Posted on March 18, 2009 by Monica Valentinelli
It’s no secret I’m a fan of the Hellboy franchise, so when I found out that Doug Jones (Abe Sapien) was acting in a new series called Angel Of Death, I was pretty excited about it. Then I found out that the series is not your full-length, standard fare — they’re webisodes offered for free on www.crackle.com, a venture by entertainment giant Sony.
Created by comic industry veteran Ed Brubaker, Angel Of Death is a series starring Zoe Bell. Zoe plays a character named “Eve,” a brutal assassin who starts off the series with very little humanity. The first episode introduces us to her deadly world — a world so messed up that she accidentally kills a little girl. The series explores Zoe’s character in full detail, to explore whether or not she’s truly an assassin without a conscious. Instead of following orders from her boss “aka lover” Graham, she’s gone renegade to do the bidding of a very unhappy ghost. Does her victim haunt her? Or did the knife that was stuck in Zoe’s brain have some kind of an effect on her?
Sam Raimi, Lucy Lawless, Doug Jones and a number of other actors circulate around Zoe’s character throughout a series that leaves you guessing not because this story about vengeance is entirely new — but because it’s a story we haven’t seen before in a webisode format.
Offered as a serial, individual episodes for Angel Of Death range from five to eleven minutes per episode. Ed Brubaker’s Angel Of Death is a stellar example of how cinematography can shine on the small screen. Everything that you see here — from the music to the comic-book style cutscreens — is intentional. This is an important distinction here that I’d like to make, because the short video medium is often inundated with what I like to call “happy accidents” that happen during filming. This was a series professional choreographed and rehearsed to the point where the timing was absolutely flawless. While there were some characters I adhered to more than others, the pacing encouraged me to keep watching the series. I’d also like to point out that you won’t find long, unnecessary speeches or drawn-out scenes in Angel Of Death, which is a big plus in my book.
There were three characters that stood out for me. First and foremost, Zoe Bell did an outstanding job. An actress after my own heart, she’s exceptionally skilled in the field of stuntwork which is a necessary (albeit grueling) field to get into. You might recognize some of the movies she’s done stunts for like Kill Bill, Grindhouse, and Catwoman. As an actress, Zoe has appeared on LOST and a number of other smaller roles. Angel Of Death allows her to step into an actress’ shoes and I think she did an outstanding job. It was also really fun for me to see Doug Jones taking on the role of the seedy doctor. In his previous roles, I feel that Doug defined a type of visual acting that’s more akin to artwork than anything else. Here, Doug did a great job as a character actor, and I enjoyed seeing him stretch out into “new” territory.
The other character that stood out for me was Jake Abel who played Cameron. A very young guy who’s hellbent on taking over the “family business.” Sadistic and unhinged, his character had so much angst Abel kept me wondering what sick and twisted things he was going to do next.
For those of you who like comic book violence with a side of blood splatter, I think you’ll really enjoy Angel Of Death. I enjoyed it because I love experimentation with new visual formats, and I’m very partial to strong, female characters. Make no mistake – Eve is definitely a “strong” character inside and out.
The only complaint I have is about the website Crackle, because the front page trailers are on “autoplay.” If you want to check the site out, keep in mind that there’s no way to turn the sound off. “Autoplay” has been a bit of a deterrent for me because when the sound comes on without warning you’ll end up surprising your co-workers or fellow coffee shop patrons.
Once you start watching Angel Of Death, the series will auto-continue no matter which episode you are on, which is a nice feature for those of us that hate pushing buttons in the middle of a story. If you’re interested in watching Ed Brubaker’s Angel Of Death, just go to Crackle.com and you’ll find it there.