The essence of Charlie’s Angels considering the upcoming reboot with Kristen Stewart reflects in the ability to use all their wares to accomplish their missions but doing so with a tongue in cheek pursuit and a healthy dose of humor. In comparison to the McG iteration with Drew Barrymore and company, it might be harder to do that in the current age of the anti-hero. The progression here in “Charlie’s Angels Vol. 1 – The Devil You Know” [John Layman/Dynamite/124pgs] is based in the old school of the late 70s while not adhering directly to the physical manifestations of the TV shows. The first story works in the interior structure of a local problem inflicted in the guise of the Limbo Lounge with the key being almost entrapping said criminals to give away their information to beautiful women. This seems a little below their abilities of course so the next story which takes up most of the volume which has them tracking a spy overseas has a little more verve to the possibilities. In doing to a point what “The Spy Who Dumped Me” attempted to do but with a little more “Mission Impossible” to it, this story puts the Angels against a bad ass female assassination squad. Of course it comes to bear that the Angels mistakenly judge the person that was supposed to be their mark because of faulty intelligence from their own guy Charlie which harkens back to a plot point from the first story. The ending parlays with President Carter in tow which of course works much better in comic form than in real life. The quips are fast, the fashion fun and the international intrigue light which makes for a fun read.
By Tim Wassberg
The intention of perception is relegated, at least in narrative, the way the characters perceive their existence or, by extension, their purpose in our mind’s eye. In “Orphans: Volume 2 – Lies” [Robert Recchioni/Lion Forge/352pgs], the ideal is based in the idea that in a post apocalyptic world, like that of “The Darkest Minds”, the decisions of the characters become based out of survival and not necessarily good judgement. The way “Orphans” approaches this ideal is by a couple different artists approaching the similar story line and progression at the get go. In the post discussion, the artists speak about how the necessity of body language especially when dealing with YA stories tends to precipitate on a certain mental structure and thereby intention of character. Looking at the different lead characters in Ringo, Sam, Rey and Saul (by extension), their different strengths and weaknesses are built in the early frames. But when the war shifts a decade or more the comparison of how the characters grow in certain ways shows how the different artists truly see them. The later chapters show the actual plot progression a bit more including the mutation testing and ultimate brainwashing of these children to make them the killers they grow up to be. The training in the forest where their trainers set them against death row inmates also shows the psychological breakdown of the team. Ringo & Sam are the focal point of the team with her being the more powerful but undisciplined. This creates a unique situation when she beats Rey within an inch of his life in the first story. Ringo is the one who tries to save Sam by talking and fighting his way back into her heart and soul. This is a very telling scene which makes a later scene where Ringo has already died and Sam is reaching out to Saul that much more heartbreaking. These kids have much to lose but the question is why. Saul questions his motivation and yet Doctor Puric engages the point in that this is why they were created. In the final perception of this volume, Ringo sees the mission for what it is while Rey sees it for what it has become. “Orphans: Volume 2 – Lies” is a good exercise in the perception of psychological crafting if story through physical traits where the artist and their angle through the writing allows for different read each way it is seen.
By Tim Wassberg
The dark texture of the past is sometimes overtaken by the wanton romanticism of what could have been. This has been talked in many ways in reference to the Old West whereas in fact it was a dirty and murderous place as was the pioneer trade. Life was very hard. People made mistakes. But life went on. This aspect is taken into account in the graphic novel “Fraternity” [Juan Diaz Canales/Lion Forge/128pgs] which speaks to many of the utopian societies who after The Civil War tried to take the aspect of equality and fairness into effect. However the sociological structure which it shows paints back the idea that many are still grappling with today which is the aspect of classicism and more prominently racism. At the core comes a creature that shows both tenderness and vicious violence, not unlike the human reflections that occupy New Fraternity. McGowan, the old elder, has tried to shelter the people from violence even going so far as to hide weapons that could be used to subjugate each other deep in catacombs outside their domiciles. Like many forebearing Messiah myths, the truth comes in the form of a child who grows into a man who speaks the truth. Emile is that boy, mute in his progression but pure in his beliefs. It is he who finds the devil, more specifically dictated in the form of a minotaur. This creature in many ways is reflective of the people’s behavior which is balanced on the idea of what utopia is an how the inherent nature of its power and instability makes it fall apart, both because of class difference but who the governing body should be. The drawing of the characters in many ways with exaggerated noses and specific eye structure brings to mind the 40s animation of Disney. But like those ideas where the most severest of creatures usually have a benevolent side, the notion of unity with Emile and the creature which is ripped apart in ways by the village’s fear illustrates a bigger problem. Like any community, betrayal carries a harsh consequence and “Fraternity”allows for the idea that no story is clean cut and all are treated differently. There are always strands of life that continue to grow forth.
By Tim Wassberg