Review: 1602: WITCH HUNTER ANGELA #1

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1602: WITCH HUNTER ANGELA #1
Written by Marguerite Bennett, Kieron Gillen
Art by Stephanie Hans, Marguerite Sauvage
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: June 10, 2015

Secret Wars sends Angela to a time her creator (Neil Gaiman) built, where “Witchbreeds” are aplenty and someone needs to be hunting ’em.

Most of the regular team from the Angela ongoing has assembled for this Secret Wars tie-in, and while I will admit that Angela makes sense in this 1602 timeline…perhaps too much sense. This may sound somewhat ridiculous, but Angela in the world of 1602 is so spot on that there’s almost no edge to it, and while the comic is not bad by any means, this first issue is missing the big spark or hook that many of the other Secret Wars tie-ins have.

Angela and Serah act like 1602 characters in their regular series, and this issue feels like a direct continuation of the ongoing, even though it exists under the Secret Wars banner. The wild aspects of Secret Wars, particularly when characters are out of their normal roles and pushed into new circumstances isn’t here, despite the solid dialogue and great relationship between Angela and Serah. Angela’s stoic demeanor is entertaining as ever, and there are some solid quips in here. Angela: Asgard’s Assassin was a treat every month leading into Secret Wars and while this issue played things safe in a lot of ways, the framework is here for a solid story down the line.

Stephanie Hans is a master at brooding, moody art and her portion of this issue is dark, grim and befitting a Witch Hunter in 1602. Fans of Angela: Asgard’s Assassin will be very comfortable with her work, and they’ll probably enjoy Marguerite Sauvage’s as well. Sauvage’s style leans executes the comedy of the issue better, with a comical first sequence, even though there is some decent action there too. Both artists are capable to say the least, and they set a solid tone for the issue. Part of me would like to see Hans and Sauvage working in a setting outside 1602 with these characters, as it would add an element of surprise to the issue, that spark that is missing.

1602: Witch Hunter Angela #1 is a good read but plays things too safe to be a great read. Angela & Serah in the 1602 landscape is almost too on the nose to feel exciting and new, and in this Secret Wars landscape that hurts the book. The characters are strong enough and the book is executed well enough that I’ll be continuing with the next issue, but a little more sizzle wouldn’t hurt.

The Verdict: 7.0/10

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