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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Comic Book Review: Angels of the Seven Lights: Black Angel

Bill Alvarez

Through his comic books and the no-
vel Violet Descends, Puerto Rico-born 
author Angel Fuentes has introduced 
readers to the Saga of The Seven Li-
ghts, the story of a group of superna-
tural beings -- angels, literally -- who 
carry out God's wishes in the physical 
world. In Violet Descends, the angels
work together to try to stop the forces 
of Hell from taking control of the rea-
lm of the living. While the novel focu-
ses on the titular character -- the angel
in charge of controlling the world of e-
motions -- the entire heavenly cast plays 
a role. 

Among that cast is the mysterious and silent Angel of  Death, Azrael. It is 
she who is the focus of  the new comic book "Angels of the Seven Lights: 
Black Angel", written by the aforementioned Mr. Fuentes and expertly 
drawn by fellow Puerto Rican, co-creator Ivonne Falcon, with assistance 
from Wilfredo Lopez.

In the first story, the titular Black Angel aids 19th century Texas  Sheriff 
William Murphy, after he is killed by outlaw Henry "Black Cloud" Stevens, 
who also killed the Sheriff's son. Once Murphy ends up in Purgatory, the 
mute angel helps get his soul back, so that he may reach the captured soul 
of his dead son. But first, Murphy has to battle the unknown with his own 
hands. In the second story, much more subdued than the first, the Black An-
gel has visions of what may come for her and her angelic cohorts, seeming 
to offer a glimpse into horrific events yet to come. 

The writing in both tales provides what 
is needed to move the story forward wi-
thout falling into minimalism. Generally, 
little prose is wasted here, and the focus 
on a small core of players provides for a 
coherent story that new readers can find 
easy to jump into (although reading the 
Violet Descends novel would provide 
useful background). The language can 
border on the lyrical without falling into 
unnecessarily purple prose. But not eve-
rything is given away; a few things are 
kept behind the curtain, making the rea-
der crave more. And it certainly seems 
that Mr. Fuentes is more than willing
and able to ladle out much more of this 
type of thoughtful and well-paced story-
telling in the near future. That being said, 
there is no shortage of more traditional 
comic-book action in Black Angel, as superpowered action and violent con-
flicts with monstrous creatures are part and parcel of the story.

Ivonne Falcon's shadow-filled black and white art is a perfect fit for
this type of  story. It is clear and precise without overindulging in de-
tail, with an excellent sense of pacing which is essential for good gra-
phic storytelling. It is polished, but also has an organic, almost fleshy
feel that adds an eerie sense of reality to the supernatural proceedings.
This is no amateur or fan artist, but recognizable as a professional in
her field. Those who say there aren't enough truly good female artists
in the world of graphic fiction have not seen Ms. Falcon's work, but
it's hard to imagine that they will be able to avoid it for much longer.
Wilfredo Lopez's addition of greytones adds depth to a story that de-
mands to be enveloped in shadows and half light, and magnificently
wraps up the artistic  package.

A short text story is included in the middle of the book, which delves 
into the Black Angel's origins in Old Testament Egypt. For those of 
you unfamiliar with Angel Fuentes' non-comic writing, the story ser-
ves not just as character background but as a deeper sample of what he
is capable of on the written page, unaided by sequential art.

Angels of the Seven Lights: Black Angel is out now and is published 
by RBA Comics. It is available for free at Panicopress.com. The An-
gels of the Seven Lights Saga can also be found on Twitter and Face

Bill Alvarez is a staff writer for The Puerto Rico Monitor and can be reached at 

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