Review - Angelus #2

Angelus #2 continues primarily to set up the story for the battles to come; as far as I can tell there are four storylines either introduced or continued in this issue. While there isn’t a lot of action yet, I think it is becoming very obvious that Danielle Baptiste is going to face some expected (and unexpected) foes as the Angelus host. Ron Marz and Stjepan Sejic are back in Top Cow's Angelus for another issue. Dani Baptiste is the new host of the Angelus force, the power of light that balances Jackie Estacado’s power as the host of The Darkness. They are destined to fight throughout time as the two primary forces whose powers combine in many ways to form Sara Pezzini’s Witchblade. While Witchblade most likely won’t get involved much, I have a feeling Jackie is going to be a regular figure in Angelus. This issue is divided into four parts involving Sabine, some of the Angel Host Warriors on a secret and as yet undetermined trip in hell, Dani’s girlfriend Finch and the aforementioned Jackie. It appears that Sabine has sent four of the Host Warriors into hell to claim a treasure. In the meantime Dani is introduced for the first time, to her at least, to the Kingdom of Light. In this realm the Angelus leads the forces of the light against The Darkness in the eternal war to control all things that have been wagered between them. At least one example of Sabine’s willingness to lie to Dani, and to the Angelus, is discovered when Dani is introduced to the Chimera that guard the realm and serve the light. You see, in Angelus #1 Dani was attacked by one of the beasts and at that point Sabine said she had no idea what they were. I think that is good and blown out of the water. Back on Earth Finch has stumbled into some trouble. She has to face off against two mugs, and while she holds her own it is clear that it will only be a matter of time before they overcome her. Luckily, Dani remembers that Finch is all alone waiting and teleports back just in time. I think it is safe to assume that common human thugs don’t fare well when they try to attack Dani in Angelus form. As Finch and Dani head off we get a quick view of Jackie. Let’s just say that I don’t think he is interested in going to New Orleans just for Mardi Gras anymore. I love the distinctly different feels that the environments in this issue have. We have a view of hell with its dark overtones but red and orange flares, a bright and colorful few of heavenly looking buildings in the Kingdom of Light and finally we see a dark and largely colorless nighttime view of our world. I like that you could flip through at speed and know exactly where the scenery is just by the overall color on the page. I do feel like the characters faces really all look pretty similar and, while the art in general isn’t going for photorealism, in some places it really begins to lose definition and get almost blurry. If every face was drawn this way I wouldn’t mind but in some scenes the art is so crisp that it almost makes the frames where it isn’t just look lazy. Overall the variety of colors used and nice job creating different environments more then made up for it. I think in many cases the Angelus and Host Warrior outfits that the angels wear just force the author to make them generic female figures with different colors. There are a couple of scenes where the facial expressions are awesome though, with the leading example being when Dani shows up at the last second to save Finch. Finch just has a “You guys are totally screwed and I told you so” face on that is great. The writing is really interesting so far and I like the setup where there are multiple things going on. We get a feel for just how focused on the goal (and not who lives) to meet it the Host Warriors are. There is also a great internal battle going on within Dani as she has incredible feelings of déjà vu due to Angelus’ memories, even though she has no direct memory herself. She is just a superhero right now trying to learn her powers, and I hope she does it in time. In combination with The Darkness, Top Cow has a great new start on their hands with Angelus to round out the Witchblade universe with a trio of quality comics.