Overview: Seeking the power of the Dreamstone, Angel Breaker recruits Raptor to steal from the deadly Kobra Cult in Knight Terrors: Angel Breaker #1.
Synopsis (Spoilers ahead): 14 hours before the Nightmare Wave, Angel Breaker saves a horny couple from Raptor’s robbery in Turkey. She blackmails Raptor into helping her with a heist. On the plane to their target, a Kobra cult base, she reveals her plan. She believes her destiny is to learn all the skills of the greatest warriors. The Kobra cult has a device with access to the powers of (Dr. Destiny) John Dee’s Dreamstone. Angel Breaker believes she can use those powers to download all of those skills and fulfill her destiny.
At the Kobra base, four children are being trained for powerful positions in the cult. Angel Breaker and Raptor parachute in and kill the guards. The Kobra base commander activates the device, while the kids bump into Angel Breaker and Raptor. The Nightmare Wave hits, but the device allows those in the base to remain awake. Their pilot falls asleep, and the plane hits the base, forcing the kids and thieves into the basement.
A deadly figure kills the base commander as the base power fails. As the kids lead the party deeper into the base, the figure kills one of them. Angel Breaker recognizes the figure as her nightmare, Nanny Gillo. She believes the Nightmare Wave tore the figure from her dreams into reality. Is Angel Breaker’s destiny to kill her own evil dream?
Analysis: When I met Tim Seeley at C2E2 this year, he said he was doing a Knight Terrors tie-in, but as the books weren’t announced, all he could say was that like his great Suicide Squad: King Shark miniseries, his Knight Terror’s book was a sequel to his Nightwing: Rebirth run. Now that the book is finally here, we see how – Seeley has woven together Joshua Williamson’s new character Angel Breaker, the Assassin With No Shirt (as listeners to the comic podcast know), with his own character of Raptor. Though Angel Breaker is, as is proper for her own miniseries, the main figure, it is really fun seeing Raptor’s complexity adding to her brand-new backstory and personality.
Fleshing out her character from the very, very sketchy pieces seen in the Shadow War crossover, we find out that Angel Breaker stole her sword and believes it is her destiny to face a great evil with the sword. Her alliance to Talia al Ghul’s special forces group the Shadow Hand is pretty flexible, and her training and backstory are all intelligently and interestingly filled out. All in all, it’s exactly what SHOULD have happened in the Shadow War Zone anthology story, but absolutely didn’t.
In addition to fleshing out this sketchy shirtless stunner of a character, Seeley very cleverly constructs his story to allow his characters to interact with the Knightmare wave in a very different way than the other Knight Terrors miniseries. Since the device Angel Breaker wants to steal derives from the Dreamstone/Nightmare Stone, it allows all those close to it to stay awake. But rips nightmares from their heads to kill them! Not super original, but quite clever, and allows for less self-indulgent “is this real” type of writing seen a bit too much in several of these miniseries.
The art by Acky Bright fits Seeley’s polished dialogue and energetically structured writing perfectly. Appealing, clean-lined, and with a strong sense of layout and storytelling, ably colored by Brian Reber. The book doesn’t aspire to be a deep statement. But it’s a really enjoyable read and reread that expands the DC Universe and the Batman corner of that universe well.
The main cover by Matteo Lolli puts Angel Breaker on an evil throne. She’s surrounded by grasping claw hand and hooded skulls – perhaps what Angel WANTS to happen, but definitely not anything like what DOES happen in the issue (the same artwork is featured in black and white for the 1 in 50 incentive variant). Ivan Tao’s variant shows a zombie-like Angel Breaker with a spider in her mouth, snarling up at the rain, again surrounded by skulls, this time joined by rats, in a very digitally painted style. Tao’s variant is the only one which really features Angel Breaker’s lack of shirt, but the zombie nature of it doesn’t allow it to be very appealing.
Lesley Leirix Li’s variant once again showcases hooded skulls reaching for Angel Breaker, this time bowing over her sword and bleeding. Dustin Nguyen’s Midnight variant features Angel Breaker looking defiantly upwards, surrounded by digital-style boxes that break up her surroundings – not, perhaps, as evocative as some of the other colors, but a very well-designed piece! Chuma Hill’s 1 in 25 incentive variant has Angel Breaker herself as the skull (and ribcage), her sword flaming in her hand.
All of the covers seem to highlight very different things than the book actually features – no Kobra cultists, no Nanny Gillo – very odd! Makes me think that perhaps they did the covers really far in advance of the book.
Editor’s Note: DC Comics provided TBU with a copy of this comic for review purposes. You can find this comic and help support TBU in the process by purchasing this issue digitally on Comixology through Amazon or a physical copy of the title through Things From Another World.