Thursday, May 19, 2016

Review - Archangel #1 (@IDWPublishing)

"The final procedure was entirely successful. See for yourself."

William Gibson is more or less known as the father of cyberpunk and many aspects of the science fiction genre in general. His work has been pivotal to literature in general, but he's never brought his talents to comics. IDW Publishing wants to change that with the release of Archangel #1. The issue is written by Gibson, illustrated by Butch Guice, inked by Tom Palmer and Guice, colored by Diego Rodriguez and lettered by Shawn Lee.

The U.S. political leaders of 2016 abandon the radioactive planet they've destroyed and harness the power of humanity's last hope: The Splitter, a colossal machine designed to manufacture a bright new reality for them to infiltrate and corrupt.

The premise behind Archangel #1 is fascinating and really delves into some heady, time-traveling territory. Gibson is an established science-fiction writer and his work is really on display in Archangel #1 in his approach. There are really two stories being told in the issue, but Gibson manages to make them feel as if they're part of one larger story in how he interconnects the two. And he manages to bring them together in a way that doesn't hurt the overall pacing of the issue, jumping back and forth between the two but always moving forward narratively. The script is clean and offers dialogue that is strong enough to give the characters plenty of personality and characterization.

Gibson isn't the only one who's been around the block when it comes to being creative as Guice has also contributed plenty to comic book artwork throughout the years. All of his illustrations are very exact in their presentation, with each character presenting expressions that are powerful for giving the narrative more emphasis. Just about every panel feels like a shot that is tremendously important in the grand scheme of the plot. Those panels are framed very deliberately and reflect a cinematic quality to the book. The inks by Palmer and Guice and colors by Rodriguez add even more impact to the book, infusing the book with the pervasive browns and greens that resonate with that of the military.

Archangel #1 is a phenomenal first issue that is extremely ambitious. The premise blends time travel with military history and throws in the nepotism of politics for good measure. Gibson has a superb command of his narrative and moves the players around with ease. Guice's style is a perfect fit for the nature of the story as well since he manages to blend together old and new looks seamlessly for an overall presentation that feels sufficiently nostalgic. Archangel #1 is worth your time if you're a fan of anything that's just plain good in general.

Archangel #1 is in stores now.


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