"Angel & Faith" #7 is the first issue of the series that hasn't really hit the mark for me. It's still a solid book, but it's just not ringing true enough to give it the emotional punch of the first arc.
Christos Gage has a good handle on both Angel and Faith's voices and personalities, enough so it was clear to readers something was going on with Angel's personality and that continues here. However, on the plotting front this feels a bit weak. The second installment of this new arc, titled "Daddy Issues" is set up to parallel both Angel and Faith's relationships to or as fathers. Angel comes into contact with Drusilla, who he sired more than a hundred years ago but not before driving her insane; while Faith comes face to face with her absentee alcoholic father, now apparently sober.
The parallels are nice in general, but it feels as if Gage wants them to work so much he's willing to push the characters to unbelievable places to get the story he wants. Despite Faith being a kinder, gentler version of herself these days and much redeemed from her past, I don't believe for a second she would accept her father back into her life in the three short pages it takes. Nor do I believe she is such a trusting fool she would trust him so absolutely once accepting him. It would be an interesting avenue to explore and I absolutely believe that Faith would want these things and could eventually come around to letting him back in, but not in a few short pages. In the end, it feels like a great idea but botched in execution.
While Angel's reaction to a now sane Drusilla feels more on point, most of what has made the Drusilla character fascinating has been stripped away. It's possible this new development in her character could make for some interesting stories and keeping a character stagnant is never the strongest choice, but so far it's not terribly interesting. Drusilla felt like a much riskier and bolder character in her previous incarnation and it's sad to possibly lose that.
Rebekah Isaacs continues to absolutely nail these pages. She's fallen into an easy look for both Angel and Faith feeling natural and appropriate. Isaacs' handle on Drusilla is more nebulous, but strong and better than what most artists can manage when straddling the line between fictional character and known actor who inhabited the role. More importantly, Isaacs' character design for Drusilla's pet monster Lorophage Demon is wonderfully horrifying. As always, the artist particularly excels at the little details so many artists miss -- the clothing choices, the background details, the minor variations in facial expression. There's an highly enjoyable effortlessness in Isaacs' pencils as she rockets through the story, a fevered pace willing you to keep up with it. She remains an excellent fit for this book and I find myself hoping we'll get a "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" crossover so we can see her take on even more Buffyverse characters.
"Angel & Faith" has been a strong book since it debuted and this issue is good, but just doesn't quite hit the same sweet spot that others have managed.