While Whistler and his demonic partners may be threatening the world with a rapidly approaching apocalypse, one event has been even more pressing for the heroes (and readers) of Dark Horse Comics’ Angel & Faith series: the potential resurrection of Rupert Giles! With this week’s release of Angel & Faith #22, writer Christos Gage and artist Rebekah Isaacs continue their nearly flawless work on the series and finally deliver what could easily be the most anticipated issue of the season!
Here’s a quick summary of Issue #22:
This issue opens with Angel, Faith, Lavinia, Sophie, and Alasdair focusing on their memories of Giles in order to assist the resurrection spell. When all is done, Rupert Giles stands before them . . . a twelve-year-old Rupert Giles! While Giles is happy to be free of Eyghon’s enslavement and still has the memories of his former self, he is, physically, a school boy.
While Giles does end up dealing with some side effects, like a case of ragin’ teenage hormones, he retains enough of his old sensibilities to map out an attack to thwart Whistler’s apocalyptic plans. Determined to not accept his newly restored life too quickly, he implores Angel to not inform Buffy of his return until some time has passed, and he also makes it clear to the others that if he dies in the battle to stop Whistler, he is content to remain that way this time.
There are a few other great scenes, including one perfect rooftop scene between Giles and Faith, and, in the end, we leave our heroes just as they confront Whistler, Pearl, and Nash for the final showdown.
The return of Rupert Giles! How great does it feel to have Giles back, in whatever form? Gage has written the path to this moment so well that readers were never truly certain if the process would be successful, let alone possible, and the return of our beloved watcher is a moment to savor. This is a Whedon-created world, so we really have no way of knowing if Giles will survive the rest of the season, bu,t despite that fact, I found myself smiling and brimming with joy right along with our elated Angel over Rupert’s return. Gage is also smart enough to not retread the material that has already been covered in the Buffyverse, instead exploring this “new” Giles as a character who is grateful to be back from the dead, yet is also struggling with the situation of being a grown man trapped in the body of his younger self. If Giles does continue on in this form past the end of the season, I’m sure that it will provide Gage and the other Buffyverse comic writers with plenty of “meat” for future stories. And, despite the fact that this issue makes it clear that our characters have grown enough to no longer need the father-figure Giles originally provided, as the story arc is titled, his return is still “what you want.”
Oh, Giles . . . how we missed you!
Gage and Isaacs continue to rock. It’s getting almost comical how often I praise Gage and Isaacs’ work on this series, but what else can I do? Frankly, their work on Angel & Faith has made this Scoobie a life-long fan of both Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs (and I don’t think I’m the only one). Keep up the great work, dynamic duo!
The non-resurrection agreement. One of my favorite moments in this issue was the moment where the characters make the feelings known regarding resurrection if they are slain in the conflict against Whistler. While the concept of needing to address your own potential resurrection (almost like the Buffyverse equivalent of a “do not resuscitate” order) is a fascinating idea on its own, this scene also provides a touching moment for the twelve-year-old Giles. Finally coming to terms with his new “form,” Giles sincerely thanks the team for their efforts in bringing him back and the fact that he was so valued as to merit such a mission.
Oh, hai, shared universe! There were several fanboy-thrilling nods to Buffy: Season 9 in this issue, including a reference to the events currently taking place at the Deeper Well.
Angel’s desperation and euphoria. While most of this issue seems to show Giles’ resurrection leaning towards the positive end of the spectrum, I do have my reservations regarding Angel’s desperation to fix “just this” and his exuberant joy once the task has been accomplished. We Whedonites have been trained to be suspicious of happiness, and while I’m eager to accept Giles’ return and see Buffy’s reaction as much as the next ensouled vampire, I have this feeling that I can’t shake . . . that this is just the climb before the fall. For Angel’s sake, let’s hope that’s not the case . . .
The Ugly (Fan Buzz, that is . . . )
Have we mentioned how much we love this Gage guy? I’m not sure if it’s clear yet, but there’s a lot of fan love out there for Christos Gage. He’s like the Elvis of the Buffy comic book world.
Wow . . . they actually did it! This seemed to be a common emotion among fans. What a cynical bunch of rogue demon hunters we have become.
GILES IS SOOOOO CUTE! Another shared feeling among the fan base (that’s just what Rupert wants to hear, I’m sure).
Do you remember a girl named Dawn? One fan at Whedonesque suggested that it would be interesting to know if “ . . . Re-Giles has heard of anyone by the name of Dawn . . . ” I, for one, agree.
FINAL SCORE: 4 resurrected Brits out of 5
That’s all for now, Scoobies. Feel free to wear that goofy, joyous smile. Giles is back, and we have at least thirty days ’till it all comes crashing down.
’Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer
If you’re craving more goodies from the Whedon comic-verse to feed your addiction, then don’t miss my “Comic Patrol” posts every Friday at www.whedonopolis.com! “Comic Patrol” is a regular weekly feature pointing out articles, previews, and tidbits relating to the Whedon comic-verse, and it’s hosted by your friendly neighborhood Comic Book Slayer! I’ll see you there, comic book sniffers!