I'm passingly familiar with the Buffyverse, in that I know who Buffy is, along with Giles and the Scooby gang, and so on. I know the back story for the appearance and eventual spin-off of Angel. That's certainly enough to get you in to this collected volume, especially since this book revolves around Angel, his son Connor, and Willow.
This particular volume, "Volume 3" collects issues 11 through 15 of the Angel & Faith branch of Buffy Season 9. This set of collected issues is generally referred to as "Family Reunion". (The first 5 issues are collected as Volume 1, "Live Through This". The second volume of issues 6 through 10 is titled "Daddy Issues".) The "Daddy Issues" arc was written by Christos George, but has been executive produced by Joss Wheedon and is considered part of the Buffy canon. The same is true for this Volume 3.
Now, with that background, the question is - do you want to read this? For me, the answer is definitely yes. Of course, if you are a hard-core fan or a completist you have to read this. If you are a casual or passing fan, like me, the question turns on risk/reward. How hard do I want to work to get up to speed and what's the payoff if I do commit?
Well, the story is compelling and accessible for part-time fans, and is entertaining and satisfying. Angel is a more engaging and attractive lead character than I would have expected, and Faith, the rogue slayer, is a lot more interesting and a lot less angst ridden and whiney than I anticipated. There is a lot of narrative bobbing and weaving before the story settles down and goes somewhere, but not too much and not to the point of exasperation.
Willow needs Angel's son to get her into hell, (Quor'toth), where she will try to revive her magic. Angel needs Willow to help him connect with a powerful object that will aid in his effort to return Giles. Angel also needs to reconnect with Connor, his quasi-abandoned son. Faith is pretty much along for the ride in this story arc.
And it all works. Willow is compelling and sympathetic. Angel has it together and thinks and acts like a hero. Connor is probably the most balanced and mentally stable character in the Buffyverse. They have a heck of an exciting trip to hell, and it all works and makes sense.
And then as a treat, Whistler shows up at the end and steals the whole book. He's a part demon who is responsible for keeping good and evil in balance, and he has presence and charisma to burn. Even if the preceding story wasn't good, which it is, his appearance and his story are worth the price of the book.
So, you have a coherent story with a beginning, a middle, and a satisfying end. All of the characters behave themselves and shine in their own ways. You get bonus footage of secondary characters who threaten to steal the show. How can this be bad?
The drawing is very effective and has a lot of pizzazz and expression, without detracting from the storyline. Most of the humor is a bit understated, and is the more satisfying for it.
So, if you would like a little fix from the Buffyverse, this would seem to be a good choice.
Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to the author or the publisher of this book.