It’s not hard to see where the inspiration for Archangel, IDW’s new comic book series, comes from. The cruel president and his equally terrible son simply called Junior who just so happens to be his veep are at the very least loosely based on both George Bush and George W. Bush. Further inspiration surely comes from both wars in Iraq, the financial toll waging said wars within a decade of each other caused, foreign policies that include infiltrating other governments to change the outcome in the infiltrating party’s favor… It’s like looking into the future and seeing it play out in the pages of a comic. That’s what I felt reading Archangel #1 anyway.
Let me be clear about one thing. The tone in Archangel #1 is not preachy at all. But, if you don’t live under a rock and have followed current events for the past decade or two then you’ll draw the same conclusions.
The corrupt leaders of the United States in a dystopian Earth set in the future use advanced technology called The Splitter to travel back in time to Germany in the summer of 1945 to manipulate time and history in their favor. This future Earth is radioactive and resources are scarce thanks to their mismanagement and corruption. So rather than resolve the issue in their world, they hatch a plan to have VP Junior Henderson replace his grandfather and start all over again. Luckily, there is a resistance that travels back in time to stop Junior and his henchmen from screwing everything up again.
Sounds simple enough? Well, things get complicated when the Allies’ footage of a B-17 squadron happens to pick up the wormhole and the resistance operatives crossing into 1945. So everything’s going haywire and now three factions are trying to gain control of the situation.
Writer William Gibson weaves together a thrilling science-fiction meets political comic. It is one of the most intense and captivating comics I’ve read this year. And to be honest, I’m already praying that they bring it to the screen as a series or as a film. Yes, it’s that damn good. There are two extremely enterprising and strong female characters, Royal Air Force lieutenant Naomi Givens and Major Guadalupe Torres, the leader of the resistance. They’re both from different times, but I can already tell that they are going to play a pivotal role in maintaining some kind of order. And seeing as how everything has already taken an unexpected turn (for better or worse) from the jump, Archangel #1 doesn’t beat around the bush. The stakes are high even if we don’t know to what extent. Even though I feel for the Earth of the future, I don’t want them meddling with the past. They deserve a chance to make a world of their own.
Artist Butch Guice is a master of facial expression. Without knowing the characters’ individual histories, the reader is able to draw more than enough information from their facial expressions and Gibson’s hints in his writing to know who’s probably going to be good and who’s most likely going to be a problem. The colors capture two dark, war-torn worlds without being dull or too muted. There’s also a certain golden age comic quality to the art and colors that adds an extra layer of authenticity to the sci-fi aspect of Archangel #1.
There are only four more issues in Archangel but I am already hoping for a new story arc after this one is finished. I certainly hope IDW, Gibson, and Guice have that planned. Also, as an added bonus, look towards the back of Archangel #1 and you’ll see several character concepts that look a lot like Dave Bautista (WWE, Guardians of the Galaxy), Brock Lesnar (WWE), and Theo Rossi (Sons of Anarchy).