Qora, a young winged monkey, longs for adventure, but has a frustratingly constraining world . She must help the other females maintain the holy rituals surrounding pieces of technology whose purpose is unknown. Qora has a lot of “asks” about her world and her people’s beliefs, yet her questions just irritate the leaders. Qora soon finds herself confronting her impending marriage to her people’s dogmatic leader and the loss of her wings. A chance encounter with her people’s mortal enemies, the mans, sets Qora on a quest with the technically modified manatee Complainer to locate the eye of one of the gods. Her quest will challenge her worldview and call into question her people’s very purpose.
One of the strengths of Angelic is its immersive worldbuilding. The main way that this is accomplished is through the unique vocabulary the characters use; most of the meaning can be determined by context clues, although, in some cases, the meaning may not be fully realized until later in the story. In addition to the unique lexicon, Caspar Wijngaard’s artwork brings to life a post-apocalyptic landscape devoid of humans and inhabited by technically-modified creatures that carry out their duties without question. Some of these creatures can be quite entertaining and among the more unique creations are flying dolphins who scream sport all the time and a quantum cat. Wijngaard’s bright, saturated colors and eye-catching character designs give the world a surreal, yet organic look.
Angelic’s story is an engaging look at the dangers of stereotyping and unquestioning adherence to certain customs and beliefs. Writer Simon Spurrier has created a unique backstory for the mythology that Qora’s people follow, and Qora’s character arc is what drives the exploration and gradual reveal of the truth. In the beginning, she alternates between questioning her people’s ways and retreating to their familiar comfort; however, once the quest starts, her curiosity and determination push her to solve the mystery and demand change. The story’s resolution leaves a fair number of questions about how the monkeys and other creatures will handle the aftermath, and hopefully, Spurrier and Wijngaard will explore the ramifications in the future.
Angelic will appeal to those looking for a unique and enjoyable post-apocalyptic yarn, and fans of writer Simon Spurrier’s previous work will likely also enjoy this one. With its solid story and artwork, Angelic should enjoy a place in many public libraries’ teen and adult graphic novel collections.
Angelic, vol. 1: Heirs and Graces
by Simon Spurrier
Art by Caspar Wijngaard
Publisher Age Rating: T (12 and up)