The release of Angel & Faith: Season 10 #6 this month brings the former rogue slayer Faith back into the spotlight and sees our girl “going commando” in the South Americans jungles in writer Victor Gischler‘s latest script. Artist Will Conrad has returned from his absence last month and is also packin‘ heat with some of his best work in the series yet. Slayers, vamps, jungles, and machine guns . . . All that’s missing is Jesse Ventura and Ol‘ Painless . . .
Here’s a quick summary of Issue #5:
This issue opens with Angel continuing to help the helpless in Magic Town by saving some pedestrians from a hulking demon. Just when the demon starts to get the vampire on the ropes, Amy Madison appears and pummels the beast with telekinetically charged debris, saving Angel. The witch has been looking for Angel ever since he successfully resurrected Giles and is in need of his help in doing the same with the liquified blood and guts (kept in a glass jar) that was once Warren Mears.
Meanwhile, in South America, Faith gears up with the Deepscan version of Arnie’s team from Predator. Led by the aviator shade-rocking Deepscan Unit Leader, Tonia, Faith, and the other slayer soldiers are on a mission to find a missing Riley Finn, who disappeared in search of his wife in the deadly jungle. Unfortunately, tensions are high as they are forced to work on the mission with the U.S. military and Reese, a representative of Zane Pharmaceuticals. The company is funding the mission, given that Reese’s father has also disappeared in the jungle along with Riley and Sam.
During the squad’s first day searching for those missing, they are ambushed by natives with spears that are quickly revealed to be vampires (the new, shiny kind that can play in the sun). The squad defeats the vamps, but Tonia is mortally wounded and dies in her fellow soldier’s arms . . . leaving Faith in charge of the squad!
Gishcler tackles a meaty, yet untouched, piece of Buffyverse canon. Ever since former Initiative super soldier Riley Finn fled his deteriorating relationship with Buffy Summers back in Season 5 by grabbing a spot on a “High risk, low pay, and seriously messy” mission taking out demons in Central America, this fanboy has eagerly anticipated the comic book depiction of these unseen events. And, while writer Victor Gischler isn’t going back to show us “Agent Finn vs. the missionary-slaughtering jungle demons” adventures of the past, he is mining some of that territory by sending us into the jungles of South America with the slayer equivalent of Blackwater Ops. There’s a lot of potential with this set up, the unique cast of characters, the odd-ball move of possibly throwing Faith and Riley together (plot wise), and, of course, the Deepscan slayer’s preference for firearms. I always love when we get a new “flavor” in the Buffyverse, and, so far, I certainly love the aroma wafting out of Gischler’s kitchen.
Scott Fischer’s uber-cool cover. Faith the vampire slayer, Deepscan style, is looking ultra badass and ready to rumble in the jungle. With her combat gear, high-tech (and functional . . . what do you know?) body armor, and take-no-s@#% expression, this version of Faith seems primed for release as an exclusive action figure and may even inspire some (myself included) to suggest this costume redesign comes close to rivaling the recent (and awesome) changes to Batgirl’s look.
Amy Madison – Friend or Foe? While Amy has never been my favorite character or the most interesting villain, I do think she has important connections to our characters and the events of the past. For this reason, I’m both excited and intrigued to see the character’s return. Amy can be quite the trickster, and very often a double agent, so while her claims of wanting to resurrect Warren seem genuine, especially given her previous connection to Angel (or should I say Twilight?), I think it best to take her explanations with a grain of salt.
The return of Will Conrad and his wonderful artwork. Conrad returns in full force this issue, seeming to relish the new jungle environment and commando-esque character design.
Where’s the armor? I don’t know if Congress is to blame for lack of funding, but why aren’t Faith and the other Deepscan slayers decked out in the awesome battle gear from Fischer’s badass cover? While I love Conrad’s artwork in this issue and the costuming job he‘s done would totally be appropriate for Schwarzenegger, Stallone, and the rest of the Expendables, I do wish they’d have been equipped with the more high-tech and deadly “Seal Team Six” look.
The Ugly (Fan Buzz, that is . . . )
Is Sam alive? I don’t know that the character is that much more loved (or hated) than Riley, but there sure does seem to be a lot of worry regarding the fate of his wife.
Who is Agent Brandt really? Maybe we’re just becoming a little paranoid, but many fans seem to be questioning Brandt’s true loyalties and purpose in helping Angel. Could there be more to Brandt than meets the eye?
That all for now, Scoobies. I’ll be back soon with my review of the latest release from Buffy: Season 10.
’Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer
If you’re craving more goodies from the Whedon comic-verse to feed you 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!