Archangel: Phantom Wings review

Archangel: Phantom WingsArchangel: Phantom Wings by Peter Milligan
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Archangel: Phantom Wings is a 1996 Peter Milligan / Leonardo Manco joint, taking the form of a black-and-white one-shot. It takes place during 1996 X-men canon but does not choose to adhere to it in any meaningful way. Although Milligan has written some cool things in and outside the X-Men canon (The Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix and Punisher: Happy Endings spring to mind) this is not one of them. It is painful to read with art the borders on barely-competent.

The interior art is in the gritty black-and-white style of a indie comic from the late 80s. The problem with that is that it’s six years too late for that at the point this was published, and that Marvel isn’t an independent publisher. It’s trying to beĀ Messiah, and it can’t be that.

It could have been one great last mood piece about Archangel before he regains his feathered wings in a year, but it’s not that either, as much as it tries to be. It ignores continuity by badly characterizing Psylocke and ignoring the Crimson Dawn tattoo. She’s so badly portrayed and the continuity errors so gratuitous, this book would have been better off having a disposable love-interest and setting itself outside of continuity. As it is it restrains itself within continuity but fails to adhere to it correctly, bringing the worst of both worlds.

At 40 pages it still manages to feel padded, and by the end I was just wishing it would end.

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