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February 27 2013

(SPOILER) Discuss Angel & Faith #19. It's part four of the "Death and Consequences" arc.

Another good issue. I thought there were some missed opportunities with Spike, although I did like that some issues were brought out in the open. Hopefully we'll get some more good Spike moments next issue. I like him and Faith together so it will be fun seeing them work together.
I LOVED the confrontation and yelling between Angel and Spike. It's the most i've ever felt like I was "watching" the show again. Definitely reminded me of Angel Season 5. I'm constantly amazed at how strong this series is. I really wish Buffy could be as strong. I keep waiting for it to pick up, but it's still lagging. They really need to focus the Buffy story more. I think it's just the result of Angel having a plan or path. Buffy always feels like its meandering and just all over the place but Angel and Faith just always feels focused.
Not a fan of this issue, apart from Nadira. I hope she won't die.

Enjoyed the Spangel shout out too.

[ edited by deborahmm on 2013-02-27 18:28 ]
Yay! Cartoon Angel abs!
Great issue! I am constantly amazed how good this series is. Gage and Isaacs make a great team. I have enjoyed this so much. Other Buffy comics were not nearly as good. I would keep this team for season 10 and finish the series for good. Have a big, exciting and emotional finish of the entire Buffy/Angel series. This team has the power, they bring magic!!!!
@Mr.Savath_Bunny I also noticed how ripped they're drawing Angel. Funny because DB hasn't been in that shape since early Buffy, if ever. Not that its surprising. Xander is pretty cut in the Buffy comics.
Enjoyed a lot, again. Also met Rebekah Isaacs over the weekend and she was so lovely!
I'm goin to repeat wht most people are saying in that this series is consistently great. Gage and Issacs just nail it. And yes, it is a shame that Buffy doesn't feel as great as its spin off, but I attribute that to too many chefs in the kitchen when it comes to writing duties. Here's hoping they both deliver with their final arcs.

Also, bring this team back for season 10. Failing Gage being back Lynch?
I have my copy of Angel & Faith # 19.The conclusion of "Death and Consequences."

I really loved this issue and this arc.The resolution of the Eyghon plot was a surprise.I thought it would continue into the final arc but thinking about it,it makes sense to wrap it here so the last arc can deal with Whistler,Pearl & Nash and actually dealing with whether Angel and Faith can and will bring Giles back.

Speaking of which,while I still doubt Giles will actually be really brought back, that made his return through Angel in this issue very poignant for me.And it was very fitting for Giles to have such a big role during the taking down of Eyghon.

I enjoyed the Angel and Spike interaction.Very reminiscent of their interaction on the show and After The Fall including their pissing contest over Buffy.I could really hear DB and JM's voices in those scenes.I think Christos Gage has been good at this with the characters overall.

This issue seemed to be the Angel and Spike issue so I'm really looking forward to next issue which I assume will focus on the Faith and Spike dynamic since Angel is catatonic.

I also liked the resolution to the slayers here to.I do hope we see more of Nadira.And I did think it was a kick ass moment when Faith told her and the other slayers that Angel was off limits to kill and if they try they'll have to go through her.

And the art was great as always from RI.

I really can't wait to see how all this is resolved.
This series has been the best of all the Dark Horse BtVS series, none of the others move the story forward (they just spin their wheels, including the one that actually has Buffy in it!). I've been blown away by 'Angel & Faith', a really interesting story, that matters, told in a really exciting and interesting way, with the characters we love. I do hope that Giles is revived (that this issue was not the end of him), and I'm looking forward to seeing a lot more Spike in the next issue!
I can't believe that this series has actually been getting praise. It's been mostly bad to average, at times horrible, with very rare good issues that temporarily gave me hope that it would actually fulfill the expectations (#1, 15 and 16). I used to think that the "Family Reunion" arc was the absolute worst it can get, with the cheesy writing of Angel and Connor, telling each other "I love you and you're awesome" 10 times an issue, the "sexist but (un)funny and (un)true jokes about that babbling Buffy having stopped TwAngel for telling her his genius plan (as if we haven't actually read issue 8.35 and don't know what really happened), Angel curing the lesbian witch of her evil with his manly orgasmic bite, and everyone singing Kumbaya. But this is even worse.

This time, what Gage wrote doesn't even make any sense.

- The Angel/Spike argument makes no sense. How the heck would Spike know that Buffy has been seeing a lot of Dowling? Is he psychic or something? When Spike left, Buffy barely knew Dowling, Spike was seeing more of Dowling than Buffy was, and it was Spike who was trying to encourage Dowling to date Buffy, while neither Dowling nor Buffy were showing any particular interest in each other. Hasn't Gage even been reading the Buffy title? And what on Earth did Spike mean with "Did you know she thought..." What? I hope it's not supposed to refer to pregnancy. Surely not even Gage-written Spike, who's written as a useless idiot (predictable), wouldn't be so stupid to believe that Buffy believed she was an elephant with a 15-months pregnancy?

- So now everyone believes that Angel and "Angelus" are two different people? Really? Despite the facts that 1) nobody ever behaved as it that was the case on either BtVS or AtS, with the exception of AtS season 4, and 2) the Darla story, Angel's entire freaking show (looking for redemption), every flashback ever, the Angel/Spike relationship - none of it would make sense. It's as if Gage only watched season 4 of AtS and nothing else.

But let's say it's an open question since the characters themselves can't know metaphysical truths, and this is Gage's personal interpretation (which he's trying to enforce as canon); what certainly goes AGAINST CANON is Spike talking about "Angel" and "Angelus" as two separate people. Spike has NEVER done that and he's always talked about "Angel" as one person. I thought Gage actually watched season 5 of AtS? Maybe he should watch Destiny or Damage again?

Angel himself also always (with the exception of AtS season 4) talked about the things *he* did, not the things that some other guy did. (In fact, the name "Angelus" was never even used as a name for soulless!Angel in BtVS seasons 1 and 2; everyone called him simply "Angel" most of the time, everyone including Spike, Drusilla, Darla, the Master, Buffy, Giles, and Angel himself.)

Worst. Retcon. Ever.

- And then they play the "Nadira will want to slay Spike because he was a mass murderer in the past and killed two Slayers" fake-out. But wait - wasn't Spikelus the one who did that? Gage can't keep his mythology halfway logical and consistent.

- And then on top of it all: Faith scolds Nadira, comparing Twilight!Angel to the Slayers possessed by Eyghon. I'm sorry, what?! Angel wasn't possessed when he agreed to work for Twilight, he wasn't possessed when he donned a mask and terrorized the Slayers for an entire year, bombed their headquarters and let Nadira's friends be slaughtered.
Maybe I was wrong - maybe this is the worst retcon ever.

Buffy season 9 has been consistently awful, but Angel & Faith is the worst of the series, followed by the Buffy title.

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2013-02-28 03:24 ]

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2013-02-28 03:25 ]
Some of the writing in this issue was weak because it was unsupported in canon in facts and characterisation. It isn't necessary for Spike to be dumbed down to be around Angel and he isn't some frisky puppy that has to have teases, call outs and jokes about sexploits all the time as if that is his value. The Spike/Angel banter can be really good but this wasn't, in fact Spike's contribution verged on slapstick comedy. I hate the fact that we are forced into comparative comments all the time about the two vamps, which aren't even often fair comparisons (unsouled actions vs the ramifications of a souled error). And yeah, the idea that Spike would imply in ANY way that Angel could have gotten Buffy pregnant is plain stupid on many, many levels. If CG had read #6 he would have even seen Buffy say to Spike that she only couldn't remember who the father was because she was too drunk so even if, for some inexplicable reason, he got that idiotic idea in his head that would have nullified it. Meh, it is just illustrative of the farcical lacklustre level of effort that went into Spike's role/characterisation here and made me finally wonder if those who complain that he isn't really a valued character by DH have a point (beyond the ka-ching factor obviously). No doubt the next issue will be full of supposed hilarity.

[ edited by Stoney on 2013-02-28 05:18 ]
@TimeTravellingBunny & Stoney:
I'm not sure why you two think Spike was suggesting Angel got Buffy pregnant, that's not what happened at all. Spike was saying that Angel is so out of the loop in relation to Buffy that he had no idea she was even pregnant.


Anyway, IMHO another great issue from what I think has been a excellent run. If only I didn't have to wait a month for the next one ^_^;
As for Spike knowing Buffy was spending her nights slaying zompires with Dowling, why is everybody forgetting about Andrew, and his role as Spike's eyes and ears in Buffy's circle for entire S8 ? It is very easy to believe Andrew would continue his updates to Spike while Spike is roaming the Dark Side. Besides, the timeline is not that linear, so some Dowling sightings could have been had beforehand.

