FreakAngels

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FreakAngels
FreakAngels.jpg
FreakAngels promo ad, artist Paul Duffield
Author(s) Warren Ellis (writer)
Paul Duffield (artist)
Website www.freakangels.com
Current status / schedule concluded
Launch date 2008-02-15
Publisher(s) Avatar Press
Genre(s) steampunk

FreakAngels is a Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction webcomic created in 2008 by Eagle Award-winning writer Warren Ellis and artist Paul Duffield, and published in book format by Avatar Press. The plot focuses on twelve 23-year-old psychics living in Whitechapel six years after civilization in Great Britain is destroyed.

Publication history[edit]

Warren Ellis announced the project at the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con with the statement: "I've written two hundred pages and I still have no idea what it's about… it's retro-punk, it's near future steampunk"[1] It was launched on February 15, 2008. New installments were released in six full-colour page episodes every week,[2][3] a schedule that allows the story the chance to grow naturally.[4]

The story grew out of Ellis' question as to what would have happened if the Midwich Cuckoos had survived and grown to "disaffected and confused twenty-one-year-olds." The story builds on the legacy of John Wyndham's style of disaster fiction.[5]

The series ran for 144 episodes, completing on Friday, August 5, 2011.

Synopsis[edit]

Ellis' synopsis of the plot involves characters "living in a post-flood London that they might possibly have had something to do with."[1] The so-called FreakAngels, who possess telepathy and many other "special" abilities, such as space-time manipulation/distortion, and pyrokinesis, live in Whitechapel.[3]

As the story progresses, eleven of the FreakAngels are introduced and their role in the community is expanded. For the most part cooperatively they have created a small community of roughly three hundred people with fresh water, watch towers, markets, home-grown vegetables and a medical clinic. Their society is threatened, however, externally from refugee attacks and internally from personal conflicts and crime.

Characters[edit]

The FreakAngels[edit]

KK[edit]

The first FreakAngel introduced, having just awoken from a night of excessive drinking, she is horrified to find she has apparently "fucked a boy from the Lambeth Road." KK pilots a steam-powered helicopter and she indicates that the FreakAngels have access to a "big steam gun." [6] She dresses primarily in goth clothing and, like the other FreakAngels, has violet eyes. She is shown to be impulsive and temperamental, dropping a full water canteen on Alice's head without regards to the possibility she might have killed Alice.[7] KK was featured in promotional material for the series. Her helicopter is referred to as a "bikicopter" by artist Paul Duffield.[8] KK herself calls it "the bike."[9] Her full name is Kolfinnia Kokokoho Titching, which she doesn't like being called.[10]

Connor[edit]

Connor is first seen telepathically contacting KK, and he appears as a face in a window.[6] Later he is seen confronting Alice and angers her with his intrusion into her mind. Connor is shown to be compassionate towards Alice, despite her threats on his life.[7] He is very soft spoken and in control, even when Alice has a knife to his throat. He is possibly the voice of reason within his clan. He sees himself as the recorder of the clan's history, time line and past; this occupies him while others work to improve the infrastructure and technology. Jabs are frequently made at his expense about his (slim) size, much to his annoyance; KK at one point jokes that it's so fun to tease him. After learning of the FreakAngels death experiences that open the FreakAngels 'package', he shoots himself in the head to bring on an upgrade, in order to stand with Arkady against Luke and Mark, if necessary. Connor then upgrades the rest of the FreakAngels, apart from Mark and Luke.

Karl[edit]

Appears to live above Ten Bells Pub in Shoreditch. He has turned the roof into a garden and grows fresh produce for the people of Whitechapel. He has distanced himself from the other FreakAngels by wearing a tinfoil hat which apparently muffles or silences telepathic communication, claiming that it's because he can't stand how much they talk/think about things like sex. He seems to have a certain amount of guilt over the FreakAngels involvement in the end of the world. His gardening is by his own admission, "The least I can do for having helped end the world. Am I right?" [11] While Karl does feel somewhat guilty for what they did, he has no regrets as it was "kill or be killed" and "if nothing else we made a much calmer world. A quieter world." Unknown to the other FreakAngels except for Kirk, it was Karl that apparently killed Mark and "heard his brain die."[12]

Recently Karl's abilities seem to have evolved, allowing him to manipulate weather patterns along with some form of clairvoyance which allows him to detect Mark: a feat that only Arkady has duplicated.

