Get Your FreakAngels On

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Don’t get me wrong – I was really excited when I first heard Warren Ellis was going to launch his own webcomic. But I didn’t jump onto the bandwagon for two reasons. One, I didn’t want to lift the spotlight from the regular webcomic community until I was good and ready, and two, there’s so many webcomics out there it can be pretty easy to forget a few if you’re not careful. Trust me when I say FreakAngels is one you don’t want to forget.

The story of FreakAngels is somewhere along the lines of Village of the Damned twenty years later. Twelve immensely powerful children were born all at the same time bearing similar physical traits. Each could change the world in their own small way, but somehow all, when they all put their minds to the same goal, ended the world, inadvertently giving way to a flooded dystopian London. Now, the eleven children (one went rogue and was exiled) are all grown up and all coping with their powers in different ways, while protecting the relatively safe zone of Whitechapel from those who would do it harm. The gang is collectively known as the FreakAngels.

The webcomic has so far served to the various FreakAngels, who now must care for the wayward “stray” Alice, whom their AWOL member Mark Fox telepathically commanded to kill the FreakAngels. Best of all, the whole thing has Ellis’ quirky fingerprints all over it. From FreakAngel KK’s steam-powered helicopter to the massive makeshift watchpost overlooking Whitechapel, FreakAngels is one of the few post-apocalyptic works that mixes the gritty and urban with the fantastic and vibrant all at the same time. This is further reinforced by artist Paul Duffield’s extraordinary six-page-a-week effort, which has lead to some of the most breath-taking visuals in any webcomic, professional or not.

FreakAngels is updated a bit differently than other webcomics. It is technically updated once a week, but each “episode” contains six pages. This allows each chapter to further develop the characters in organized fashion rather, but it does take a slight toll on navigation. There’s a previous episode button as well as next episode button, but the link to Episode One is out of the way (and slightly out of sight) somewhere to the side, leading to some initial confusion.

The site, sponsored by Avatar Press, is also extremely well-designed, but seems too minimal at times. Honestly, the site seems one massive link to the message board. The webcomic is still rightly the main focus of the site, but with a cast this huge, a Cast page is starting to seem like a necessity with every character introduced.

Overall, FreakAngels is a huge achievement for professional webcomics, in a time when the rest of the industry doesn’t seem to know quite what to make of the phenomenon. Savvy and original, FreakAngels is not only a great webcomic, but also a seminal read in the genre of post-apocalyptic sci-fi.  

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