With only three issues left in the season, Angel & Faith has been racing towards its inevitable conclusion in its recent issues, setting a wealth of ducks in a row between Angel, Faith, Giles, Whistler, Pearl, Nash, and Nadira, and raising the stakes to apocalypse-level disaster—after all, every good Whedonite knows that it’s not a season finale without a little fire and brimstone.
In issue #21, the gang finally started putting together Giles’s revival spell, only to be interrupted by Whistler, Pearl, and Nash, who were drawn by the intense magic source Angel had managed to get his hands on for his spell. The following fight has two startling conclusions: one, Whistler manages to make off with an awful lot of magic ammo thrown into his armageddon sack; and two, the revival spell is carried out… and successful.
Angel & Faith #22 picks up from the second #21 left off, with the spell’s conclusion. And off the bat we learn that it worked! Giles is back, with his brain and morality and soul intact (which, as anybody familiar with raising the dead knows, is no easy feat.) There is only one small hitch: Giles has been restored as a twelve-year-old. Due to a quirk of the spell, when his aunts Sophie and Lavinia were pouring their thoughts into the magic, their fondest perception of Giles (when he was a child) mixed in with the spell and made it go haywire.
There has been so much agonizing over what will happen if Giles is resurrected — will he be evil, will he be in pain, will be be grotesque — that it never occurred to me that the repercussions might be funny, or dare I say it, cute. While Giles is more than a little outraged at his predicament, the sight of him with his boy-sized glasses and his tie-dyed T-shirts and his tiny, hormonal temper tantrums do a good job of breaking the tension that has been running very high in Angel & Faith as of late.
There is also an interesting dichotomy in trying to figure out the exact nature of Giles now: While he claims to be the same Giles they’ve always known (“I am a grown man, damn it all!” he rants, “I wear Savile Row clothes and drink Darjeeling tea and appreciate the nuances of Dostoyevsky in the original Russian”) it quickly becomes clear that his hormonal preteen body has changed him—for example, when he flies off the handle with minimal provocation (who doesn’t remember doing that in middle school?) or can’t stop staring at Faith’s rack. How this might affect the team as they tumble into the eleventh hour should be interesting; will he still be the same Giles, with the cool head and the ruthless fighting skills just under the surface? Or will his new temperament inevitably turn him into a liability?
Whatever may happen, we won’t have to wait to find out: the final panels of Angel & Faith #22 are essentially a call to muster that cumulates in a full-scale attack on Whistler, Pearl and Nash, who are unleashing their apocalypse plague in downtown London. Even Nadira is shown heading towards the eye of the storm, sword in hand, and after her falling out with Faith in recent issues, I can only forsee explosive results.
Three issues left, and the end of the world is nigh. But if anybody can stop it, I’m sure it’s the original vampire with a soul and Faith Lehane.
Angel & Faith #23 will be released June 26 2013.