Angelic is a very high concept comic with a lot of moving parts, but what’s most interesting about it is what’s lying within the loftiness of its premise. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world populated by animals who were bioengineered before humanity was wiped out. The main character, Qora, is a young monkey girl who can’t help but want to know why things are the way they are. The monkeys adhere to a rigid religion which views the makers (humans) as gods who have abandoned them but will come back one day if the monkeys abide by their law. This world is not without its dangers. The ‘mans’, a race of cyber manatees, attack the monkeys’ home and worship a totally different god.
Angelic tackles a lot of very difficult concepts mostly well. At the start, it seems like it’s going to mostly focus on organized religion and questioning its necessity, but by the end it folds in a lot of other ideas as well — eveything from animal welfare by domestication, biological warfare’s inherent evil, and the harmful impact humanity is leaving on the world is discussed here. My biggest problem with this comic is not that it tackles these hard subjects, but that if you separate the real world ideas from it, the story itself is hard to get through. The subject matter is heavy, and even if I can objectively say it did make me think about these things in a critical manner, by the end I just felt weighed down by it all.
While Wijngaard drew the backgrounds so lush and beautiful my eyes couldn’t help but linger on them for longer than I usually would, and the designs of the animals are well done, sometimes what was going on got lost in translation for me. Towards the end the ‘monks’ and a ‘mans’ are fighting, and it was hard for me to follow. The panels were well-rendered themselves, but from panel to panel and page to page, I had trouble keeping up. Perhaps this was just my ADHD brain already being put in overdrive from everything that was being thrown at me writing-wise, but I just couldn’t become immersed in this comic just from the art.
By its conclusion, Angelic just ended up making me feel tired. I can’t say that I hated it, or that there was anything in particular that I can pinpoint as my source of discomfort, but there was a lot going on at all times, and no room to breathe. I felt similarly about Spurrier’s other recent creator-owned comic, Godshaper, but I’ve liked a lot of his Marvel and DC work. I’m more one for quiet or grounded stories, save for one or two, so maybe it’s just my personal tastes that keep me from enjoying Angelic to its fullest. If you dig high (and I mean like the loftiest of the lofty) concept stories with heavy societal critique, then this will definitely satisfy that itch, but for me it was just all a little too much.