As far as I am concerned, Archangel is drawn best by these two men. I could not tell you who for sure is on top.
Whilce Portacio was the first person to introduce me to the potential Warren had visually. His basic design was always cool. Walt Simonson did a masterful job making Angel into Death, but Portacio was the first person to make me look at the wings as a work of art.
Whilce drew Warren as this sleek bird of prey. The wings were alive. I could almost sense them breathing. When they moved, I could hear the high pitch of the metal flexing, or the feathers bristling against each other. They never looked the same way twice.
There is also a hyper musculature to his anatomy His neck bulging, as if blood was always racing through his body. His suit was his skin. every muscle taught, like a race horse, or predator read to lunge at a moments notice.
In contrast, Opeña’s Archangel is almost always calm, yet no less menacing. He is a relaxed monster who is not concerned with his prey. He knows he will get it. I can always hear a symphony of destruction playing in his background. A menacing orchestra, with a heavy, steady drum beat in the background.
Portacio drew wings that were a cacophony of metal blades whose look and size were always in flux, while Jerome gave us an intricate design of polished steel. Each layer placed just so.
Opeña’s Warren has this steady, almost slow motion look to him. Very majestic, and I love the angles he is drawn at. Portacio draws him action oriented, almost spring loaded, with his speed and swiftness.
I go back and forth between which look I like best. I also keep in mind the sharply different points in Warren’s life they were drawing him at.
In the days of X-Factor & Uncanny X-Men, Warren was a young man, in a constant struggle with this inner darkness. All the fire an passion men carry at this point was in full display.
Death did not overtake him until he was a matured man, confident about who he was. No longer at the point in life where machismo needs to be proved. He was comfortable in his skin.
For another take on this, check out Ungoliantschilde’s post, where he comes down on the side of Opena.
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