Review: Angel & Faith #13 - Family Reunion, Pt. 3

FROM THE PUBLISHER

The expedition to Quor-Toth has taken an unplanned turn for Angel, Faith, Willow, and Connor. While they struggle to survive the horrors that surround them, they have also taken on a mission to stage a great escape—and not just for themselves! They must act fast, before the effect that this hell dimension is having on their thoughts and emotions overcomes them!
* Executive produced by Joss Whedon!
* Follows the events of Buffy Season 8!
* A journey to hell!

SYNOPSIS

Angel, Faith, Willow and Connor battle through the forces of Quor'Toth and free the imprisoned Connor-worshipers, while also working through some of their issues. However, that wakes up "Quor'Toth" the old one for whom the dimension is named.

Back on Earth, Pearl and Nash are threatening Sophie and Lavinia, but an angry Whistler intervenes so they don't mess up his plan. He explains that unlike last time, with Twilight, he's doing things his way this time. He leaves a message for Angel with Sophie and Vin, then he, Pearl and Nash make their way out.

Back on Quor'Toth, Willow is doing everything she can to protect the group from the demon Quor'Toth, who was awakened by the compassion and love Angel, Faith, Connor and Willow had for each other (no, really). They knock it back and make their way to the rift to Earth. Willow is reluctant to go back to a world without magic. Before they can discuss the issue further, Quor'Toth re-emerges and Willow is knocked to the ground. She turns and reveals black eyes and veins. Uh-oh.

REVIEW

OK, last things first: the return of Dark Willow can only mean awesome things. The Dark Willow arc in Buffy Season 8 was one of the high points of the season, and I'm excited to see what Christos Gage can do with the character (even if she's only likely to be around for the next issue).

As for the rest of this issue, I kind of glossed over the character stuff at the beginning, but as has been the case with the rest of this arc, the inner dialogue that's led to larger conversations between the characters has been incredibly revealing. The insights Faith has gained into Angel's mindset really lay the groundwork for how she'll deal with his ongoing quest to resurrect Giles when they get back to Earth.

Unlike last issue, when I'd been a little disappointed in the threat that Quor'Toth represented, I thought unleashing the full power of "Quor'Toth" (the old one) was a pretty impressive step. The demon didn't disappoint, either in action or in imposing presence -- and the latter owes a lot to Rebekah Isaacs' artwork. More on that shortly.

The Whistler scenes were short, relative to the rest of the issue, but I think they'll have more of a long-term impact on the series story-wise than the stuff happening on Quor'Toth (which, Dark Willow aside, seems to be more character-based). For a character that was only in a handful of episodes, Whistler has always loomed large in the Buffyverse -- especially if you know that the original plan for "Angel" was to have Whistler on the show in the Doyle role -- and I'm incredibly intrigued to see where things go from here.

Now, I've loved Isaacs' pencil work on this series from the start, but this issue may have been the high point. She went to town on the action scenes, and it just all looks so amazing. It's especially impressive once you realize that she had to account for spacing for dialogue AND inner monologue on the early pages, and the art still pops.

Also, I didn't notice this at first, but the two covers for this issue actually connect. The river, tree roots and smoke from the Morris cover (pictured above) extend onto the Isaacs cover, though both are drawn by their respective artists (as opposed to one background piece that was chopped in half). I wouldn't want them to do that every issue, but it was really cool to see for this one.

Score: 4 out of 5

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