Review – Angelus #3

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Angelus #3There’s a problem starting with a series in the third issue, by then the plot is rolling the folks you aren’t interested have left and you’re left with those invested.  Even with a page recounting what’s occurred before, I’m still left scratching my head.  Angelus #3 is hard to review as it’s not a bad issue, there’s parts I very much enjoyed, but mixed with unfamiliarity with what’s gone on for the previous two issues makes it a tough task.  But, I’ll do my best and judge it as best as I can as a stand alone issue.

Ron Marz has the story duty weaving a tale about the bearer of light a primal force of the universe (the Angelus), Danielle Baptiste and her return to her hometown of New Orleans.  She’s accompanied by Finch a female friend who wants a romantic relationship with Danielle.  Points are scored for having a lesbian main character and the subtlety of having to deal with her father, who doesn’t know.  It’s fresh territory and handled really well.  There’s also some plot of some Angelus warriors trying to get some object (that’s the part I’m baffled about).  But lets skip that.

The second half of the story sees the return of Jackie Estacado the bearer of the Darkness, the enemy of the Angelus.  Really the issue turns into one giant fight scene with Mardi Gras as the backdrop.  That’s the low point.  It’s a predictable fight with predictable dialogue and I could of done without it.  Issue four could make the fight worthwhile.

But, it’ll be easier to critique and dissect the finer points in the review below.

From the Top Cow release:

Guest Starring the Darkness!
Since the beginning of time, the Angelus has been diametrically opposed to the Darkness. But will Danielle Baptiste, the newest bearer of the Angelus, be able to choose her own path when confronted by sometimes ally Jackie Estacado, bearer of the Darkness?

Plot: Ron Marz is the master of the Top Cow universe handling some of the major titles like Witchblade and Magdalena.  It’s refreshing to see a lesbian as a main character out of these three series that all star women.  There’s potential gold here that GLAAD should keep their eye on come time next year to recognize these types of things.  The banter between Danielle, Finch and Danielle’s father was fantastic and a series that had that as a major point would definitely be worth the purchase.  The plot derails for me in the fight with the Darkness which is predictable down to the dialogue.  The usual “I want to be your friend” statements are thrown around and my guess is we’ll see the fight either interrupted or a bigger threat come where they have to team up in the next issue (or further down the road).  Then again I could be surprised.  Rating: 7.25 (it’d been so much higher without the fight).

Art: Stjepan Sejic provides the art duties for the comic with an almost painted feel.  I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of the style.  At times it leaves out the much needed details that add those small touches that I tend to enjoy in my art, but you’re preference may vary.  My biggest issue with the art style is there are quite a few instances where the demons look mighty familiar and there’s clear inspiration from other works.  In a scene where the Angelus warriors are confronted by various demons the one on the left looks a lot like one from Hellboy, the big one screams Warhammer 40K Demon Prince and then we have Cthulhu to round out the bunch.  It’s nice to look at and at times the style is very cool, but overall for a comic, it’s just not my thing.  Rating: 7.0

Overall: Again, I’m torn.  The character interaction is fantastic and with a focus on that and their personal lives the series is a winner.  Throw in the backdrop of New Orleans (and I hope Katrina is addressed) and you have potentially an amazing must read series, just bring us something new with the action or dial it back.  There a fork in the road as to where this series goes, and I’m hoping it’s the one dominated less by cheesy fights and mores o by characters with depth and layers. Overall Rating: 7.25

Recommendation: For new readers, pass.

Page count: 32 pages of story    Price: $2.99     Release: Wednesday 4/7/2010

Top Cow provided Graphic Policy with an advance copy of this issue for FREE for review.