The question of Angel/Angelus duality being such a big deal within the fandom always puzzled me. Especially after watching something like Dollhouse, were a concept of ever changing protean personalities merging with each other , yet still being defined as different entities was explored quite deeply. Why is it so difficult to believe that adding a demon to and subtracting moral compass from somebody's essence/memories would make an entirely different entity in some cases and something of a gradual hybrid in others? Why is it difficult to comprehend that adding moral compass aka soul back, allows for suppression of a demon *if* original personality is strong and compassionate enough ? Why is it unthinkable to assume that vampire-possessing demons are also not of equal in strength and not equal in their preferences - same as personal natures and human souls are of different strengths and preferences - thus some souls being able to coexist with the demon in much less conflicting duality, thus retaining some vestiges of 'humanity' by being able to seek a compromise - while other personalities being entirely repulsive of the possessing demon thus spending all their energy on learning to control and suppress it completely - instead of learning to coexist with it ? All the 'dolls' were wiped out continuously and equally - yet some retained their combined new personalities - while others did not. Why is it supposed to be all the same for souled vampires ?
@TTB, I agree with much of what you say -- but you are misreading the pregnancy bit. Spike's just saying that he's been with Buffy in her hour of need while Angel hasn't even phoned in to see how she's doing.

@Dorotea, You ask why so many of us are unwilling to wank the mythology enough to make some sense of the Angel/Angelus split that isn't replicated in other vampires (most notably Spike). I have two reasons for resisting that rather complex set of reasoning you've laid out there.

1. It makes a total hash of Angel's story. If he's not seeking redemption for what he did without a soul, he's a nut job who is seeking redemption for what some entirely other person did. It'd be like expecting Priya to atone for whatever evil she did when out on the job as a doll, even though she didn't even volunteer to have alternative personalities forced into her body.

2. In this issue, the Angel/Angelus distinction is being used as a vehicle for pointing us at the pristine, wonderful heroic Angel -- which is, um, a fairly hack-tastic way of thinking about souled-up Angel. Let's revisit the highlight reel on what Angel-with-a-soul can do: He can experience happiness and use that as an excuse to mimic Angelus and terrorize one woman and say every cruel thing he can think of to his supposed friends; he can lock lawyers in a room with deadly vampires; he can deliberately try to lose his soul by sleeping with (nearly raping) Darla; he can attempt to murder Wesley; he can use black magic which causes the horrible death of one innocent and nearly kills Fred, without once feeling bad about the dead red shirt; etc. etc. Most recently he can choose of his own free will to don a mask with the aim of terrorizing the love of his life until she was so beaten down she would magically transform into a suitable partner for him; he could sign on with the likes of Pearl and Nash; stand by while missiles are launched at slayers; he could batter Buffy and put her girlfriend in the hospital; bash Faith's head in; etc. etc.

This is the mighty hero Angel, who's big problem is that he's got this evil-completely-unrelated being sloshing around inside, and occasionally gets possessed by alien forces that "make" him do things like snap Giles' neck or stand by complacently while slayers are being slaughtered, but who is otherwise this wonderful hero.

Gage has Angel not once, but twice, say things to Spike suggesting that he (Angel) has the moral high ground. It'd be great writing if it were meant as an indictment of Angel's ongoing refusal to take full responsibility for all of his actions (both souled and unsouled). But it seems like it's not. I think the writers think Angel is what Angel thinks Angel is. And for those of us who have a hard time seeing this pristine hero who just happens to do terrible things at frequent intervals, or who have a hard time thinking that Angel alone is unrelated to his pre-souled self (while Spike is constantly reminded, as in this issue, of things he did while unsouled), well, we kvetch about it. What are we supposed to do? Pretend we can believe that true heroes run around trying to lose their souls, trying to murder their friends, engaging in black magic and not caring about the innocents who get killed as a result? I'm sorry, but I can't change my moral compass to accommodate the desire to see Angel as an uncomplicated hero who unfortunately has a dark passenger or two(both of which are definitely to be understood as totally not him).

And the real tragedy of it is that it swerves past the hugely compelling story that should be there, of a guy who since being cursed with a soul is struggling with himself to do the right thing. Angel should be a metaphor for people who have strong and good consciences but a lot of strong passions that go the other way. It's a very human problem -- the alcoholic who wants to be a responsible husband and father, but who can't help but fall off the wagon from time to time. Indeed, that was the original metaphor when AtS began. But AtS swerved away from it in season 4, and Dark Horse has obviously chosen to follow the far less interesting (and unrelatable) story of a guy who has an evil alien being in him with whom he's at war.
TTB, Stoney and Maggie, I couldn't agree with you more.

Mostly, I'm just disappointed that Dark Horse and Christos Gage have gone the easy route with these characters. I think they've done because, they wrote Angel into a corner in season 8 and the don't know any way to write him out except to play the 'he was possessed, it totally wasn't him' card, and big up his hero credentials.

The comedy in this issue fell flat for me. There were a couple of funny lines, but this Spike was a caricature. AtS season 5 Spike may have been a big mouth but at least he was useful in a fight. And I'm tired of him being randomly dropped into things because the people at Dark Horse know he's popular (though I don't think they have any idea why) but have no story for him. Not that his uselessness in this issue surprises me, given that he was pretty much a bystander in his own mini series.

Angel & Faith has the best art and the best writing in season 9, but the events of season 8 have hamstrung it. JMO.
Count me in as another one disappointed in this issue. I didn't like Spike's appearance here, anymore than I liked Willow's guest appearance. Christos had said in one of his interview's that Spike would have recovered some of his confidence and his swagger after the events of "A Dark Place", which I took to be a positive thing, but in this issue, I didn't so much see this as see Spike behaving stupidly and Angel having the moral high ground.I'm a bit disturbed by seeing Spike portrayed as such a one note character by Christos. He gets such depth and resonance into his portrayal of Angel, I was hoping he's do the same for Spike. I'd been disappointed in the final installment of Victor Gischler's series in which Spike was upstaged by his bug crew and Morgan his 'love interest,' and was hoping that at least Spike would be useful, but he really wasn't, so I'm supposing that this story is supposed to be a lead up to some hot stuff happening between Spike and Faith. This felt very clumsily done, though. I would just prefer a little more depth, a little more storytelling and resonance before this is attempted.
Trying to be positive, I have enjoyed Angel and Faith, the art and the story. I've particularly enjoyed the Giles parts which have been wonderful. I might give issue 20 a miss, but I'll be back onboard for the conclusion of the story.
Shade of Pale, any 'hot stuff' between Spike and Faith in the next issue is going to seem very forced, given that they had as little chemistry on paper as they did on screen. Plus, if that's what the next issue is foreshadowing, I am just not on board for seeing Spike put in a relationship with yet another woman who thinks Angel is a better man than him.

Been there, done that, twice over now.
Well, I thought it was quite an impressive issue, as it wrapped up several on-going stories, such as completing Giles' soul or the "choosing" of the chosen, but long forgotten ones like Eyghon's and Ripper's. I loved that.

On the criticism of Angelus-as-another-entity side of things, I understood it as Angel's body being the vessel for Angel's soul, Giles' soul and the vampire demon "Angelus" essence. If several writers and stories have focused on the Angel-Angelus duality - a human-demon duality in the end - I think it should be read from Angel's, the character, point of view. That is, what I think he felt when he got his soul back for the first time was a huge amount of trauma and remorse that sort of created his "Angel" the (mostly) good vampire persona. In other words, he was so shocked by it, that he developed a kind of new personality, to bear the burden of having been Angelus for so long. That, and the fact Spike never looked at his victims or something like that, is what differentiates the two vampires in my eyes, and the different ways they act when re-souled.
Re: Spike fans annoyed at his characterisation in this issue (being made to look a fool to serve the lead character)... I would like to bring your attention to Buffy Season 8 and Angel's characterisation.

You got off lightly.

I really enjoyed this issue. I would like at some point a quiet moment between Angel and Spike where they can just *talk* and not try to one up each other. There will always be an element of snark between them of course, but I wonder will we ever get that between them again?
The pregnancy thing is because Angel says he is taking responsibility for his mistakes (re Giles) which is directly followed by Spike questioning what Angel knows about taking responsibility, saying that he never bothered to check in after the "little cosmic shag." and "did you have any bloody idea that she thought she was--", which directly links Angel taking responsibility for his actions, the sex and the pregnancy. I really think that was what Gage was writing and the fact that people don't read it like that I think is more indicative of what an utterly, unbelievably, stupid bit of writing it was to be frank.

Goodness knows Shade of Pale what will happen next issue but, really, if they go from Spike in the mini rejecting Morgan to then having a quickie with Faith (who hey, is at least definitely souled), despite all the history he knows Buffy has with her and a lack of any visible chemistry between them, it will just be further bad characterisation. For some reason, for Gage, the two fundamentals of writing Spike's character is him playing a comedy/fool's role whilst displaying an inability to manage for long in leading his thoughts/actions from above the waist, so unfortunately I wouldn't say it is impossible. Having said that, I don't think they will tbh, I think it is a tease, although they may try and get away with it by spells (current verse variant) being involved or some other crutch for random behaviour.

[ edited by Stoney on 2013-02-28 12:50 ]
I've said it before and I'll say it again: the writers do not know these characters as well as we do, and continue to walk into real problems as a result. There is no nuance, no consideration of the past- just a focus on the here and now of the story, without knowing how what they are doing conflcits with what came before.

Analogy: Sort of like when Magic the card game first came out and they began to make new cards without considering how those new cards would interact with the existing ones...

