Seraph’s Sanctions: NO ANGEL # 1

Writers: Eric Palicki & Adrienne Palicki
Art: Ari Syahrazad
Colors: Jean-Paul Csuka
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: BLACK MASK STUDIOS (November 2016) 

The Breakdown:

Hannah Gregory steps into a murder scene … the murder scene of her brother Jack and her father.  As Hannah returns to her hometown after years of being away, her military and police training are screaming for her to solve this mystery. Yet, the meetings of three individuals change Hannah’s life as revelations are made.

The Bad:
The scenes with Hannah and her mother are kind of hit or miss because of the lighting source. They look either really spectacular or really rushed.

 

The Moment of the Issue:

The cliffhanger at the end of the issue was just so awesome.

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The Good:

This book is a breath of fresh air. We get the grit of the crimes of the real world touched with some fantasy/science fiction elements. Both Palickis do an amazing job of creating the world of No Angel and our lead, Hannah Gregory. We see quickly that Hannah is definitely her own woman; very independent and cares about people, but not necessarily the best with them. The Palickis shine enough spotlight on her to feel wonderful as a lead while still having both likable and unlikable traits. Add the background of a small town and several mysteries, the Palickis quickly weave a world where Hannah needs to be the hero for the story, not just that she is one. The crime being so personal was smart writing and the Palickis pull the rest of the issue together with style and flare, as the dialogue and interactions really help round out Hannah. Hannah is a woman who cares deeply for certain people in her life, but is fairly guarded against the rest. As such, the Palickis definitely build characters that put that personality at odds, while also setting allies or foils for Hannah. The overall story is paced well, allowing the pacing to just keep rising throughout out the book till the cliffhanger at the end. And I applaud the Palickis in integrating the bible in a way that isn’t being preachy and the dialogue feels authentic, given the circumstances.

Syahrazad and Csuka create an atmospheric masterpiece here. Syahrazad’s line work combines a clean, contemporary style merged with a gritty style that allows Syahrazah’s art to look more distinct. Syahrazad presents every scene in a way that it fits the mood of the scene while Csuka’s color adds to the atmosphere. The opening crime scene is rendered in the normal Black Mask Style, allowing color and inks to build overall atmosphere while the actual panels themselves are done with a bit more unusual perspectives. The over the shoulder shot of the crime scene was one of the most impactful scenes & readers are there with Hannah, experiencing the terror. Kudos to Syahrazad for filling the book with perspectives we don’t normally seen in comics. Also, the overall atmosphere helps capture the tone of emotion, which Syahrazad doesn’t have an issue showing emotion.  Hannah clearly is upset when she meets Miriam the first time.  Sean is pretty pissed after Hannah talks about people who decided to stay in Tucker Hill. Syahrazah renders these expressions and emotion wonderfully.

The Verdict:

No Angel # 1 is an intriguing, compelling ride that gives us mystery and mysticism. The Palickis do a magnificent job of introducing our lead, Hannah, while doing a little world building and establishing plotlines in a very organic way. Syahrazad and Csuka render an atmospheric, near cinematic work of art. Every single has a tone and mood alongside the progressive art. Besides the talk between Hannah and her mother, their art work is amazing. With a badass, intelligent lead in Hannah and a nice jaw dropping revelations in the last third of the book, readers will get hooked and demands more.