“Angela: Asgard’s Assassin” #3 is, in many ways, a lot like the previous two issues. Phil Jimenez, Stephanie Hans and Le Beau Underwood’s art is attractive and consistent and Kieron Gillen and Marguerite Bennett give them a lot of interesting things to draw. Although three issues in, however, I’m still not entirely sure what about “Angela: Asgard’s Assassin” is supposed to make readers want to come back for another installment.
Gillen and Bennett are certainly trying to make the series work, continuing to plunge Angela and Sera on a chase through the various worlds of Asgardian cosmology. I like the writing setup with Gillen on the present day (with Jimenez and Underwood’s art) and Gillen and Bennett co-writing the flashbacks (with Hans’s art). Gillen is definitely continuing his path of building up Marvel’s Asgardian history that he’s been working on for quite a few years now. On paper, it sounds like it should work.
The big problem, though, is that Angela isn’t that exciting of a character. After three issues, her personality traits can be summed up as ruthless and unrelenting. That’s not bad, but it’s not enough for a reader to care about Angela or, by extension, “Angela: Asgard’s Assassin.” Her friendship with Sera seems to be more clinical than anything else — even when we see her frustration over Sera’s death in the past (pre-resurrection), it’s couched as being over Angela still owing Sera a debt and her reunion with the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy this month is equally cold.
In my case, I’ve hung on for three issues now because of the art. Jimenez, Underwood and colorist Romulo Fajardo have provided some finely detailed art with a lot of grace and energy. Their redesign of Angela’s outfit is a massive improvement, and her descent underground to claim it is wonderfully textured. Hans’s art is also a real joy, with its solid painted shapes and gentle hues that pull your eye onto the page. She’s just as good at bringing the physical scenes to life as Jimenez and company are, and they’re a good balance for one another.
After three issues of great art but a somewhat aimless story, though, I’m increasingly convinced that the sole purpose of “Angela: Asgard’s Assassin” #3 is simply to have a series starring Angela, rather than any particular desire or hook that someone came up with for this comic. Everyone involved is doing their best to make it work, and there’s a lot of talent on the title. If there’s some sort of inner core idea driving the book, it’s curiously absent in the final product. This book is gorgeous, but that’s not enough to pull me back for any more.