Written by Christos GagePencils by Rebekah IsaacsPublished by Dark Horse ComicsIn stores now! After years of being published by IDW (something I like to call 'the dark years') Angel has finally returned to Dark Horse. If you're not a Buffy fan- and if you're not then a) why are you reading this? and b) what the hell is wrong with you?- then you might not understand the significance of all this. The franchises are once again unified and under the same direction, as they were during the golden days of the Buffyverse, meaning that Angel is finally free to interact with all the Scoobies. For Whedonites this is an enormous deal but, after the earth-shattering events of both Buffy Season 8 and IDW's Angel: After the Fall, don't expect this to be a happy reunion. Angel Investigations is a thing of the past and Buffy's world is far removed from the status quo of the TV series. This is not a shiny-happy book full of Whedonesque banter, and those hoping to see the wide and varied cast of Angel get in on the action will be disappointed. This is Angel and Faith. And that's pretty much what you get. While some people will decry the lack of familiar faces (though I'm sure some fan favourites to turn up eventually) by solely focusing on his two protagonists writer Christos Gage is able to hone in on the heart of this story. The characterisation is spot on, with each character's voice sounding authentic to the show, and the basic premise of the series is a doozy. Angel and Faith find themsevles in London, where they've been using Giles' Watcher files to help them fight evil and, hopefully, earn Angel a bit of redemption (how much does this guy need? He's saved the world how many times now?). With a stunning last page reveal, this series seems to be heading in a bold and exciting direction that will help it stand out amongst the other Season 9 titles. Rebekah Issacs handles art duties for the series and more than matches Georges Jeanty's work on Season 8. Her line work is clean and detailed, with spot on likenesses that capture the spirit of the characters without resorting to the feel of dull photo replicas. Initially I was put off by the fact that Joss himself wasn't going to be writing the bulk of Season 9 (instead using a small team of writers to help script his outline) but this issue proves that his choice of collaborators are more than up to the task of bringing these beloved characters (back) to life. All in all, this is an excellent issue which leaves me desperate for Buffy: Season 9 # 1 (out on September 14th). I'm counting the days.