31 Days of comics, day 5

Welcome one and all to the fifth day of the 31 days of comics challenge, a great love story, and here we have a fairly tricky one.  In all honesty, while I’m typing out today’s introduction I’m trying to figure out what’s going to win the day, it’s a pretty tough one.  And not because of how little of this I’ve seen in comics I’ve read, but because when I think about it I’ve seen quite a few that I thought really hit the mark.  I could go down the good old Peter Parker and MJ route, from before their marriage was wiped from existence, alternatively I could go for the Clark Kent and Lois Lane approach from before their marriage was taken from them OR I could go down the Green Arrow Black Canary road before their marriage was… wait a minute, I see some sort of pattern devolping here.  It’s almost like someone doesn’t want happy and married super heroes (I’m looking at you, here, Dan Didio!).

Well, I’m not going to take any of those paths, they’ve been walked time and time again, and while in many ways they are truly fantastic stories about heroes struggling with their responsibilities and yet still finding love, my pick for the day is a little different.  Not a conventional hero by any stretch of the imagination, my choice does come with significant struggle.  So at least we’ve got that.  Anyway, here we go with my choice for day 5!

A great love story

Issue

Angelus from Top Cow Productions

Yes yes yes, I know, another book from Top Cow has made the list, and we’re only on day 5!  But in fairness, this is one of the greatest love stories I’ve read in a comic book, so there.  Straight out of the War of the Witchblades story arc comes this mini series from Ron Marz and Stjepan Sejic, the two that were on the main Witchblade series at the time.  Dani Baptiste has lost her half of the Witchblade, but because it was the light half, while Sara was left with the dark half, it opened up the opportunity for Dani to take possession of the Angelus.  While this particular force of nature would normally completely overwhelm the bearer, leaving them with no free will and only the desires of the Angelus, Dani was used to dealing with powers like this from her time as sole and joint Witchblade bearer, so she retained full autonomy.

She has to deal with a lot of crap, while bearer of the ‘Blade, Dani became pretty good friends with Jackie Estacado thanks to the ties he had with Sara.  So when she took on the mantle of the Angelus, the first thing her lieutenant Sabine tells her is that he is now their mortal enemy, and she must draw up plans to finally wipe both Jackie and the Darkness out.  Dani puts up a fight over it, wanting to retain her ties to Jackie as an ally while also keeping her life as a regular person.  She’s moved away from New York with her friend/intimate partner Finch and is trying to figure out not just what this relationship actually is, but what she wants to do with her life.  What we end up with here is a great story of Dani getting to grips with her responsibilities as the Angelus, an incredible fight between Dani and Jackie during the Mardi Gras festival, an uprising amongst the horde of the Angelus as Sabine tries to depose Dani and take the power for herself.

It plays out really nicely over the course of six issues, balancing Dani’s personal life and Angelus time effectively.  But that’s not really why we’re discussing this, is it?  What we see as things develop with Dani and Finch is them start to learn more and more about each other and themselves.  Finch is much more comfortable with it than Dani, who is still a little uneasy, unsure as to whether it’s possibly just a little phase she is going through.  What ensues when Dani’s father arrives at their new place unnanounced is both extremely awkward and rather funny.

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What we end up with by the end of issue six is Dani quelling the uprising in her Angelus army, rising up and showing them that she is damn well in charge, but also a woman who knows exactly who she is and what she wants.  And that’s the real beauty of the love story going on here, Finch helps Dani come to terms with her sexuality and makes her happy.  The fact that while still incredibly uneasy about the situation, her father is happy for her too is a nice little addition.  Too many people in these situations find themselves repressed by their “traditional” parents, so this is a nice breath of fresh air.  Ron Marz does a really good job on the dialogue between the two characters in question, keeping the cheese to a nice, low level and making it all flow very naturally.  Of course, the incredible knack that Sejic has for portraying facial expressions on characters really helps drive their feelings for each other across to the reader too.

To have someone being there and supporting you through life’s tough decisions is always important, whether it’s a significant other or a best friend, and when Dani has to take on this massive responsibilty as the Angelus Finch probably couldn’t be any more supportive of her than she is here.  All in all, I really think this is the best love story I’ve seen in a comic book, and it’ll be a tough one to top.

So there it is my friends, thank you for stopping by and checking out today’s update.  Be sure to pop by tomorrow for day six “non-fiction comic you’d recommend to people who don’t do non-fiction” which will be a funny one, as generally I’m one of those people who don’t do non-fiction!  Anyway, good night all, time for a cigarette and some Tomb Raider!

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