“A Flight of Angels” illustrated by Rebecca Guay and written by Bill Willingham, et. al. (Vertigo, 2011)

A Flight of Angels
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Every once in a while a graphic novel comes along that steals the show on whatever it’s competing with on the shelf or display or endcap; A Flight of Angels is one of those books.  The cover catches the eye with its color, complexity and style, right away piquing one’s interest, and then known names like Bill Willingham and Holly Black force the curious reader to pick it up and start reading.

Talented artist Rebecca Guay is known for illustrating fantasy and children’s books, including stories by the likes of Ursula K. LeGuin, Bruce Coville and Jane Yolen; and most recently The Last Dragon graphic novel with Jane Yolen.  Guay conceived and illustrates A Flight of Angels which explores the fantasy concept of angels and how they’ve interacted with humanity.  In the framing story, written by Holly Black, a number of fairy characters find the body of an angel who has yet to return to consciousness, and they mull over whether to let him live or die.  It’s a great setup for some great storytelling, as each character tells a tale they have learned about angels, and whether they are to be feared or respected.  A Flight of Angels features stories penned by the likes of Bill Willingham, Alisa Kwitney, Louise Hawes, and Todd Mitchell.

What is most surprising and mesmerizing about this book is that even though it’s illustrated by one artist, each story feels like it is done by its own unique artist, with its own special distinctive style.  The stories are compelling, and overall the book has a feel of a moving fairytale fantasy, akin to Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel works in faerie.  It is a delight to read and enjoy, and will be appreciated by anyone caught up by its distinctive cover.

Originally written on January 1, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.

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