Seeking Angel, 'After Dark'

Posted: August 30, 2010

The man perhaps best known for his portrayal for hunting vampires on the silver screen has hit the comic world with a concept in which all the action takes place at night.

In "After Dark" - a new series from Radical co-created by film director Antoine Fuqua and actor Wesley Snipes, mankind has screwed up the earth. In Solar City, where the story takes place, the rays of the sun never shine down. It is always night. Attempts to correct the situation by the brightest minds have not proven successful. Fear, crime and disease are all running rampant.

Naturally, that means it is up to a small group of skilled, determined souls to take one last shot at saving the world before it's too late.

The mission? Find Angel, a now-mythical woman who has not been seen in over a decade, yet is believed by all involved to be the only hope of uniting the human race and ending the chaos. You can't go two blocks in Solar City without seeing an image of her - she's even pictured on recreational drugs and sex toys.

So the story focuses on the pilgrimage to find Angel and convince her to come out of exile and act as a messiah. Their adventure poses three questions: How will this tired, stressed, skilled crew stop from killing each other before they complete their mission? How will they deal with those who like the status quo?

And perhaps most importantly, what if Angel is actually dead? What do they do then?

This is a gorgeously painted book that is loaded with suspense and tension.

In the end, what separates it from countless other apocalyptic stories is the strength of its characters, the writing of Peter Milligan and its strong emphasis on the power of hope and how much we invest our hopes and dreams in others. "After Dark" gets Comics Guy's highest possible recommendation.

Levine on 'After Dark'

" 'After Dark' is important because it really taps into the urban market while remaining accessible to everyone," Radical President and Publisher Barry Levine told Comics Guy.

"The creators are African-American, and it's a very multicultural picture - some of the lead characters are African-American - but it's subtle, like Blade - it had an African-American protagonist but by 10 minutes into the film you forget about that, you are just watching a person, there's no color distinction."

'X' marks the controversy

Producer Bryan Singer revealed several bits about the largely kept-under-wraps "X-Men: First Class" film and many fans of the franchise are scratching their heads.

First, it's set in the 1960s, which means not only will he be dealing with the age of JFK and LBJ instead of Dubya and Obama, but that means the film apparently will not be following the continuity of the previous films in the franchise, a curious move especially considering the "First Class" was introduced in last year's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," which seemed to tie into the franchise continuity. The choices of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender playing young Professor X and young Magneto also has raised some eyebrows and rumors a radical take will be done on them that will be vastly different from previous portrayals.

We'll see Xavier walking and what puts him in a wheelchair. There will be the first appearance of the Hellfire Club, the film's villains, and Kevin Bacon has been cast as Sebastian Shaw - a surprise choice. It also raises the question of who will be cast to fill out the rest of the Club's roster. This isn't the original Singer franchise. Or a reboot. It sounds like they're reserving the right to make their minds up later.

Comics Guy's take? Singer has done right by the X-films, so let's all wait a while before blasting the moves. Let's enjoy a movie about mutants finding their way in the world for the first time and the timeless metaphor that that represents.

E-mail comicsguy@phillynews.com

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