Over its first six issues, ANGELIC by Simon Spurrier and Casper Wijngaard establishes an inventive post-apocalyptic world. The world’s citizens consist of genetically-modified animals, and tells an epic story of its past, present, and future. After a whole host of twists and turns, ANGELIC #6 wraps that story up neatly, in the way you might expect from a mini-series. But the comic ends with three very welcome words: “ANGELIC will return”.

Angelic - Caspar Wijngaard
Courtesy of Image Comics

Planet of the Apes

The full concept behind ANGELIC’s world unfurls slowly, issue by issue. The beautifully-designed back cover sums up everything you would need to know: Humanity has disappeared from the earth, leaving behind tribes of talking animals. These include winged monkeys who follow a strict religious code, and brutal flying dolphins who talk like Shakespeare characters. These species are at war with one other, for reasons neither fully knows.

In the middle of it all is Qora, one of the flying monkeys. Qora feels trapped by the rules of her society — and fears the ritual clipping of wings that awaits her as a female adult. So she strikes out on her own to find answers and adventure.

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That’s more than enough high-concept for any comic but it keeps developing. Everything you need to know to understand ANGELIC is above. So if you don’t want spoiling, just skip the following paragraph and head straight to the next section.

Angelic #6 - Caspar Wijngaard
Courtesy of Image Comics

These monkeys and dolphins were modified as part of a war between humans and a rogue AI. Rather than the usual Terminator-style robots and laser guns, both sides turned to a different kind of weapon: the animal kingdom. Humans trained their animal troops to worship humans, fighting with the hope of getting a pat on the head. However, after the wipe-out of humans, the likes of Qora’s tribe of monkey are left looking after the earth. They follow the rules that were encoded into their DNA like religious dogma, waiting for their makers to return.

Metaphysics for all ages

Even though the book is rated ‘Teen’, ANGELIC is pitched as an all ages book. I can’t speak for younger readers, but you can see how they’d enjoy the tale of two animal friends on an epic adventure, brought to colourful life by Wijngaard’s art. The story can get quite grim, but that’s not necessarily a problem. From the Brothers Grimm through Roald Dahl to ADVENTURE TIME and OVER THE GARDEN WALL, children often enjoy a bit of darkness in their entertainment.

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Yet, the one problem for a younger reader might be the language — and not in terms of swearing. But, rather, the ways Spurrier plays with dialect and word choice to build ANGELIC’s world might make the reading difficult. All the animals have very distinct voices. The monkeys talk in neologisms and malapropisms, with phrases like “lunar tick” and “proudify”, showing how they learned speech from their human masters without fully knowing the meaning of words. Meanwhile, the dolphins sound like they’ve just stepped out of a production of Hamlet. There is also a terrifying ninja cat that speaks in unpunctuated bursts of streaming consciousness. It’s a great tool, but could be off-putting for readers on the younger end of the ‘all ages’ range.

However, for older readers, there’s lots to delve into. ANGELIC deals with themes of religion, tribalism, the damage humans do to the environment, the hurt older generations can do to their children, and the importance of asking questions. It’s a thoughtful book, but the story skims happily across the surface of all these big ideas, making it appropriate — and enjoyable — for just about anyone.

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The Future of ANGELIC’s Post-Apocalyptic Future

In issue #6, the first arc comes to a satisfying close. The previous installment revealed most of the mysteries of this world and how it came to be, leaving this issue to resolve plot points in the present. It all builds to a climactic battle which gives Wijngaard the chance for some eye-popping double page spreads.

Angelic #6 - Caspar Wijngaard
Courtesy of Image Comics

Ultimately, the day isn’t won through punching or shooting, but by asking the right questions and finding new answers. That’s very apt for ANGELIC’s message, and the kind of comic it is throughout. A smartly-told call to arms for curiosity.

As mentioned at the outset, though, this isn’t the end of the series. We get a touching final scene which sets this storyline to rest and creates a rough direction for ANGELIC’s future. It’s a future I can’t wait to see.

ANGELIC #6 by Simon Spurrier and Caspar Wijngaard
Spurrier and Wijngaard’s all-ages tale of religion, apocalypses, and flying monkeys ends its first arc on a high note.
97 %
A perfect ending

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