Angel: Revelations #4

Issue Date: 
October 2008
Story Title: 
“Senior Year” Book Four of Five: Passion Play

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (writer), Adam Pollina (artist), Matt Hollingsworth (colorist), Dave Lanphear (letterer), Alejandro Arbona (assistant editor), Warren Simons (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Instead of turning Father Reynolds in to the authorities, Warren pretends to be an angel and tricks the sexual predator into confessing his crimes. During Reynolds’ public arrest the next morning, Brandon inadvertently ignites a large fist-fight when he makes a tasteless joke about Andrew. As punishment, Warren, Amanda, Andrew, and Brandon are given extensive detention, which they serve while their fellow students leave campus to attend the Passion plays. The man hunting Warren sets the building on fire during detention, forcing Warren and his peers to flee to the rooftop. Warren, having revealed his wings, flies all three of his peers to the safety. Upon landing, however, he is threatened by the shotgun-wielding man in black.

Full Summary: 

Father Reynolds, the man in charge of teaching Freshman Theology and operating the campus ministry, has been on staff at St. Joseph’s for twenty years. In those two decades, Warren wonders, how many times has he done to other students what he has been doing to Andrew Palmer? Warren’s first impulse upon learning about Father Reynolds’ sexual abuse of his friend was to report it to the school’s headmaster, Father Gavin. However, Warren considers the possibility that Gavin might already know about his longtime friend’s misdeeds. It is too risky. He decides to deal with Father Reynolds by himself, and in the process, find out what kind of man Reynolds truly is.

After Andrew provides Warren with a few key props from the theater department, Warren proceeds to the chapel and waits patiently in the loft. Father Reynolds enters and prays, kneeling before the chapel’s crucifix. He prays for purity of thought, strength, and forgiveness. “I know that you are testing me, every day, tempting me, and I’m trying, Lord, I’m trying, but my soul is weak; my soul fails me…” he says. Suddenly, he hears a booming voice call his full name from behind. He turns and asks who is there. The voice commands him to look up. He does, and the angel he beholds leaves him speechless.

Warren, his wings holding him afloat, dressed only in leather sandals, a loincloth, and a dark mask, and bearing a sword, once more tells Father Reynolds to look up and be judged. Who are you, stutters Reynolds? “Michael – the Archangel – the Avenger – the Right Hand of God!” Warren boasts, swinging his sword dramatically. Father Reynolds cowers and begs for forgiveness. The angel calls him a wicked man, whose sins have not gone unnoticed by the heavenly father. He has seen what Reynolds has done to defile this place of worship!

Operating the spotlight up above, Andrew illuminates Warren from behind, savoring the sight of the terrified Father Reynolds. Now he knows what it feels like to be scared.
Below, Warren rejects Reynolds’ pleas for mercy. What mercy has he shown the children placed in his care? None. Such cruelty must be met with an eye for an eye. “The Lord’s judgment is a swift, terrible thing – the fires of eternal damnation await you,” the angel shouts. However, he pauses for a moment before saying he has one alternative that might stay the Lord’s vengeful hand. Reynolds says he will do anything, so Warren gives him his instructions: he must confess his crimes done to Father Gavin, resign from the school, and turn himself in to the police.

Father Reynolds complies. After confessing to Father Gavin, he packs his suitcase and anxiously awaits for his arrest. The police detain him one morning after second period while the students watch from the campus steps. “Friggin’ fruitcake. Friggin’ perv,” Brandon Hardy says to Amanda as the police escort Father Reynolds to the squad car. Yeah, Amanda says; it’s about time St. Joe’s cleaned house. “Yeah,” Brandon says. “One fruit down, one to go – right, Palmer?”

Upon hearing this jab, Andrew freezes in place and clenches his fists. He decides not to let this one slide. He turns to Brandon, makes an obscene gesture, and hurls an uncensored “screw you” at him. You wish, fairy, Brandon says. He shoves Amanda out of the way, lunges over to Andrew, and grabs him by the collar. You make me sick, he says. Andrew comments on the bully’s internalized self-hatred; he hears a lot of jocks suffer from that. Say that again, Brandon threatens.

He does not get the chance, as Warren turns around and begins rolling up his sleeves. He beat down Brandon once before; does he want him to do it again? Amanda steps in between Brandon and Warren and shoves her finger in her ex-boyfriend’s face. What a surprise, she says; Warren Worthington coming to his little friend’s defense, yet again, like some wannabe hero! He asks her to get out of the way. “What? No, Warren, you don’t dismiss Amanda Cobb,” she shouts. “Amanda Cobb dismisses you, okay?”
Over her shoulder, however, Warren sees the situation between Andrew and Brandon escalating, and decides he does not have time for Amanda’s distraction. He grabs her by the waist and moves her out of the way. She retaliates by punching him across the jaw. The onlookers are stunned, Brandon included, who turns to watch the fight. In his lapse of concentration, however, Andrew breaks free and clobbers the bully with a double-fisted uppercut. To the onlookers, this can mean only one thing: fight!

As predicted, every student on the steps is immediately pulled into an undiscerning brawl. Fights like this happen about once a semester at St. Joseph’s, and this one is long overdue. Father Reynolds’ arrest only provided the spark it needed to ignite.

