Archangel 8 #1 Review

by Nick Devonald on March 22, 2020

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

Debut issues can be challenging. They need to establish a new world, new characters, the plot, all while making sure the readers enjoying it enough to pick up the next issue. It’s a lot to pack into a first issue and is a case of spinning plates, get one wrong and it’s game over. Archangel 8 doesn’t bother introducing the world or the characters, it just gets on with telling the story and leaves the reader to fill the blanks in as we go. And it’s so much stronger for doing that. By the end of the issue the reader may not have any idea what’s going on but still find themselves sucked in needing to read the next issue.

This issue has more riding on it than other debut issues do as well, with it being one of the flagships for new publisher AWA. Yet you wouldn’t know, so confident is the storytelling and final product. If this is any indication of the quality we’re going to get from AWA then they’ve already established themselves as one to watch.

It also manages to establish its own identity very early on. The art, the plot, even the lettering, help to make it feel unique, original and have a really clear identity. Incredibly impressive for a debut issue. In terms of its feel it has definite vibes of Punisher MAX or Supernatural, without imitating either of them. It’s very much its own beast. It’s dark, moody, filled with over the top violence. It’s sure to be a hit.

The title of the comic reveals more about the story than this first issue does, but that’s not a problem. Our main character is an Angel who appears to be working as a hitman for Gabriel. And in terrms of the overall story we don't learn much more, instead it focuses on him tracking down his latest target, with over the top violence and plenty of otherworldy happenings.

Without going into too many details of the plot know that Michael Moreci’s storytelling is top notch. He keeps the reader guessing with twists and turns throughout, and doesn’t bother with needless exposition to tell the story. He doesn’t care the readers been thrown in mid way through the story and has no idea what’s happening, he sets out to tell a tale in his own way and does a fantastic job. Beautifully dark and bleak.

The art in this comic is absolutely gorgeous. It not only contributes to the dark moody tone of the comic but it sets it from the front page. It’s incredibly stylised, it captures the seedy, bleak tone this story has in spades. It grabs you from the front page and doesn’t let go. It doesn’t skimp on the violence, it’s brutal, bloody and extreme. A good comic has either a good script or good art. An incredible comic matches the artist to the writer and that’s exactly what we have here. C.P. Smith was meant to draw for Moreci and it shows.

Then we have Snakebite Cortez’s colours. Dark, brooding shadows everywhere contrast nicely with muzzle flashes during the regular gun battles. It makes the infrequent daylight scenes look radiant in comparison to the rest of the comic. Cortez works incredibly well with Smith’s art and this is a team I would like to see working together more in the future.

Another highlight of this issue, and something that is regularly skipped over without recognition, is the lettering. Sal Cipriano’s letters stand apart from the crowd, and when coupled with Smith and Cortez’s artwork help establish the gritty nature of this comic. Cipriano deserves recognition for what a quality job he does and how important a role he plays in setting the bleak tone.

An incredible debut issue, incredibly violent and deserving of the mature rating, this promises to be a fantastic series. It sets a dark, seedy tone early on and the violence contributes to the moodiness of the work. The art is absolutely gorgeous and establishes AWA as a publisher to be eagerly following.

Our Score:


A Look Inside