Angela: Asgard's Assassin #1
by Kieron Gillen & Phil Jimenez
Reader Appeal/Publisher Rating: T+ (Ages 15 and up)
Genre: Fantasy / Superhero
It's rare for any hero created outside the Marvel Universe to enter into it, if at all. The warring "angel," Angela, is the exception. Created by Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane, Angela was originally published by Image Comics. In 2013, Gaiman brought Angela to Marvel, where she's now wreaking havoc as a Thor-like antihero.
So who is Angela? Well, the mythology goes something like this:
Angela was (and is) the daughter of Odin, king of Asgard. That makes her the sister of Thor and Loki. However, in a war between Odin's Asgard and the "Tenth Realm," which was called, "Heven," Angela was stolen away and raised in secret by a warrior race of "Angels." Now she, and all of Heven's Angels, are back, except Angela is a woman without a home. She was raised to hate all Asgardians, including her brother Thor, but all the Angels hate her because they've found out she's actually from Asgard.
In this new self-titled series, Angela is on her own, and bearing grudges. According to her Angel thinking, all debts must be paid, she gives nothing for free, and she takes whatever she feels she is owed. So, when Asgard refused some payment, she stole a baby, the new heir to Asgard's throne. Now, marching through the realm of Limbo, dangerously close to Hell, she's trying to escape from Thor and his armies, while also rescuing her only Angel friend and ally, Sera.
Kieron Gillen weaves a smart tale full of Christian terminology and symbols, but make no mistake: This is not an inspirational story, nor is it religious. It's just a new mythology that blends science fiction with fantasy and religious vocabulary. As such, it's not bad, although the character of Angela appears pretty one-dimensional in this opening saga. Still, one would expect her to grow and become truly heroic as the issues march on.
The big draw of Angela: Asgard's Assassin is Phil Jimenez. He's the artist bringing her, and her world, to life. Jimenez presents crisp, perfect images, translating immortal realms and fantastical people into living, breathing spaces. Perspectives fly, backgrounds dance, and battle scenes need no dialogue to deliver motion conflict. Jimenez is a master at this stuff, and we'd better enjoy it while we can.
Still, parents should be aware that Angela: Asgard's Assassin earns its T+ rating with Angela's depiction as pretty much a stripper-warrior (apparently you don't need much in the way of clothes when you're an intergalactic assassin). Additionally, there's some graphic violence and blood, including killings, and occasional grotesque alien creatures.
Angela: Asgard's Assassin has a lot going for it, but the weird infusion of Christian symbols into pagan mythology seems forced, and somewhat disrespectful. It'll be interesting to see how this character's storylines play out. If kids in your household are curious about Angela, you might want to check it out yourself first, and then definitely talk it over with your kids afterward.
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