Fallen Angels (1987) #1-8
The story begins when Roberto accidentally uses his powers to attack Sam. A combination of his bullying past experiences, the New Mutants' adverse reaction to his anger control issues, and the self-blame Roberto puts in himself, makes him abandon the New Mutants and try to live on the street, basically to punish himself.
Warlock follows his friend, out of compassion and care. What they didn't know is they're about to meet and change forever the Fallen Angels!
Mary Jo Duffy throws us in these issues at a gang of misfits (original pitch title of the series), formed by our protagonists, Jamie Madox, Syrin, and new characters like Chance, Ariel and Gomi, between others (including guest stars Moon Boy and Devil Dinousaur!). The Angels go through a series or upheavals that reveal their struggle with teenager marginalization and trauma, as well as create a community bond between them. We see the evolution of Roberto, who, in this story, learns to deal with anger issues and to share with people he never considered to be equals once (and we see that mirrored in the character of Chance).
The impact of the day to day of the Angels and the bonds they form are so strong that only in 8 issues we live stories of grief, betrayal and unknown dangers, only to have our characters come out stronger and more connected at the end. In that sense, a handful of characters who survive through grief and marginalization is the theme of the recent Fallen Angels (2019) series, which drinks from this story in a thematic sense.
Other characters, like Multiple Man, get an exploration of mental health that is not stigmatized, fetishized or thrilling, and it’s sweet seeing how a part of him refuses to rejoin and starts living his own life and memories. Here the paradox of Jamie, one and many different at the same time, is at its best and planted the seed that would flourish in contemporary stories (like Peter David’s X-Factor vol 2 and Matthew Rosenberg’s solo).
However, it seems noticeable that the story has some cringe-worthy and problematic inflexions: Boom Boom’s harassment of Jamie is mostly treated as a joke, and, while it touches into exploring male survivors of harassment from time to time, it finally falls into easy-catchy cringy phrases again.
The art is fantastically cheesy and full of forms and colours. We get to see lobsters, dinosaurs, Warlock’s endless forms, a bunch of Jamie’s bumping against each other… It’s more than enjoyable and Gammil, Severin and Staton (with vibrant colors by Scotese) are excellent and engaging at what they do. There’s some artistic choices on how to draw and colour characters of colour that are inaccurate and outdated, specially for Chase, a character tremendously ambivalent, who seems to cover a lot of Korean stereotypes and nonsense in her backstory and first appareances, but at the same time seems the character with more growth and dedication (besides Roberto) and it’s one of the first deliberately androgynous presenting characters in Marvel.
Ultimatelly, the art gets success in a lot of ways and carries us from space-like to prehistoric to street scenarios with ellegance, not suffering a lot from change of artists. It accompanies a story about healing, community, being an outsider and some of the less known mutants (some only present in this series), shinning for its compact story and narrative, even on one of the best X-Men eras editing wise (with editor Ann Nocenti at the head).
This is a great story for anyone just getting into old X-Men comics, in its self-contained 8 issues story we learn about solidarity and community oriented thought. Mainly through the characters of Sunspot and Chase, we learn anybody can be in an adverse possition, and how we treat others we don't understand reflects how we treat ourselves. Despite some artistic and narrative bad choices, it stands out for its whole and its "group of misfits in great adventures" wide range storyline.
SUNDAY CLASSICS: Fallen Angels (1987): Outcasts, Weirdos, Survivors
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10
User Review( vote)