Angela and Sera’s take over of Hel comes to it’s conclusion in the action packed and romantic “Angela: Queen of Hel” #5. Read on for our review but be warned, there are some spoilers within this review.
Written by Marguerite Bennett
Illustrated Kim Jacinto, Israel Silva and Stephanie Hans
The ferocious finale of the conquest of Hel as Angela and Sera clash at last with the tyrannical Queen Hela in all her glory! Holy crow, are we glad comics don’t have special effects budgets. (Marguerite owes Kim, Stephanie and Israel so many drinks.) And the splash page you’ve all been waiting for… Rated T+
“Angela: Queen of Hel” has really been the perfect example of how to combine sweet romance with fantasy caliber action. Angela and Sera have also been one of the best and most steady couplings over the last year or so and quickly become my favorite comic book couple. They have a very cute opposites attract thing going for them and writer Marguerite Bennett has not shied away from letting the two of them be visibly in love.
“Angela: Queen of Hel” #5 is the big conclusion to this first story arc and it sort of acts like a finale to not only this story arc but a big chapter of their short history together. Angela has one more fight to win – this one is against Hela herself. The fight is as big as you’d expect it to be and it ends as we were already told early on in this series. Angela wins and is reunited for good with her beloved Sera.
As far as concluding a story arc, you can do no better than this. If the series ended today there would be a sense of closure to it and because of this, the trade is going to read fabulously. This is important given how overloaded the market is right now and how much late buzz has happened with this series thanks to it’s GLAAD Media Award nomination. People are going to be looking for this book and the way Bennett tightly plotted this story, it’ll make for a great single sitting read.
It’s been said that this series has been a bit too comical but I think it’s important this comedic side to it exist. “Angela: Queen of Hel” could be a very dour replica of “Red Sonja” (coincidentally Bennett writes that too) but through the eyes of Sera, we are invited to have some fun with this story. Not everything involving this kind of fantasy has to be a serious event. Bennett balances out the humor with the action and it makes for something very unique for this genre. It’s not quite “Rat Queens” and it’s not Gail Simone’s “Red Sonja” run and it’s part of why it’s been such a strong series. “Angela: Queen of Hel” #5 is in fact the least humorous of all the issues so far because Bennett is aware that she needs to get down to business and tie things up.
Sera’s narration continues to be a beautiful thing in this series but I like how Sera almost takes a step back for Angela to do the hero thing. Angela is not a simple character and in this issue we get to see her fight for a whole bunch of things such as vengeance, love and honor. Bennett’s script lets Angela feel things while holding on to her warrior spirit and her code of honor. In fact, the reign of Angela in Hel is exactly in line with her character development over two solo series now and it’s actually pretty funny.
The relationship between Angela and Sera is one of the sweetest and purest things happening at the “Big Two” right now. They compliment each other in every way and it’s absolutely adorable watching them interact. Bennett writes their banter with a lot of wit and in this issue, there’s a fair amount of sexual tension near the end. This sexual tension is usually always there but with the happy ending the arc gets, it’s all the more visible. “Angela: Queen of Hel” #5 is one of the very few happy endings we get these days and it gets a lot of credit for being unashamed about it’s queerness and romantic tendencies.Continued below
Initially I wasn’t completely sold on Kim Jacinto’s art but as the arc went on, the art did improve. Jacinto’s bread and butter is in the action scenes. These are bombastic and truly epic. The pencil work is very clean and the big hellhounds Hela rides are truly massive in scope. Jacinto designs great creatures and the way Hel has enough fire and brimstone to call itself Hel but it has the perfect amount of Asgard in it to also fit within that universe. The character designs are much stronger this time around. One of the biggest criticisms I had with the characters was that Sera had lost her unique body type and her skin was lightened. Her weight was addressed as it was revealed she was starved during her time in Hel. I do wish she had still retained her size but it’s a completely fair plot point and she was drawn a bit less overtly sexual. I do believe Sera is a gorgeous woman but she was drawn a little to waif like and a little too idealized. She got back a little of her features in this issue and it’s made better for it. Israel Silva’s colors aren’t completely groundbreaking but Silva does a great job doing what the book needs. The pages are just dark enough and I especially like the amount of light Silva captures in the more magical moments.
Stephanie Hans pages on the substory are just fantastic. Her painted style is just so engrossing, detailed and you’ll find yourself lingering on them for a length of time. The placement of her pages also makes a ton of sense in context as she gets to take part in creating the most romantic page of the whole issue, the ending. I love her work and I only wish we could see it in a bigger amount like we did with “The Wicked + The Divine”.
“Angela: Queen of Hel” #5 is a very strong issue to end an arc on and I can only hope the trade sales are good enough to keep this book going a bit longer. It’s an important part of the Marvel lineup due to the relationship between Angela and Sera. It’s action packed, fun, romantic but a bit more grown up and something Marvel definitely needs more of.
Final Verdict: 7.6 – A solid finale to an arc that should have gotten more attention.