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Fallen Angel #7

Posted: Saturday, January 17, 2004
By: Ray Tate



"Down to Earth"

Writer: Peter David
Artists: David Lopez(p), Fernando Blanco(i), Nathan Eyring(c)
Publisher: DC

The second bullet is for a tres cool depiction by artists Lopez, Blanco and Eyring of Lee, the title character, in flight. Were it not obvious that Lee is the post-Crisis Supergirl, I would have remarked how the flight hints at a familiar face's powers. Sadly any ambiguity in the character has been exorcised, and this book has become far from fun.

There is no doubt, at least in my mind, that Lee is the post-Crisis Supergirl. I know that a new Supergirl will be reintroduced by Jim Lee or Mike Turner--whomever--down the line, and I do not know what this will mean for Peter David's Fallen Angel. Maybe the new character will be a completely "new" Supergirl. Maybe the new Supergirl will be the post-Crisis Supergirl and will leave Mr. David scrambling for a plan b). The only thing I know for sure is that she won't be Kara, so why the hell bother? It's just another example of DC prostituting its history.

My problems with Fallen Angel do not entirely stem from what I feel to be a lack of mystery but from the fact that I do not like Lee now that Mr. David has filled in all the missing pages. This will be my last issue of the book, so I'll not be overly harsh.

Lee's position as soccer coach could have had a sense of enjoyment. Instead, she fills her secret identity with as much bitterness as she does in her relationship with Juris. The girls on the team neither are depicted as ebullient, and I could have sworn that was the natural state of young girls. You watch their behavior on the news when they attend a Justin Timberlake concert.

As usual, I find the presentation of sex being bad, feeling bad and just in the book to make the character feel bad very distasteful, Republican and cliché. Needless to say, we get a big definition of why the book is "for mature readers." The nudity and sex provided by Lee and Juris left me unimpressed and wanting to shower off the layer of scum that seemed to cling to my skin. If Lee had actually enjoyed herself, I'd feel differently, but this depiction is too one-sided, the side with the scar. She's nowhere in the moment and thinking of something else, which is also unpleasant.

The dialogue between Juris and Lee is abusive and revolting. It has neither playfulness in tone nor any real feeling other than abhorrence. Perhaps this is the point, but it's a point I'd rather not follow. My feelings toward the book are clearly subjective, and if you're looking for something that's traditionally Vertigo in all but name, please be my guest.

The Black Mariah sequences left me empty. I get that these two are old enemies, but Black Mariah tricks Lee into wrecking a forest and killing a misplaced raccoon for no good reason. Lee does not control her anger very well, and this is not a reasonable response given her experience. The post-Crisis Supergirl has been around for at least seven years. Let's pretend for a moment that Lee is not who she seems to be. According only to Fallen Angel, she still has made a name for herself in Bete Noir. That takes time. So, Lee's outburst still would seem out of character for somebody who has a few years or even a year under her robes. Her performance is that of a novice, and the attempt at drama feels artificial. It is not the only element that seems that way.

Peter David incorporates Black Mariah in the very strange theme of Lee's feet. In the last story Mr. David showed Lee in little gray socks--which killed almost any mystique this character had. In this issue, he has Lee displayed barefoot in flashback to explain why she wears leather straps around her feet in the present day. Again with the feet. I mean was this convoluted, contrived explanation necessary? I'd have to say no, and it doesn't make too much sense. If all you need to stop Black Mariah's powers are leather straps, then how much of a threat can she be? All Lee, who has the strength, had to do was stick her in a leather travel bag and toss her on a plane to Kabul, and she's out of the game.

Lee started out as a very powerful, clever super-heroine whose mysterious ways created an almost Shadow-like effect. I did not know who she was. I did not care. I liked how she operated. I enjoyed her wit. Between then and now, something happened. Something bad happened.



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