Angela: Asgard's Assassin #1
Marvel has a vested interest in making Neil Gaiman's angelic creation into their next big thing. First, publishing Angela is in some ways a thank you to Neil himself, acknowledging his creativity and saying, yes, taking care of all the legal fees in a long protracted fight with Todd McFarlane has been worth it. Second, at times, mostly in the '90s, Angela would indeed have been worth it.
A good girl who rode the bad girl craze, this spawn of McFarlane's Spawn
had a few mini-series of her own when McFarlane had control, and now Marvel has found a decent way to inject her fully formed into the Marvel Universe.
It's just not quite obvious yet how well she fits. After her initial appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy (the comic, not the movie), Angela moved over to the pages of Thor, where it has been revealed she was Odin's lost daughter. Treading lightly over McFarlane's cosmology, it turns out that she had been exchanged to the forces of Heven -- note the spelling change -- and that the Angels have a moral code all their own that may not align with our own conceptions of traditional good vs. evil.
So far, I'm on board with that, and for fans of Spawn, it's not too far off from what had been done there. But for people just coming on board, and we have to assume there will be many, it's a little convoluted, and writer Kieron Gillen likes to tell stories in a convoluted manner.
Having skipped over those Thor tie-ins, that leaves a lot of exposition to be had, and Gillen's complex storytelling makes the thread a little shaky. By the end of issue one, enough ground is established, but like the recent Winter Soldier #1, this doesn't feel like a great book for people who aren't already really into comics.
However, it is a beautiful book. Phil Jimenez and Tom Palmer combine to great effect, and it's also to Marvel's credit that Jimenez gets the freedom to draw another angel with a different body type that isn't "action figure bombshell." Art-wise, this team could become a favorite for creating a cast that is more in line with what real people look like.
That's assuming we get off of alien worlds and away from Asgardian bounty hunters.
For it is tied deeply into that corner of the Marvel Universe, and again, if you've not picked up the current female-led Thor,
the presence of the previous one might be confusing. From the narrative, too, it's hard to get where the concept of Angela as Asgard's Assassin is going -- but it makes for a kick-ass marquee.
I'm going to give it an issue or two more before I commit to it, but it's at least earned that. It's not yet great, it's not for the new readers, but it might just go somewhere interesting.