ARCHANGEL 8 #1
In a world beyond the sight of mortals, Heaven and Hell wage an eternal war for the soul of mankind. Principal among God’s legion are seven archangels written about in religious texts for millennia. But there is an eighth archangel, known only from passing allusions in Apocrypha, who operates under a different code. Fighting without God’s sanction, he faces the enemy on his own terms and shows just how bad good can be.
This week a new player formally enters the fray of comic publishing. AWA (Artists, Writers, and Artisans) will have several titles on comic bookshelves from a fairly impressive bunch of established and new comic talent. This is the first title we are reviewing from the new publishing line…
Writer Michael Moreci crafts a gritty, violent and very adult opening chapter that marries the sensibilities of a hardboiled crime noir-style comic to more supernatural or religious biblical elements. It has the feeling of a MAX-style Punisher in its execution and really if you removed the supernatural elements you’d literally have a Punisher knock-off of sorts. Fortunately, it doesn’t feel like a knock off as we are introduced to a world where angels walk the earth and hire other Angels to do bad things…
That’s where we start with our unnamed 8th angel been given an assignment, by another angel Archangel Gabriel, and sent on his way. From there a violent and bloody trail unfolds as our main character heads off to do the job he has been given. Our main character heads to the Ozarks with every intention to carry out his mission to snare his quarry by allying himself with one of his quarry’s target who just happens to be a criminal…
Moreci does a solid job of pulling the reader into Archangel 8‘s head as we get to watch him do what he has been sent to do, his inner voice which is essentially the narration of the book is well written and feels authentic. The pacing is solid and it’s an engaging read from page one as we are led through a maze of violence until the last pages where we discover the cliffhanger and get insight into who it is that our eponymous 8th angel is attempting to track down. Moreci makes a point of not giving too much away in this opener which makes the last page that much more enticing.
If you are going to do a dark, violent and gritty story about angels that walk around with boots full of weapons hunting people down you could do a lot worse than to have C.P Smith as an artist. He is known for his gritty and somewhat rigid style. This is a dark comic, solid blacks and shadows abound. There is some good tight narrow paneling and I was reminded a little of Szymon Kudranski’s work on a recent Marvel series that just so happens to share the name Angel in the title too. There are some inconsistencies but they are minor as the art does a great job of expanding on the feel of the story that Moreci is setting up here.
The coloring by Snakebite Cortez is sparse, low key, muted mostly with occasional bright bursts, this approach makes several panels really come alive when color is applied and helps Smiths photo-realistic art really pop. It’s an almost minimalist approach to coloring that’s very different from what we see in most big two comics and it takes some getting used to.
Sal Cipriano is on lettering which is a meat and potatoes fare, no fancy tricks just proper solid lettering layouts that let you follow the story easily.
Jeff Dekal’s cover is like all of Jeff Dekal’s work, in my opinion, an absolute 10 out of 10. The photorealistic soldier figure with the paint stroke white Angel wings against the dark background is foreboding and at the same time eye-catching and in fact, was one of the reasons I was drawn to review this issue when the press kits first arrived from AWA.
It's a solid, well-written and decently-illustrated opener from Michael Moreci and company who manage to balance the gritty action elements with the supernatural ones to offer something engaging and interesting without falling too deeply into the pit of feeling like just some sort of supernatural Punisher knock off. It's worth checking out.
ARCHANGEL 8 #1: The Target
- Writing - 7/107/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Art - 7/107/10
- Color - 7/107/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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