I’ve been pretty clear with how I feel about this series, and Fallen Angels #4 doesn’t really do much to change those feelings. This series is still an unbelievably sloppy and downright confusing book. It’s a book that like it’s main characters, is struggling to find it’s identity. It feels like the book wants to go in at least different directions, with as many different mission statements, but truly does none of those themes any sort of justice. Surely, the super accelerated release schedule isn’t helping this series to breathe and find its footing, with three issues over the last four weeks.
Fallen Angels #4
Frank D’Armata (colors), Bryan Hill (writer), Szymon Kudranski (artist), Tom Muller (designer), David Nakayama (cover), VC’s Joe Sabino (letters)
December 18, 2019
One of the complaints I’ve had about previous issues may have been rectified, but I don’t know for sure yet. You see, I had problems with how Kwannon was colored on the last two covers, by artist Ashley Witter. Witter isn’t the cover artist this week, but I have no idea if new artist David Nakayama does better by her, because Kwannon doesn’t appear on the cover of the book she leads this week. That said, I really am not a fan of this week’s cover either, because something seems off about X-23 on it.
Unlike the cover, none of my complaints about the interiors have been addressed. Kudranski is still relying heavily on extreme close-ups. Frank D’Armata is still using an excess of black to provide a color palette. Hill is still bending character personalities to his story, rather than writing a story around their existing portrayals. Even the one creative team member who hadn’t been noticeably weak falters in this issue, with some odd font choices by letterer Joe Sabino.
Starting with Kudranski’s art, there’s not a lot to say that won’t sound like I’m harping on the same things over and over, but they are things that make it difficult for me to get engrossed in the series. One thing I’ll say about this issue’s close-ups is that Psylocke’s eyelashes look like deadly weapons. Did she borrow some adamantium from the pool we saw in X-Force to use as mascara? If so, did she bother to ask Logan first? Because it looks like he’s gonna be needing it shortly.
While most of D’Armata’s colors are still very dark and unreadable, I will say that he does some pretty fun things with lighting that in most cases would be really enjoyable, but in this case just makes me wish for what this book could be and not what it is. Also, what in the hell is the Silver Surfer doing in this series? (Note: I know it’s not really the Surfer, but c’mon).
As to my problems with the lettering, it all boils down to the conversation between Overclock and Psylocke. It starts with the standard lettering for this book (which is still not very standard for comics with actual use of lower case letters), but then transforms into a boring technical font when he moves into her mind. I get what they were trying to do there, but if you’re going to use a special font for a character, you should at least be consistent with it.
Finally, let’s talk about Hill’s writing. While slightly improved over the previous issues, and the story actually seems to be moving somewhere, I still don’t know that Hill really knows where. He’s got mission statements like “peace is bad” and “technology is harmful” but isn’t really doing much to support those arguments. The biggest problem with his writing in this series though, is that he continues to demonstrate that he doesn’t know who these characters are. For someone that doesn’t want anything to do with Betsy Braddock, Kwannon is still laying claim to both her code-name and her costume, and that doesn’t seem like someone who never wants Betsy’s name spoken in her presence.
Marvel has rushed out the last three issues of this series in the last month, and it shows in every creative decision made in the book. It is a convoluted mess of a book that lacks any direction, and isn’t course correcting because it’s not being given time to do so. Fallen Angels #4 continues to free fall into oblivion, and I only wish it would get there faster.