Somewhere around the corner, just beyond the edge of perception, lies a world you never dreamed existed: A world where creatures of ancient myth and gods long thought dead walk unnoticed along the crowded streets of Manhattan. Where ladies of Faerie dance the nights away. Where every shadow holds a secret, and every secret has a price.
Welcome to the World of Aria.

ARIA/ANGELA "Heavenly Creatures" [Holguin (w), Anacleto (a)]

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reg #1

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Interior artwork regular edition

Furious Angela

Angry Angela

Angry Angela

Interior artwork Blanc&Noir edition

The 19th Century in England: "The Age of Wonders. The age of Pan and Wonderland, the smart salon and 'The Light of the World'… The age of the workhouse and the gin mill, the 'White Man's Burden' and Jack the Ripper." Unbeknownst to most, there be even greater wonders at work than man's ingenuity and far mightier terrors looming, powers beyond the ken of mortal men…

Amid it all walks the exquisite Lady Kildare, an immortal of the Faerie kind. Amidst the squalor of humans dabbling in petty black mysticism, she is a figure of grace and the essence of beauty, and undoubtedly the greatest cynic in the land. She is drawn to another immortal in distress, a fiery angel cast down from the heavens, taken captive and made helpless by a merciless freak show master. Her name is Angela, and she swears bloody vengeance on her human captor.

Will Kildare's ancient magiks and Angela's divine wrath be enough to defeat the darkness that lies in a single human's heart?

In the first Aria series, writer Brian Holguin and penciler Jay Anacleto introduced us to a secret conflict between the hierarchical clan of the Faerie and the evil powers of the Dark One. Though the war ended in the fourth issue of that series, the story is preluded here by a tale from Kildare's past. Fear not! You need not have read Aria to appreciate the fantasy world presented here, nor need you have any knowledge of Angela's past exploits (found in various issues of Spawn and her own mini-series). Besides, sometimes, fairy tales are more fun when you start in the middle…

Brian Holguin has said repeatedly that Aria is a very personal work, something he has been piecing together for years. His passion for Kildare and the world of fantastic beauty he has created is apparent in every line of narrative, every word of dialogue. You can really believe that these are the legends of old, the fairy tales we never got to see. Kildare's character is charming and witty, and her chafing under royal heritage something readers can empathize with. The atrocities committed against Angela and her righteous indignation are themes readers will get passionate about. Holguin mixes awe with horror and magic with humanity to create a book like no other, an aria of wonders.

Jay Anacleto's magnificent artwork is certainly no hindrance. His art contains realism rarely seen in the comic book medium, but even more astounding is his creativity, style, and pathos. He depicts the spires of Big Ben, the streets of London, the costumes of nobility, and the plight of the street folk with stunning precision - no detail is missed. Angela, even in her chains, is ravishing in her heavenly splendor, radiant with rage; Kildare is every bit the elegant princess, her exasperation and fascination with the human world apparent on the features of her face. In fact, Analeto's art is so beautiful that Avalon (the studio that produces Aria) publishes "Blanc and Noir" editions of all his work, undiluted by color. Color which, by the way, is some of the finest in comics.

Welcome to a world of magic and power, of gods and men. Welcome to a place where the normal and the fantastic mix regularly, and of creatures so rare and exquisite that most wouldn't dream they could walk among us.

Welcome to the world of Aria.

Review by Stratus

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