ANgEL CaTBiRD Vol One
The splice of life
released OUT NOW! Publisher dark Horse Comics
Writer Margaret atwood Artist Johnnie Christmas
Margaret Atwood was raised on ’40s titles like Plastic Man and Steve Canyon, and her debut graphic novel harks back to that golden age. Mirroring the origin of the Flash, biochemist Strig Feleedus is transformed into a bizarre feline/owl hybrid after spilling some gene-altering super-splicer serum upon himself.
Aimed at all ages, Angel Catbird sees Atwood eschewing the surreal weirdness of her recent MaddAddam dystopian trilogy. As Strig comes to terms with his newfound animalistic nature, he discovers that he’s grown fangs and can understand the birdsong around him. He also wants to rub his face up against his co-worker, Cate Leone – who turns out to be half-moggy herself. The pair then pit their wits against the nefarious, rodent-like Dr Muroid. It’s all rather reminiscent of a Saturday morning cartoon; there’s even a half-cat/half-bat vampire called Count Catula.
Displaying a fondness for thought balloons, Atwood initially over-explains the characters’ actions instead of leaving it up to Johnnie Christmas’s vibrant, manga-esque art to tell the story. The book is published in conjunction with Nature Canada, and Atwood reinforces its ecological theme with frequent footnotes. These can become distracting, but are easily ignored.
The book comes to an abrupt conclusion, with most plotlines frustratingly unresolved – leaving the story open for next February’s second volume. Though older readers may find it oversimplistic, Angel Catbird is a rare but welcome introduction to the superhero genre for younger fans. Stephen Jewell
As a child, Atwood drew comics featuring two flying rabbit superheroes and winged flying cats.
Most plotlines are frustratingly unresolved
This year he was definitely going to win the cosplay prize.