Comic books you should read: 'The Arcs'
Ephesians 6:12: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
How strong is your faith? These words adorn the back cover of the latest project from the brilliant minds at Fanboy Comics. While their previously published graphic novels (Something Animal and Identity Thief) tackle horror concepts, The Arcs gives us a glimpse into the spiritual realm with a serious edge of horror, reminding us no one is safe in their world.
The Arcs cover
The Arcs begins with an introduction to seven Archangels, created by God to protect humanity.
Michael is the head of all angels and oversees the war
Azrael leads the guardian angels
Raphael heads up the miracle angels
Gabriel is in charge of the warrior angels
Metatron is the herald of God
Uriel is the head of the messenger angels
Barachiel weaves a tapestry to record all history
The Arcs takes place during a grim period of time when God has left the world, leaving the Arcs in charge. They have been entrusted by God to watch over the world and protect humans from the demonic forces which seek to destroy them. In charge of their own armies of angels to help them fight the good fight, the Arcs find a battle not only against these foes, but against their own internal demons.
The Arcs and their angels cannot be killed, but because their battle is a brutal, physical one, their bodies can be ravaged and decimated to the point that they are no longer able to fight. Should this happen, they are thrown into the graveyard, a doomed place where they wait for God's return so they can be made whole again and spend eternity with Him. They willingly give up body parts to fix other angels, as their only will is God's will.
In the midst of the battle for the inhabitants of Earth, just when the devil seems to be winning, Azrael faces his own trials and tribulations. While standing up for what he feels is right, he embarks on a spiritual journey one will not soon forget.
The Arcs is divided into chapters, beginning with the prologue of the intro to the story and the Arcs. The prologue is brilliantly written, with plenty of action that whisks the reader into their world, without the burdening feel of necessary exposition. Like Barachiel's tapestry, the tale of Azrael is beautiful woven through action and horror. The characters feel natural and real, helping drive the story forward to an ending that leaves the reader hungering for more.
As for the characters of the Arcs, they have such a unique twist with their built-in, human-like flaws that they almost seem more human than angel. Creator/writer Michael Poisson says, "I tried to add enough twists to keep the story interesting and like nothing that's been seen before…My plan was to really bring the angels into modern times, so they seemed less like religious iconography and more like flawed heroes." His idea to turn iconic angels into flawed heroes worked brilliantly, and makes the Arcs relatable as characters. Poisson says that while many of the Arcs represent him throughout different periods of his life, he best relates to Azrael and Metatron, two characters that a lot of readers will find very relatable.
Not one opportunity was wasted to provide readers with real characters that leap off the page. The characters are further brought to life through the amazing use of lettering. Each character's personality is represented through their own lettering, giving additional depth to the already rich characters.
When reading the graphic novel, one cannot help but look around the room, wondering if these same demons are gnawing at their soul at that very moment. This is not only the result of flawless writing, but the beautiful artwork that graces every page. The front cover brings home this feeling, with the armor-clad Azrael bursting through a legion of demons, with their vicious pointed teeth, eyes glowing orange-red, Venom-like tongues, and razor sharp claws. From this image alone, one can feel the pain of the angels as they are ripped apart and tossed into the graveyard. Even Poisson, who created these characters, says he finds some of the scenes disturbing.
Inside 'The Arcs'
In between the covers resides gritty art decked with heavy black that is texturally sound. The angels, demons, and humans are all multi-dimensional creations that bring the storyline to life in a most effective manner. Staring at the images, one almost expects to be able to touch the page and feel the wounds of war under their fingertips.
The art contributes so much to each panel, and while heavy in nature, it is composed in a manner that doesn't detract from the story. Instead, the art draws the reader in further, making them spend more time with each panel to fully absorb the emotion and horror contained within. Poisson says, "I was really blessed to have Matt Jacobs sign on as the artist. He has a gritty intensity to his art that really brought the story to another level, specifically in the battle sequences and the demon character designs."
Poisson is currently working on writing the follow-up to The Arcs and plans for a five-part series. Fanboy Comics would be remiss not to continue with this fantastic start to a fascinating and unique series. With this, their third release, they have proven themselves to maintain the highest standards of both quality and content that makes fans salivate for more. If comic readers want a whole lot of horror to supplement solid storylines and beautiful art, they need look no further than Fanboy Comics.
And for that burning question as to where did God run off to during the epic battles in The Arcs, Poisson says, "[W]hile I can't answer that right now, I can say that He's not playing skeeball in New Jersey."
Release Date: November 2013
Michael Poisson – Creator/Writer
Matt Jacobs – Art
Oceano Ransford – Lettering
Carlos Badilla – Cover Colorist
Andrew Huang – Associate Producer