Comic Book Review: No Angel #1
As the year comes to a close, so does Black Mask’s banner year. This year they launched multiple new series to eager fans and got great reception from critics of all kinds. “No Angel” is the last of the new series to launch in 2016 but it’s far from the least memorable. “No Angel” #1 has a really interesting concept and this first issue is paced so carefully that the ending cliffhanger has a nice punch that will definitely have you coming back for more.
“No Angel” #1 introduces us to Hannah, a war veteran returning home for the funeral of her father and brother, who were both murdered in their home. For Hannah, coming home is uneasy as her relationship with her mother is strained. Right after the funeral, Hannah is shown a side of her father that he kept secret for years and it kicks off a chapter in her life that she couldn’t possibly prepare for .
What I like about “No Angel” #1 is that it takes time to build the world around it. Eric and Adrianne Palicki have an excellent handle on their lead character and she acts as a great hook into the story. Hannah is complex and while a bit gruff, she doesn’t come off as completely unapproachable. What she’s dealing with is written with great emotional weight and because this story is told through her perspective, we spend a lot of valuable time getting to know her. This doesn’t mean that “No Angel” #1 ignores its supernatural leanings. That is peppered throughout in a way that doesn’t make the last page feel like a thrown in twist. The writing has a punch to it with the conversation between Hannah and her mother having the most power. It’s a well done discussion that hits a ton of insecurities for both characters and ultimately proves that they might not be as divided as they thought.
Ari Syahrazad’s art style is really perfect for this story. His art does go too far from realism and it makes the story feel a little more grounded despite some of the supernatural elements that come into play. Syahrazad does some really great work with framing this story around Hannah and how she interacts with everyone. Syahrazad focuses in on expression and responses and it gives these dialogue heavy scenes depth. The awkwardness between Hannah and her mother comes through and the terror in the war flashback scenes hit the right place without being out of place for this story. Csuka’s colors are moody but also fit the supernatural aspects that come into play later. There’s an interesting use of neon colors in the shadowing that makes this stand out from other series also settled into this genre and I’m eager to see Csuka’s work throughout this series.
“No Angel” #1 is a very intriguing debut with an engaging lead character. The art team does tremendous work and the pacing is just what I like in a debut. Black Mask continues to be a publisher to watch with this debut.