Revolutionary War: Dark Angel #1 (Comics Review)

Last week Marvel began the revival of its Marvel UK line with Revolutionary War: Alpha #1 by Andy Lanning, Alan Cowsill and Rich Elson. It was a pretty good first issue for a new series, actually the first in a new crossover specific to Marvel UK, and I really liked it. I had no prior connection to any of the characters so that uniqueness helped the charm too. That issue ended on a really interesting note and I was excited about how Kieron Gillen and Dietrich Smith would handle Dark Angel, who made her revived first appearance in the closing stages of Alpha #1. Sadly, the reality failed to match the expectations.

Handling a character’s revival isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. The main problem I had with this issue is that it went to great lengths to give me Dark Angel’s back-story and it was all poorly executed. That is the bottomline. While Smith’s art is really good for the most part, Gillen’s script and his dialogue just did not work for me, and I can only hope that the next couple issues pick up the slack and do better, because this is a series that I do want to like.

Revolutionary War - Dark Angel 01 This issue kind of picks up in the aftermath of Alpha #1 and goes from there as we see Dark Angel investigate what happened at Darkmoor Castle (her home) and where to go from there. Its a very tried and true approach to introducing a character, particularly in video games, and for the first few pages I was indeed hooked with the story and the art. Reading about new characters, especially those as different as the Marvel UK characters who are all extremely fascinating to this reader, is always a thrill and Gillen and Smith gave me that from the get go. But then, after the first few pages, things started to head south, and not in a good way either.

The problem with this issue was that it spent too much time on the back-story and thus the pacing was completely off. Most of the issue spends time with this and by the time we get to the end, that’s when things really kick off and the climax left me very underwhelmed. It was as if the story was cut off in the middle and the second half will be seen in a future issue. Well that’s not a good idea. A book like this, it needs to hook you from the get go (which this did) and then maintain that (which this did not).

Another thing that got to me was how this issue was mostly just Dark Angel doing her own thing. I mean, she finds out in the first few pages that Captain Britain had come by and that something had happened to him, but she kind of doesn’t care. She just goes about her day as if its all perfectly normal. Wake up. Head to hell to do some vacuum-cleaning for Mephisto, head back out to Darkmoor, take down some bad guys. And that’s it. There was nothing particularly special about the issue that drew me in to the Revolutionary War storyline other than the first few pages.

And that’s kind of unforgivable since this is a revival book. Captain Britain wanted to specifically recruit her for the team that Nick Fury wanted to put together to deal with the stuff happening in Europe with Mys-Tech, but other than seeing her ties to the organisation, we don’t get anything else. And the big villain of the issue is seemingly a non-entity in some ways. He shows up, he threatens, and that’s it. There’s no… conflict in this issue. That’s the problem.

Art-wise, I like what Smith does with colourist Ruth Redmond and letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles. The first few pages particularly are really good as we get to see Dark Angel from a lot of different camera angles. It helps to really establish her visual design, especially when she wears her head-gear, which was kind of really awesome. This continues for the rest of the comic as Smith plays with perspectives throughout. I wanted to see more, but the issue feels cut-off, and there are some really weird things such as the particular vision of Hell that is presented, which seemed very generic and uninteresting. But by and large, this was good work I think.

Overall though, I’m not happy with this comic at all.

Rating: 5/10

More Revolutionary War: Alpha #1.

Posted on January 16, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

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