For the last year of so, British graphic-novelist Warren Ellis has been penning a weekly web comic. Free online at www.freakangels.com, the story is both a compelling read and a great introduction to his style. Many of his stories, including FreakAngels have involved at least one of three elements, as follows:
1) Science Fiction.
is a short series that takes ‘gonzo’ journalism (see Hunter S. Thompson) and sets it in a cyberpunk dystopia
. Ultimate Galactus
marks a significant turning point in Ultimate Marvel Comics; the world’s super-heroes unite to defeat a planet-devouring threat. In the first season of the animated Justice League Unlimited
, he penned the epic episode ‘Dark Heart’, which focused on nanotechnology gone awry. His sci-fi
is aggressive, both in story and visuals, and tends to involve difficult moral questions.
Ellis, like his peers Alan Moore
and Neil Gaiman
, typically sets his tales in Britain or America, but it’s the stories in the UK where he really shines. FreakAngels
takes place a few years after a world disaster, in a ravaged and semi-savage London. Opposite to that dark future, Ministry of Space
shows a world where England won the space race over Russia and America, and became a dominant world power.
Having cut his teeth on Marvel and DC stories, he went on to scribe such series as Planetary
, the Authority
, NextWave: Agents of H.A.T.E.
, and Black Summer
. Each deals with the super-hero milieu in a different tone, either mocking or questioning. In Planetary
, key figures from both Marvel and DC are subtly parodied against the backdrop of super-hero conspiracy. Authority
is a more typical genre story, much more serious and decompressed. Next Wave
is simply ridiculous, full of high action and over-the-top satire. Black Summer,
however, is bleak and uncompromisingly gory.
Like many modern graphic-novelists, Warren Ellis shows a clear understanding of his genre and explores it with gusto. His work can be recommended to fans of sci-fi, super-heroes, and action-adventure, and definitely for a mature reader.