PS: "fanwank" = reader response, just saying. If you need to fanwank something, it is because you are not getting a direct answer in the story. You are reading it yourself and making an interpretation that makes you feel all is right. Not a comment on any specific post above, but just saying. Meaning- the authors sure are not making questions clear and I do not think this is by design.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2013-02-28 14:26 ]
It has been directly stated in the TV shows many times, that when a human is turned into a vampire, the person dies and a demon takes over their body. The demon possesses all the memories of the human, but it's not the person it used to be.
I don't see the problem with Angel or Spike referring to Angelus as a separate being. Angel said it himself in "The Dark Age" : "I've had a demon inside me for a couple hundred years, just waitin' for a good fight."

Angel got his soul back as a curse, to feel remorse for the lives he took. Seeking redemption and feeling guilty is almost hard-wired into him, and maybe he keeps failing at it because he can't accept that he can't atone for the things that happened while was soulless. Angel's trying extra hard to right his wrongs now by bringing Giles back, but we all know what a colossal bad idea this is. Everyone but Angel.

Spike, for all that I dislike the turn his character took, choose to get his soul back, endured great trials, and won it back. He's mocked Angel for all his tortured soul searching. He acknowledged that he did bad things, can't atone for them, and is moving on with his existence. Wood also referred to the duality of vampires when he said "I don't want to kill you Spike, I want to kill hte monster who took my mother away from me."

Angel and Spike are special cases: a mortal body who's soul passed on and was taken over be a demon, and then had their soul put back in the body, with the demon. That's not fanwanking, that's canon.

Alcoholism is not a passion per se, it's a substance abuse, and a curable one at this. Narrowing down the entirety of AtS series ( and its titular characters path ) themes and metaphors to that particular medical analogy is about as interesting and ascertaining as narrowing down the entirety of BtVS to Willow's character 'addicted to magic' theme, or Buffy's character to 'she was traumatized by her unfortunate love experiences'.
To qualify the writer's aspirations to go beyond such narrowly defined constraint as 'tragedy' and a 'real tragedy' at that is quite a bit of exaggeration. I sincerely hope nobody in the writing team takes this seriously.

A&F has consistently been the best of S9 stories, despite of course not being perfect. This last installment IMHO was on par with some of the best Joss-written issues of S8. Rich in themes and parallels , amazingly good in ensemble work with the characters and as a cherry on top - funny as Hell.

@Dana the writers do not know these characters as well as we do
Lets agree to disagree on that one - its a common downfall of many fandoms to assume 'the fans know better'. See 'Running the Asylum' trope - and it never bodes well for the franchise when that happens. Whatever they throw at us, I certainly prefer Joss-crafted plot lines to those of the fanon.

[ edited by dorotea on 2013-02-28 16:45 ]
All chrisobrien said.

I'm in the "Angelus and Angel are seperate beings" camp. People say that that negates his whole "searching for redemption" angle. If he's not responsible then why feel guilty and seek redemption ? But for me it makes him even better. He still wishes to help people and had gotten to a stage in AtS where he was doing it because it was the right thing to do, not just for "redemption"... Of course Twilight fecked that up...grrrr...
I loved the issue.

Put Angel and Spike in the same space and 9 times out of 10, they will end up acting like juvenile idiots fighting over a Mountain Dew. That's how it played to me. If you are going to see any depth out of Spike, it'll be in coming issues - not around Angel.

As far as Angel, how separate Angel and Angelus is always a matter of debate. Angel and Angelus see themselves as totally separate beings fighting it out inside of one body. Look back at Orpheus where this is very literally depicted. The thing is, each also influences the other more than either is readily able to admit - and you also see that in Orpheus where Angel has a weak moment and snacks on the clerk. And to me, the really interesting thing is that before the demon, Liam was a complete waste. The best part of Angel - his strength, conviction and sense of purpose is flawed because it originally comes from the demon. And on some level Angel recognizes this. "It's not the demon in me that needs killing, it's the man." Of course we also know what the demon is like when it has the voting majority... I don't see anything in this issue that necessarily contradicts any of the above or my understanding of the character.

[ edited by BringItOn5x5 on 2013-02-28 17:04 ]
I always thought it was very clear that Angelus is the demon inside of Angel. The demons are molded and shaped by who they inhabit, they literally become a part of them. So Angel does have to atone because that monster was created out of him, and is part of him. The demon is Angelus....but it's also Angel. They're two sides of the same coin, each different, but at the same time part of the same.
Yep, we will, Dorotea. I am not saying I know any better, mind you. I strongly feel that new writers who come late to a tale cannot know all the discussions and agreed-upon interpretations that came before- and some here have 15 years of extensive debate about these characters. These writers clearly do not. IMHO.
Loved this issue.

Keep the good stuff coming Gage & Isaacs.
So – I’m I to take it that Spike willingly submitted to join Eyghon - which is it, personal choice as stated by Giles voice or people and beings being controlled? Was Angel’s plan for Spike to be a distraction as he was when Buffy and Spike took on The Master? Lot of questions brought out in this issue.
Eyghon text:
I offer you a final chance, submit and live – become one with Eyghon. (his entrance)
Eyghon text:
Your demon is outmatched (to spike)
Spike: the only choices for those who defy Eyghon are assimilation…death…or both.
Eyghon text:
Stop this is intolerable… you are mine; you have no willed of your own!
Giles Voice:
What the denizens of Hell refuse to accept is, that damnation is at some point, a choice.
Giles Voice:
As is this (Angel proceeds to punch the eyes of Eyghon
What are we supposed to do? Pretend we can believe that true heroes run around trying to lose their souls, trying to murder their friends, engaging in black magic and not caring about the innocents who get killed as a result? I'm sorry, but I can't change my moral compass to accommodate the desire to see Angel as an uncomplicated hero who unfortunately has a dark passenger or two (both of which are definitely to be understood as totally not him).

Thank you for bringing in the morals issue with this character and this story – the story of Angel, and all these character, IMVHO, is only compelling as a reflection of the real world. Right now I feel like Dark Horse is forcing readers and fans to accept Angel and the events of BS8 separate for the questions of morals and ethics. Who would argue that he is wrong to try and save Giles and his soul from the control of Eyghon, Angel is doing a very good thing – no matter that he was, by his own choice, made a party to the killing of Giles. Who is going to argue that Faith is nothing but compassionate and loyal and paying back to Angel when he saved her from her darkness? Nadira is a victim but who will argue that she is also digging her own grave because she is holding on to her trauma and desire for vengeance? Vengeance is a very bad thing and we should forgive those who trespass against us and kill those we love and hold dear. After all, this is healthy and developed and spiritual way of things. The trouble is that I still remember all those innocent victims that were killed by The Twilight Time plan.

@ Faith
I really enjoyed this issue. I would like at some point a quiet moment between Angel and Spike where they can just *talk* and not try to one up each other. There will always be an element of snark between them of course, but I wonder will we ever get that between them again?

How I wish we would have had this quiet moment instead of the treatment Christos Gage chose. Each reader and fan will have their own perspective about this reunion of Angel and Spike - I personally hate it. Considering the events in BS8 and the personal choices made by Angel along with everything that these two have lived through, it seems completely inappropriate to me. Spike and Angel come across as two of the most immature and shallow people; two heroes acting like 10 year olds playing at being heroes in Hero Land. I personally expect more of these two characters – and I certainly expected more than the Spikebuffonery.

We all knew that Angel would have to be the hero of this arc and issue – but Spike was sacrificed in the service of Angel and Dark Horse having to bring Angel back from the Twilight Time. Did I read that this writer actually liked or respected Spike? We all are entitled to our own opinions and interpretations, but primarily what I get from this issue is a whole lot of distain for Spike. And nothing showed more for me this disdain than the panels where Spike is basically emasculated, literally kick in the symbolic “manhood” by the Faith, the faithful sidekick as she takes the sword away and hands it over to the real hero and champion Angel. The great thing is that it is Giles who ultimately is the force, as shown by the Giles voice, who takes on Eyghon and saves his soul. And it is right that this is so because Giles and Ethan Rayne were the ones who took the path of bringing this demon into their lives. Good on Giles or the Giles life force who fought for and won his soul back.

[ edited by nmcil on 2013-03-01 03:46 ]
What are we supposed to do? Pretend we can believe that true heroes run around trying to lose their souls .. etc

No, I think we are supposed to believe that anybody in the verse can occasionally stumble and make mistakes - but then try and do their best to recover from what was done in desperation , at the moment of overwhelming bleakness, under duress , out of stupidity, or under possession. That's all it really runs down to in the verse - true heroism lies in being able 'to stand up again', to quote from Joss himself.
And Angel, ever after something of a`quick fix/big gesture` to the big picture, falls for them more than most. It's his integral failing...
But he keeps trying.
Interesting, Dorotea. I'm glad to see you think Spike capable of true heroism, given that his story in season 7 is exactly as you describe.
But, but, but. How many times is Angel going to eff up? As he tries to "do his best?" He has to be the dumbest person on the planet. Ever. He has not just stumbled and made mistakes. He has killed people. He was willing to sacrifice the planet. This goes way beyond "stumbling." There is nothing left to redeem with him.
Woof. Y'all this is a GREAT YARN. We're lucky to have it. Spike and Angel have both ALWAYS been heroic at times and buffoonish at times and frequently wonderfully human. They always act like children around one another, like MANY of us do when reunited with our siblings. But just... what a great STORY this is about Giles, and Faith, and Angel, and Spike. Angel was never so compelling to me as he has been in Angel and Faith. Nobody outside of the ancient egyptian underworld ever passes final JUDGEMENT on whether we are a hero or a villain. Angel just makes a series of decisions from moment to moment... doing the best he can... living with the bad, and trying to be the best he can be, while making a lot of mistakes. Just like Giles does. And Spike. None of them KNOW what life is or.... how love should go.... or what the best actions are... or how to take care of the people they love... but they all seem to be getting SOMEwhere, and this story just makes me adore them all the more.
@deborahmm I would rather leave discussion of Spike's perceived heroism or perceived lack of thereof in the capable hands of his fans. Spike's the character I don't understand and don't strive to understand, because he does not interest me. It does not mean I deny his heroism, I just cannot be the judge of it, as I am drawing an empty net on his motivations.
Dorotea, again, interesting. So really, when you say:

anybody in the verse can occasionally stumble and make mistakes - but then try and do their best to recover from what was done in desperation , at the moment of overwhelming bleakness, under duress , out of stupidity, or under possession. That's all it really runs down to in the verse - true heroism lies in being able 'to stand up again', to quote from Joss himself.,

'anybody' applies to everyone except Spike.

