Book: Life with Kevin

"Life with Kevin"

Kevin Keller is back–and he’s brought some friends! Kevin’s made his move to the Big Apple, and Vernoica Lodge is not far behind! To succeed in New York, he’s going to have to learn how to make time for dating while juggling a high-pressure journalism gig. Will his new life in NYC be a dream come true or will the big city eat him alive? Kevin will learn one thing for sure: when it comes to city living, expect the unexpected!

Reading Life With Kevin was a lot like reading Elizabeth, the Sweet Valley spin-off miniseries that focused on one Wakefield Twin and her journey to find herself. The main characters are definitely more mature than usual, the problems they face are definitely more serious, but everything is still so whimsical even as they face real life adversaries.

And just like with Elizabeth, I feel like Life With Kevin has so much potential that the series doesn’t really explore, because it didn’t want to ruin the cookie-cutter life of well-loved characters. That’s why, even at their most down-trodden, you never empathize with them. Because you know everything will work out for them in the end.

That’s not to say the book wasn’t an enjoyable read. It’s nice fun fluff. It’s just that… Alongside Life With Kevin, Archie Comics also released a new series featuring the titular character and his friends as they would live in the current time. That series, featuring Archie at his clumsiest, manages to be more mature in its handling of conflicts than this mini-series where the characters are supposed to be the mature ones.

I mean, we get storylines where Kevin stands up for his beliefs at work…and by the next chapter, everything is back to status quo. Kevin doesn’t get reprimanded, and it’s not because he sparked a revolution–it’s because he’s good-looking. The characters here are supposed to be adults, but it feels like they’re the cast of Archie Jr.

So I can’t help but be a little disappointed. I guess I just set expectations a little too high for this.

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Book: Angel & Faith, Live Through This

"Live Through This"

Throughout history Angel has had a lot to make up for, but it’s his most recent mistake that may forever alter the course of this fan-favorite antihero–the murder of one of Buffy’s most trusted allies. In his ongoing search for redemption, Angel firmly believes he’s found a way to make amends–by reviving the dead! Cue Faith–rebel Slayer charged with helping angel recover in the aftermath of his biggest misdeed. Out of fierce loyalty she supports his ridiculous scheme, if only to prevent him from going too far to attain his goal. Past, present, and potential future threats emerge as this unlikely duo struggles against real and personal demons while hitting the dark streets of London.

I finally found a copy of this! Now, if only I could find the rest of it–

Yes, I liked it. I’ve always been fond of Faith as a character on Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, and Angel always has this effect on Faith that makes her want to be better–I’m happy that the two characters get to share this title together.

Back when Buffy and Angel were in the television, I was more of a Buffy fan as Angel went down its darker route. Buffy was always about living life, and facing problems. Angel dwelt too much in what was done, and repentance, and atonement. And I can’t say I didn’t like it. It fit the show’s noir sensibilities. I just preferred Buffy‘s relatively lighter tone.

When Faith was introduced on Buffy, she stuck out like a sore thumb because the latter’s world did not fit her. I liked the character. I liked how we’re seeing a different kind of Slayer, one who had to make choices different from Buffy’s. One who didn’t have the support system of friends– But in Buffy’s world, she was turned into a villain. Not because of who she is, but because of who she was.

And I didn’t get this until Faith came to Angel.

Faith, as a character, really doesn’t fit on Buffy’s world because she wasn’t moving forward. She was stuck in the past, unraveling her character and the choices she made. That made her a perfect fit for Angel. And this was apparent in the few episodes of the spin-off the featured her.

Angel and Faith clicked, and not romantically. That was key. They knew who they were, and who they were trying to become. They understood each other. And they respect each other so much that they aren’t afraid to call each other out on mistakes.

And that companionship–that respect–is what makes Angel & Faith, the comic series, way better than Angel: After the Fall, even though I’ve only read the first five issues as of yet.

No offense to the people behind the latter title. Angel: After the Fall was smart. It just didn’t feel like Angel. I’m not a comics person. I picked up Angel: After the Fall because I was interested to see the characters I loved on television live on. The characters I got in the title were not those characters.

But when the story universe of Buffy and Angel merged once more, resulting in Angel & Faith–I was intrigued. And it took me forever to find a copy of the title. But based on the first five issues alone–

I’m sticking with this title.

Soon as I find the next volumes.