Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1 Review

Written by: Kieron Gillen & Marguerite Bennett

Art by: Phil Jimenez, Tom Palmer & Stephanie Hans

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Angela has been having one heck of a relationship with comics for the past year. An Image creation and subject of a lawsuit between Todd McFarlane and Neil Gaiman, Angela entered the Marvel Universe in “Age of Ultron.” Since then she’s been teammate to the Guardians of the Galaxy, and was the center of the Thor and Loki Original Sin miniseries. Now she’s got her own solo series and is ready to really make her mark on the Marvel Universe. Or at least that’s what should have started here. Unfortunately we get a jumbled book that attempts to start fleshing out this character but doesn’t really accomplish it.

This issue presents us with a main story, done by Kieron Gillen & Phil Jimenez, and a substory, done by Gillen, Marguerite Bennett & Stephanie Hans. The main story shows us the present while the substory shows us Angela in the past. Flashbacks are frequently used in comics to strengthen the narrative in present day by showing us something that isn’t being said. They usually flow well with the rest of the narrative to pack a punch, but in this case it creates a full stop in the narrative. The main story tries to show us Angela’s strength, speed, and purpose, but all of that is instead accomplished in the substory. The stuff going on there should have been the main story. They show who she is, what she has been through, and what she will do to any opponent. In the main story you have Angela’s companion Sera, an angel, constantly saying “this is who Angela is, Angela can do this, and this is what Angela can do.” It’s beat over your head. It would have been nice to see the substory spread out through the entire issue instead of in one lump. Hopefully we get as much development in the main stories going forward as we did in the substory this issue.

Even with that problem this was a beautifully drawn issue on the part of both Jimenez and Hans. The main story was all about showcasing her strength, and skill with a weapon and Phil Jimenez knocked it out of the park. He really showed how fierce she was without having that overused gritted teeth face. Let it also be known Jimenez really knows how to draw a horse. There are many times though where the panels feel cluttered with content. It feels like a lot of people in a crowd fighting for some breathing room. Contrast that with the way Stephanie Hans tells her story within the sub story. What she does equally as well as Jimenez are the quieter moments. She keeps the tension of the substory building until it explodes in its final moment. While the series feels like it could be a sword and sorcery comic because of its inclusion with the Asgardian world, but it is also a space opera at many points and Hans’ art works better in that respect. It portrays calmness even when the emotions are high and doesn’t make the fighting or the quick action feel out of place.

This story will have a long way to go to show us Angela’s life. While it has a lot going for it, it still has a lot of problems going for it. Hopefully as the series goes on the split narrative with a main story and substory either goes away or learns to work better with each other.