Thanks for the clarification.
You know we're not fond of rivalries elsewhere ending up on Whedonesque. Stick to the issue in hand and enough of the fighting.
I am really enjoying this side of the comics and this one is my favorite to date. I really REALLY love all the Giles and all the care given th this story about him.
I see comments regarding Angel being this is Angel being that regarding this or that and to *me* Angel is the same damn hero that he has always been. Doing what it takes to get it done.
Other thoughts. Spike was funny. Spike and Faith? We'll see. Interesting thought.
Everyone just take a breather and re-admire Angel's cartoon abs.
I've just read the issue and I must say I really don't understand what all the hoo-hah is about!

It seems pretty clear that Spike was referring to the three entities that now reside within Angel: Angel's soul, Giles' soul and the demon that animates the body ('Angelus' for convenience sake, to distinguish it from the soul. Though we know from Pylea that the demon in its true form isn't much more than a vicious monster and therefore what we tend to refer to as Angelus throughout the series is more of a hybrid of demonic essence and Angel's more negative qualities - and of course, this is where it becomes more debateable and an area I'm not going to go into now.)

The angry comments that I've read here and elsewhere really made me think Spike's depiction would be totally off the mark, but having seen it, it isn't as bad as some people make it out to be. Yes, he and Angel have a pissing contest regarding Buffy, but that's normal when they're around each other! I didn't see Spike somehow being portrayed as 'subordinate' to Angel, rather they were both brought down to the level of immature 12 year olds - again, normal. When the fight gets going, Spike steps up to the plate and does what he has to do, although he doesn't succeed - but neither does Angel, really - and afterwards he's fairly prompt in taking control of the mission to get Angel back to normal: 'Right, now that everyone's had their grand exit...'. I do not, therefore see anything in Gage's portrayal which is so far removed from Spike's characterisation in Buffy S9.

I know it's been pointed out already but for my two cents (or pennies, rather):
The context of Spike's allusion to the pregnancy scare makes it clear that he's just referring to Angel being out-of-the-loop - his 'never bothering to check in' comment. And regarding her relationship with Dowling, all he says is that they've 'been getting chummy' which isn't really that far from the situation as it stood when he left - they were at least familiar with each other and he had that conversation with Dowling about fancying her.

I thought the dialogue was better in some places, clunkier in others, but plot and character-wise, it was a solid issue. I did have two minor nitpicks: it's spelt 'bollocks' not 'bollicks' as in the first instance and it should be 'Angel and I' not 'Me and Angel', although this could be seen as an actual grammatical error on Spike's part (but the grammar-nazi in me still winces). Regarding Spike & Faith: err...we'll see, I guess.

Other than that - not bad Mr Gage!
krissyjump's idea of the Angel/Angelus duality is how I've seen it and is also the "canon" view in that Angel can't just hand-wave away his responsibility for his many mistakes to himself by merely saying that he was possessed. The Angelus demon is part of who he is, and it's only chained in part by his soul, so he must continually (and probably forever) strive for redemption and strive to put things right. Angel is capable of pettiness, and probably part of that is brought out by the Angelus side of him.

I get the impression that there's some folks who just feel that what Angel/Angelus has done has forever put him on the path of moral bankruptcy, and that the character can no longer be redeemed regardless of what he does. If that's the case, I can only point to the times when he's saved the world as proof of his ability to do good. In so far as Faith deserves forgiveness for her past, Angel does also.
@archon: I agree that nobody is ever beyond the reach of forgiveness. The difference between Faith and Angel is that Faith turned herself in and was put in jail. The key thing there is not so much the going to jail part as it is her admission that she was absolutely rock bottom, had done terrible things she could never make right, and therefore was at the mercy of others. All I need from Angel is a full acknowledgment of how bad what he has done is -- with that sense that he really gets that he can't make it right, but rather needs to be forgiven. That's why I don't think Angel currently "deserves" forgiveness.

I do agree he's done much great good. The problem is he wants to set that off against the bad as if he could balance out the bad stuff with the good stuff. True redemption just doesn't work that way, and until he gets that he's going to keep doing deeply awful things (always with the intention of making things "better").
"I get the impression that there's some folks who just feel that what Angel/Angelus has done has forever put him on the path of moral bankruptcy"

True. And I can see why however, the problem I continue to have with the comics is that I have difficulty condemning Angel for his actions simply because the characterisation of Angel in Season 8 was so far removed, in my opinion, from what we saw in the TV show. Yes, he is prone to screwing up, trying to fix things and focusing on the bigger picture at times, but in the comics he listened to a talking dog! A dog that told him he had superpowers and could save the world via a master plan that involved birthing a new universe! It was just bizarre! (On a side note, in issue #35 of Season 8 it felt like there were two versions of Angel's transformation into Twilight being given: one where he is informed by Whistler that the world is going to descend into chaos unless he does something - this is the plausible version. The other is where he is pulled out of God knows where and heeds the advice of a talking dog and disembodied voices - the bizarro version!) I cannot imagine the Angel of any 5 seasons falling for something like this, especially not after the speech he gives to Jasmine and not even during season 5.

If this had been done while the show was still on air I'm pretty sure there would have been an uproar! Can you imagine one of the writers pitching an idea like this? Joss' reply would surely have been ''. And yet here we are. Come to think of it, maybe someone did pitch this and Joss decided it was a great idea after all. Kind of like that (brilliant) Only Fools and Horses episode where Del-Boy pitches his film entitled 'There's a Rhino Loose in the City!' and Rodney rejects its stupidity - turns out that ended up being his idea anyway! ;P

I'm still interested in seeing where the comics take us, I just have difficulty getting past the insanity (and my own frustration about what was done to Angel's character) and becoming fully invested in them.

[ edited by Shep on 2013-03-01 22:22 ]

[ edited by Shep on 2013-03-01 22:23 ]
@Faith in Angel: So if Angel and Angelus are two different people, does it also mean that Spike and... Spikelus are two different people? What about Darla? How many Darlas was there? One, two, three, four? Darla 1.0 (human), Darla 2.0(vampire), Darla 3.0 (human again), Darla 4.0 (vampire again)? How many Angel/Darla relationships were there, between how many people, and why did those people always talk like they had something in the past, even though so many times they met for the first time, if this theory is true?

@dorotea: I'll be always most in favor of Joss-written issues. When Joss was still writing the comics, they were good - even if he has silly plot ideas (like the robot plot), he brings great characterization, humor, wit and layers. The current writers of Buffyverse, however, don't. And apart from Espenson and Greenberg (who only wrote issues about new characters!), none of the current writers ever worked on the shows. Chambliss and Allie are awful at writing Buffy, and Gage is as awful at writing Angel. The jury is still out on Parker, but I haven't been too impressed with his vision of Willow, either; the idea that she needed to understand that Dark Willow was a part of her came out of nowhere - Willow always knew it was her and didn't need to learn it now.

We talk about Spike being badly treated by the writers, but it's Angel's character that this series has ruined the most. Angel was not my #1 favorite character in Buffyverse, but he was top 5 for sure, and for most of AtS he was my favorite character, other than Darla. I liked him because he's complex, and has a lot of darkness in him, and has father issues and real guilt (rather than imaginary) and who's heroic because he has to fight dark urges every day and try to do good. Angel was never meant to be a pristine white knight (they are dull anyway), but a very, very dark knight. I liked him because the show acknowledged his darkness and the times when he failed and gave away to dark impulses. I also liked him because he was goofy, and could make stupid mistakes, and the show could make fun of him for his vanity and pettiness or self-ironically mock his Vampire Batman image.

But this comics!Angel is someone that's really hard not to intensely dislike. I don't recognize the character from AtS, or even BtVS. This guy is dull, sanctimonious and lacking in any self-awareness, he's callous about his recent souled crimes, but he has everyone telling him how awesome he is that he even feels guilty for anything bad he ever did, although he barely ever did anything bad - and it feels like Gage is actually using those characters as mouthpieces. When I think of the ending of season 8, that was the time I felt sorry for Angel, and Gage had the perfect setup to make Angel sympathetic: we knew that nearly everyone hated him, and he seemed to feel horrible about what he had done, since he was catatonic for a long time. But Angel & Faith has really made Angel unbearable. It's even worse than season 8.
"The current writers of Buffyverse, however, don't. And apart from Espenson and Greenberg (who only wrote issues about new characters!), none of the current writers ever worked on the shows."