Later, Father Gavin reprimands Brandon, Amanda, Andrew, and Warren in his office. Having been identified as the instigator’s of the fight, Father Gavin recommended to the disciplinary committee that the four of them be suspended immediately. However…

“However – you remembered that Brandon’s the Vice President’s son, that my dad pretty much owns the island of Manhattan, and that Warren’s parents are huge donors,” Amanda snaps, “and that us being suspended might jeopardize St. Joe’s fiscal health; right?”

Father Gavin hesitates a moment before resuming. They will all serve weekend detention: twelve hours on Saturday, six on Sunday. None of them will be going home for Easter, and none of them will get to attend the annual Passion plays. Their parents, meanwhile, have already been notified. “Not going home? Not seeing some lame show about Jesus?” Brandon sneers, with a wad of tissue still up his nose to control the bleeding. “I’m waiting to hear how this is a punishment…”

Meanwhile, at the gates of St. Joseph’s, two figures stare at the cathedral in the distance. The man in black asks his prisoner if this is the place. The girl with the red glowing eyes and the bleeding hands confirms that yes, it is. Their target will be alone on Holy Saturday. Very good, the man says. They will wait until Saturday, then. He leads Mary Margaret away by the chain he has around her neck. “Our work for the Lord is almost done now; I can feel it. And then…how glorious our reward will be.”

It begins raining on Thursday. The rain continues through Good Friday, turning the grounds into a mud pit. Warren notices how unaffected he feels by the sudden cold; he has had trouble sensing hot and cold ever since his transformation began. On Saturday night, most of the students leave campus and head to the Franciscan monastery to see the Passion plays, which chronicle the story of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. Warren and his fellow detainees, however, endure their eleventh hour of Saturday detention under the supervision of Mr. Zampelli, an all-around good guy whom Warren considers to be the exact opposite of Father Reynolds.

Around eight o’clock, they all head a muffled boom emanating from somewhere within the building. Mr. Zampelli leaves to go investigate, reminding the students to remain seated and silent while he is gone. After he leaves, however, Warren begins to hear a haunting voice in his head. It tells him he is in grave danger. He begins to flip out and asks the others if they hear it. Amanda asks why he is acting like such a freak lately. Brandon agrees with Amanda; Warren used to be normal. Over the sound of the voice in his mind, Warren barely hears them. He listens as the voice tells him to focus and get out of the building before it is too late.

Brandon, tired of being ignored, gets out of his seat and yells in Warren’s face. “You used to play sports! You used to have friends! You used to be cool!” he says. “Now you don’t even change your clothes!” Warren tells him to shut up, but Brandon continues. “The truth hurts, doesn’t it? Face it: you’re a freak, Worthington.” Warren, leaning forward to confront Brandon, neglects to contain his wings. They burst through his sweatshirt and fill the room with their grand plumage. Amanda and Brandon stare in utter amazement. Andrew, however, saw this coming.

Suddenly, the fire sprinklers activate and douse all four of the students. Brandon and Amanda begin griping. Warren, however, hears the strange voice inside his head again, this time convinced it is God’s. It tells him the building is on fire. He shouts to his friends that they need to get out, now! A Molotov cocktail suddenly crashes through the window, instantly igniting the room.

Outside, the man in black admires his work. It’s like driving heretic from the temple, he says.

Inside, Warren and his friends escape into the hallway only to see the entire building is burning. Stumbling through the flames is Mr. Zampelli, whose body is burning from head to toe. Amanda gasps in horror, and Warren realizes Zampelli was probably coming to warm them. Again, the voice speaks to Warren and tells him to use his gifts to save his friends. He leads the frightened students upstairs, through the suffocating smoke, and to the rooftop. Warren wonders how long the building will remain standing, but decides not to wait and see. Grabbing Andrew in one arm and Brandon and Amanda in the other, he leaps from the roof.

Warren has never carried this much weight before. He prays for the strength to stay aloft long enough to clear the building. As soon as he flies far enough from the flames, however, Warren quickly begins losing altitude and realizes they are crashing. He orders his friends to go limp and stay loose as they plummet toward the earth. Please, God, Warren prays, my life for theirs. They crash down. Fortunately, the muddy, rain-soaked ground below somewhat cushions their impact. Andrew’s leg breaks in the fall, but both Brandon and Amanda emerge uninjured. Warren breathes a sigh of relief; they made it. They’re alive.

The man in black, still holding Mary Margaret on her leash, intends to end that. After creeping up on the students from behind, the man points his shotgun in Warren’s face and calls him an abomination, whose every breath is a trespass against God.

Characters Involved: 

Warren Worthington III
Amanda Cobb (his ex-girlfriend)

Andrew Palmer (his roommate)

Brandon Hardy (his rival)

Father Gavin (St. Joseph’s headmaster)

Father Reynolds (St. Joseph’s ministry leader)

Matthew Zampelli (St. Joseph’s English teacher)
Mary Margaret
The Man in Black

Story Notes: 

Many events in this issue expand on the ones first depicted in Warren’s back-up story in X-Men (1st series) #54. In that story, he did dress as an angel, but only to preserve his identity while he saved his classmates from a burning building. The origin of that fire, however, was never stated.

Warren pretends to be the Archangel Michael, the Biblical figure often referred to as God’s Angel of Death. Warren undoubtedly encountered this character in the theology courses at St. Joseph’s, as he appears in several books in the Bible, including Daniel and Revelations. Warren later adopts the code-name Archangel in X-Factor (1st series) #39.

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