Angels 2200 - Flight of the Sirens

posted December 9, 2002 by Jer

Jer

Angels 2200 should never have been put on the internet. It should have been published. Page by page, its as fun to read as any strip on the internet: cute characters, nice dialogue, cool enough but nothing extraordinary. You might just pass over it without realizing how good it really is. The true power of the writing can only be seen when you read it all at once.

Here's another patented "Jer Plot Summery." Setting: The Future. A few years ago, a bio-engineered plague killed off almost all males on the planet earth and nearby space fairing colonies. The only males left were children born after the plague was contained. The further-out colonies saw this as an opportunity to start a war—for various political reasons—with the remaining Earth folks. Enter the Aurora, a huge but aging space-carrier. Enter the IceBreaker Squadron, the team of main characters learning to be fighter pilots onboard the Aurora. The very first line of the comic describes Icebreaker Squadron quite well: "They were meant to be cannon fodder... They became heroic cannon fodder."

The story revolves around Francesca Martines (her callsign is part of the plot, so I'll save that for you), a young French girl still distraught about her father's death in the plague, but ready to do her part for protecting Earth. She meets up with Sasha Carelli (callsign: Hammer), the cocky and overassertive squad leader; Rebecca Bradley (callsign: Loser), the squad big-mouth; Juanita Valdez (callsign: Quetzalcoatl or Quetz), a lone wolf from a long line of fighter pilots; Mary O'Reilly (callsign: Whiskey), a wreckless pilot who doesn't seem to care about alcohol age laws; and Mitsabi Kiseko (callsign: Bubblegum), the team klutz.

When you read the battle scenes in Angels 2200, you are there. You feel like you are in the cockpit. When I'm reading a lot of pages at once, Angels 2200 ranks as the 2nd most exciting story I have EVER READ. (I'll save the 1st for another day's newspost)

The intensity of the action in Angels 2200 lead me to wonder if it was written by an actual fighter pilot. This guess was not far from the truth. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Nathan Savio about his project, and I learned that while he was not a fighter pilot, he has come close. Savio was enlisted in the Air Force Reserves for two years during college. He passed field training, but did not want to dedicate another two years to the ROTC to actually become pilot. "After college is over," says Savio, "chances are I'll join up, but it'll depend on my circumstances." Savio also comes from a pilot family. His father, his godfather, and his fathers friends were all fighter pilots. Says Savio, "I could watch F/A-18s take off throughout my younger days from the base at La More, and I idolized my dad. A lot of his stories are what give me ideas for what I want to write when I'm writing about pilots. I love fighter piloting, and writing about it, as a consequence."

As for the cast, I was curious why Savio choice to write a story with an entirely female cast. Savio jokingly confirmed my suggestion that this was done to attract male readers, but went on to say that the final decision was made because he wanted practice developing female characters. While Angels 2200 has its occasional fan-service, Savio has succeeded in creating very deep characters, and a plot line that believably respects the death of all earth's men as the tragedy it would have been. (Refraining from feminism jokes, of course. Half the people on the planet dying would suck.)

Nathan Savio writes Angels 2200 from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and sends it to Peter Haynes—a professional film maker in New Zealand—to be drawn. Says Savio, "Only on the internet could you bring two people like that together and produce a successful comic strip."

You can read Angels 2200 at www.angels2200.com. If you agree with me that Angels 2200 should be printed, please send Nate or Peter an e-mail letting them know you like their stuff, and would like to see it printed. Such ventures will make it much easier for them to find a willing publisher. You can also check out Peter Haynes' portfolio at www.haynesfilm.co.nz/.