Friday, August 30, 2013
Review: ANGEL FALLING
ZENESCOPE ENTERTAINMENT/Big City Comics Studio – @Zenescope
WRITER/CREATOR: Jeffrey Kaufman
PENCILS: Kevin West
INKS: Mark McKenna, Bob Wiacek, Jack Purcell, Kevin Yates
COLORS: Tom Chu and Peter Pantazis with Nik Sardos and Wilson Ramos, Jr.
LETTERS: John Hunt
COVER: Jeffrey Kaufman, Dave Stewart, and Stan Johnson
VARIANT COVER: Billy Tucci and Felix Serrano
ISBN: 978-1-939683-22-9; paperback (August 2013)
104pp, Color, $9.99 U.S.
Angel Falling is a new original graphic novel from writer Jeffrey Kaufman and artist Kevin West. Kaufman’s previous comic book works include the graphic novels Terminal Alice (2011) and Whore (2012). West has been drawing comic books since 1991 for a variety of publishers including DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and Image Comics, among many. Angel Falling focuses on a woman with no memory of who she is and her protector – a gifted young man who is autistic.
The story: She wakes up in a dumpster. She has no memory of who she is. She has a pair of large angel wings tattooed on her back. She is naked from the waist up. A gang of goons, thugs, and would-be rapists decide to take advantage of her predicament. He arrives in a flurry of kicks and blows. She calls him “Connor.” He calls her “Angel.”
However, Angel is really “Number Three,” and Connor is “Number Five.” Connor, who is autistic, has photographic physical memory or “Eidetic Kinestheisia” (perfect physical memory). That means Connor sees the physical movements of other people and his body can copy those movements – which includes everything from playing the violin like a prodigy to mastering hand-to-hand combat. Angel is also quite good at the kick-ass art. They share a past in a place called “The Sanctuary,” and that past is now sending teams of killers to destroy them.
As it is a graphic novel from a small publisher and a writer-artist creative team that is relatively not well known, I want to compare Angel Falling to some recent films that are fairly familiar to audiences. Certain aspects of the story that deal with Connor/Five are similar to elements in the Jason Bourne film series. Some things about Angel/Three are reminiscent of the film, Salt (starring Angelina Jolie in the title role). The action scenes and shoot-‘em-up sequences in Angel Falling recall RED (the 2010 film adaptation of Warren Ellis’s comic book miniseries).
To put it simply, Angel Falling is one of the best action-oriented and espionage comic books of the last decade. And it’s quite good.
With that said, Angel Falling is essentially character driven. The search for identity and the need to unravel memory play a big part in the narrative. Angel Falling confronts the characters with that thing that defines who they are in the eyes of others – their actions. The conflict or tension in the story rests mostly in the struggle between what the characters say or think about themselves and what they do. This is a fun and engaging thing that Kaufman does; he offers the interior of the characters, while splashing their assault on the exterior world in bloody, living color.
Jeffrey Kaufman is a unique and bold voice in comics simply because rather than pander to popular taste and opinion, he offers his own ideas. I like that. Kevin West seems like the perfect artist for Kaufman. West’s sturdy anatomy belies his knack for knowing which moments require being poignant and which require being cruel, crass, or comic.
Obviously, I like and want to recommend Angel Falling.
If you order Angel Falling through your local comic book shop, this is its Diamond Order Code: JUL131419
Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux
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