This is the point I have been trying to make. The writers don't get nuance, or past characterizations, or half the time even voice. I feel like I am reading a comic written for 14-year-olds. Not for adults. It's not as bad in AF as it is in Buffy, but it is still there. They tried to make a transition, but it has been unsuccessful, in my estimation. I fel thtis very strongly in the newest issue of Buffy, but I feel it here as well. I read Buffy and put it down knowing that it no longer spoke to me. It is not coherent with its past. And now neither is Angel.

And if Angel is not Angelus, there is nothing he needs to feel bad about. 'Cause it ain't him doing those bad things. Forget redemption. Not needed. In this case, he is not evil, just stupid.
You know, the man is busy he can possibly be, and he still tries his best to respect his obligations and write comic outlines for the season. Like it, dislike it - the S9 story overall is Joss', however lacking you find the execution. I find it laughable at how fandom always blames 'the writers' when something unforeseen happens with the direstion of the story - like Angel is not being portrayed as the darkest spawn of Hell - as many hoped he will be. Personally, I think S9 (thanks God) is doing a much better job of keeping Angel 'in character' than S8 ever did. I am grateful for what Christos/Rebekah team is doing to make me feel better about my favorite character and his motivations. I never found much interest in the 'darker side of Seers' explorations the fandom seems to dig so much when it comes to Angel, because frankly I find most of the 'darkness' purely fanon, and designed to serve purposes that are forbidden to discuss on this forum.

Here are some links to JW's interviews regarding Angel and Faith comic in S9.

Joss' interview 1

And how evil he (Re:Angel) was or wasn't, or thought he was, is the cause of some debate — even among the writers. I'm not sure we agree. I'm not sure all of us could totally follow the story [in season 8.] Is that a problem? [laughs]

Joss' interview 2

[ edited by dorotea on 2013-03-02 01:03 ]
I am not sure, dorotea, if you are posting Joss' comment there as a defense or as an excuse. I find it telling. They don't even know, so how can we?
@dorotea: Like I already said: it's not about the story - we all know that Joss can have great but also dreadful ideas - the problem is in the current writers' inability to write good dialogue, faithful and deep characterizations, to insert some wit and humor and add some more layers. At least Joss is good at that. It's never just about the plot.

What is the overall story of Angel % Faith? So far, that Angel has been trying to resurrect Giles, Giles's body was possessed by Eyghon, Nadira has a beef with Angel because he let her squad be slaughtered by Pearl and Nash, and Pearl and Nash are working for Whistler, who has his nefarious and nutty plans. There were many very different ways this plot could have been dealt with. I could imagine a very different comic with the same plot. What they did with this plot is less than impressive, to put it mildly.

As for Spike, he's just the latest in the line of many hyped guest appearances by various Buffyverse characters, who have popped up in Angel & Faith without any particular reason except to prop up sales, were written OOC, and left without changing the story much.

And I'm not sure how his admission that the writers themselves aren't sure what story they're writing is supposed to be a rebuttal...
So if Angel and Angelus are two different people, does it also mean that Spike and... Spikelus are two different people? What about Darla? How many Darlas was there? One, two, three, four? Darla 1.0 (human), Darla 2.0(vampire), Darla 3.0 (human again), Darla 4.0 (vampire again)

Darla can't be compared to Angel and Spike because while she was both vampire and human at different times in the series, she was never both at the same time in the way Spike and Angel are.
I have to say... overall i wasn't impressed with this issue. I think the only character that was well written was Faith. I was hoping for a season finale type ending to this arc, my fault for expecting anything, but instead got a lackluster build up to the final arc. Can't wait to see where this season ends!
Oh and Spike? why? Maybe Faith will stake him and bone Angel (making him lose his soul) and then stake him too and suddenly we're reading Faith the Vampire Slayer!! Honestly... spike is like freddy kruger now... once scary and full of depth... now shallow and ex captain of a bug ship?!?!
@Dana5140 Neither. I post it as Joss' admittance that they missed their intended target by miles, but that the fandom misses it by equatorial diameters. Meaning they ( the writers team of S8) never intended the Twilight plot to be the Angel's definite Face Heel Turn. They either screwed up or had deeper agenda. I am willing to give them the benefit of a doubt to fix things; otherwise I would have to admit that my fascination with the tv series was a sham. When choosing between the two I choose the benefit of a doubt.

@TimeTravellingBunny inability to write good dialogue, faithful and deep characterizations

Personally, I find A&F dialogue funky and humorous most of the times. I have my beef with characterizations, but at the very least it is not as awful as Twilight arc by Meltzer or as cardboard-cut-out-ty as BtVS S9. And since, according to Joss, they never intended to go dark side of evil with Angel, I can extrapolate and suspend my disbelief. In a story you would have wanted to see written, I could have never done so.
I may be in the minority in this latest grouping but I have nothing but love for Joss, Buffy season 8 and current Angel. IMHO, they are all brilliant.
You have to love the internet. No matter how great something is you always have people who can find a reason not to like it. I'm amazed that there are people not loving this series. I think most Whedon fans are though.

I thought this was another great issue in what has been a great series. It's still my favorite monthly even with awesome stuff I've been reading like Scott Snyder's Batman and Swamp Thing. I'm not a big Spike fan, but his characterization and dialog was spot on, and I loved his "There will be blood!" line. That was epic.

I liked seeing the slayers choose to leave the life behind. Buffy has always been about female empowerment and I like that they chose a normal life for themselves rather than being slaves to the slayer life. I liked seeing Faith lead them in battle too. She really has grown.

I'm glad Nadira is gone. She's as annoying to me as Kennedy was in Buffy season 7. Another over confident slayer who doesn't realize how easily and quickly Angel, Faith, or Spike could take her down and snap her neck if they wanted too, with all those stupid threats she makes to everyone. You're not all that Nadira. Sit down and shut up, or go away, and take all your baggage and your short fuse with you. She kind of reminds me of an annoying Battlestar Galactica character named Kat.

I haven't read every post on the Angel/Angelus thing, but I've always viewed Angel as having a split personality disorder. He chooses to view his old self as a separate entity in order to cope with his past sins. I think this all began with the gypsy curse. It may have been part of his punishment actually, giving him this mental affliction and cursing him to become his old self when he experiences true happiness. Probably sounds crazy and against canon, but it's a fascinating way for me to view the character and explains why people like Spike and Drusilla don't have alternate personalities when they are soulless. Spike and Angel both have the "demon" inside them, but Angel's mental affliction gives that demon a name, voice, and identity of its own. In a way, it's Angel's unconscious way of torturing himself. He's an extremely complex character.

I remember a few issues of Buffy season 8 that hinted at Faith having voices in her head, maybe coming close to having her own version of "Angelus" in her head. Her and Angel have a lot in common. Writers have toyed with the idea of Faith going a little crazy before, but she's never fallen into that hole thankfully. I think Giles and her slayer friends helped with that.
@wounded dwarf: Angel and Spike weren't a vampire and a human at the same time, either. That's impossible. They have been VAMPIRES for centuries, except for Angel's brief stint in IWRY (and I guess AtF, if you count that), and vampires is what they are now.

And I don't understand what your point is? You didn't address the question at all. How many different Spikes or Darlas are/were there?

@Angel&Faith: No matter how horrible something is, you always have people who will find a reason to love it. I'm amazed that they are people who actually loving this series.

" I think most Whedon fans are though. "
Do you have anything to back this up with? I'm not the betting kind, but I would bet that most Whedon fans detest the comics or aren't interested in reading them. And there's even less reason to like them now, when the lack of Joss dialogue and characterization is so painfully felt. Out of the small minority who actually still follows the comics, what exactly is the percentage of people who like and people who hate season 9 overall and Angel & Faith specifically, is an open question.
I was referring specifically to Angel & Faith. Reviews I've read around the internet for the Angel & Faith series since its inception have been mostly positive. I've seen many positive comments on this site too for most issues, with a lot of people feeling that A & F has been very much outshining the Buffy books, which I agree with.

I especially like Rebekah Isaacs art, which I think outshines Jeanty, but that's just my personal opinion. The fact that I think she's super cute probably makes me a bit bias:)

I love the direction of the A & F series, and as someone who has watched Angel episodes very recently on Netflix, I see nothing wrong with the handling of the characters in A & F comic series or their voices. I think some people are just super nitpicky, which seems to describe the internet community in general.

Now the Buffy comics I do think have some issues, but Buffy has had issues going all the way back to season 7 and some would argue season 6. I still feel like each of those seasons had lots of great moments though. People seem to only focus on the negative with season 8, forgetting awesome stuff like the Faith arc, the Tokyo arc, the one shot about the Buffy decoy, the story where they took a real life fan and put her in the book, the Fray crossover, seeing Oz again, etc.
When it comes to season 9, the reviews and the forum comments by fans are like two different worlds. (For instance, a lot of reviewers praised the Billy arc, which was absolutely panned by the majority of fans on Buffyforums and Slayalive.) Most of the reviews, especially those 'advanced reviews' I've seen online, seemed to be written by casual fans and at least one or two were by self-admitted non-fans.

