The post-civilization future story is a challenge to write, and even harder to perfect in comics. How do you get the most people possible interested in your story when there aren’t any people in it? Even though stories without humans can be some of the most creative, it’s still something more often used sparingly than over a whole series. Image Comics’ ANGELIC #2 continues a narrative that uses the latter approach without alienating its assumedly human readers.
Although the flying “monks” and cyborg “mans”” are the main species that populate the world of ANGELIC, the second issue fleshes out a story that is undeniably about our world today. Conflicting religious views, and the faults and advantages of tribal and tech-based cultures are what drive the drama between the monks and mans, and to a lesser extent the protagonists: “monk” Qora and an unnamed “man” with a goth flair to him.
Both stick out from the other members of their species, but Emma Price’s design keeps the distinction subtle. One may not notice at first Qora’s brighter color beside the other monks, or her companion’s streak of red across his face where the other “mans” only come in the blue, grey, and silver of their hides and mechanical hover pods.
Instead of outwardly criticizing one side, or bringing any kind of criticism into a centuries old debate, writer Simon Spurrier keeps interaction between Qora and her companion on the civil side of hostile. Spurrier depicts the “mans” as a non-confrontational people, more passive-aggressive than upfront, but Qora’s companion says exactly what he’s thinking, which is perhaps why his superiors decided to pair him with her. Overall, their dynamic is not that of an odd couple from two different worlds, but beings who reached the same outlook by different means. It’s clear from the beginning that Qora and her companion have had many of the same hardships, they just don’t look like they came from the same place.
Caspar Wijngaard’s rendition of Price’s design gives life and color to the post-apocalypse in a way many stories are afraid to do. Soft pinks and blues make up most of the colorways, juxtaposed by the brown and grey of Qora’s home “kingdom” (a decimated and unnamed city.) While conflict and struggle are important themes in ANGELIC, one can’t help but get the feeling of being on vacation: a laid back look to match the action-free pages. This isn’t a book about war, though with a climactic splash page near the end of the issue, there’s some suggestion it may soon be.
(W) Simon Spurrier (A/CA) Caspar Wijngaard