Monday, April 25, 2011

GLORY/ANGELA #1 - April 1996

Angels in Hell

Credits: Rob Liefeld (story), Jim Valentino (script, layouts), Andy Park & Pat Lee (pencils), Sean Parsons & Marlo Alquiza w/Alan Martinez & Kyle Roberts (inks), Christian Lichtner & Extreme Color (colors), Steve Dutro (letters)

Summary: Metatron informs Glory and Angela that Celestine has been possessed by Malebolgia since her resurrection. They travel to Hell to rescue the captive Celestine, discovering that Malebolgia has expanded his rule past the Eighth Circle. Glory and Angela are unable to defeat Malebolgia, but they receive help from an unexpected source -- Lucifer. Lucifer sends Malebolgia back to the Eighth Circle and returns Celestine’s soul. He takes the heroes to his posh lair and opens a doorway to the previously unknown Tenth Circle, the Elysium. Celestine is restored as an angel, while Glory and Angela are returned to Earth by Metatron.

Spawntinuity: Malebolgia declares himself second only to Lucifer, which is a more specific categorization of his place in Hell than Spawn has revealed so far. Lucifer is portrayed as a handsome, middle-aged man in a business suit. He tells Angela they’ll meet again soon.

The Big Names: Future "controversy" magnet Pat Lee is the co-artist. Randy Queen’s Darkchylde is previewed in a backup story.

Creative Differences: The title of this one-shot was originally solicited as “Hell’s Angels.”

Review: Hmm…this final chapter of an Extreme Studios crossover looks like a rushed mess. I just can’t believe it. Judging by the recap of the middle issues of the crossover, all we’ve missed is a fight scene between the Extreme heroes and an army of undead soldiers resurrected by Celestine with the angels’ satellite, and the “shocking” revelation that Malebolgia’s possessed her the entire time. The finale consists of more pointless fights, a few splash pages of Malebolgia (the only character the artists seem interested in drawing), and the introduction of Lucifer. I guess there’s some irony in having Lucifer play the Deus Ex Machina role, but it’s hard not to view this as a stereotypically bad Extreme comic.

As far as ‘90s crossovers go, this one was remarkably low-key. I don’t recall any promotion in Spawn whatsoever for it, and don’t remember any hype in Wizard for the event, either. Clearly, this was an attempt to cash in on the “Bad Girl” fad, but it’s also the first major storyline to bridge the Todd McFarlane and Rob Liefeld corners of Image (Spawn and Chapel have a history, and Badrock faced Violator, but they never triggered a crossover event). It seems like it should’ve been a bigger deal. In terms of Spawn continuity, it’s Angela’s first appearance since her miniseries, the introduction of Malebolgia’s boss Lucifer, and the final confirmation of an idea hinted at in Alan Moore’s first fill-in…the Tenth Circle of Hell is actually Heaven. McFarlane was even introducing a new angel, Tiffany, into the mythos at this time. Couldn’t he have coordinated it with this event? This storyline opened with a decent premise; unfortunately, no one seemed too interested in the execution.

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