I remember the day I found out about my secret, half-angel, sister.
Just kidding. I don’t really have (to my knowledge) a secret sibling with wings, but if I did… I’m pretty confident that I would not be as nonchalant about it as Hannah Gregory.
Issue #2 of the Palicki siblings’ No Angel starts off immediately where the first left off, with our central protagonist discovering two of the biggest secrets kept by her father: the aforementioned secret daughter, and the mysterious group he belonged to known as the Elioud.
While the first issue of No Angel was very much a mystery, offering only small teases of the characters and the comic’s overarching premise as a whole, Issue #2 provides a wealth of information as to what kind of trouble Hannah will likely find herself mixed-up in as the series progresses. Because, as we all know, where there are angels, there are inevitably angel hunters… and this book’s version of ‘em seem ready to take out anyone associated with the winged beings.
Unsurprisingly, the terrifying spider-man (no, not that Spider-Man) from Issue #1 is one of these deadly angel hunters, and will seemingly stop at nothing to eradicate anyone with links to Hannah’s newly discovered sister.
Which is a serious problem considering the entire Gregory clan is still in town… and easy pickings for Elliot the angel-slayer.
Still reeling from the murders of her father and brother, Hannah is now forced to figure out how to protect the rest of her relatives, all of which are now in Elliot’s crosshairs.
This is made infinitely more difficult when Hannah’s main source of information is killed, leaving Hannah and her half-sister alone with a mysterious Elioud tome that could have serious consequences should it fall into the wrong hands.
The second installment of No Angel is exposition-heavy which, arguably, slows the plot down a bit in order to get readers and characters alike up-to-speed on the events and the reasons for which they occurred.
While this would normally be an issue, there’s a self-awareness to No Angel that makes this issue’s slower pace forgivable. Hannah, being the character with which the reader can identify, calls out Miriam for having her over for beers and a chit-chat when a murderer is on the loose and looking to kill everyone in her family. Were Hannah written any less an intelligent, sarcastic, and no-nonsense character, the slower pace of Issue #2 would feel infinitely less deserved.
But because No Angel is aware that necessary exposition requires a step back from action, and actually embraces the knowledge, the comic felt less filler-ish than it could have. Having Hannah exasperatedly deal with those around her and drop lines like, “Jesus Christ, lady, you could’ve led with that, instead of leading me across town with your biblical scavenger hunt,” was an important move for No Angel because it makes Gregory that much more of a character that readers can get behind.
There’s nothing more irritating in piece of horror entertainment than watching the central character do something stupid. Having Hannah actually be a competent character who vocalizes the very thing that readers are thinking is what will allow No Angel to be a series that, even in its slower parts, will continue to entertain.
Considering the overabundance of the mild-mannered damsels in distress and the mostly just lucky final girls that are so common in this genre, it’s extremely satisfying to see a woman like Hannah represented without the unnecessary fanfare of, “Hey look, we’re going out of our way to write a strong, female, character!”
Hannah is a competent person, period, and perhaps the most on-point aspect of No Angel is the fact that she’s written as such. There’s never a sense of her being written for the purpose of simply being written, nor is there any hesitance in Hannah calling the shots with her male partner.
Because why wouldn’t she?
We’ve already seen that, as a war veteran, Hannah is both mentally and physically capable of handling herself and taking point in any manner of situations. Having her now dealing with the burden of tackling this new world is going to be exciting to see because, while her only arsenal lies in her wits and her training, the few snippets we’ve seen thus far make it clear that that’s all Hannah really needs.
Equally on-point for Issue #2 are the visuals created by Ari Syahrazad and Jean-Paul Csuka. The entirety of the book is displayed through an ochre lens that adds a depth to the overall bleakness of the story that might not read as well if portrayed with the more classically, “dark,” colors so often utilized in comics of this genre. There’s an interesting play with darkness and light, as well as monochrome and shading, that makes each panel a piece of a larger puzzle while simultaneously a wholly unique visual in its own right.
With a large portion of the backstory now provided, an angel on the run, and a murderous man with spider-eyes and an affinity for worshipping ominous skeletal demons hot on Hannah’s trail, I have a feeling that No Angel will only continue to pick up in excitement (and hopefully continue with the dry humor) as the series progresses.
Get yourself a copy of No Angel #2 at your local comic shop, download a digital copy if you’re a tech-savvy reader, or order one online if you prefer having your comics delivered straight to your door.
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Eric Palicki: @epalicki
Adrianne Palicki: @AdriannePalicki