Tuesday, October 11, 2011

CBR Angel & The Ape (2001)


Do you know or remember Angel & The Ape?
You know, that comedic detective duo, created for back-up stories then given their own title before disappearing into obscurity?

They had a pretty neat mini-series in the early 90s, which I reviewed already!
Then they disappeared into obscurity again...

Well, in the 2000s, thanks to the success to the various genres covered by the in-print Vertigo Comics, DC decided to give those guys another try.
Was it any good? Was it any fun? What did these fools do to our beloved unknown characters? Is this another grim & gritty reboot? Let's check it out!

Comic title: Angel & The Ape 
Art by Philip Bond
Story by Howard Chaykin & David Tischmanv

Published by Vertigo Comics
From 2001-02
Lineup Angel & The Ape
Format: Four issues run of a second Angel & The Ape mini-series in the 2000s.

"Angel & The Ape 2001" as I like to call it, is another revival of the dynamic detective duo. Nooo! Not "ol' batty pointy ears and the boy wonder".
Angel and the Ape!
The sassy blond haired girl and her pal the cartoonist gorilla!

Yeah, I did had the same expression on my face the first time I heard about them!

This new take was done through Vertigo, as many successful revival of old silver age DC IPs had gone through in order to please the ever more demanding comic book crown in our modern times. (Sandman, Zatanna, Animal Man, etc..)
The Vertigo in-print, like their rival's Marvel Knights, allowed to use their traditionall characters under a new light, a more adult tone, characters swearing, nudity, etc..
How did such a new direction influence the family-friendly Angel and Ape?

(note: nowadays, Vertigo Comics has turned into DC's publishing brand for creator-owned material. Which forced all of those "Vertigo characters" such as Sandman, The Shade or Constantine to be now printed back under the DC Comics banner)

They're back! And most parts is much of the same, the rest..

She is Angel O'Day. A brilliant young detective, with a sassy mouth and a taste for fashion clothes.
He is Sam Simeon. Her part-time co-detective, a cartoonist and, yes, he is a gorilla.
This new case takes our angel and ape out on the streets, on the tracks of a mysterious sexy murder case.

While Angel was getting ready for her best girlfriend's wedding and Sam was finally seeing some success with his current comic strip - called Hey, Boy and Miss Thing - their tiny sized secretary, an always-angry gal called B.J. (no kidding!) brought them a brand new case.
It was none other than the famous Torso Von Morso, CEO of Pindar's of North Hollywood. A super-popular lingerie collection magazine. (hey! Sam didn't knew those..he, huh, needed those for research! yeah!)
Bambi Dextrous, their most popular model was....killed and the body missing!

Shake it baby!

While not really vastly different in spirit, this new take on Angel & The Ape did feature a completely different tone from their old comics.

What is good is that Howard Chaykin & David Tischmanv did craft a perfect and fun detective story.
(and asreader of European detective comics usually, I'd say this was a great and faithful entry to the genre!)
There's a sense of mystery and wonder as you will find yourself turning page after page.

And it isn't taking itself seriously.
They're still very much the same Angel and Ape from old.
She's still a fun and bright character, badass when she needs to and smart in all occasions.
He's still the same bumbling, funny, strong yet timid gorilla as in the past.
He's now working full time as a detective and a cartoonist the rest of his free time, his comic work do take some signifiance at various points.

There's lot of interesting and intriguing characters in the supporting cast. You will probably find yourself trying to guess which one commited the murder.
There's great guys like Angel & Ape's ally the Detective Komicz (ha!). Our persons of interest consist of various colorful suspect, such as strippers, an over zealous boss, a creepy peeping tom fanboy,..

Despite the beautiful sort of-realistic covers by Art Adams, it still is a very cartoony comic book.
And not that far from the original Angel & The Ape stories. Only more mature and suggestive.

It actually fully embraces its silly premises and is quite aware of it.
There's a lot of meta-jokes. References, nods to other comics, allusions to usual Vertigo Comics gritty remakes of old comic book proprieties (through Sam's own in-comic comic)...

Philip Bond's artwork is gorgeous!
It suits our detective duo perfectly! Characters look great, are quite expressive and all full of personality. Sam looks a bit cartoonier and fits him just as well.

Overall, it's a fantastic read!
Fun, brilliant and just well handled enough to make you like these characters have you been an Angel & The ape-detractor.

It embraces the sexy undertone that was already present in the original back-up stories.
The plot and mystery are interesting, so are the colorful faces that inhabits this story.

The only odd factor that came off to me at first was seeing Sam not talk the entire story. Not that anyway notices or makes allusion to that. Just that he didn't get to or need to talk the entire story!!
But he was such a expression and well represented character that I kinda forgot about it during the mini-series!

A recommended read, for fans and newcomers alike!

I give it:

  2.5 / 3 Plastic-trophies!

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