Thursday, December 1, 2016

Review - No Angel #1 (@blackmaskstudio)


"Relax. This is not my first rodeo."

Individuals who find solace in a religion do so in an effort to reinforce their lives. Some religions are more universally recognized than others and some of them emphasize the notion that there are otherworldly beings who exist within that religion. More often than not those individuals exist on a different plane, but not the beings in No Angel #1 from Black Mask Studios. The issue is written by Eric and Adrianne Palicki, illustrated by Ari Syahrazad, colored by Jean-Paul Csuka and lettered by Jim Campbell.

Religious texts from The Bible to the Sumerian tablets speak of strange creatures descending from the heavens and mating with humans, their children the superhuman heroes of myth. None of this ever meant anything to Iraq War veteran Hannah Gregory, until she found herself in the crosshairs of a dangerous cult convinced that she's a descendant of these mysterious bloodlines...bloodlines they're determined to eradicate.

Palicki starts of No Angel #1 in a pretty ho-hum way, introducing the character to Hannah as a character who's had her fair share of trials to contend with. From there though, Palicki takes things in a very interesting direction, presenting Hannah as something more than just an Iraqi war veteran and someone with a unique bloodline. Hannah is a very strong and assertive lead character who is shown to the reader through her interactions with people from home as she attends her father's funeral. That funeral is the catalyst for the series as it sets Hannah up with another interesting character and points the narrative in a more religious direction. The dialogue is pretty natural for the scenario, as Hannah's exchanges feel very matter of fact and those familiar with Adrianne Palicki's work can picture her speaking the lines.

Syahrazad emphasizes the world of No Angel #1 with very sharp, thin lines that underscores a very simplistic approach. Hannah is illustrated as a clear representation of Adrianne Palicki herself and Syahrazad captures her mannerisms and facial expressions very well. Backdrops are rendered relatively sparsely as Syahrazad includes enough so that the reader can get a sense of the setting without overwhelming them with detail. Panels are laid out in a way that allows Syahrazad frame shots in different ways, adding a cinematic feel to the story. Csuka's colors are pretty minimal and every page feels pretty singular in the color tones that cover that page.

No Angel #1 adds a religious/cultish twist to the concept of a war veteran returning home to an older life. Hannah's return home for her father's funeral brings with it more than just a few bad memories and damaged relationships. Palicki's script is a slow build to the reveal at the end, focusing on establishing Hannah as a character first before delving into the story. Syahrazad's artwork is relatively simplistic yet extremely effective at parlaying Adrianne Palicki's look to a comic book character in Hannah. No Angel #1 has the potential to get very abstract depending on where it goes, but Preacher might be an apt comparison.

No Angel #1 is available now.

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