We’re all about comics here at Panels On Pages, but a geek cannot live on comics alone. Outside the Longbox is our chance to spotlight something outside our typical 4-color realm, be it movies, music, TV or whatever.
He killed Captain America. He brought Bucky back to life. He drove Daredevil’s wife insane. He reinvented what the word “criminal” means. What’s next for Ed Brubaker? The answer is an unlikely one. Last Friday marked the end of Ed Brubaker’s Angel of Death, starring Zoë Bell, an internet TV series from Crackle.com (cool site, by the way). Bell shares the spotlight with the likes of Lucy Lawless, Ted Raimi and Doug Jones, so right off the bat this thing’s got some geek pedigree.
But if it’s for the web, it must look like crap, right? Not at all. The production values on the show are at least as good as what you’d see on TV. There was definitely some money put into this beyond hiring the cast. It looks really sharp. It’s stylish and sexy and there’s some fine craftsmanship in these little webisodes. There’s some VERY cool pseudo-comic styled edits that are visually striking. It’s not full-on Ang Lee Hulk, but it’s still pretty smooth.
The story revolves around Eve, a ruthless assassin who, in the first episode, catches a knife to the brain… I’ll say it again: she gets stabbed in the brain with a knife. Her handler/backup gets her to a “doctor” who removes the knife, but there are certainly some consequences. Once she comes to, she starts hallucinating about her last (accidental) victim and sets out to kill everyone involved in that particular job in hopes of satisfying the “ghost” and getting some peace. It’s very noir, which is what you’ve come to expect from Brubaker by this point, yes? It’s good stuff. REALLY good. Each of the ten episodes clock in at around ten minutes or so and will eventually be released on DVD with some extra added footage (look for the review, naturally).
The series is a pretty big deal, aside from just being a good time. It’s one of the first of its kind, a completely free series distributed by a major studio (Sony) for the web. Angel of Death, along with a few other shows are really redefining the internet’s role in content distribution. This could have just as easily gone on iTunes for 2 bucks an episode, but they went the free route instead, a ballsy move. They’re going to make money on this, if they haven’t already. I doubt Crackle’s showing it without shelling out the cash to Sony first. What’s unusual is the decision not to milk it for all it’s worth right out the gate. Regardless, things like this and Marvel’s motion comics initiative are going to be truly defining pieces of entertainment for this generation. The powers that be in these instances see the changing landscape of entertainment and are doing everything they can do capitalize on it.
Angel of Death nearly snuck under my radar. There wasn’t a GREAT deal of fanfare when it was released. I actually heard more about it in the months leading up to it, which is strange. Don’t let it slip under your radar. It’s damn fine programming no matter how it’s delivered. Watch the show and get the DVD when it comes out. It’s something new and different in a sea of homogenous blah and definitely one of the coolest things on the web.
Still not convinced? Check it out right here or go to the Crackle page.