When looking for that one obscure title out of the Dawn of X books, I once thought that book would be Marauders, but now I see that that book may very well be Fallen Angels. The impression that we were given with most of these books was that each might represent a cog in a bigger wheel that is the inner workings of the Nation of Krakoa. Though I suppose it doesn’t hurt to take some stories like this from a different angle. Especially when this is a book that might focus a bit more on the killers than X-Force.
With Excalibur focusing on Braddock as the new Captain Britain, it only made sense that Fallen Angels would place the spotlight on Psylocke. Personally I welcomed this since there is no better time than now for us to really get to know Kwannon. After so many years of Braddock in her body, it is easy to forget who Kwannon is and where she came from. As we progressed through this first issue, there was no a page wasted where we were not seeing her upbringing and how her past influences the kind of person she is now. Being that this is a first issue in general, it made a big difference that just about everyone was on the same page about what we were discovering about her.
Aside from understanding Kwannon, like other Dawn of X books, all you really needed to know about this book was that this mutant nation is now a thing and everyone is finding their place in this new world. The only difference for Fallen Angels is that this book takes place after the events of X-Force #1. You might be a bit confused if you don’t know exactly what happened in the first issue of that book, but the important thing was knowing that currently Xavier is dead after a brutal attack on the island and the island itself is on lockdown.
As far as plot goes, it was also hard to argue with what drives Psylocke on this personal mission. With all that time gone, it only made sense that there would be some personal things calling back to her. Things that she couldn’t have been able to keep track of given all the time her body was not hers. Aside from this, it was at the same time the perfect chance to establish the dangers of humanity that is still present. Whether they are trying to fight back against Mutantkind’s new sovereignty, or directly starting assaults, there is a danger to them and the things they will do to taste power. This first issue showed us some of the worst of it. Even if this mission were to jeopardize all Mutantkind, Fallen Angels #1 made it hard to deny them of the importance they see in what they are doing that no one else does. Well yet at least.
The best takeaway from Fallen Angels #1 is that we were given the opportunity to better explore the perspective of paradise from those who barely know what that means. Well I shouldn’t say they don’t know what it means, because this isn’t the first time paradise was attempted. Though it is certainly not the kind of life they can adjust to. For every mutant who raves about this new haven, there needed to be that group who can see the flaw. It’s not as if Krakoa was established before all the worst that happened in mutant history. All of that happened, which means you will have those who question the longevity of this place. Not to mention you will have viewpoints from those who don’t know how to put their weapons down. There will always be a need for battle, and those who will take any opportunity to embrace it.
I was a bit caught off guard by the interior work for Fallen Angels. From a quick glance, it was easily assumed that this was the work of Larroca. The same pencil work, not to mention the same intensity with the inking. It was hard to believe that this was another penciler altogether. Not a problem of course, because Syzmon Kudranki actually turned out to be a better alternative. Maybe Syzmon doesn’t bring out the same levels of realism from his characters, but they are certainly more expressive. He is even more experimental with designs when it comes to overlapping, page spreads, and even his use of perspective. What also made a big difference is having a colorist like Frank D’Armata who is more bold and vibrant with his pallet. The colors jump right out at you, even when the core colors used are fairly dark to set this story in the darker corner of the new mutant world. The other half of the visual to this story was where the beauty lied. That is where this art team got creative with their presentation of the story which fleshed out our understanding of Kwannon. The border style was fitting to her heritage, the color overlay matched her aura, and everything was met with a lighter touch to better represent a time of innocence before the killer was unleashed.
Through the events of Fallen Angels #1, we take a deeper exploration into what this age of peace means to the more battle-hardened. Certainly not a book that you want to just jump into without knowing what’s going on in the mutant world currently, but it does manage to stand on its own if you can get past that.