Review: Al Gofa’s Dark Angels of Darkness (Peow Studios)

The debut graphic novel from writer/artist Al Gofa and our first experience of books from Peow Studios is one of the most unforgettable mixes of small press cool, science fiction silliness and outlandish violence that we have seen. So what is about Al Gofa’s Dark Angels Of Darkness that makes it so unique?

Publisher: Peow Studios
Writer: Al Gofa
Artist: Al Gofa
Price: £19 from Peow Studios

It’s not easy to articulate the sheer bonkers brilliance of Al Gofa’s Dark Angels of Darkness, but we’ll give it a go. On a mysterious planet the all powerful Imperius Rhaa is despotic leader, but he is suffering and so a group of disgruntled military types plan a coup. They aim to do this using the outlawed practice of fusion which sees them combine their two strongest team members into one almighty being in order to challenge the god like Imperius.

So far so good, but then things go completely mental. As more and more characters begin fusing in order to battle Imperius the new hybrid creations become even more wild and outlandish and become embroiled in a power struggle as the crazy line up of extreme characters being battling each other as well.

Dark Angel’s has the kind of crazy raw energy which we love in books like Jordan Kroeger’s The Fist or Michale Fiffe’s Copra. It celebrates the wildness and craziness of comics and doesn’t hold back on anything. There are shades of mech-based anime like Guyver, but also the outlandish space sci-fi of Pat Mills’ Nemesis The Warlock. This is helped by the fact the artwork has a very Kevin O’Neil angularity and outlandish to it, but with the rawness of the aforementioned Michael Fiffe. The purple and black colour scheme makes it feel like something from a vintage issue of Heavy Metal but also makes it feel very fresh and unique. It also has that raw toughness to the artwork which we love.

Dark Angels of Darkness builds and builds to this crazy crescendo which is unlike anything else we’ve read this year. Each fusion creates a new combination of the two characters and with each fusions we get a crib sheet introducing us to the new creation. While on one level this means a crazy mash up of already crazy characters, but it also revels in this very silly sense of humour which makes the most of the craziness of what is going on. It’s both very dry and very strange such as the crazy fusion Gumanro was thing to be called Steve, or the revelation of what Imperius’ weakness is.

Al Gofa’s Dark Angels of Darkness is utterly unique, completely bonkers and one of those books which you have to instantly re-read in order to fully get to grips with what the hell you’ve just read! And even then there’s no guarantee it will make any more sense – but you know you will have loved every crazy page of it!