Review by Ian Keogh
After spending most of Faith in Monsters either being assessed or out on missions, Caged Angels confines the cast to the Thunderbolts’ mountain headquarters for its entire six chapters. What’s life like when you have several ultra-powerful, demented, villainous personalities restricted to a relatively small area? They’re not the only ones, as the televised violent apprehension of Jack Flag has prompted the super powered to surrender themselves to the Thunderbolts, and psychiatrist to the super trade Leonard Samson is visiting to assess Penance’s mental health. His presence is something fellow psychiatrist Moonstone takes very personally. Venom is losing control, the entitled aristocratic Swordsman is acting strangely, and the base appears to have been infiltrated, so it seems a bad time for leader Norman Osborn to be experiencing Green Goblin flashbacks.
Due to the way Warren Ellis has presented the plot, Mike Deodato illustrates what’s going on in peoples’ heads as literal. It’s an interesting device when introduced, and as Caged Angels continues its value increases as we’re no longer sure whether what what we’re seeing is genuine or another internal manifestation brought to life. Rain Beredo’s colour work is very important in complementing Deodato’s art, the dark lighting inducing the necessary claustrophobic atmosphere within the mountain as terrible deeds occur.
While recognising the fine little touches Ellis brings, the small observations and insights, he never forgets he’s writing a widescreen superhero comic. The set-up in the early chapters pays off monstrously well toward the end with two battles involving Swordsman and everything going to hell in a handbasket in the closing chapter. That has a fantastic solution to the problem affecting the Thunderbolts throughout. All in all, while a completely different type of story from its predecessor, it’s another resounding success, and you might want to consider investing in both combined as Thunderbolts by Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato: Ultimate Collection.