Angela’s a bit of an odd character. Not because she’s an angelic assassin who was kind of kicked out of heaven because Odin is her father, but because she’s been passed from one comic company to another without being a licensed character in the first place. I don’t know much about her history since I never read Spawn and I missed the Thor and Loki mini-series tying into Original Sin, so all I know of her is from Brian Michael Bendis’s Guardians of the Galaxy and today’s comic. That’s not a whole lot to go on.
Thankfully, Angela: Asgard’s Assassin explains not only her core beliefs, but some of her history. The recap page explains most of what you need to know, and the narration by Angela’s friend says most of the rest. The writing by both Kieron Gillen and Marguerite Bennett is consistently good, creating a character that is at least interesting. Most of the action is used to showcase how deadly she is in combat; she easily defeats a bunch of glowing eyed people hunting her.
The flashback detailing how Angela met her friend Sera explores her core attitude, and how she never does something for free. Every service has a price, whether it’s Angela or someone else who has to pay the price. It’s an interesting concept that could be explored in so many ways, and I’m sure it will be at some point. The ending kind of comes out of no-where though, with Odinson, Sif and the Warriors three showing up to challenge Angela over her “going too far”. One page later, it’s revealed that she took something from Asgard. It makes sense when you consider what else happened in the comic, but it took my tired brain a few reads to figure it out.
Art duties are shared by Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans, with Jimenez on the main story and Hans on the flashback. Jimanez’s art is fantastic, with a lot of detail on both characters’ costumes and the environment. While Angela wanders through the deserts in Limbo, the wind effects are kind of stunning in the way they swirl around in white lines, partially obscuring the city she approaches. Facial expressions do a good job at capturing Angela’s ferocity, and while her attire is revealing, she’s never drawn in suggestive poses and almost always looks imposing. The hunters look great too, with plenty of detail and an overall creepy appearance. Hans’s art is also great with a fair amount of environmental detail, but in a softer appearance. It has most of the same strengths that Jimenez’s art has.
Apart from Gillen being the lead writer, this series held little interest to me before reading this. I mostly picked it up because I had little else on this week’s pull list and I’m not so sure that I’ll stick with it. That said, this is a good comic, developing Angela as a character much more than Bendis has in a single issue and setting up what could be a very interesting first story arc. If you’re the least bit interested in Angela as a character, by all means at least read this. Personally I’m likely to just stick with Jason Aaron’s Thor, but I’ll give this at least one more issue.
This was pretty good. A lot less humour than I expect of Gillen, which may have held it back a bit for me. The Bennett/Hans section was fantastic. It definitely had a story-like feel to the writing. And Hans is just an amazing artist. Jimenez is great. He does an excellent job. But Stephanie Hans is simply mind-blowing. Such gorgeous art.