Comicsphere: Freakangels 10
There is nothing out there quite like it. Ellis is not just creating something that no other major comics writers are creating, namely a webcomic that comes out every week, he is creating a narrative that is pretty uncommon in comics too. The domesticity of the main characters in this story doesn’t feel like some thin veneer — it feels integral to the story. Is there something uniquely British about the feel of this piece? Does it take its cues from British sci-fi where a lot of the genius was to root it firmly in the lives of the audience to make it seem more real? There are already a fair amount of comments on the Whitechapel Community that is attached to this project that mention how the recognisable geography is affecting the readership. It is the small human details which also garner a lot of attention, as they should. The world which Ellis and Duffield are creating is all about the minutiae of these characters personalities and their lives; the subtleties — and it is that strength and emphasis which allows Ellis to move the big things which one can sense about to happen into place. You have to build it up to tear it down. Every scene intimates the legacy of a past as yet largely unexplored and speaks of a future that is uncertain but requires constant vigilance. That name Freakangels: within the story one has to wonder where the appellation came from — it has the ring of one of those names that would have been given to the group intending to be derogatory but one which they claimed as their own — like The Clash being called a garage band as an insult and taking it over and making it something positive. There are still Freakangels that we haven’t met. It will be interesting to see whether they all live in such close proximity. Obviously Mark, the outcast doesn’t, but Luke still hangs around despite being universally loathed by everyone it seems, and for good reason. Do they have to stay close? Is it out of a need for protection? That whole thing that birds of a feather flock together? Ellis seems intent on building and building here — one gets the impression that this project could eventually dwarf his previous magnum opus Transmetropolitan. The cast list is large and brings with it untold possibilities — we already have a timeline sitting there waiting to be explored; a timeline which can be traveled along in either direction. Once you fall in love with the characters, get hooked on the drama, are seduced by the internal logic of the world, it is waiting for Ellis to wrong-foot you and carry that ball to the touch-down that consumes you. There aren’t many visionaries out there; not many people trying to push the envelope — even if Ellis only spawns a few lesser copycats that manage even a fraction of what he is doing it will better things. Until that happens Ellis is still definitely the one to watch; the one with his eye on the ball.