The only three fan forums I read where the comics are followed are Buffyforums, Slayalive and Whedonesque. On Whedonesque, a lot of people seem to be in love with Angel & Faith and consider it the best title of season 9, but on Buffyforums, almost everyone has been massively disappointed with both the Buffy title and the Angel & Faith title (the Spike mini-series was relatively well-received and the Willow mini was also before the reveal about a certain character), with the latter in particular getting people angry with its treatment of ethics, redemption and the season 8 baggage. If you think I was critical of Angel & Faith, you should read Local Maximum's thoughts on Family Reunion. Slayalive is somewhere in between.

"Now the Buffy comics I do think have some issues, but Buffy has had issues going all the way back to season 7 and some would argue season 6. "

And there are lots of people who think that 'Buffy' was great in season 7 and especially season 6, and that even season 8 was better than this, as well as many people who think that 'Angel' had lots of problems in season 4 and season 5, and some would argue even back in season 3.
I honestly think half of the problem sometimes is that Scott and the others at DH have simply put what most of us see as the real long term ongoing problems - characterisation, voice, lack of focus on the core characters - down as being "fans being bitchy about everything" and have sort of become dismissive of us, to the point they just aren't taking in that what is being said comes from an informed place out of love for the world any more. Joss seemed to at the end of S8/S9 beginning and it is largely agreed that things went better for a few issues around there... but I honestly believe Scott and others gave up listening years ago with the way criticisms are ignored or often put down. I don't think it'll change, because I don't think they're listening any more. It's easier for them to dismiss us that way.
If that's true, then they're taking the right approach. You can't please everyone, and at some point every artist realizes that they have to stop trying. There will ALWAYS be people who complain no matter what, especially among Whedon fans, and that goes double for the internet community in general. There's no way anything they choose to do in the Buffy or Angel books isn't going to have its detractors. That's just the nature of things.
That's the defence they choose. The truth is if you don't cater to what people ultimately want, you won't have that audience forever. At this point the Buffy title is becoming something nobody finds appeal in any more. There are valid, deep reasons for that. It's why I look forward to A&F every month but for the last 10 issues or so of Buffy have each time `braced for the worst`. It's been a gradual decline and realisation that is starting to feel like reading out of loyalty and desire to keep up with the characters rather than reading out of enjoyment any more.
Trouble is, those characters are rarely even there any more.
On the face of it, I am greatly enjoying this series. It stars two of my favourites, has great art, and in general the tone and voices (yes, even Spike's!) feel right to me. I really like Christos Gage as a writer.

However....the tip-toeing around Angel's season 8 behaviour is an issue. They (the writers) need to decide what Angel was trying to do, what was motivating him when he became Twilight (where he appeared from when he crashed into the Hollywood sign) and to what degree he was/wasn't possessed...and then address the results and ramifications properly.

This could have been explored (and I expected it to be) through Angel's attitude and the attitude of the characters around him.
I was really looking forward to hearing him explain himself (or not) to Connor, and to face Spike's judgement...but neither of them gave him any trouble! I refuse to believe that they would give him such an easy time of it.

On the Spike front...he's in my top three characters from the 'verse, and I'm not sure why people find his characterisation here problematic (other than my issue above). In this chapter, he was the comic foil, and was occassionally the butt of a joke. But that happened on the show the whole time! He also got to look pretty cool during the 'there will be blood' bit.
I get that over the years he was in the show(s), he displayed many other traits, but I'm not sure I saw anything massively OOC...apart from the 'Go Easy on Angel for his Crimes' issue, but every character seems to be drinking that particular Kool-Aid.

I agree with you about Spike. By far what most disappointed me was that you'd never know that the last time these two shared panel time, Angel was trying to murder Spike. (Yeah, yeah, possessed, he gets out of jail free - but why would Spike pass up the chance to insist that Angel insist on that card). Every other complaint I might make is only possible because of that first major misstep.

The tip-toeing around Angel's behavior is what is killing the story for me. I think the reason it gets positive reviews (compared to the Buffy title) is because we know what Angel is doing. There's an actual plot! The character has an actual goal! Woo hoo. That does make it "better" than the Buffy title. But it's just a measure of how far off the mark all of this is.

The thing that's wrong with the Buffy title is not just that there's no plot, and that Buffy's not aiming at anything (discernible), it's that they're working so hard to not have Buffy address the real fallout from season 8 (i.e. anything real as opposed to the woefully unspecified badness comprised in smashing of the seed) that her continuity is dead also. So basically Angel & Faith is bad because they aren't being honest about season 8, and Buffy is dead because they aren't even pretending to deal with season 8, let alone be honest about it.

Season 8 was really quite daring. And in retrospect I think it would have looked much better than it seemed at the time. It had a lot of Jossian layers and goodness. But they took the two leads into literally OTT, out of this world, territory, and the refusal to actually play off that story is a huge problem. We are, apparently, supposed to just remember that Buffy and Angel are heroes (Dammit!!!) and let it all go.

Can't say how crushed I am. I still read, but I'm going through the motions at this point. And I'm increasingly unhappy that Joss brought back these characters without intending to do justice to the greatness that was the show. NFA was a good ending. I wish he'd let it rest in peace.

I know what you mean.

There was a lot in Season 8 that I found problematic that the text itself did not address (and did not seem to feel the need to), and with Angel's behaviour/characterisation in particular. But one of the elements that let me come to terms with what had happened was the idea that there were some great stories to be told in the aftermath that could indicate that the creative team understood the magnitude of their story choices.

But it appears that there is no interest in dealing with the events of S8 honestly, and, indeed, there are active attempts to change what we know to have happened (a bit o' the ol' retcon) to make the stories a lot more simple, morally. This not only compromises the current stories, in my eyes, but retroactively harms season 8, which I agree was interesting and bold, in its way.

It's a funny parallel with the events of the comics....Angel trying to brush over his heinous behaviour, and the writers themselves trying to backtrack on what they made the characters do. (I'm being flippant here, but you get my point).
And, far as I know, even in London there was no separate genre/style of disco music in 1971. We're definitely in comic book time here.
....Angel trying to brush over his heinous behaviour

IMHO, at this point and time this is turning into a contest between the writers' team who, did their best to provide all sort of explanations that: 'no Angel did not try to destroy the world - it was Twilight entity who wanted that', 'no Angel did not kill any of these Slayers with his own hands - moreover the Twilight organization was made of humans with free will and they did team up *before* he took them over', 'no Angel was not doing all of what he did to bask in Paradise with Buffy while the rest of humanity perished - he was planning to save as many people as he could, and was genuinely believing that the world was doomed by the prophecy , unless he put on the mask', etc. - and the part of the audience that simply dismiss all of the above and keep insisting that nope, Angel behavior was heinous not misguided and overconfident because... it was heinous. Angel should be treated as a Criminal Mastermind Supervillain because... that's what they would like to see happening, regardless of what Joss and his team himself were/are planning. It is no wonder the writers stopped listening. And when the writers or Scott Allie himself tries to engage in constructive dialog - it ends up with more bitching ( sorry but that's exactly what happened on SA's reddit and in almost every A&F Q/A's) about Angel being unfairly exonerated of being a mass-murderer and how come he is not hating himself/not being hated by everybody sufficiently for being the Bad Guy - and keeps behaving like he honestly made a Big Mistake, not the Face Heel Turn. And this keeps happening after every A&F release.

[ edited by dorotea on 2013-03-05 19:43 ]
I don't really know what else people are looking for. I think they've addressed why Angel did what he did as Twilight(the alternative seemed worse) and the possession issue (he was definitely controlled to some extent). Angel knows what he did and has been taken to task for it (Willow really chewed him out for it, Nadira wanted to kill him, Buffy's not speaking to him, etc.). I honestly don't know when people are ever gonna just get over the Twilight thing. Move on. Does Joss just need to kill off Angel before people will let it go?

Buffy's not dealing with the events of season 8? How bout Illiara and the council making her deal with the fall out? She's also actively trying to hunt down Zompires and take out the Siphon. She's doing about all she CAN do. I think we're also forgetting that Buffy ACCEPTS her choice to destroy the seed and is okay with it. Whether or not we agree with it is irrelevant. She's not gonna get all emo and angsty about what she did every issue.

Connor and Spike are the last people on the planet to judge Angel given the things they've done in their past. It's odd to me that everyone views Angel as the worst person in the Buffyverse now. Willow tried to destroy the world. Buffy has tons of blood on her hands from everything that has happened in seasons 7 & 8 AND she wanted to ignore a bunch of people getting murdered in the Fray arc. Faith has done horrible things. Xander is best buds with one of the most notorious soulless vampires in existence (Dracula). Andrew...don't even get me started on him. The list goes on and on. Nobody in the Buffyverse is to speak. Why are we not still hating Willow for what she tried to do in season 6? Or what Connor did in Angel season 4? Because people got over it. Time to get over the Twilight thing. Angel's not the first Buffy character to nearly destroy the world. He's certainly saved it enough times for the scales of karmic justice to favor him.
And this keeps happening after every A&F release.

