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Rogue Angel #1

Posted: Monday, January 7, 2008
By: Bruce Logan

Barbara Kesel
Renae De Liz, Ray Dillon (c), Neil Uyetake (l)
IDW Publishing
“Teller of Tall Tales”

EDITOR’s NOTE: The first issue of Rogue Angel is due for release in February and is currently available for pre-order.

Exclamation: “Indian women wear a lot of jewelry!”

Explanation: Annja Creed is not your everyday archeologist. She is the possessor/wielder of a magic sword that she ‘picked up’ in a cave in France. Thanks to the sword and the magic behind it Annja also possesses, amongst other things, superior strength and speed. This issue has Annja responding to a call from a grad school friend and heading out to Virginia City, one of the many Gold/Silver-rush towns scattered across America’s southern parts. What develops there is a mystery with ties not only to old America but also to the people of the times. Tied into the plot are the sensitive subjects of slavery and racial bigotry (both past and present). Oh, and there is more than a passing reference to a certain Samuel Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain.

Examination: Rogue Angel: The series’ title and this issue’s two covers are more than enough to have the readers’ imagination racing. Unfortunately, things don’t quite turn out as how I envisioned from the title or the covers. Still, who knows Rogue Angel still just might turn out to be about a road-roving avenging (thus the Rogue) Angel who is cursed with a mythical sword. Kind of like a non-post-apocalyptic female version of Mad Max with liberal servings of Xena, Witchblade and Devi.

Once that particular waking daydream was out of the way, I got on to what actually happens in this first issue of writer Barbara Kesel’s new series.

Rogue Angel #1 can be roughly divided into four parts. Starting with the semi-misleading stand-off scene, it goes on to introduce the main character(s) and the plot at hand, finally wrapping up with an action scene. Although there are more than a few hints about the nature of Annja’s powers sprinkled in the earlier pages it is only in this last scene that we actually get to see them at work. Of all the four parts it is the last one that doesn’t seem to have quite a perfect fit with the others. However, this feeling of mine can be attributed to my impatience towards learning more about Annja’s powers, more than what is shown here.

As for the characters themselves, and there quite a few of them dotting the pages of Rogue Angel #1, the main two are Annja Creed and her friend, Rashmi. Even of these two we learn more about Rashmi than we do about Annja. I for one hope that Rashmi has a continued presence on this series and isn’t just here for the current story arc. She could be a livelier Gabrielle to Annja’s Xena. One of the things that struck a chord with me about this character, other than her being from India is her thoughts about Mark Twain. Although not as fanatic as Ms. Rashmi, I too have spent many a day with a Twain book. And what Star Trek fan doesn’t remember Mr. T (not the one with the Mohawk) guest starring on ST: TNG.

Onto the visuals and as much as I enjoyed reading Rogue Angel #1 I have no qualms admitting that it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun if it weren’t for the semi-serious semi-humorous stylings of Renae De Liz. Granted the characters, especially Annja and Rashmi had their heads drawn a size bigger than what their bodies would normally have but it all seemed to work out. Also, the artwork plays a major part in immediately setting Rogue Angel apart from the other female character focused series (e.g. Witchblade, Devi, Birds of Prey etc.)

Proclamation: A thoroughly enjoyable read both in regards to the writing and the artwork.

You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at http://www.xcave.net



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