Angela Della Morte vol. 2: We Can Destroy the Soul (#1 – 3) – Salvador Sanz

5 out of 5

How I love that in-yer-face subtitle; it ends up being quite perfect for Angela Della Morte’s conclusion, which is in your face in all the right ways, but uses that bravado to bring its subcurrent of emotions to the fore in an unforced way – riding the wave of its spectacle.

The first (to be published in English) volume of ADM gave us our outline, but was also fascinatingly aethereal and surreal in its approach: two industries are warring over soul-controlling, death-destroying technologies, with the former allowing employees to literally float from body to body, and the latter centered around discovering death as a distinct entity, occasionally visualized as a black goop. Angela works for one of these industries, a “good” one – Sibelius – though she is abandoned during a mission on the moon, and eventually exposed to a massive quantity of black goop, cared for by the “bad” instrury, Fluos. In a prequel (published first in its original language), creator Salvador Sanz takes a more straightforward approach to all of this, more directly establishing Sibelius and Fluos, as well as Angela’s once-Sibelius partner and boyfriend, “the Sloth,” who now works for Fluos.

The balance between these two is a succinct, sci-fi / horror epic with an incredibly intriguing layer that uses Angela’s narration to contemplate our internal struggles between light and dark. By lumping a lot of that self-responsibility onto the technology, it puts the character into a tougher position to understand her own feelings, guilting herself often about remnants of negative thoughts – referred to as grey matter, just to drive home the black and white duology and good and evil – which she hopes Sibelius can remove from her. …So she can be a better human; so she can be better at her job.

Fluos has discovered a method for, as per that subtitle, destroying the soul, and Sibelius has tasked his best agents – including Angela – to steal it. The representation of this method is, again, quite on the nose, but Sanz gets away with because, firstly, his art is stunning, but also because he’s not pushing that imagery as any deep revelation on these subjects. Angela Della Morte can be a very fun action / sci-fi tale, with its surreal elements draping the whole thing in a blanket of dread, but the lead character’s naturalistic narration gives it that emotional weight that can also make it an incredibly personal story. While the preceding volume / prequel were halves of that approach, volume 2 is the culmination, Angela pushed to accept both good and evil in order to move forward, with We Can Destroy The Soul’s full-throttle plotting bringing us to that same edge in its often quite brilliant story-telling.