Well, this would be, as Alex Jamieson says, because people don't feel the problems they have with the story have been addressed.
@Angel&Faith Buffy and Angel chose to give into a glow that they themselves identified as unholy. As a result the dimensions were ripped open and we were shown truly cataclysmic results. At a minimum a ton of slayers died -- we saw their dead bodies in a panel. But it seems like volcanoes and tsunamis and all the rest would have done some serious damage.

In addition to the damage directly caused by that choice, it set in motion the sequence of events that led to the seed being smashed and Giles being murdered.

Focusing on whether or not Buffy was justified in smashing the seed given the apocalypse *she* co-launched seems to be a slight bit of misdirection, as does focusing on what Angel did while possessed while having him hand wave the big question about why he decided to cooperate with Twilight in the first place. (And alas, there's a *great* story to be told about the character traits in Angel that allowed the talking dog to play him like a piano and gull him into cooperating -- but we aren't getting that story).

I don't see either of them set up to learn from their mistakes -- which is all I require in a story of redemption. What I see is them both focusing in on the parts they are least responsible for.

So it leaves me not knowing how to relate to either character. As far as I can tell from things Allie has tweeted and Gage has said in interviews, Buffy/Angel are an ongoing concern. Give them space this season, but eventually... as long as these two live (or 'live') the door won't be closed. How does that mindset on the part of the writers do justice to the terrible damage that Buffy and Angel launched on the world. Season 8 explicitly connects the space boink with season 2, only this time the fall-out wasn't the murder of Jenny Calender, it was the murder of Giles (in a parallel panel). Joss spent half a season bringing Angel "back" from season 3. But this time around none of that is being addressed (though I will say I harbor some hope that Xander will let loose with it when he finally gets to say his piece).

The other thing that's been flushed is any sense that Buffy might be, shall we say, slightly miffed that Angel took it upon himself to decide to torture her for a year in order to power her up to a suitable goddess-like status for the epic space boink. It's not a very empowering message. But she's apparently okey dokey with the love of her life making huge decisions about how to handle her life's main work behind her back, and using violence to mold her into the kind of woman he wants her to be, including beating her up and putting her girlfriend in the hospital.

Maybe none of this is a big deal. But what I liked about season 8 was that it seemed so very challenging. And now we're to pretend that nothing serious really happened, except that there are these woefully under-specified badnesses stemming from the smashed seed. It's hard to get behind the drama of season 9 precisely because it's hard to tell what's so terrible about the magic thing, but the stuff that did seem obviously terrible apparently didn't really happen -- or at least is not seen as something that ought to be dealt with seriously.

The clock hasn't run out. Maybe the end of the season will make it clear that the issues I identify have been lurking all along. But I do lose hope that will actually happen. I think the writers see things as you do -- and therefore there's nothing to deal with. Unfortunately for me I can't unsee Angel as the equivalent of a spouse-beater/domineering male making huge decisions for the little lady. I can't unsee those dead bodies or the volcanoes and tsunamis. I can't unsee Angel going along with a talking dog to do these terrible things. I can't unsee Buffy cooing about her bestest day ever while the demons are still pouring in. And so I'm disconnected from the two protagonists. Alas.
Well, then lets agree that we can't 'unsee' different things in S8. For my part I can't unsee the fact that the Twilight operation that eventually led to the death of many Slayers by the hands of human soldiers (and vise-verse) started with infamous robbing of Swiss bank. Yes indeed, I can't unsee that bank robbing and the subsequent 'You are at war with humanity - Okey' line and the domino effect. I can't unsee the part where the aforementioned humanity plans to use nuclear missiles on the Slayer Army - as result of the botched propaganda effort, world-wide spread operation that included forming Slayer training bases and cells - under the noses of human governments, and usage of arms, planes and submarines - all appropriated from human armies by way of using illegally obtained funds or highjacking. I also cannot unsee the fact that the girls that were in training on those bases were later used in the military operation against human army - not exclusively demon hordes - and that multiple human casualties ensued - by hands of the Slayers. I cannot unsee the fact that the original Slayer purpose and mission was completely lost as the war with humanity - represented ironically by proxy by 'Twilight' organization - replaced that aforementioned lost mission completely. The 'little lady' beaten upon was no house wife - she was a general and basically headed the new regime of her own - that aimed to substitute and replace the old patriarchal world order with new one - and in the end that whole mess resulted in literally giving birth to a new aggressive Universe that aimed to replace the old one. So, lets go back to our respectful lists of things we cannot unsee and agree that these list will remain different for the time being.
dorotea said:-

Angel should be treated as a Criminal Mastermind Supervillain because... that's what they would like to see happening, regardless of what Joss and his team himself were/are planning

I'll acknowledge that there ARE people who seem to want this on some of the forums I frequent. But I'm definitely not one. Angel's my favourite, the primary character I relate to in the 'verse, so I am very open to attempts to rehabilitate him. I realise it likely wasn't clear from my posts so far in this thread, but I am enjoying the series for the most part. But sometimes the mealy-mouthed reasoning (in place of proper, dramatic character exploration) gets to me.

I get that they regret the way Twangel's actions were portrayed in Season 8, but I wish they would, rather than backpedaling, own that and deal with it . For example, I gather that ME slightly regretted the Cordy/Angel romance (which, incidentally, I loved)but they did continue to use/address it properly once it was in play.

Angel&Faith said:-

Connor and Spike are the last people on the planet to judge Angel given the things they've done in their past

I'll concede that 'judgement' was the wrong word here. But I do think that Connor let him off too lightly and I would have liked the negotiation of their reconciliation to be a bit trickier (if only for the sake of having a slightly more dramatic arc!). I was disappointed that Angel and Spike ended up in a Buffcentric argument when there was probably more pertinent stuff to discuss. (IMO, Spike is the best person to get Angel to reflect now that Cordy has gone...he has a similar 'truth sayer' role). As Maggie said, last time they saw each other they were fighting to the death (AFAIK).

Don't get me wrong...I'm happy for stories to NOT go the way I want them to and I LOVE surprises. I just slightly lament the fact that there were several opportunities provided by these character appearances to explore the real ramifications of Angel's decisions leading up to his possession, but the plot contorted strangely to avoid them.

ETA Maybe next issue will give us some, though.

(I'm also a bit frustrated that we've never really been told how Angel went from the end of AtF to the scene with TwiDog, both logistically and character development-wise. I increasingly suspect that crashing into the sign was Joss' resolution to the Hell-A situation, thus going against the Lynch finale...but that's a discussion for another time!)

[ edited by Alex_Jamieson on 2013-03-06 15:03 ]
@dorotea: No, Angel was NOT trying to "save as many people as possible". Going by what he's now saying, he was trying to save only the "good" people. Which actually makes him look even worse: he thought he had the right to play God and decide who gets the right to live and who doesn't (like he did with Lindsey, for instance), and it's not something he did because he was high on Twilight juice - he still apparently thinks it was OK and a good plan, none the less.

I don't think anyone ever thought that Angel's plan when he signed up to work with Twilight was to destroy the world. Season 8 made it clear he thought he was saving it. But it also made it clear, and season 9 hasn't contradicted that, that he knew he'd have to kill people and agreed to it; that he agreed to torment Buffy for an entire year; that he beat up Buffy (while he was much stronger than her, having the Twilight powers, so the "she is strong" argument doesn't work) and Satsu and emotionally tortured Buffy until he brought her low enough that she could "ascend" and be what he wanted her to be (how is that for feminism?); that he ordered the bombing of the Slayer headquarters;, that he ordered the troops to search for the Slayers in Tibet, that he executed the "spike" guy; that he was responsible for the deaths of over 200 Slayers. Angel & Faith also showed him hovering over while Pearl and Nash were slaughtering Nadira's squad; he said he didn't remember it, but it has not been established that he was possessed or anything like that, and based on everything we know, was only possessed after the spacefrak. Or if he was supposed to be possessed before, why don't they just establish that in canon?

Yes, Angel's crimes in season 8 were awful. "But he wanted to save the world!" is a very weak excuse; most of the worst mass murderers in history thought that they were making the world a better place (or rather, making the world as it should be in their mind) or "saving" it from bad people. Only fictional villains are motivated by trying to destroy the world.

"He didn't kill the Slayers with his own hands!" is an even worse excuse. The leaders normally never do. They order or allow their henchmen to do it. International law doesn't recognize that excuse, or else none of the military leaders, let alone political leaders, would have ever been indicted for war crimes and mass murder or torture. But instead, they are the ones considered most responsible and given the harshest sentences, not the small potatoes who did the crimes with their own hands.

@Angel & Faith: "Connor and Spike are the last people on the planet to judge Angel given the things they've done in their past "

This issue does its best to convince us that Angel bears zero responsibility for the things he did when he was soulless (and even treats his soulless self as a separate person). By that logic, the worst things Spike is responsible for doing are banging Harmony on the desk, crashing his ship into Big Ben, and being rude to people. So, by the logic of the issue, he's far from being "the last person on the planet to judge Angel".
Alex_Jamieson said:

For example, I gather that ME slightly regretted the Cordy/Angel romance (which, incidentally, I loved)but they did continue to use/address it properly once it was in play.

