A&F #10 is chock-o-block full of Giles backstory, and I love what they did!
Read more if you dare, or run out to your local comic store (or order online at tfaw.com like I do) and get your own copy - NOW! If you fear not spoilers, then read on . . .
What we learn in A&F #10:
Giles' Watcher Gran gets a name - Edna Fairweather!
Edna had two sisters, Lavinia and Sophronia Fairweather, who were magic users and used magic for their own pleasure, including keeping themselves forever young. They don't seem to be evil, but they do seem to be mostly out for themselves. Now that magic has been eliminated from the universe (BtVS Comic Season 8, which includes Giles' murder by the possessed Angel), they are starting to grow old, and they don't like it. They decide to pay a visit to Angel and Faith at Giles' family estate in Bath and backstory unfolds.
Lavinia and Sophronia are Giles' Great Aunts (sisters of his grandmother Edna). They had sought possession of a magical item that was in the safekeeping of Giles' father and/or Edna, both of whom had no intention of turning the item, known as the Shard, over to the two nere-do-well sisters. The Shard has the power to turn matter into energy and energy into matter. The sisters wanted to use the Shard to restore their aging lovers. Giles' father and Edna did not agree to release the Shard. As they were all arguing, a light demon who had been tracking the Shard and the sisters appeared and tried to take possession of the Shard, in order to allow itself and its fellows to attain corporeal form and do the usual take over the world bit. The Shard was blasted from Edna's hands, and young Rupert picked it up and it responded to his touch. Edna killed the demon, and everyone realized that Rupert had magical ability. Giles' father realized that this would make little Rupert a target for various evil magical things, and could also make him a danger to himself without proper training. Giles' father determined that young Rupert must enter the Watcher's Academy immediately for his own safety. There's a heartbreaking scene of Giles' father picking him up and carrying him up the stairs away from his toy plane, Rupert calling out for his plane, and Father telling him he won't be needing it anymore.
This backstory is so sad and so perfect, especially placed against the first part of the story, before the argument with the sisters, where the story clearly shows that Giles' father loves him very much and is clearly very proud of little Rupert's knowledge of airplanes and his playfulness. Ug, rip my guts out.
I really, really like this set up - it lets Giles' dad be a good guy, but become a hardass for the sake of Rupert's safety. Also can easily lead into a Giles who melts down at the Academy and becomes Ripper (one of the Aunts even calls him this as he's tearing around the house with his toy plane - snerk!) It shows a relationship with Edna and Giles' dad as active Watchers in high standing with the Council (I assume, if they are entrusted with the Shard). It shows Edna is a badass mofo Watcher-lady (how many grammas do you know who can pick up a battleaxe and off a rampaging light demon trying to take over the world?). It gives us a name for Giles' gran!
As the story moves back to real time, the sisters hand over the Shard to Angel & Faith, because they feel it contains the essence of Giles as a young boy, and may be of some use in Angel's quest to ressurect Giles. Angel is thrilled, Faith is unsure, and the sister's motivations are not clear. They express that they were were upset at the thought of "that sweet little boy amid all that horror" of the Watcher Academy. It seems fairly certain that the sisters were fond of Giles, and but that he did not approve of them due to their misuse of magic for their own gain. Giles apparently called upon them for help in his work as a Watcher on occasion, but he still didin't approve of their misuse (in his view) of magic.
So . . . where will all this go? I have no idea, but I love this backstory, and I love the thought that there may be some "realistic" way to bring Giles back to life in the Buffy universe, if he or some part of him is stored or imprinted on the Shard thingy. I want Giles back, but I don't want it to be cheezy, and I don't want him to be "wrong" if he is brought back. I don't want Giles brought back in a way he would not approve of (through the use of dark magic, for example, a la Willow bringing back Buffy and killing little baby deer, etc.) I need my Giles, I need him back through positive magic he would be comfortable with, and I need him to be the brave and caring man he was.
Of course, the writers may simply decide to leave Giles dead, a very distinct possibility, in which case they will have succeeded in getting me to buy and read the Angel & Faith comics. :-)
Can't wait to see what happens next!
Please leave me a comment of your own thoughts if A&F #10 floated your boat (or sank it) as well!