:
"Slow night.  No vampires -- none breaking Harmony's rules anyway.  Just nibbling on eager goth wannabes... only taking enough blood so everyone leaves happy."
Interesting.  Was this mentioned last season and I just forgot about it?  Vampires have found that they are able to survive in this society by taking advantage of angsty goths and not killing... strange.  And they are called "Harmony's rules?"  Wow.  Who'da thought?

Faith consoles Nadira, and explains that slayer power has to be let out occasionally, but it has to come out in smart ways.  It's clear that she's actually thinking about Angel and turning him human when she says the line "as long as you  have power... you're gonna feel the need to use it."

The slayers call Faith a grownup and she reacts very oddly, confused at being though of as responsible.  She sees Alasdair in the shadows and bails to talk to him.  At first she believes he's being a creep on the slayers, and then just a creep in general.  But then he reveals his true motivations for coming to Faith.
"Between the questions Angel asked, things I've heard about his activities, and his keen interest in the Mohra blood, I have... concerns.  Rupert's death was a tragedy.  But attempting to resurrect him would be a far greater one. ...  The forces Angel tampers with could bring disaster... even moreso in a world without magical defenses.  He must give up his mad quest.... He'd never listen to me.  But you... I can see you share my concerns.  Heed the warnings of one who knows, Faith.  It's imperative you stop him.  For all our sakes."
When Faith gets annoyed at another example of her needing to be the grownup, she asks what made her the responsible one all of a sudden.  Alasdair says that she made herself that way.  I love how much Faith has grown as a character, and it's funny to me that she's kind of realizing her own growth here, and doesn't have the faith in herself to be the responsible one, even though she is.

Angel and faith infiltrate Fraser's house, where he is auctioning off Mohra blood.  Through clever playing of the crowd, they are able to get Fraser to wheel out the Mohra he has captive.  They take their chance and free the Mohra demon from his magical bindings.  Angel gives him a sword so they can fight their way out, but the Mohra chooses to kill itself before Angel can stop it.  Faith grabs as much of the Mohra blood as she can while Angel tries to fight everyone off.

Suddenly, everyone is thrown to the ground, and Pearl and Nash arrive.  You know, as much as don't care for their characterization as villains, I have to admit that they are really good antagonists for this story.  They are a direct product of Angel's actions as Twilight, and every wrong they do is the result of his actions.

Angel starts to fight Pearl and Nash, and Faith makes her decision:
"For two hundred and fifty years, he's been creating monsters... Drusilla, Spike... worse.  Then having to deal with them.  That stops now.  I'm gonna help him get rid of these monsters, then I'll get rid of one myself.    Him."
I love this comic!

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