Review: Angela: Queen of Hel #2

Story:

“Their joyous reunion actually a little less “joyous” and a little more “How about I reunite my fist with your ear,” Angela and Sera meet face to face at last!
To rescue her beloved, Angela learns that she cannot steal Sera from Hel–she must conquer Hel, and rewrite the laws as old as death to free them both from the abyss!”

Read more about it on Goodreads.

Angela: Queen of Hel #2

Review:

So we learn some stuff this issue that effects the previous Angela series. In Angela: Asguard’s Assassin Sera was already dead and in Hel but controlling Malekith who was disguised as her.

So Sera’s angry about being left in Hel for a very long time and a lot of magic gets flung about. Angela is all very apologetic and because she’s an angel, who are all about making things fair and repaying debt, she asks Sera to name her price. She’d probably do anything for Sera anyway but the guilt’s making her promise the world. Like getting Sera out of Hel when that’s kind of impossible because she’s dead. There’s also the question of how much she should feel guilty because she didn’t know for quite a while that Sera was dead.

Angela decides to challenge Hela for the throne like the unstoppable force she is, even as she notes that Hela is more than a queen here. More like a goddess and Hel bends to her whims.
Sera being the all knowing narrator tells her she has to go through trials to defeat Hela and Angela doesn’t even stop to consider not doing it. I mean as they’re having this conversation she’s fighting Hela’s minions so she’s already in defiance of her.

The art work is the same as before being the standard super hero type of art for the present but we do get another flashback of Angela’s memories of them together and it’s that beautiful art work again from last week’s flashback. I also love the cover. Sera looks more sad and defeated than you’d think she’d look attacking Angela.

But this comic is ultimately a love story and Sera even references it in her narration. She also breaks the fourth wall a bit. I’m always wary of characters doing that (unless they’re Deadpool), especially when it’s a dramatic story rather than a comedy, which I think is easier to get away with but Sera’s aware of her narrator status and she uses it to her advantage. And you don’t know exactly how her magic works so it could come with her being able to see things.

I’m not usually into romantic stories but I’m fully invested in this one. They would do anything for one another and they don’t just talk about it. They have their quiet sweet moments like Angela having cold feet in bed. Then they also have a lot of power individually but together they seem unstoppable and I really want to see what the consequences of Angela being queen of Hel is. Ripping things apart for the one you love is nice and everything but you can’t go messing other people up because something went wrong.

I can’t wait to see what the other trials are and I hope they won’t be quite so easy as the first one. I want Angela to be really challenged. She is fighting to take over Hel after all that should be a hard thing to do, even for Angela.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Previous Review Angela: Queen of Hel #1                                         Next Review Angela: Queen of Hel #3

Review: Constantine: The Hellblazer #3

Story:

“Someone is murdering ghosts, a supernatural crime so impossible to solve that John Constantine is forced to return to London and seek help from the one person he hates more than any other; a magician above reproach, a darling of London high society, and a friend to superheroes everywhere. She is Georgiana Snow…the HECKBLAZER!”
Read more about it on Goodreads.

Constantine: The Hellblazer #3

Review:

So we delve more into Constantine’s past this issue but I really don’t like the art they use for it. It’s all very purple and I find it off putting. There’s also a change of artist for the non flashback bits as well and I’m not keen on that either. I really liked the other style in the first and second issue but I guess I’ll get used to this.

Constantine has gone back home to England and is looking up old friends but it appears he doesn’t have many. The only one alive is Georgie who is very competent and makes Constantine look like an arse. He rushes in without thinking and it’s very annoying. I don’t know the character well enough to tell if this is out of character behaviour, having only known him for two issues before this but he was over confident in the last issue so I guess that’s just what he does.

And he gets himself into a lot of trouble that Georgie has to save him from. She works for the supernatural division of MI5 or something like that. She knew Constantine back in the good old days and didn’t really like him then either.

I love the cover though. That really stands out and I love how Constantine is trying to smoke even while Georgie’s crushing him with her boot.

