Here’s what I love most about Angela: she’s totally unrelatable.
She’s just so alien. She’s weird. She does her own thing for her own reasons and doesn’t care how strange it all seems to anyone else.
When she’s a secondary character in someone else’s story, she’s there for nifty, fantastic novelty: a weird, alien bounty hunter with a singular moral code and a maniacal single-mindedness about whatever or whoever falls into her crosshairs.
But, as the protagonist of her own story, Angela isn’t gonzo fantasy or comic relief or a big bad obstacle to be defeated or persuaded.
Angela is one of a kind, a singularity, and unapologetic in her weirdness.
Angela: Asgard’s Assassin is a one-of-a-kind series—singularly, unapologetically, awesomely weird.
Angela, born Aldrif Odinsdottir, doesn’t really belong anywhere. She’s an Asgardian princess stolen as a baby and raised in Heven as a mighty warrior and bounty hunter.
(This is a lot of backstory, but bear with me—I’m going somewhere.)
It’s not just Angela’s mixed heritage that’s important here, or the fact that she belongs to two different cultures that hate each other’s guts. Odin banished the entire realm of Heven into obscurity just as Angela was simultaneously exiled from Heven. Angela’s identity has about five different layers of alienation, rejection, and exile built into it.
She’s not Angela of Heven. Or, Asgard. Or, Vanaheim.
Angela’s from nowhere.
Appropriately, this series starts with Angela marching through purgatory—a figurative and literal non-place. Fleeing through that blank, empty expanse, Angela has an opportunity to decide where she wants to go next and, symbolically, what she wants to be next.
And, thanks to the teleportation powers of her friend Sera, Angela can pretty much go anywhere—and become anything—she darn well wants.
Issue #3 sees Angela and Sera battling some Dark Elves on Vanheim after fleeing there with Angela’s infant sister. After stealing the baby from Asgard, they’re on the run from Thor the Odinson, Sif, Heimdall, and the Warriors Three.
Angela’s choice to kidnap her sister mirrors her own origins. By re-enacting her own life story, Angela recreates her nowhere-ness on her own terms. There are parts of Angela’s identity that she didn’t choose, but by recreating them, she chooses them, makes them deliberate.
Angela’s major motivation isn’t a quest for belonging but of remuneration. As an Angel, Angela’s belief system is based upon the concept of moral debt and repayment—she performs all her heroic deeds and mighty victories in an effort to create or cancel liability, to collect or cancel what she’s owed or owes.
Essentially, she’s working towards total universal balance. Stasis. Nothingness.
Sera’s backstory is a fascinating companion to Angela’s—both women fight determinedly, not just to become who they want to be, but to become who they have been all along.
Raised as a cloistered anchorite in Heven, Sera escaped a life of prayer and confinement to become herself. She leads Angela across the universe, and along the way, Sera assumes her true body and her true identity as a woman and a warrior. To drive the point home, Sera even gets literally resurrected at one point.
If Angela’s identity is an epic determination to choose nothingness, Sera’s story is its counterpoint—a journey of becoming.
I don’t know if Angela’s nothingness is permanent. In issue #4, Sera’s influence seems to be guiding her towards re-making—as opposed to un-making—herself.
At an ancient ruin on Vanheim, Sera tells Angela to travel deep into a magical cavern where she’s burned down to the bone and then re-created as a winged, armored warrior with a shiny new outfit.
Angela’s fancy new duds are designed to shield her from Heimdall’s gaze—and from the warriors of Asgard for the time being—but the clothes are also magically designed to take the form that their “owner considers beautiful”.