Luke[edit]

Luke is an apparently homeless FreakAngel, first shown sitting in a storefront covered by a cardboard box. He is having a "seminar on the nature of time inside the dreams of twelve randomly chosen local people," or as KK puts it "invading the heads of twelve girls [he] wants to fuck." It seems that the other FreakAngels barely tolerate his existence. It is indicated that he was kicked out by his girlfriend and she burned his clothes, leaving him with only an overcoat and boots.[13] He then gets up and goes to his ex-girlfriend's house and gains entry to her flat through mind control.[12] He is confronted and stopped by Arkady, the only FreakAngel whom he considers dangerous to himself. Shaken, he spends some time in the streets before resurfacing during the assault on the FreakAngels in a rather dubious moment (Jack and Sirkka suspect him of helping the attackers which he denies). He is confronted by Carolyn and Alice in an alleyway while he is raping a girl under his mind control, and Alice angrily slams the lid of a trash can in his face. Afterwards, Sirkka and Carolyn mentally erase the whole incident from the girls mind without talking to her, assault and incapacitate Luke, and place a 'mass call', a mental broadcast to other FreakAngels, that Luke has broken their main law. Luke was briefly detained in order to wait for trial, however he incapacitated his jailor, Kirk (making a point to spare Kirk's life), and attempted to flee the scene. He was then gunned down by Alice, before being shot in the head and apparently killed by Jack. He later stumbles into Miki's office, complaining of a headache, with a hole in his brain. Luke is the first to realise that the FreakAngels are immortal, and reveals that upon dying they see their future selves and have their powers upgraded.

Sirkka[edit]

Lives in a big house and has apparently used her psychic talents to amass a harem. Along with KK, she intervenes when Alice makes a second attempt to kill Connor. It's implied that she had a relationship with Jack before, and still loves him, despite their parting due to her promiscuity.[14] She apparently notices when Luke takes control of Janine's mind, suggesting a level of clairvoyance on her part.[12] She helped defend Whitechapel during the invasion by using a massive steam-powered mini-gun from a roof top. Also, she seems to be trying to reconnect with Jack, although not with much success. She does save his life following the invasion during a small assault on them by erecting an energy field in order to deflect the bullets. Having integrated another 100 or so people into Whitechapel, she is seen giving a seminar and helping the newcomers to adjust. She is, however, interrupted as she once more senses Luke meddling with the mind of a girl. She joins Caz and Alice and while Luke claims that only Arkady is strong enough to take him, Sirkka points that she is not alone and she proceeds to beat him unconscious, with Caz's help, by telekinetically slamming bricks and other things against him.

Kirk[edit]

Lives in a makeshift tower perched on top of Christ Church, Spitalfields, overlooking Whitechapel. He acts as a watchman for the people of Whitechapel, protecting them from an unseen threat.[9] The residents of Whitechapel are very grateful for this and reward him with free food.[15] It is indicated by Luke that they are not aware of the FreakAngels' possible involvement in the flooding of London (and presumably the end of the world), and it is suggested that they would treat the FreakAngels differently if they knew.[16] Kirk's role as watchman is seemingly a self-imposed penance for his involvement in the end of the world, a "way to salve a little guilt."[12]

Mark[edit]

An unseen character until a flashback in Episode 73, Mark's presence is first felt when he sends Alice to kill his fellow FreakAngels. Alice uses a full name in reference to him, Mark Fox, when she is patrolling the street looking for the FreakAngels.[7] Whether this is his real name or an assumed name has yet to be confirmed. He was involved in gunrunning with Alice's brothers, as well as running food and fuel coming in from Ireland. He was cut out of their dealings when it was discovered he was skimming some of the profits. Mark killed Alice's brothers in front of her and told her that he was a FreakAngel and the rest were in Whitechapel. He programmed Alice to kill the FreakAngels no matter what, and it takes KK and Sirkka to deprogram her. Mark was apparently expelled from the FreakAngels for practicing mass mind control, in an attempt to build an army for himself. He broke FreakAngels law when he did this,"you leave their minds alone unless there's a gun to your head".[12] The other FreakAngels had not been sure if he was alive or dead before Alice arrived, although Kirk and Karl had thought they had killed him shortly after he had been exiled.

