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A Review of Angel League



First Published: 2003 - Onwards
Format: A4, Staple bound.
Number of pages: 24 - 32 pages per issue
Age Rating: PG
Price: £2 per issue Availability: Purchase at the Makenai website.




Introduction

Angel League is about 3 guys who were killed whilst trying to save the world from something. One minute they are being torn apart by something, the next they are dead with some strange fellow who seems to know everything about them. This fellow known only as the "guide dude" is their guide in the afterlife and the person responsible for taking them to the location where their eternal fate will be decided called the Central Port.

Our heroes are called Mark Green, a brash angsty little fellow, Shannon Mintaka, a far more pleasant and intelligent person, and Reik Kendal a friendly and fair fellow, who has all the conscience and compassion of the three.

Central Port is a busy place filled with thousands of people waiting to be sent to Heaven or Hell. It's kind of like an immigration office or an airport check in. Our three heroes; Mark Green, Shannon Mintaka, and Reik Kendal have joined the queue and have wait for ten weeks to be told their ultimate fate. However something else happens instead which might speed up their entry to the afterlife...

I love the story so far, it jumps straight into the action, and then deals with the rest of the afterlife theme with some excellent humour. Mark and Reik are the two unwitting comedians in this comic, they are total opposites in terms of personality, one is always playing by the rules and other will cheat at every possible opportunity. Mark's impatience is always a source of laughs, as he's either dragging Reik around or being held back by him.

Just one question remains though. What were our heroes saving the world from?

Art & Design

I love the art in this comic. Everything is pretty high quality from the characters themselves right down to the toning and backgrounds. This comic has a much more generic manga feel in terms of style compared to other small press manga I have read so far.

By generic I mean that a lot of the stylisations and background management devices are done exactly as most Japanese manga would be done. Everything from the backgrounds that accompany mood, too speed lines in action scenes is done very well, and it all works as it should to bring scenes to life.

Characters anatomy is very good on the whole although the characters' hands for some reason seem pretty small for blokes' hands; other minor flaws such as slightly misshapen hands are also noticeable in the odd frame. But as I say, these are minor, and there aren't any other things that I noticed whilst reading this issue.

There has been a great deal of effort gone into this comic, and indeed almost every frame has a background, and every one has plenty of detail. Lots of tone, speed lines, and line patterns. I like this approach on the whole, but I feel that a finer less coarse screentones would work better. Scenes are often very busy and on some occasions characters almost seem to merge with the background despite the line art being so well thought about, and varied depending on the scene.

The panel layouts work well in this comic though, I found the path from frame to frame easy to follow. At the same time they are quite varied and interesting. Frames come in all shapes and sizes to fit the action, rather than boring squares.

Action scenes are king though in this comic, and every one I thought worked well. I really got a sense of swooping dragons, levitation, or Mark just being an ass. My favourite action scenes in this comic were the ones with Mark whipping his weapons out; he really looked as if he was going for it, from the expression on his face to the accompanying speed lines.

The dialogue in this was also easy to follow, and at times rather funny, again Mark's angst being the source of many a laugh whilst reading this comic. There is also a large variety of sound effects all of which accompany the action and enhance things nicely. Placement is the key, and the creators at Makenai have done a good job of this. The only thing which I thought could improve in this area is the round speech bubbles. Some are nicely stencilled, and some seem to have been drawn by hand, some of the hand drawn bubbles look a little rough in places some even look to have been made bigger at the last moment, and that gives some of them an awkward shape.

Fortunately though there aren't many of those so they don't spoil things too much.

Overall though I thought the comic was great. The finished article itself is brilliant, the printing and binding of the book is of good quality as are the interior pages. Its funny, it's full of action and the artwork is mostly super with only a few minorish areas letting things down slightly. Taking things as a complete package though there's more than enough good in this comic to get around its flaws.





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ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF THE MAKENAI TEAM, HELEN SMITH & SCOTT EWART.

Review by Wayne Hallows

All images and artwork are copyright of their respective owners, UKMANGAXL and all written reviews and are Wayne Hallows 2006 - 2017