Sunday, March 13, 2005

FALLEN ANGEL #19

This issue was originally billed as a Jumping On issue, a good starting place for people who hadn't been following thus far and didn't want to wade in to an ongoing plot. Sadly, it is the penultimate issue of this series, at least as far as DC is concerned, and is running a month late -- there was already uncertainty as far as whether it would exist back when the February 2005 solicits were compiled.

We return to Bete Noire where things are not quite back to normal after the events of the Hurlyburly arc -- Miss Lee is most definitely less than her usual charming self (*cough*) and Dolph thinks it is the loss of her baby (he's probably right, but not for the reasons he thinks). Meanwhile, Doctor Juris is still hiding the fact that he murdered Boxer from Black Mariah. With Bete Noir's two most powerful residents so unsettled, it's no wonder the city itself is a bit on edge.... perfect for the arrival of Sachs and Violens?

Sachs and Violens, aka JJ and Ernie, are Peter David's creations from a miniseries he did with George Perez for Epic Comics -- sort of a vigilante Fite'n'Maad for the adult entertainment industry. They're in town to come after Bumper Ruggs, Bete Noire's premier whoremaster, and Bumper asks the Fallen Angel to stop them. Miss Lee agrees with her usual lack of enthusiasm. The story and the series conclude next month.

This issue is chock full of all of the hallmarks of PAD's writing, especially the bad puns and dualities. Nothing is as it is expected to be here -- Sachs and Violens are tawdry, but on the side of justice; Bumper Ruggs is male or female; Juris is the town's magistrate and has always worked well for his bosses, but he is hiding his own crime here, one committed for personal reasons; Miss Lee is supposed to be the local avenger, but she's in a brothel looking to buy and ends up agreeing to protect the child pornographer against the ones who would stop the operation...

Fallen Angel has always been about bait-and-switches, flexible moralities, dichotomies, and the gray areas. Sadly, it has always been in the gray area of DC -- a Vertigo-type book without the protection and advantage of Vertigo's imprint; if it were carrying that label, the low sales would have been less of a problem and the mature rating would have been a feature and not a hindrance. And they would have collected the series in trade. The first six issues will be all that DC is compiling and #7-20 must be gathered as floppies.

The trade: Grasshopper Comics | Amazon | Deep Discounts ... or your LCS.

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