Comicsphere: More Freakangels
This week’s episode, which I am reporting on late thanks to various computer issues, was beautiful. The art work in this series as a whole has been beautiful and it is as much for the ideas that drive the artwork as the artwork itself. But sometimes, as with this week, it is beautiful in the way that Galadriel describes her beauty as having the potential to be in Lord Of The Rings, were she to be given the one ring: terrible beauty. Arkady is a lesson in what a slight and fragile frame can contain within it. There is something there in that whole notion — power and fragility co-existing side by side. Luke is a lesson too — a lesson in what rage, resentment and power combined can do. Luke seems to have curdled under the influence of his gift/curse. He is not the only one who has been damaged by it — there is Arkady’s overdose and the burden of the future upon her, but there is also something in her that offers hope. Will Freakangels turn into a morality play? No, I think that would be far too simplistic. Ellis never insults his reader’s intelligence by writing things that are black and white — his characters live in the grey areas that we all occupy on a daily basis. What does being a super hero, a Freakangel, or the result of an experiment mean in light of that? Well, it gives Ellis the chance to amplify certain things, to take things to an extreme what might not be possible with a normal human being and do what science fiction or other genre fiction does so well — uses the fantastic to illuminate what it is to be human. People have discussed certain tropes and themes as being recurrent in Ellis’s work, which I think is true, and inevitable being that they are being written by one person. I think though that one of his strengths is that he plays to the strengths of his collaborators, uses them to put new spins on his ideas, and if you look at his websites and their function as research tools, he is constantly pushing himself not to revisit things in quite the same way. The picture does change, and the frame is renovated too. Freakangels uses some daring moves to deliver its ideas — it is unafraid to be different. I seriously think it has the potential to, if it has not already become, a very important and influential piece of art.