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March 13, 2009

[Wow, I am really sorry for the typos in this one. WordPress was acting weird yesterday and it took five minutes (or what felt like five minutes) to type one sentence. Frustrating enough that I just started typing without paying attention to what I was writing because it took 10 minutes just to backspace and edit myself. I’ll take care of that today (Sat. 3/14/2009) so it will be little less awful.]

I’m five comics into the list and I finally found one that I liked.  I wish it could continue that way but I already know of a couple that I’ll dislike from the start, or already dislike.

Today is FreakAngels.

Background: FreakAngles is by Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield. It’s barely a year old being started last February. It already has two trade paperbacks, the second which just came out in the past couple of months.

Compared to many of the web comics that I review (and web comics in general) is breath of fresh air and an entirely different beast. The big thing to note is that FreakAngels is a weekly comic (most are daily or Mon. thru Fri.).

However, it being a weekly doesn’t stop it from having a huge amount of content. Each Friday update brings six, fully colored pages that further the story. It’s definitely a rarity in the web comics world but the lack of updates doesn’t seem to hurt the comic which has a pretty strong fanbase.

The Comic: FreakAngels focuses on 11 young adults with psychic abilities in a post-apocalyptic London. They run a community called WhiteChapel whose residents they protect, feed, and help survive in the new world that they find themselves in.

So far the 48 episodes within the continuity of the comic have only covered one day in the lives of the FreakAngels, it’ll be interesting to see where Ellis takes the story considering that the most recent update was the end of Volume 2.

I don’t want to give away too much on the story so I’ll stop talking about plot points and instead focus on the quality.

The writing is pretty good. I’ve enjoyed the dialogue and flow of the story so far. The characters each fill some sort of niche but don’t feel too shallow, well, the one non-psychic girl feels shallow.

The art is what really attracted me to this particular comic. Duffield’s style is somewhat reminiscent of the Nickelodeon series, Avatar. It seems very simple but all of these details are present that make the eyes ping pong around the screen. 

Normally, I don’t like reading web comics that aren’t coarser versions of the sunday funny styles because I like to feel the art and story in my hands. FreakAngels changed that a little for me. The style seems fit for the internet and it felt right to read it that way. I’m sure the print version is just as good but I was okay with watching it unfold through clicks instead of page turns.

What I like about the comic is that it’s easy to read, in that the archives don’t feel like a chore and instead I sped through them with ease. It’s a compelling read and Ellis is letting enough background information through that you learn about the characters and the situation, but there are still so many questions that make you want to keep reading. 

Like what exactly happened to cause the post-apocalyptic world you see? Who is Mark and what is he doing? Among others. 

My Recommendation: As a work in progress I don’t know where this comic is going and whether or not the ultimate story will be worth the read but as it is right now, I really enjoy it. 

I don’t know what brings people to comics. I think FreakAngels is one that can be enjoyed by a lot of people though. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial than one-off dailies I say give FreakAngels a look. The art is good, the story is interesting so far, and the characters are at least compelling enough to warrant some kind of attention. 

I’m thinking of doing away with the whole clubs thing…we’ll see. Not sure about it yet.



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