“Angel & Faith” Season 9 comes to an epic conclusion that’s not quite as great as the end of “Buffy” Season 9, but still pretty darn good, especially with the way it charts a new course for Giles. In the end, the best thing about Season 9 in the Buffyverse is that it was split into two monthly titles, rather than one 40-issue run.
The second batch of 10 issues in “Angel & Faith” Season 9 starts with a slight midseason dip in quality. It’s nice to catch up with Connor and Gunn, but distracting for readers of the IDW “Angel” comics who know a different continuity. The last five issues of this batch are gold, though: first the most Ripper-esque Giles story to date, and then a pitch-perfect Faith-and-Spike comedic romp. Here are my reviews of Issues 11-20:
As with “Buffy” Season 9, “Angel & Faith” Season 9 gets off to a great start from the pen of a rookie Buffyverse writer. Christos Gage, who will go on to be the most ubiquitous of the canonical Dark Horse comics scribes, has a good grasp of the relationship between Angel and Faith. He invents new enemies from the ashes of Season 8, rightly assuming that Twilight ticked off a lot of people – both good guys and bad guys.
“Dark Times” checks back in with Master K’Kruhk for “Fire Carrier,” Issues 23-27 (2013), which – despite not being drawn by Douglas Wheatley (Gabriel Guzman’s crisp art isn’t a bad substitute, though) – is my favorite arc from the series, and one of the elite arcs among all “Star Wars” comics.
After a couple of arcs focusing on the Uhumele crew, author Randy Stradley and artist Douglas Wheatley return to Jedi Dass Jennir – who went his own way after Issue 5 – for the next two arcs in “Dark Times.” As a means of catching readers up with Jennir, Issue 0 is the first issue of “Blue Harvest,” which continues in Issues 13-17 (2009-10). Jennir’s adventures then move directly into “Out of the Wilderness,” Issues 18-22 (2011-12).
Sometimes it seems like no matter how many “Star Wars” stories I read, I’m missing something. Part of this is because there are many unexplored areas of lore in the Legends timeline, but part of it is because some plot and character points were chronicled off the beaten path.
Everyone knows about the “Robot Chicken” and “Family Guy” parodies on the boob tube, but the “Tag & Bink” comics are arguably even better. They are written by Kevin Rubio, who broke onto the “Star Wars” parody scene with the short film “Troops” and brought his talents to comics with “A Death Star is Born” in “Star Wars Tales.” The meticulously detailed art comes from Lucas Marangon, whose visual gags (as scripted by Rubio) are often as funny as the dialogue and situations — for example, young ghost Anakin and old ghost Anakin give each other the evil eye at the end of “Return of the Jedi.”
The original “Star Wars” trilogy was, above all, Luke’s story, especially after “A New Hope.” The beautifully told romance between Leia and Han gave them a significant presence in “The Empire Strikes Back,” but they were still a plot device for Luke. They were reduced to Rebel soldiers in “Return of the Jedi,” while Luke’s arc clearly took center stage.
In the midst of re-reading the “Star Wars: Republic” ongoing series, I decided to peek ahead on the timeline in search of more information about Aurra Sing in “The Bounty Hunters: Aurra Sing.” And for the sake of keeping things together, that means re-reading “The Bounty Hunters” three-issue series (1999), which also includes “Scoundrel’s Wages” and “Kenix Kil.”
The third and fourth arcs of “Star Wars: Republic” — “Emissaries to Malastare” (1999-2000) and “Twilight” (2000) – continue the trend of one mediocre arc followed by one great arc. Despite being written by Tim Truman, author of the excellent “Outlander,” “Emissaries to Malastare” is a confusingly plotted hodgepodge.