By Courtney Ryan. Angelic is the classic coming-of-age story about when a flying monkey must grapple with the dogma that informs her techno-dolphin-filled world. It’s true that Image Comics’ self-described “WALL-E by way of Watership Down” doesn’t look much like our world, but its general theme of how a young woman struggles with self-identity amid strict gender rules and religious doctrines is quite familiar.
In a post-apocalyptic world where humans have been erased but their anarchic rituals linger, genetically modified animals live and fight based on irrelevant human traditions. Qora is a flying monkey, or monk, on the cusp of womanhood, which for her means losing her wings and devoting her existence to child-rearing. It’s not simply that she doesn’t want to be tied to a life that isn’t of her making, but that she doesn’t even understand why she should be.
Simon Spurrier teeters between exploring deep, philosophical questions and delighting in childish goofiness. Dolphin-headed rockets talk like 20th Century dandies and pious flying monkeys worship strings of Christmas lights while hurling around insults like “stinkbutt.” Though it’s a little jarring at first, it doesn’t take long to settle into the rhythm of Spurrier’s lopsided fantasy and accept the silliness as an engaging storytelling tool.
Likewise, artist Caspar Wijngaard draws from fairytale imagery and classic children’s stories to build a surreally colorful world that still manages to convey a link to humanity’s decayed existence. The monks are cute, the rocket-dolphins—or dolts—are silly, and even the hellish liturgy Qora is forced to perform appears almost charming by Wijingaard’s hand. This is underscored by delicate colors and gentle facial features worn by even the shrewdest of characters. Still, Wijingaard paints a backdrop of dilapidated cityscapes, transforms housecats into radioactive killers, and adds a subtle sadness to the oppressed monks’ eyes.
Angelic #1 is an imaginative tale that casts new color on topics and concerns that have consumed humans for eons. Despite its classic coming-of-age framework, the inventive setting and creative storytelling render whatever comes in issue #2 impossible to predict, which is already an impressive feat.
Written by Simon Spurrier.
Art by Caspar Wijngaard.
Colors by Caspar Wijngaard.
Letters by Jim Campbell.
8.5 out of 10