No Angel #1

by mahargen on November 28, 2016

Writers:  Adrianne Palicki, Eric Palicki
Artists:  Ari Syahrazad, Jean-Paul Csuka
Publisher:  Black Mask Studios

The allure of a familiar story isn’t something to be downplayed.  The familiar can be a touchstone that brings a reader into a story before things branch outwards, something that draws in the reader before captivating them.  Black Mask’s “No Angel” starts off with just such a familiar element.  We’ve seen the story of the disconnected daughter returning home for a family member’s funeral and the family secrets that come spilling out before, it’s nothing new.  At this point, it’s all about presentation. 

The brother/sister team of Eric Palicki (Marvel’s “Guardians of Knowhere”, “Fake Empire”) and Adrianne Palicki (TV’s “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD”) give us a slow burn story in this first installment that gives us sufficient time to warm up to their characters before the hook.  It’s not a spoiler that this story has a significant supernatural bend to it, something Eric Palicki is no stranger to, so getting to know FBI Agent Hannah and local Deputy Sean in a mostly real world setting brings the reader into their position in a welcome way.  There can be many types of supernatural stories, ranging from those where the reader is omniscient and aware of the scope of the character’s reality to those like “No Angel,” where we experience things through our character’s eyes.  I’m a fan of the latter, which is why the manner in which this book kicks off appeals to me on a base level.  That’s not to say things won’t change down the road as the story goes, but for now it did its job.  I’m invested.  The world is warm and lived-in.  There is a backstory to everything that never bogs down the present, simply letting us know it’s out there and will eventually come to light.  It’s familiar in all the right ways.

The writing team is joined by newcomer Ari Syahrazad, pulling double art duty on both pencils and inks with coloring done by Black Mask stalwart Jean-Paul Csuka.  If you’ve spent much time in the Midwest, especially rural Wisconsin, you can appreciate the somewhat drab setting and colors.  Nothing terribly overt, just a feeling that has made its way onto the pages.  For an issue that is mostly talking heads and, the team does a manageable job of keeping things from being boring.  Ari’s grasp on panel layout is solid for a new creator.  I’m looking forward to him getting his legs going forward and doing some experimenting, finding his own style.

I’m chalking this one up as another win for Black Mask.  Despite launching with less pomp and circumstance than other titles, “No Angel” should find its way to your stack if you’re into supernatural fare.  This introductory chapter gives us a solid footing before pulling the rug out from under us on the last page, and the story promises to be nothing if not interesting.  The book can go in a number of different directions.  Promotional materials have noted a number of influences or comparisons in pop culture, from “The da Vinici Code” to the works of Jodorowsky to modern westerns like “Justified.”  As long as the creative team works together and gets their vision on the page, I’ll be happy.  There is a solid hook and interesting characters, so I’ll definitely be checking in on the next issue to see the team’s follow-through.


Matthew can be found whining about things on Twitter as @mahargen.

Our Score:


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