Fallen Angels is a series I’m on awe of but also confused by. Is it trying to be overly obtuse and symbolic, or is that an error on the creator’s part to keep us in the dark unnaturally? I enjoyed the first issue, but the second issue lost me as it shifted the narrative to a place that didn’t feel genuine, but forced. Can issue #3 pull us out of the muck? I’m not so sure.
This issue opens with a thoughtful concept of purpose from the perspective of God. A bullet taking life and a baby being born are one and the same in god’s eyes. It’s a philosophical way of opening the book as we cut to the battle facing Laura, Psylocke, and Cable. Yes, they’re fighting a somewhat pointless robot, but they’re warriors and that’s the real point here. In the skirmish, more wisdom is imparted this time from Psylocke to Laura further adding meaning to the book. It’s quite a clear writer Bryan Hill is adding weight to the fight making this much more than superheroes swinging fists.
That said, I was confused by Psylocke’s ability to let Cable be captured and carrying the mission forward. Given they are combating an evil that sticks children in robots, but it seems strange she’d abandon someone she entered the battlefield with. It’s also strange how Laura is written. She seems way younger than she is and much more green hence the lesson from Psylocke. Maybe the HOX/POX reboot changed her significantly but it’s grasping at straws at this point to figure out why she’s being written this way. I was also confused with what happens to Cable. It’s done in a confusing sort of way with light and a strike that doesn’t really tell us anything. You’ll shrug and carry on regardless.
Art by Szymon Kudranski with colors by Frank D’Armata continues to cast everything in darkness. It suits the horror of the story here but it’s also hard to follow the action and what is going on in general. The depiction of Psylocke is particularly jarring in this issue, especially in the last two pages. She has a look that’s more akin to Alita from Alita Battle Angel than how she’s been drawn in this series so far. The last time we see her cheeks are so puffy she looks like a baby. It’s strange looking stuff. Laura looks particularly young and much younger than she’s been in recent comics. Maybe this is an actual choice to de-age her? Props to Kudranski’s final splash page that’s all kinds of horrific. D’Armata’s colors add a sickly green and unnerving blue that draws your eye to all the right places.
The obtuse nature of the plot, the philosophical notions, and the inability to pin down these characters makes this a tricky book to read in single-issue format. It might be stronger as a trade since a lot of ideas are being thrown around and may come together better when read in one sitting. I’m not so sure though as the book feels unfinished in many ways.