In Perfect Harmony

I’d planned to review each of Dark Horse’s Buffy Season 9 arcs at their conclusions, but as I reread each issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the new Angel & Faith, I begin to feel like I’m watching episodes of each series again. With the current “seasons” being limited to 25-issues each and the titles running concurrently, I now find it hard to do an arc by arc review, so I’ll just begin with the most current issue, A&F #5, “In Perfect Harmony.”

In the past four issues, “Live through This, Parts 1-4,” newcomer Christos Gage successfully captured the essence of the Buffyverse. In the first issue alone, he explained the lingering concerns of Giles’s dissonance with the rest of the Scoobies in Buffy Seasons 7 & 8 (consequences of a demon-binding spell during his time in England during Season 6, Giles sacrificed the memory of the day he fell in love with Jenny Calendar, changing his personality forever). Gage didn’t gloss over Angel’s atrocities as Twilight but instead gave us an Angel who knows he can never gain redemption for his actions yet tries to make up for them anyway.

Gage also showed us a Faith who has grown into an astounding young woman, who is now responsible for both Angel and the remaining Slayers left in her charge. He even introduced us to some great new characters with already rich backstories in those Slayers and in Pearl and Nash, the season’s big bads.

“In Perfect Harmony” is everything a great filler episode should be: mildly progressing the overall story while providing many laughs. It lays out all the new rules for human-vampire relations that have only been hinted at so far: only drain blood with permission…not enough to kill…and no siring! (As we’ve seen in previous issues of Buffy, those newly sired after the Seed’s destruction are not fully inhabited by the demon’s essence, resulting in zombie/vampire hybrids that Xander humorously called “zompires.”) It also provides a light, fluff piece as Angel and Faith help my other favorite blonde vampire save her public image from a blackmailer.

Many have expressed their qualms about Harmony’s exposing the supernatural world to reality, but they forget that Angel did so at least a year prior when he brought L.A. back from Hell and EVERYONE REMEMBERED! Of course, being human, most began brushing off the experience as a bad dream, but they didn’t forget that vampires were real. The tape of Harmony feeding on Andy Dick just happened to cross the desk of one of those already in the know. She just took over the ship Angel had already set sailing.

I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. While I first thought Gage fumbled with two-dimensional Harmony’s appearance, I’ve changed my mind on a second read. This is a Harmony who holds great responsibility in the new world order. Yet, as much as I like Harmony, I can only take her in small doses, so I hope she doesn’t become a prominent recurring character. Now that we’ve had some filler though, I’m ready for the story move forward again!

The really good

  • Recollections of Angel Investigations!

The really bad

  • The art (regular series’s artist Rebekah Isaacs took the issue off)
  • No Giles!
  • The cop out ending

Best lines

“Okay, that is not his neck.”

“After Cesar Milan got mauled, we can’t get sitters anymore.”

“Move on with your life, Angel. The only reason to look back is to check out your own ass.”

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