Angela: Asgard's Assassin #1

Spinning out of her appearances in "Guardians of the Galaxy," but paying it little tribute, "Angela: Asgard's Assassin" #1 wastes no time in presenting readers with action and uncertainty written by Kieron Gillen and Marguerite Bennett. Inked by Tom Palmer, Phil Jimenez checks in to pencil the majority of this debut issue with Stephanie Hans providing the art for a "substory" that provides the origin of Angela's bond with Sera.

That substory is co-written by Gillen and Bennett while Gillen is individually credited with writing the pieces of "Angela: Asgard's Assassin" #1 deemed the "Main Story," which is best distinguished by Jimenez's art. The tale itself opens with Angela forging across Limbo, carrying a burden that pains her, yet drives her forward. Throughout her journey, Gillen reminds us that Angela's motivation is driven by keeping balance: "Nothing for nothing."

Gillen keeps Angela's story moving forward, allowing readers to seek out origins and backstory on the recap page or elsewhere instead of using valuable page space. The only flashback readers are afforded is the substory co-written by Bennett. In both pieces of this debut issue, Angela is hardcore and determined, locked into maintaining a balance, settling debts and calling in debts owed to her. Gillen makes Angela the center of her own tale and builds spokes out from the hub of her determination. Sera is added to provide readers with insight Angela could not appropriately divulge as Bennett provides the assist, giving readers the origin of the sistership.

Clayton Cowles' lettering empowers the script, adding shakiness and grating pitch to the denizens of Limbo as they tremble in fear at Angela's arrival. The letterer hugs Jimenez's gorgeous art throughout "Angela: Asgard's Assassin" #1 and finds the most discreet perches throughout Hans' portion of this comic book, careful to maintain the flow of the story while serving to guide it.

As comic books go, "Angela: Asgard's Assassin" #1is one of the most technically stunning debut issues from Marvel in their recent waves of "Marvel NOW!," "All-New Marvel NOW!" and "Avengers NOW!" Jimenez is always a welcome addition to the art of any comic -- be it cover work or interior -- and his accomplishments in "Angela: Asgard's Assassin" #1 are lavishly coated in details, but solidly constructed in storytelling. For a character that wears barely enough garments to equal that of a bikini, Angela is spared any sexual overtones in Jimenez's work. He focuses instead on her movement, posture and grim determination. Her hair and ribbons flow wildly throughout the pages of this comic book, but never do they seem unwieldy. Palmer's inks are tight to Jimenez's work, giving the art of this comic book as clean, dark line for colorist Romulo Fajardo to fill. Fajardo's work is as much color as texture, from strands of Angela's flowing mane to divots upon the face of the goblin conversing with Sera.

Stephanie Hans' work is atmospheric and painterly, providing a distinct visual difference from Jimenez's but maintaining the same level of detail and dedication to addressing Angela as a figure flowing through the panels rather than a sex symbol posing in those panels. Hans adds rugged torn edges to the panels, giving them the appearance of being ripped from Sera's or Angela's memories. Just as subtly as "Angela: Asgard's Assassin" #1 shifts from main story to substory, it shifts back out, bringing readers to a conclusion fraught with anticipation.

Any comic with "Asgard" in the title is destined to bring in the God of Thunder, but with Thor now being a different Thor than the one Angela is familiar with, Gillen elects to leave readers awaiting the confrontation between Angela and Odinson. To sweeten the pot, the writer teases a surprising reason for the visit, leaving readers with a cliffhanger in the process. It's a solid cap to a solid comic book, as "Angela: Asgard's Assassin" #1 gives readers yet another excellent female-led series in the Marvel Universe.

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