Adam Pollina hasn’t been a name in mainstream comics for many years, following a lengthy run on “X-Force” in the late 90s and a brief appearance at DC six years ago. It’s surprising, then, to see him return to the spotlight with an incredibly developed and unique style that’s barely been evident in any of his previous comics work.
The character designs in “Angel: Revelations” do take some getting used to, but there’s no doubt that every page is composed brilliantly and carefully. Pollina is putting a huge amount of work into this. It’s true that it won’t be to everyone’s taste, but there’s no denying the prodigious talent on display.
So well-realized is Pollina’s artwork that it’s almost a shame to have the lettering covering it up. The storytelling is actually tight enough that this comic would almost read just as well without words, and the balloons and sound effects do almost feel like an interruption into the reading experience.
Even so, with Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa proving the script, you can at least be sure it’s going to read nicely. Sacasa’s way with dialogue is his strong point, and the words nicely complement the haunting visuals. Story-wise it’s a little less innovative, presenting no new revolutionary take on the character — it’s the art that really elevates the book. In fairness, Aguirre-Sacasa does approach Warren’s origin in a slightly different way than before, making it a little more timeless and a lot more fitting to the character.
The religious imagery gives the book a consistent motif and the literal “angel” aspect of the character takes a lot more focus that it usually receives when the character is dealt with. Of all the X-Men, Warren probably has the “origin” story that relates itself most directly to the idea of emergent mutant powers being a metaphor for adolescence.
Being a Marvel Knights title, it’s unclear whether this origin is “in-continuity” or not, but ultimately it shouldn’t matter. If the rest of the series is as good as this opening issue, it’s going to be an utterly beautiful read and, if you’re reading this at a time when it’s too late to start collecting the series, it’ll almost certainly be worth splashing out for the hardcover just to make sure the format does the story justice.
It’s definitely good to see Marvel happy to put out a series that looks a little more experimental than their usual fare, and if there’s any justice in the industry it’ll pay off nicely.