Mark has made a reappearance, confronting Kait and telling her about the attempt on his life. Failing to recruit her, after revealing that he has several sleeper agents, he attempts to take over her mind. This attempt fails, and 5 of the FreakAngels collapse a building on top of him and take his unconscious body to Miki.

Arkady[edit]

Arkady is first seen in Old Spitalfields Market, dressed very eccentrically with her most distinguishing feature being her bald scalp. Her mind seems to have been affected due to an overdose when "[they] were fifteen." She's had issues with memory that appear to have been aggravated by attempts on her part to "see the future". These attempts seem to have worked somewhat, as a week previous to the events of the comic she "told three people when they were going to die. To the minute. With details." She also seems to have foretold KK would "shag someone from Lambeth" rousing anger within KK.[15] She later stops Luke from assaulting and taking over the mind of his ex-girlfriend, which would have gone against the FreakAngels' code, and would have resulted in his death had the situation escalated. Before the end of the world, she was the one to raise the question of what would happen if the twelve of them combined their powers, and apparently feels guilty about this. Conner has said that while sometimes she seems like an "acid casualty", she can also be "sharper than anyone has a right to be".[17] She can teleport, but initially kept that ability secret from the other FreakAngels.[18] During his confrontation with Alice, Sirkka and Caz, Luke stated that his belief is that only Arkady is powerful enough to take him on alone; if this is an overestimation of his power or true fact remains unknown. Arkady's power later increases again when she is concussed and drowns saving KK, making her still the most powerful of the twelve despite all being upgraded, shown by her now possessing a form of x-ray vision, being able to read animals' minds, and perform more complex teleportation.

Carolyn[edit]

Carolyn "Caz" is the first Jamaican British FreakAngel we are introduced to. She maintains the water purification plant, and designs much of Whitechapel's technology. Arkady is the only member of the FreakAngels who does not call her Caz. Despite her ethnicity, she has a pale skin tone nearly identical to that of the white characters, which she calls part of "the FreakAngel package." When a group of refugees are adopted into the FreakAngel protection, she accepts the challenge of improving the current technology to accommodate for the new survivors, like building solar panels and creating an electrical power source. She is shown to be good friends with KK.

Jack[edit]

A cynical FreakAngel who spends most of his time on his boat; he is portrayed to be a loner who prefers the isolation which his boat has to offer. He looks for supplies or other items that could be useful to Whitechapel in the submerged parts of town. His fellow FreakAngels rely on him for a variety of materials, from rope for Alice to chickens for Karl. He is singularly unique in the gang as he is shown to have knowledge of operating firearms as well as finding or hoarding the occasional weapons cache, regularly carrying around a Glock and later seen handling a Desert Eagle in Sirkka's house. Presently, he is the only FreakAngel other than Kaitlyn to have combat experience without relying solely on his powers. He has feelings for Sirkka, but is frustrated by her promiscuity as well as her lifestyle. It is revealed that before the London flood he had issues with his father growing up, and that he and Sirkka were in a relationship.

Miki[edit]

Miki is the eleventh FreakAngel introduced, and the first Asian FreakAngel. Even though it is implied that she is not a fully qualified doctor, she runs a medical clinic for the people of Whitechapel and appears to disagree with the methods of the other FreakAngels. After a violent encounter between the FreakAngels and outsiders (of which she doesn't play a part), she complains they're "just like [Mark]." She is the motivating force behind the decision to accept 100 refugees into FreakAngel protection, arguing that the Hippocratic Oath supported her decision. She has helped Kait in her criminal investigations before on at least one occasion, the ongoing murder investigation of a refugee killed in the style of Jack the Ripper. It is shown that she is running low on medical supplies at her clinic.

Kait[edit]

The final FreakAngel named, Kaitlyn (Kait) is the equivalent of Kirk on the ground, and does not interact regularly with the rest of the group. Miki describes her as the first to take an interest in community safety, and as having a penchant for "eighties cop videos." She is "genuinely mental"[17] according to Connor, and this is also mentioned by Caz and KK. She serves as a cop or legal regulatory force in the Whitechapel area under FreakAngel protection. She tends to shield her thoughts and herself from contact from the other FreakAngels, allowing her privacy to investigate criminal matters. She takes her powers to a more investigative route, such as waking the dead to learn more facts about their murder, but her powers are as yet undeveloped.

