Originally created by Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane for Spawn, Angela made her first appearance in the Marvel Universe at the end of the Age of Ultron event after a long legal battle. Since then, she has joined the Guardians of the Galaxy and recently found out in Original Sin that she was the long lost daughter of Odin. This made things complicated, and writers Kieron Gillen and Marguerite Bennett along with an All-Star art team including former Wonder Woman penciller Phil Jimenez, veteran Marvel inker Tom Palmer, and French painter Stephanie Hans explore what makes this angel tick in Angela #1. Jimenez continues his tradition of drawing strong, beautiful women and has a knack for using different panel layouts to show Angela’s speed and precision as a killer. Palmer makes sure each bit of chain mail or nose hair on an Untowner is well-defined and uses a looser inking style that meshes better with Hans’ painted art for the flashback story.
Gillen pens the main story featuring Angela in Limbo on the run from Asgardians with Jimenez, Palmer, and colorist Romulo Fajardo while Gillen and Bennett co-write a poetic story from Angela’s bounty hunter past with art from Hans. These pair of tales are filled with action while also establishing Angela’s friendship with her fellow angel bounty hunter Sera as well as introducing her unique set of values. Basically, in the culture of Heven (the Tenth Realm of the angels where Angela was raised) one is taught to never be in debt to another person. If you do something for someone, you deserve payment. If you wrong someone, you must pay them back. Throughout Angela #1, Gillen and Bennett show the logical consistency and many moral inconsistencies of this code. However, the comic isn’t all ethics discussions and debt paying. Gillen and Bennett humanize Angela by giving her a slightly off-kilter sense of humor consistent with her appearances in Brian Michael Bendis’ Guardians of the Galaxy run and a BFF. Angela’s relationship with Sera ties in directly with her code, but they share some friendly banter and have different skill sets that complement each other in battles.
And the art for these battles is another highlight of Angela #1 along with its heroine’s unconventional moral compass, which is different from almost every Marvel hero (except for possibly Black Widow) and the polar and practical opposite of the honor and glory obsessed Asgardians. Phil Jimenez draws the action from a variety of angles all culminated in a dynamic kill-shot from the angelic assassin. Tom Palmer’s loose inking capture Angela’s graceful aerials by adding detail to little things, like the “tails” which flow from her armor. Hans’ art and colors in the flashback story are a cross between Heavy Metal and the painted covers of old barbarian comics giving it a nice sci-fi/fantasy mash-up feel. Angela floats in space, but she takes lives like Red Sonja. (She is faster though.) When Jimenez and Hans draw Angela, they focus on her actions and not her face. This also reflects her character motivation. Romulo Fajardo uses faded white colors to fill out Limbo where Angela is hiding out from the Asgardians, which gives the burnished gold of her armor and weapons an otherworldly effect when she springs into motion. Angela #1 has a dynamic heroine with a complex life philosophy along with well-rendered fight scenes and characters and will appeal to fans of the science fiction and fantasy as well as superhero genres.