It didn’t really feel like much got accomplished this issue. Other than John annoying Georgie. We learn a bit about his past but none of it really gripped me. I think it must be because of how much I loved the previous issue that this is a bit of a let down.

We get to see how he interacts with others who know about demons and stuff. He’s a bit annoying but I like that the less nice parts of his personality are on show and get criticised. Things like that always make characters feel more human but then you can’t do it too much because the audience has still got to like the character and root for him. This almost crosses that line for me. He messes up and I found myself thinking that he should stay out of Georgie’s way but then he had a very humanising moment and you realise how alone he is and I’m back on his side.

While this issue wasn’t as good as the last issue it still develops the mystery of the ghost killer, if only a tiny bit. And I think John and Georgie are going to be a really good pair of characters to play off each other she’s all about studying, high society and being uptight. While he seems to wing stuff and have sex in clubs.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Previous Review Constantine: The Hellblazer #2                          Next Review Constantine: The Hellblazer #4

Review: Constantine: The Hellblazer #2

Story:

“Somebody is killing the only friends John has: the ghosts that haunt him! How can you kill what’s already dead? John is going to find out and make this adversary pay!”
Read more about this issue on Goodreads.

Constantine: The Hellblazer #2

Review:

I love it when magic and the occult are on the edge of society as feelings and actions you can’t explain and don’t want to delve too deeply into because you’re scared of what you might find. And I love it when you have that character who understands and jumps in anyway. Walks among the monsters. It’s all so creepy and I love it.

This issue we get some of the rules explained and they seem like pretty obvious stuff but you can’t take anything for granted when it comes to fantasy universes. So ghosts are echoes of the people who died and so they themselves as echoes can’t die. And this gets explained in a very entertaining way as the ghosts flee as a way of showing how much they trust Constantine (if they’re haunting him I guess he’s the one that got them killed or who they blame for it at least).

So he decides to force the issue and travels around the city collecting objects of power and walking through haunted places picking up a trail of ghosts as he goes. It’s a series of pages with very minimal dialogue. His narration tells the story of the people who died in these places and it’s genuinely creepy. The house at the beginning that he calls a thin place gives me shivers.

Gary who seems to be the main ghost that haunts him continually tells him that he should stop and it’s a bad idea. But Constantine is so confident by the end of his power and ghost collecting that you’re confident with him. The heroes always win and he won pretty effortlessly last issue. But there’s still that little bit of unease because the ghosts are scared of something. It makes what happens all the more powerful. And even if ghosts aren’t the actual person who died (as he insists) and only echoes they’ve still been with him for years.

The cover is again a symbol of what you’re getting inside which is always my favourite way they do covers. I never like art pulled straight from the panels. I always like it a little bit more symbolic.

This is such a good issue that I might buy it digitally so I can read it again and again without damaging my physical copy. I love how the magic works and the thin places and the horror of everything. The creepy characters he meets and his narration. It all works for me. I can’t think of a criticism. It sparks my imagination and that’s the best praise I can give it. I want to tell stories this good.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Previous: Constantine: The Hellblazer #1                                                     Next: Constantine: The Hellblazer #3

Review: Constantine: The Hellblazer #1

Story:

“The dark adventures of DC’s foremost occult detective continue in an all-new series as he investigates the cruelest case he’s ever come across—his own dark history!”

Read more about it on Goodreads.

Constantine: The Hellblazer #1

Review:

This is the first Constantine story I’ve ever read. The only things I know about the character are from that awful movie they made a few years ago and his appearance in The Sandman. I never got around to watching the TV show but I might have if they hadn’t decided to be bi-phobic and make the character straight.

So I know next to nothing about the character or the DC universe in general. I’ve only just started to read super hero comics other than Marvel because of their continued commitment to lie about diversifying their range and then remaining the same. At the moment DC is doing a lot better than Marvel but they can still do better.

I think this is quite a good jumping on point for new readers. I’ve read a few fist issues that had no business being called first issues but this isn’t that. I might not know entirely what’s going on but I don’t feel like I’m reading half a story. This feels like a beginning of something. And it’s a good beginning.

