At the end of last issue, Angela and Sera took refuge with the Guardians of the Galaxy while hiding from the Odinson and any other Asgardians who would seek to hunt them down. We pick up in this latest installment with Angela, Sera, and the Guardians playing poker.
Because, why wouldn’t we?
I’ve been doing some thinking recently about pacing in comics, how to balance quiet moments with loud ones while continuing to keep your audience entertained. With the solid foundation Gillen and Bennett have built across the last three issues, I think we’ve more than earned a nice little poker scene. It’s a fun way to introduce the characters and even, to a degree, show us who they are. Angela playing poker is absolutely adorable—and Drax’s technique is exactly as you’d expect.
I’m still not sure about the Disir and their appearance in this issue. I think they’re an amazing part of Norse mythology and have been used to great effect in the past, but I don’t think they quite do all that they could or should be doing here. As it stands, I see them as a device prompting Angela to reveal why she kidnapped her sister. It could have been them…or it could have been something else. Because their presence feels arbitrary rather than necessary, it somewhat lessens the value of their entire sequence. I’m not as invested in it because it doesn’t quite mean anything. It’s definitely a fun scene, like the poker scene, but interestingly, unlike the poker scene, I didn’t really see it doing much for deepening the story. It was a little too convenient—as was the impetus for the new direction at the end, really.
Like the last issue, we get yet another substory delving into Sera and Angela’s past. This history is what pretty much made the last issue, but I was less wowed this go round. It further characterizes the closeness of the two characters but doesn’t push the question of Sera’s return any further than where we left it. I understood how much they meant to each other from the last issue; I wanted more from the scene this time and didn’t quite get it.
Still, it’s a fun ride and one that’s well-written, even if I wasn’t satisfied with the big picture elements of the issue. Gillen is still (painfully) punning away and, as is his way, there is punchy dialogue galore. Gamora is probably my favorite, given how her relationship with Angela is depicted. I would be extremely happy to have a weekly 4-panel comic/yonkoma just showing off their adventures as murder besties.
Make it happen, Marvel.
On the artistic front, there are quite a few stand-out panels in this issue. Both of the ones that come to mind involve the Disir. There’s a great depiction of a chasm that’s very subtly shaped like an eye on the first page of the comic. The last page is appropriately eerie and there’s also a fantastic appearance of a Disir mouth out of the darkness that is truly chilling. It calls to mind some of the creepy depictions of homunculi in Hiromu Arawkawa’s Full Metal Alchemist, but with more intensity given Fajardo’s coloring work.
Speaking of Fajardo, I think he does a great job with using neon pastels to contribute to the cosmic feel of both Asgard and outer space. There’s always a bright blue, purple, or pink to remind me that we’re in space, that there are computer screens somewhere in the distance, that the wild beauty of Asgard goes wherever Asgardians go.
The transition between the main story and the Angela/Sera subplot is less than smooth, art-wise. Hans has done fine work previously, but there was something about this recent depiction that felt less solid, particularly when it came to faces. The distance shots were fine, but the close-ups all seemed to be inconsistent and not as solid as they should have been. Angela was largely fine, but Sera’s face seemed to change from frame to frame. Still, I preferred the experimentation done with the panel shape and orientation to what was happening throughout the main story.
Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #4 didn’t quite live up to the very high bar set by issue #3, though it’s still an enjoyable read. It’s altogether sound on a technical level, though I wanted a bit more from both the subplot and main plot in terms of moving the story forward. It’s not that nothing happened or that we went nowhere from the beginning to the end. Instead, I think there was a more compelling way of getting to the issue’s ultimate outcome. Regardless, the ending alludes to an exciting new direction and the last issue guaranteed that I would see this arc through to its conclusion. I’m definitely eager to see what Heven looks like in Angela #5.
The Verdict: 7.0/10