Archangel 8 #4 Review

by Nick Devonald on August 18, 2020

Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: C.P. Smith
Colours: Snakebite Cortez
Letters: Sal Cipriano

The first three issues introduced us to the characters in this war between Angels, and this, the penultimate issue in the series, is filled with anticipation for the impending battle between 8 and Michael. The suspense builds throughout the issue, Delmar has reinforcements from the Cartel coming, the battle and the outcome seemingly inevitable. The buildup towards this battle of Michael vs The Cartel feels a lot slower than previous issues, allowing more time for dialogue and tension to build. It’s a stronger story for it, and the action when it arrives is as violent and over the top as we’ve come to expect from the story.

The mythological elements of the story have been downplayed until this point, it’s never been in the readers face that 8 and Michael are Angels. This issue changes all that, and we see first hand how capable the Angels are of extreme smiting. It feels like Michael Moreci has a rich mythology which he’s only just allowing readers to explore a little, and while it’s almost guaranteed we’ll learn a little more in the final issue it’s clear that this is only the beginning of the stories he wants to tell in this universe. Fingers crossed that readers will get an opportunity to explore these stories of Angels and Demons in greater detail in the future.

While certain events in this comic play out exactly as readers expect that’s also kind of the point. It lulls the reader into a false sense of security. This has the added effect that a twist near the end of the comic comes seemingly out of the blue and the shock factor is even greater because of this. With only one issue left it’s unclear where the story will go, or how the tale will conclude. That is exactly what a penultimate issue should do. All the pieces are in place now, the reader understands the stakes, and all that is left is to see the fallout from what happens next.

The art has been fantastic from the start. It has a very unique style and feel which fits in fantastically with this world of Angels and Demons, violent hitmen and gangs and over the top brutality. C.P. Smith puts an insane amount of detail into so much of the work it feels like he’s witnessed everything first hand before recreating it perfectly. There are a number of quieter scenes in this issue, but the emotion he conveys in some of the characters faces is excellent. Then there’s the action scenes. He brings them to life with a brutality that matches the extreme violence on show in this series. It gives the whole series a unique and exciting feel.

Snakebite Cortez has done some incredible things with Smith’s art over the course of the series but he takes it to another level in this issue. The glorious colours of the sun near the start of this issue are outstanding. The way the light shines over tree tops on mountains, then the same scene both during and in the aftermath of a large scale shootout, absolutely phenomenal. Smith’s art is outstanding but it’s the pairing with Cortez that makes this one of the more stylised and fantastic comics in the market.

The Punisher meets Hellblazer might not be the most natural of bedfellows but the rich tapestry that Moreci has painted out of this mythology of Angel Hitmen instantly hooks the reader in and pulls them deep into the story. Smith and Cortez are a perfect pairing, although whether they’re a match made in Heaven or thanks to a deal made elsewhere is never clear. Hopefully this penultimate issue isn’t our penultimate entry into this fantastic world.

Our Score:


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