Street Angel #1

Written by Jim Rugg and Brian Marcua
Art by Jim Rugg
24 pages, black and white
Published by Slave Labor Graphics

All right, I admit it. I’m the last one to the party when it comes to Street Angel. I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to read it—anyone and everyone I know has raved about it for some time now. And you know what? They’re all absolutely right, because Street Angel is an utter delight.

A crazy geologist named Pangea has kidnapped the mayor of Angel City’s daughter, no doubt as part of his crazy plan to recreate a Pangean-supercontinent. Enter Street Angel, the only person who can possibly stop Pangea. Of course, Street Angel is just a kid on a skateboard, but don’t worry. She’s good.

Where to begin with Street Angel? Jim Rugg and Brian Marcua’s script is an absolute riot from start to finish, from the big stuff (a “shirts vs. skins” ninja basketball game) to the little gags (Street Angel’s usage of a megaphone to address the mayor). That’s not to say that all of Street Angel is one joke after another, though. There’s still an actual plot going on, and all goofiness aside Street Angel herself is a pretty formidable person, taking down hordes of ninjas in a matter of minutes. And just after you’ve watched a two-page spread of her destroying the ninja hordes in a ruthless, deadly manner, as she grimly stands over the corpses of her attackers, she thinks to herself, “Where’s my shoe?” Rugg and Marcua have a tough balancing act in keeping Street Angel both goofy and dramatic but he achieves it to an impressive degree.

Rugg draws his and Marcua’s story perfectly, giving Street Angel a whimsical yet deadly poise. The young girl that hangs out with her friends on her skateboard is the same person who takes out ninjas with great ease, always having a look of determination on her face. There are a lot of nice sight gags going on in the art as well, from the “Crash!” sound effect exploding outwards as Street Angel bursts into the mayor’s office to the so-crazy-you-need-to-see-it ninja basketball game. Like the writing, Rugg handles the serious side of Street Angel quite well. The fight in Pangea’s lair is surprisingly violent and focused, a real contrast to what has gone on in the book up until now. It’s a versatile art style, and it’s wonderful to see that Rugg and Marcua found someone that works with each other’s talents so well.

Street Angel reminds me of Bob Burden’s old, crazy Flaming Carrot comics. There’s a strange combination of humor and drama on display here, but it is careful to always straddle the line between the two, never giving itself over to one or the other entirely. The best thing about Street Angel #1, though? It’s knowing that it’s just a matter of time until we see Street Angel #2. This is one of the best new series of the year, easily. Well done.

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