Reviews: Freakangels Vol.1

Published on January 10th, 2009

Allow myself to introduce….myself. I’m Adri, one of the new writers here at Comic Impact, and I’ll throw it out there and say I’m pretty excited to join the force.

freakangelsNow that introductions have been made, let’s chat about a comic that currently holds my soul, and that’s FREAKANGELS – a free, weekly ongoing comic written by industry icon Warren Ellis and illustrated by Paul Duffield, found at FREAKANGELS.com. There’s also currently a print volume available from Avatar Press: FREAKANGELS: Volume One, which is a collection of the first 24 episodes and a definite worth-it investment.

The FREAKANGEL series is best summarized by its own introduction: “23 years ago, twelve strange children were born in England at exactly the same moment. Six years ago, the world ended. This is the story of what happened next.”

These “twelve strange children” are the now 20-something FreakAngels – a naturally genetically-improved breed of human with magnificent psychic capabilities and gritty sex appeal. And who, as we eventually gather through dialogue clues, are the ones actually responsible for the state of the partially water-submerged state of the world.

As the FreakAngels govern and protect London’s Whitechapel-based community of post-apocalypse survivors with their extrasensory talents, they face rival gangs of survivors who pine after their agricultural advancements, weaponry, technology and property, and are consistently challenged by rebellion (and even attempted murder) among their own FreakAngel kind.

The dialogue in this series is most literally some of the best I’ve read in a graphic novel, maximizing Ellis’ character development, storyline, and signature revisits to extropianism. The characters are precious, real and love/hateable. I especially adore Karl, the agri-bloke who minds the gardening and produce, and who dons a tinfoil hat to keep the other FreakAngels out of his thoughts. And then there’s the powerful female, Sirkka, who attempts to reinvent the societal notion of romantic relationships by harboring a harem of sexually subservient men and women.

Each FreakAngel comes with his or her own super-abilities and personalities, using their specific talents (food production, medical services, engineering capabilites) to sustain Whitechapel.

“Newbie” illustrator Paul Duffield amazes with the portrayal of these mysterious folk: glowing purple eyes, fine, intricate lines and a type of grayscale/violet shading that successfully casts a cowering, gloomy shadow of Judgment Day tragedy over the entire yarn.

If you’re more of a superheroes type of comic fan, I still suggest you perusing this series; it’s a magnificent mix of steampunk, super powers, adventures and heroics.

For more from Warren Ellis, check out his website WarrenEllis.com (his 4 A.M. mixtapes rock!), and make sure to take a serious gander at artist Paul Duffield’s other work at Spoonbard.com.

Adri Cowan
adri@comicimpact.com