Grumpy Bird Reviews: Angela Asgard’s Assassin #1

With a character like Angela, does it really matter what her past is? Is her past still her past? Even thinking about how she came to Marvel made me want to stop paying attention. Then I saw the name Phil Jimenez attached as penciler and knew I at least had to take a look. And I’ll probably take another look next issue as well.

Angela - Asgard's Assassin 001-000Angela Asgard’s Assassin #1

Writer: Kieron Gillen (with Marguerite Bennett)

Artists: Phil Jimenez and Tom Palmer (with Stephanie Hans)

Publisher: Marvel

Somewhere locked away in my ancestral home (read: parent’s house) is a file cabinet in which is stored a multitude of comic books. One of which is the first appearance of Angela in the pages of Spawn. At that point the whole character’s reason for existing was killing hellspawns, like Al Simmons. Whether or not she evolved from scantily clad demon warrior, I don’t know as I stopped reading before anything beyond that was really done with the character.

Now Marvel has her. I don’t really know what she has been doing because so far she has only appeared in comics which I have not enjoyed, even if I flipped through them. (Those comics are Bendis’ Guardians of the Galaxy which is a consistent poop all over what was good about the DnA run, and an Original Sin tie-in. As we used to say “‘Nuff said.” When I heard she had her own  title coming out my eye-rolling was audible as the character’s only apparent traits were being badass and having a lack of clothes, both in a 90s extreme way. But Jimenez art is generally something worth appreciating. So I have the issue a read. And, yeah, i’ll come back for next issue.

Spoilers follow.

First off, the bad: nothing happens. Basically. From the first few pages we are told she is being followed. She ends up at a scene that is right at home in any western. She finds a bar occupied by unsavory characters. She is searching for a friend and is about to start a fight when she learns that friend now own the bar. I wish I had a better joke comparing Angela to John Wayne other than the obvious, and lame, belt-buckle size bit. A little meandering backstory bit is given. The pursuers arrive and we get reminded that Angela is still defined by being badass. Then Thor and company shows up. To be continued next issue!

Recapping the story almost makes me wonder what was good about it, as it wasn’t the plot. There is a slight feeling of progression. Okay, really slight. Kieron Gillen does a good job with the prose, although it does get heavy-handed. The best thing about the issue is the art. I don’t know how Jimenez can draw Angela’s costume, which is essentially a belt and a bra, and make it come off as not exploitative. That feat alone is amazing. In the backstory Hans also shines. It looks much more computery (a technical term, of course) and I don’t think I would want a full issue of it, but it works to great effect here looking so very different from Jimenez.

Even with the pretty art, this is a story that has some decent writing but not much meat. I don’t really have a grasp on what the main character is or where the story is going. I expect issue two to be some pointless fighty-fighty followed by some talky-talky which may not go anywhere. Also, on a publishing note, last time we saw Thor in Marvel he had his arm cut off and was cast down somewhere by Malekith (Thor #1). Having him show up here does feel like poor scheduling (but a common result of a character appearing in multiple books. Common doesn’t make it good, however.)

So, despite all that why do I want to read issue 2? Mostly because, for me, there is a lot of stink on Angela. It is all too easy to just dismiss it and move on. But I think there could be a good story here. The possibility shines in the way it is done. So, I’ll give it three issues to convince me.


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