Not to get off topic, but I think Cordy was the love of Angel's life. With her gone, I think Faith is the best option for Angel, but neither one of them is ready for that right now

Sorry, didn't mean to get shippy. I'll stop.
@Alex_Jamieson I wish they would, rather than backpedaling, own that and deal with it . For example, I gather that ME slightly regretted the Cordy/Angel romance (which, incidentally, I loved)but they did continue to use/address it properly once it was in play.

I think they have been dealing with S8 downfall exclusively in A&F. The whole plot of the series is so rooted in it - it left many AtS fans disappointed of just the opposite - i.e. lack of AtS original characters and Angel's complete immersion into his guilt issues to the extent of forgetting his son, his friends and his overall purpose. I think they struck nice balance by the end of the series, but the perception of the story is very different for different people. As for your example, see I find it rather puzzling because the way ME dealt with C/A was to quickly and efficiently remove Cordelia from the picture, then swiftly erase all the indications that the 'romance' ever existed. Then move on with Angel kissing Buffy in Chosen with Cordelia in the coma, then immediately have a fling with Nina - with Cordelia still in the coma, then in the comics never mentioning her again - except when Buffy gleefully states that 'she will be dead'. If this is the way you want the irritating issues resolved - then why the grief over S9 ?

I was disappointed that Angel and Spike ended up in a Buffcentric argument when there was probably more pertinent stuff to discuss.

Once again - this is a very personal take on it. From my PoV, the most pertinent thing Spike has on his mind at the moment is being rejected by Buffy once again. Of course it is a pertinent topic for him - especially when dealing with Angel, and I would have been greatly disappointed if they did not touch on it.

As for the Angel's inner workings of dealing with Twilight - I am plenty happy that they made Giles to be the central reflective figure in this issue for Angel - not Spike, and that Giles is helping Angel to move on; because frankly Giles feels much more appropriate figure to deal with things like prophecies, self-determination and free will vs destiny. Spike is a free agent - but that's exactly why he has no to little experience with things like destiny or fate. I am once again very glad they left Spike be himself and play a role of sarcastic observer of things. This is not Spike's story - the three prominent figures were defined from the start and I feel the story is way more consistent with it remaining so.


I wouod be extremely and greatly disappointed if Faith is to ever have any romantic relationship with Angel - it will kill their unique relationship right away and achieve nothing - sorry did not mean to be shippy. :)


We clearly have a very different reading of what exactly Angel knew, how much he thought he could do and how certain he was of the fact that the world was doomed and would be destroyed entirely without new Universe being available as refuge. I wold rather not go into this argument here.

[ edited by dorotea on 2013-03-06 22:30 ]

[ edited by dorotea on 2013-03-06 22:37 ]
I know what you mean about Angel and Faith, and I understand that view point. I should clarify though, that when I say a romantic pairing between them could work I'm thinking sometime far off in the future. That's why I said that I don't think either one of them is ready for that now

I understand the arguments for and against an Angel/Faith pairing though, so I don't mind that some people are against the idea. I'm just happy seeing them together whether it's platonic or otherwise. It's going to be interesting seeing how she works with Spike.
Regarding Cordy, they didn't really erase all traces of the romance. Not when they brought her back in season 5. I think she figured into After the Fall's story too, though who knows if that's canon

I was always bothered by how her season 5 death was quickly swept aside amidst the drama of Fred's death. I don't think we ever saw anyone grieve over Cordy, except Angel. That's two character deaths happening much too closely together I thought.
I share Maggie's frustration (and others' frustration) with this season. I think what is most bothersome, to me, is that both titles in season nine *are* ostensibly dealing with the fallout from season eight, but seem to be going about it in a way that focuses on the wrong elements entirely. To elaborate in ways specific to my reading experience:

Buffy's story deals entirely with the consequences of her having smashed the Seed -- but Buffy was obviously right to smash the Seed when she did, and so the only possible result of the story is for Buffy to regain the confidence to know that she smashed it. That wasn't the failing that season eight showed -- the failing was giving into the glow which created the apocalypse, in a moment of despair. She needs to move on from both the despair that triggered her "giving in" and to face the part of herself that chose to give into the glow and Angel rather than stay true to her principles -- if season eight is to have any meaning. The Seed smashing was necessary, because of Buffy's glow-related actions.

For Angel, his focus is entirely on resurrecting Giles. However, just as Buffy clearly did the Right Thing by smashing the Seed, Angel had no real agency by the time he snapped Giles' neck. He was responsible for it in that he made a series of choices that led to Twilight's creation, and which made him the perfect vessel for its possession. However, Angel & Faith still periodically plays the card that Angel shouldn't be held responsible for murdering Giles because he was possessed. It's not even entirely wrong to do so -- because Angel *was* possessed at the time -- it's just that that was the one major Twilight crime that he did while fully possessed. Faith's line in this issue in which she implicitly compared Angel's Twilight possession to the possession of slayers by Eyghon drives home that focusing on Giles fails to get at the central failings of Angel last year. Those are, to me, deliberately torturing Buffy, trying to "save the world" knowing that it would kill "bad people" (as revealed in A&F), killing "spike guy", arranging for Gigi and Faith to square off, encouraging Pearl and Nash's powers, and so on. Those are bigger than Giles' death. On the one hand, there's nothing Angel can *do* about those, so I understand the small-scale concerns. On the other, as has been pointed out, there are so many people who have a real stake in what Angel almost did, and spent a year dedicated to doing -- and for Spike, Connor and Gunn to treat Angel as if his actions wouldn't have affected them rings false, as does the focus primarily on actions Angel did while possessed rather than of sound mind.

Now, it is very possible that the reason that season nine fails in this way is that season eight simply gave it the wrong set-up. Several people have argued at length that the deck was unfairly stacked against Buffy with the glow or that season eight should *not* have been a story about her failure via sex. That Angel was out of character in his actions as Twilight, or at least that his perspective was hidden so long that it's not really possible to form a coherent narrative of how Angel got to where he got. I don't know what I think about these. I *did* believe that season eight was daring especially because it implied that the very structure of having protagonists with narrative-bending powers (Buffy and Angel) was a threat to the whole story -- and by association that anyone who has too much power, or is placed on a pedestal by others. I did think that Angel's actions, while underwritten, followed up on some traits that he had in the series and in NFA; I thought that Buffy being isolated from her human side by finding herself embroiled in a world of slayers and slayers alone was a logical follow-up to Chosen. I also do think that the space sex was silly and that Angel's lack of concern for Connor if no one else is a big gaping hole in the story. I loved season eight for what it did enough to forgive it for its failings -- but largely on the condition that it really was setting up a story of transformation for Buffy and Angel that season nine has just not provided.

Meanwhile, the Spike and Willow minis mostly trod water having the characters largely re-learn lessons they had already learned; and while Faith has had some interesting development, if inconsistent, Xander and Dawn have been fully neglected. In season eight, Willow, Xander and Dawn were featured much more regularly and had interesting stories, though Dawn's stalled out rather early. It's frustrating to see season nine flounder (IMHO) because I did love season eight, but it's a season that partly blows up the 'verse in such a way as it HAS to be followed up on, and cannot be an ending. Chosen and NFA felt like endings to me.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2013-03-07 23:18 ]
That wasn't the failing that season eight showed -- the failing was giving into the glow which created the apocalypse, in a moment of despair. She needs to move on from both the despair that triggered her "giving in" and to face the part of herself that chose to give into the glow and Angel rather than stay true to her principles -- if season eight is to have any meaning.

the deck was unfairly stacked against Buffy with the glow or that season eight should *not* have been a story about her failure via sex.

The way I see it S8 was *never* a story about Buffy's failure via having sex. Although it is the most commonly utilized fandom spin out there. What this PoV entirely fails to take into account is the fact that Twilight did not start with the space sex, and neither did Buffy's failure. The prerequisites for Twilight prophecy were : being in love with a vampire and sharing the Power, and that very same sharing triggered the apocalypses.

The season opens with a stack of dominoes already in full swing of falling - the Swiss bank was already robbed, the powerful weapons and helicopters deployed, the girls organized into power cells and spread over the world - as is duly noted by the world most powerful military who is prepping for nuclear attack. The avalanche is already sliding down the slope -- picking up speed and momentum, and all Buffy is supposed to feel regret for - *after* the avalanche hits and plasters everybody including her - is regret over 'giving to the glow' ?! I don't think so - and thankfully neither do S9 writers - except so far the only character who is reluctantly voicing the problem was much maligned Kennedy, the Brat Slayer. ('Or whatever we have been doing') Buffy obviously lost the mission in S8, and it did not happen when Angel pulled off the mask - it had been happening since issue #1 of the season. So, yes, lets agree to disagree on the S9 downfalls - because it should not be about Buffy 'moving on' (for the emptienth time) from the failed love affair to I guess 'something blue' - to finally 'mature'. She is not a cheese. Buffy was tempted by power, and she failed as almost everybody else does when facing this particular challenge. She does need to pick herself up and find new purpose - but her sex life is not the root cause of the problem.

A&F #19 review

[ edited by dorotea on 2013-03-08 19:29 ]

[ edited by dorotea on 2013-03-10 03:28 ]

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