So, the story resumes this week, and Arkady takes us to meet Carolyn. Arkady is like a dollop of honey at helping all these introductions to both a new character and new ideas slide down. Everything seems bathed in sunshine with her when she is engaged in something happy. I think the intensity of this feeling is increased by the knowledge we have of some of her abilities and the darkness which has touched her life.
Another element of the social mechanics of the Freakangels world comes into play with the steam truck and the idea of the success of the system putting strain on that same system. An engineer commenting on social engineering — damn, I think this has to be the most poetic writing I have come across from Ellis.
I think that the toughness of his characters has always struck me, their cleverness, but something here is genuinely different. Sure, there were moments of calm reflection even amidst the hustle and bustle of Spider’s Transmetropolitan
, there was tenderness in with the craziness of Lazarus Churchyard
, Desolation Jones
humanity shone through on more than one occassion. What is it here? I think it is the deftness or rather gentility of touch, the space which these characters are being allowed to breathe in. There is no sense of rushing to get anywhere — sure, there is a sense of something coming as well as something that has already happened, but Ellis is not beating us over the head with it. I know that is intentional — things don’t happen accidentally with a writer as careful as Mr Ellis, but the pacing is lending this comic an atmosphere uniquely its own.
If you reach for the filmic as a way to describe comics, which I know everyone does, then Ellis is shooting a different kind of movie here. His cinematographer, Mr Duffield, is investing each shot with a sweeping grace, a love of how light hits things, a concentration on how figures move within their environment. This is arthouse sci-fi, or fantastika as Ellis might prefer. This is a Tarkovsky movie.
And we get out first sign of ethnic diversity amongst the angels. Questions were asked early by people in the Whitechapel community. This is a slow reveal though. Think how well this works — how time seemed to speed up when Luke was attacked, how Luke’s story burns along the fuse with his anger and stops when someone else intervenes; Sirkka’s lazy ease and effortless reach. We know how important time is to the fabric of this tale and the significance of the pacing is, I think, going to seriously come into play with that. The Freakangels affect the pacing of the story, affect the time within the story — think of KK’s march through London, Arkady’s balletic swirl; each of the character’s has their own rhythm.
It will be interesting to see how Mark pushes time along. I think he may be something of a red herring — a distraction to keep us looking the other way whilst the thing which took the chunks out of the buildings and forced the Freakangels to do whatever they did in the first place moves into position. It’s going to be an interesting ride whatever the case.