Angelus is the latest Trade Paperback from Ron Marz, published by Top Cow Productions, a partner studio of Image Comics. Ron Marz is probably best know for his work on the “Emerald Twilight” storyline for Green Lantern, but has been exclusively working for Top Cow for the last three years.
The eponymous Angelus refers to one of two primal forces in the Top Cow Universe alongside her male counterpart, The Darkness. The two of them, along with their offspring The Witchblade, form the Broken Trinity of the comic series with the same name. The Witchblade is currently being produced as a feature film, due out in 2013.
Angelus is one of the few comics series with a strong female lead character, and one of even fewer with a lead character coming to terms with her sexual identity as a lesbian. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Wonder Woman imagery is strong throughout the full-page illustrations at the top of each chapter. While we’re on the subject, the art style is just gorgeous throughout the book as you would expect from Stjepan Šejić, though some of the art treads perilously close to the airbrushed chrome and boobs of the cliché 1980s hair metal album cover.
The story starts with an episode fairly heavy with exposition giving us Dani’s background and catching us up with her sexuality and her status as host of The Angelus, though it thankfully doesn’t dwell too long on this and moves forward fairly rapidly. Marz’s writing is efficient and clear and his world-building is excellent. The characters hint at a greater world outside the scope of this story without ever getting bogged down in details when presenting the mythology and cosmology to the reader. There is a little comic relief throughout which stops the book from taking itself too seriously; something that this story could easily do, and the character interactions are more complex than you might expect from first glance.
The six books in the volume combine to give us a very good sense of the universe and major players, but feels more like a prelude to a larger tale. The story itself is reasonably straight-forward without any major twists, but it is a compelling read, and I am left curious at what will happen next. However, this is not a book I feel any need to revisit, and if the next volume fails to step deeper into the world of potential narratives, I would not stay with the series.