During her Jack the Ripper investigation Kait comes across Mark. Holding a sword against her back Mark reveals to her that he wants Whitechapel-the Freakangel's home for himself. He also tells her that he brainwashed several of the new people they have taken in and that he plans to brainwash her to be his sleeper agent. Having no way to call for help, since Mark is blocking all form of telepathic communication, Kait uses her powers to pull apart the layers of his katana, rendering it useless.

Other characters[edit]

Alice[edit]

Alice is from Manchester. Her brothers were gunrunners who were killed by Mark. She is first seen hunting for Mark and any of the other FreakAngels.[7] After she confronts Connor and KK knocks her out, she awakens to Connor telling her that they are "going to fix things." She has been programmed by Mark to kill the FreakAngels and so she pulls a knife on Connor, threatening to cut his throat.[17] KK and Sirkka intervene and proceed to "flush out her brain," removing Mark's influence. It is decided that she will act as relief for Kirk in his lookout post.[14] She has since taken up a post at the watchtower used for defensive measures.

Alice tends to use the word "fook," "summat," and other stereotypically 'northern' words. Her full name is revealed to be Alice Shona Mahoney in episode 2, page 3. Recently she has proven herself by spotting an assault team and aiding the FreakAngels with information on weapons. She joins Caz in confronting Luke, who seems to have brainwashed and sexually assaulted one of the new settlers. Upon witnessing the sexual assault, she violently responds by smashing a trash bin lid into Luke's face.

Janine[edit]

Janine is Luke's ex-girlfriend. She kicked him out of her flat and burned his clothes when he allegedly cheated on her. She refuses to grant him entry to the flat until he forcibly controls her mind.[12]

Collected editions[edit]

The series has been collected into trade paperbacks:

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Anderson, John (July 29, 2007). "Warren Ellis Addresses His "Children" at Comic-Con". Comics Alliance. 
  2. ^ McMillan, Graeme (February 15, 2008). "Get Your Steampunk Freak On With New Webcomic". io9. 
  3. ^ a b "Warren Ellis' "FreakAngels" webcomic is online" (Press release). Comic Book Resources. February 15, 2008. Retrieved February 18, 2008. 
  4. ^ Stuart, Alasdair (February 15, 2008). "Comic Review 'FreakAngels' Week 1". Firefox News. 
  5. ^ Ellis, Warren "FreakAngels: Interlude 01", 2008-05-09.
  6. ^ a b Ellis, Warren "FreakAngels: Episode 001", 2008-02-15.
  7. ^ a b c d Ellis, Warren "FreakAngels: Episode 002", 2008-02-22.
  8. ^ Duffield, Paul "FreakAngels: Episode 005 Discussion",Whitechapel Forum 2008-03-14.
  9. ^ a b Ellis, Warren "FreakAngels: Episode 007", 2008-03-28.
  10. ^ Ellis, Warren "FreakAngles:Episode 017"
  11. ^ Ellis, Warren "FreakAngels: Episode 003", 2008-02-29.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Ellis, Warren "FreakAngels: Episode 010", 2008-04-18.
  13. ^ Ellis, Warren "FreakAngels: Episode 004", 2008-03-07.
  14. ^ a b Ellis, Warren "FreakAngels: Episode 006", 2008-03-21.
  15. ^ a b Ellis, Warren "FreakAngels: Episode 008", 2008-04-04.
  16. ^ Ellis, Warren "FreakAngels: Episode 009", 2008-04-11.
  17. ^ a b c Ellis, Warren "FreakAngels: Episode 0033", 2008-10-31.
  18. ^ Ellis, Warren "FreakAngels: Episode 038", 2008-12-12.
  19. ^ http://www.comicsbeat.com/2010/10/30/2010-eagle-award-winners/
  20. ^ Armitage, Hugh (June 20, 2010). "British Fantasy Award nominees announced". Digital Spy. Retrieved June 27, 2010. [dead link]
  21. ^ http://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/your_2012_eagle_awards_winners/

External links[edit]

Interviews[edit]

Reviews[edit]