Janete, Border Men
I honestly can't speak with complete confidence about the Constantine characterization, seeing as I've only read two of the graphic novels, but it seems good enough to me. What I can talk about here, and love, is the appreciation of the raw sensuality of the old and the damaged. This is also a rare story in which a past history of sexual abuse for a villain and for a masochist works rather than serving as a cheap, hackneyed justification. I do feel obliged to warn readers, though, that this is a very graphic story; even I had one moment of out-and-out squick.
Pet, My First Love Letter
My favorite from the Dead Letters Home archive. Wesley does what he does best, expressing his love indirectly through attending to the loose ends and small details. (Hmm...a trait common to Watchers?) His pain bleeds through his careful self-effacement and self-deprecation again and again, but it's all done with restraint. Excellent Wesley voice. I'm still of two minds about the ending, though: does Wesley deserve that little triumph, or does it make it all too explicit? You decide...
A hopeful little Wesley/Angel piece, with just a bit of a shadow over the end. Full of the optimism of the end of S1--I'd forgotten how much I missed that period, before Angel went haring off into full-fledged S2 jackassery, and this piece, though slight, evokes it pleasantly. Some nice humor. I hope she gets over the habit of referring to her own stuff as bad in the header, though, because I almost didn't get past that.
I have Wesley/Gunn issues, and I'm not afraid to admit it. They're two incredibly attractive men who are adorable together; their affection for each other is firmly entrenched in canon. So what's the problem with slashing them? Well, that's the problem with slashing them. Stories where the only difficulties the characters have to surmount are personal insecurities and perhaps the odd bit of denial about sexual orientation have a hard time hooking me, no matter how technically strong they are. It's strictly a matter of personal taste. The best way to salvage the W/G pairing for me, then, is to introduce the Angel Problem; that is, that Wesley's feelings about Angel have not always been exactly what one would call healthy. HtH does this brilliantly, pitting Gunn, himself unsure about how far he should go, against Wesley's miserable hopeless crushed love for Angel. Gunn talks himself into rising to the occasion, and it's totally plausible. Very evocative Wesley description and dialogue, and a strong Gunn voice. Maybe the main conceit is a touch overwritten, but it yields some wonderful lines. The story also offers hurt/comfort without the mushiness, which is always hard to do.
V. Hayrabedian, Pub Crawl
A lovely, sad piece chronicling a broken Ethan's slow circle round the drain. The Giles characterization strikes me as a bit undersupported, but Ethan's musings on his own mortality have a dreamy, bittersweet rightness to them, and his deterioration is handled with a very light touch. Any reservations I had about his behavior melted away under the ending, so read the whole thing before judging.