"Angel and Faith" continues to impress as it features two big stars of the Buffyverse that are far more interesting when paired together. The result is a smart book that’s being executed very well.
Issue #4 brings to a close the first arc of "Angel and Faith," and it's a satisfying ending that leaves plenty to still be mined of the book's original mission, i.e. Angel's intention to bring Giles back to life. Angel and Faith, having found the Mohra blood that could well make that happen, discover a horrible secret to the blood now that the world is absent magic. The way in which it's revealed and the stakes leading up to it are nicely done. Additionally, the issue ends on an intriguing note that will most certainly bring any savvy Whedon fans back for more. Whedon has never shied away from complex and even risky plot threads, and what’s hinted at here would be both. Some of those plot threads over the years have paid off and some have fallen short;what's hinted at here is risky enough that it could go either way. Regardless, it will make for some interesting reading.
Christos Gage continues to really get these characters and executes their voices with precision, something especially critical given the plot hint that arrives at the end of the issue. As written by Gage, Angel and Faith continue to have nice chemistry as characters. Though they have similar strengths and weaknesses (once super baddies that sought -- and received -- redemption) they still have enough differences to keep things interesting. Angel comes off as more restrained, thoughtful, and intelligent while Faith is more impulsive, instinctual, and sassy. There's just enough humor to keep the issue from getting bogged down in too much action or avenging/revenging somber notes.
Pearl and Nash, who are featured rather heavily in this issue, aren't very compelling villains as depicted here. They display lots of power, but not a lot of smarts, and they detract a bit from the more interesting things going on. In the end, however, the development of Angel and Faith's relationship and some clever storytelling overcome the weakness of Pearl and Nash.
Rebekah Isaacs is a phenomenal artist for this book as she effortlessly straddles the line between realistic and cartoon-y art that makes this book work. When illustrating a book whose characters are well known actors, getting the visuals right is a very fine line. Too little resemblance to the actors and it becomes distracting; too much slavish devotion to the actors and you lose the focus of other important aspects of the work. Isaacs has nailed her representations of Faith and Angel so that they are instantly recognizable, but feel entirely their own within the book. It nicely allows a reader to both instantly feel comfortable and to concentrate on the story at hand. I can't stress enough what an important balance it is, and how well Isaacs has struck it.
Beyond that, Isaacs’ storytelling is dynamic and incredibly clear, handling action as well as emotion and moving from one to the other flawlessly. In this issue, particularly, you can see that Isaacs is even drawing Faith slightly differently in her fight sequences because of her clothing (she's in a dress and heels) and it's a truly exceptional artist that can weave even the clothing a character wears into how they move on panel. The color work by Dan Jackson has a vibrant and intoxicating pop, that well fits both the tone of the story and Isaacs artwork impeccably.
All in all, “Angel and Faith” is a very strong series that shows no signs of letting up. With an incredible creative team, closer ties to the ongoing "Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 9" series, and a great first arc under its belt, this series is off to a great start.