He appears covered in blood in a shop and has to use his magic to get a woman to not call the police and instead clothe him. Then he starts talking to a ghost and in the next few pages more appear and he tells them all to “sod off”. And I’m hooked. I want to know more about this character and this series is about exploring his dark past. I don’t know if I’ll read other runs between issues or just let the series tell the story with no research on my part. Probably the latter.

I really like the art and it suits the story very well. It’s the same as the cover which is Constantine stood alone in a dark alley somewhere. There are a few details that I didn’t notice at first and I enjoy art that does that.

There’s a lot of moral ambiguity in this comic and he even has the ghost calling him on it. He’s not a nice person but he is likable.

He’s also bisexual which is the one thing I did know about the character and the reason I decided to try the book. I want to read more genre stories with queer heroes.

His bisexuality gets explored here. Thankfully it’s not just implied. I hate it when they do that, as if that’s good enough. In one scene he flirts with a man and then goes to have sex with a woman. She’s some sort of demon called Blythe that needs his help. I love the page showing the nine levels of Inferno and the conversation they have as they descend to the bottom level.

There’s so much I love about this comic. He also has a ghostly entourage that only shows up when something’s about to go terribly wrong and it turns out it’s not Blythe that’s the trouble. His narration is entertaining and the last line is a good cliffhanger. I will definitely be reading the next issue.

And I now have a another favourite comic book character. I don’t think he’s really a super hero despite being part of the DC universe. He mentions super heroes but says he works in the shadows. Great first issue and I recommend it to anyone who likes dark fantasy.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Next Constantine: The Hellblazer #2

Review: Angela: Queen of Hel #1

Story:

“Stolen from ASGARD, exiled from HEVEN, and robbed of SERA, her greatest companion – ANGELA plunges into the depths of blackest HEL to save her friend…and once there, the lost princess of Asgard will carve out a realm of her very own. All hail ANGELA, THE NEW QUEEN OF HEL!”
Read more about it on Goodreads.

Angela: Queen of Hel #1

Review:

This starts at the end and then jumps around a bit. I’m not usually fond of this type of story telling but it works here. Probably because the title of the book is Angela: Queen of Hel so it’s not much of a spoiler when you open the first page and she’s sat on the throne. We know the destination it’s going to be the journey that’s interesting. That said there might just be a bit too much jumping around and you have to pay attention to if you’re in the just the flashback or the flashback of the flashback.

If you’re a new reader to Angela then all you need to know is Angela and Sera love each other. There’s a lot more back story but you don’t need to know about it for this issue. If you do want to know more then I suggest reading Angela: Asguard’s Assassin and skipping all the Original Sin stuff. And I recommend 1602: Witch Hunter Angela because it was one of the few spin offs of Secret Wars that was any good.

I like how in all her comic titles they name her profession. So far she’s been an assassin, a witch hunter and now the Queen of Hel. I look forward to what career she pursues next. It’ll be hard to top queen. Maybe she can be a goddess.

Out of the two main characters I think I like Sera better and I love her narration of this issue. She’s such a fun character and I think if she wasn’t there Angela wouldn’t be as likable. But she’s so much more than comic relief and she can hold her own in a fight. She’s got power and the cover shows this perfectly.

She sat on the arm of the throne with her hands glowing red while Angela lounges beside her. They both give off this formidable vibe. Angela doesn’t even need to be sat upright to be imposing or powerful. I love this cover. I want this cover as a poster.

The only criticism I have is that as the story jumps back and forth so does the art and it’s a bit jarring. Especially as the flash back art is so much more stunning than the art for the present which looks like standard super hero art and I’m not very fond of it. It doesn’t match the cover either where as the flash back art does.

If you liked the previous Angela series or you like all the Asguardian stuff you’ll like this. And even if you don’t like the story jumping backwards and forwards in this issue it still promises a good story to come.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Next Angela: Queen of Hel #2