Archangel is a comic book novel written by famed Science Fiction author William Gibson (Neuromancer). It got published last year as a five-issue limited series by IWD. In this review I am looking at the entire series published in a single issue book format. Archangel is set in the last days of WW2, in Berlin just before the atomic bombs fall on Japan. It tells a story of how the world might have been different but it is also a biting social commentary of the age of Trump. Archangels was co-written by Michael St. John Smith, with art done by Butch Guice.
The story follows a select number of characters. The principal being RAF intelligence officer Naomi Givens and her US military counterpart Captain Vince Matthews. The comic’s epilogue describes her as a over-the-top female character. In fact she reminds me a lot of Agent Carter as portrayed by Hayley Atwell. Givens is tasked with investigating an Icarus event around Berlin. What that exactly means remains unclear but as Givens is tasked with investigating unusual and supernatural events in the post WW2 world we’re talking Nazi UFOs.
Naomi and Vince
Quickly Naomi enters into a world of time-travel, invisibility suits and murderous dictators along with her friend Vince. You see in a future world in which the world has suffered a catastrophic nuclear war President-for-life Henderson and his son Junior hatch a scheme to use a time-machine to alter world events in their favor. However, a resistance to Henderson also send back soldiers to stop their plans. Events set in motion play out with a nearly destroyed Berlin as a backdrop. The love-hate relationship between Naomi and Vince make for interesting chemistry.
Intelligent, gory and sexy
Gibson introduces numerous colorful characters, from black-market merchants, Soviet intelligence officers and a mysterious MG42 wielding superwoman. Sadly as with all comic books it is over all too quickly. The first time I read Archangel I read a chapter a day, but I don’t think I took longer than an hour. My second read-through was done in 40 minutes. Had Archangel been a novel it could have detailed more of the backstory and explained the story developments better. As it is Archangel feels like a vignette or a series of 10-minute webisodes. Although the art work is wonderful the story might is somewhat derivative. Ostensibly I recognize elements from The Terminator, Continuum and The Fatherland.
It is difficult to say if Gibson was aware of all of these but alternative history fiction is nothing. That said, Archangel is entertaining. It is intriguing, gory and at times sexy (think 1940s lingerie). I just wish it wasn’t over so soon. There has been talk of a potential sequel and even a Television show. I hope we will get at least the TV show. In the meantime if you cannot get enough of William Gibson – a sequel to his novel The Peripheral – Agency – will release in December 2019. Yes, that is not a typo.
Currently I am holding a book giveaway because it is 7 years SciFiEmpire.net has been online. Head to the page in the link and drop a comment and you can win a copy of Archangel or Thrawn Alliance.