Split the dif­fer­ence

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! Pub­lisher IdW Pub­lish­ing

Writer Wil­liam Gib­son Artist Butch Guice

Af­ter years of lurk­ing on the fringes of the genre, cy­ber­punk cre­ator Wil­liam Gib­son is con­tin­u­ing his re­turn to full-on sci-fi. Fol­low­ing up his 2014 novel The Pe­riph­eral, Archangel sees Gib­son mak­ing his first en­try into the world of comics, bring­ing us a five-is­sue SF thriller that deals in time travel and mul­ti­ple re­al­i­ties.

The story starts in a dystopian ver­sion of 2016 where the cor­rupt US Vice Pres­i­dent Ju­nior Hen­der­son uses a de­vice known as the “Split­ter” to cre­ate an al­ter­nate time­line from 1945 on­wards. Hen­der­son in­fil­trates the al­ter­nate time­line in 1945, aim­ing to sculpt 20th cen­tury his­tory to his own whims – but a group of rebel sol­diers from 2016 are on his trail and try­ing to stop him…

Three is­sues in, Archangel is an ac­tion thriller that leans heav­ily into pulpy ’40s in­trigue, show­cas­ing crisp di­a­logue and gnarly SF con­cepts. The art from Butch Guice is well-crafted and at­mo­spheric, pulling off vivid mo­ments of ac­tion, and if these three is­sues were the open­ing to an on­go­ing se­ries, they’d be an in­trigu­ing if oc­ca­sion­ally un­fo­cused start.

As a self-con­tained minis­eries, how­ever, things are dif­fer­ent – we’re past the half­way point, and de­spite an at­ten­tion-grab­bing cen­tral con­cept, Gib­son’s script strug­gles to make the char­ac­ters reg­is­ter. The pac­ing is also rather hap­haz­ard, and it feels like too much story is be­ing crammed into too small a space. Archangel had the po­ten­tial to be gen­uinely fascinating, but the end re­sult plays more like a choppy, abridged ver­sion of a screen­play than a sat­is­fy­ing story in its own right. Saxon Bul­lock

Archangel was orig­i­nally cre­ated by Gib­son and ac­tor/writer Michael St John Smith as a po­ten­tial TV se­ries.

Show­cases crisp di­a­logue and gnarly SF con­cepts

He didn’t take kindly to de­layed flights.

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