Angel: Revelations #5

Issue Date: 
November 2008
Story Title: 
“Senior Year” Book Five of Five: Graduation/Ascension

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: 

Warren and his friends stand defenseless in front of the shotgun-wielding madman. Warren pleads with him to reconsider, but the man, believing he is fulfilling God’s will, pulls the trigger. Mary Margaret, however, suddenly believes in Warren’s goodness and potential and pushes the barrel away. Brandon distracts the man while the others flee into the woods. After realizing the futility of hiding, however, Warren emerges from the shadows and attacks the man in black head-on. He grabs the man’s gun and lifts him high into the air, but the religious zealot, believing himself accountable only to God’s law, shakes free and falls to his death. Warren and his friends regroup and return to the dorms. Mary Margaret implores Warren to keep his secret until the right time, a secret his friends promise to keep. Things finally settle down, and after Warren graduates, he decides to become the hero Mary Margaret believed him to be.

Full Summary: 

Warren stands in the rain and stares at the stranger who means to kill him. In his head, he composes a letter to his parents he fully intends to write… assuming he lives through this encounter. The man in black, his lanky figure outlined by the blazing inferno that used to be the St. Joseph’s dormitory, locks Warren in the sights of his rifle and calls him a hellspawn and an abomination. Behind Warren, his friends exhibit a variety of emotions. Brandon Hardy curses the man for killing their English teacher, Mr. Zampelli. Andrew Palmer frantically urges Warren to get them out of there. Amanda Cobb frankly can’t believe her ex-boyfriend has wings. Warrren, however, doesn’t flinch. “Please,” he says to the man, calmly opening his arms. He asks what the man thinks he is doing.

“The will of the Lord,” the man interrupts. “Purging the world of evil.” Warren tries to tell him they aren’t evil. After all, they are not the ones who just burned down a school and killed an innocent person. In response, the man simply calls Warren a deceiver, through whom the Lord of Lies speaks.

My words weren’t having any effect on him, Mom and Dad, Warren will later write in a letter to his parents, though there was someone who did hear. A little girl who looked into my face – and saw something there – something bigger than me, or her, or that crazy guy – and did something that surprised everyone, I think. As the man in black fires his shotgun, Mary Margaret pushes the barrel away with a stick. The shot goes wildly astray. Warren thanks God he is still alive.

The madman, cursing at the girl for her meddling, neglects to watch his hostages. In that moment, Brandon lunges forward and knocks the man to the ground. Run, he tells Warren! Take Amanda and Palmer and run! Warren, however, refuses to flee. The man gets back up and kicks Brandon in the face. As the horrified Amanda watches from Warren’s arms, Brandon is beaten over the head with the butt of the shotgun. Warren finally leads his two frightened friends away and into the woods, promising them he will go back for Brandon. However, when he looks back over his shoulder, he sees that the man in black has already finished with Brandon and is now coming for them, dragging Mary Margaret along with him by her leash.

The hunter enters the woods but sees no sign of the children. He offers Mary Margaret a chance to redeem herself by leading him through the dark forest. The little girl hesitates. She caught a glimpse of Warren’s destiny and saw the great things he will accomplish in the future with the help of others like him. The man scoffs at her. “Remember who you serve, child,” he says to her. “Remember why the Lord Almighty placed you in my care.” After they exterminate Warren, she will lead him to these others as well, he says.

Elsewhere, Warren flies the injured Andrew to the safety of a tree branch high up in the canopy. As he leaves to rescue Amanda, Andrew blurts out a question: that hunter guy is after Warren, right? He’s doing what he’s doing because of Warren, isn’t he? A solemn look graces Warren’s face, and he pauses for a moment before answering. “I’ll stop him, Andrew. No one else is gonna die tonight.”

When he returns to rescue Amanda, he finds she does not want to hide; she wants to go back with Warren and help the injured Brandon. Warren argues with her, but the crack of the rifle nearby ends the conversation prematurely. Bark chips rain down on Amanda’s head; the shot missed her head by only a meter. She runs as fast as she can into the woods. Warren, meanwhile, soars up into the air and silently loops behind the hunter. As the man stalks through the darkness, shouting that his Lord’s eyes and arms guide him, Warren prays for help. He asks the voice who helped him before to speak up again and give him guidance. The hunter, meanwhile, compares Warren’s gift to the mark put upon Cain by God. Warren remains hidden for as long as he can, but when the hunter announces that God speaks to him, he finally shows himself.

“Actually, cretin,” Warren says, “…God talks to me. And He says this insanity ends now!!” He plunges full-speed at the man in black, connecting just in time to point the barrel of the gun in a safe direction. He’s neither an abomination, nor a deceiver, nor a hellspawn, nor a desecrator. He’s an angel, Warren says as he flies into the sky with the hunter still hanging from the gun. Theologically, being an angel may place him below God, but it certainly positions himself above this man trying to kill him.

They fly dizzyingly higher and higher into the air. The man tells Warren he will burn in Hell. Warren denies it, and tells the madman he will be going to jail. The hunter sneers; he serves no law but God’s. Offering a quiet prayer for grace, the madman lets go of the gun and falls from the heights.

He didn’t make a sound, Mom and Dad, Warren will later write in his letter. He didn’t yell, he didn’t gasp, he didn’t anything. As if there wasn’t any doubt in his mind…that God would take care of him in the end.

Warren returns to the ground but finds no trace of the man’s body. If he landed in the river running through campus, he may have been carried away. Before he can contemplate this much further, Amanda, holding Mary Margaret by the hand, arrives. She urges him to get Andrew so they can go and help Brandon.

Encased in the soft plumage of Warren’s wings, Andrew, Amanda, and Mary Margaret limp out of the woods. As they approach the dorms, they are relieved to see Brandon standing and rubbing the back of his head. “Please tell me the psycho with the rifle is dead,” he says. Amanda could not be happier to see him. She leaps into his arms and their lips meet. Once the couple’s moment passes, Brandon limps over to Warren and commends him for saving their lives. He even calls him a hero. Warren, politely rejecting the compliment, calls Brandon the hero; he is just a guy with wings.

The police and the fire department finally arrive to put out the inferno in the dorms. While the others feel reassurance at their arrival, Warren feels dread at the prospect of being discovered. He turns his back and hides himself in his wings. Mary Margaret, who calls Warren “Angel,” tells him to fly back to his room and hide. “The world’s not ready for…revelation,” she says. Her wisdom frightens him; indeed he is not ready to reveal himself yet. Just as he wonders how he will keep it a secret, his friends speak up and promise to keep quiet. They won’t say a word until Warren says it is okay…if he ever does. Warren thanks them as flies back to his room.

Later, Brandon informs Warren about what they told the police. Except for the parts about the man coming specifically for Warren and his wings, they told the truth. Brandon also tells him what they learned about Mary Margaret. The man had been dragging her all of the country, killing the people with gifts like Warren’s. The police never learn of Mary Margaret’s own gifts, however.

Graduation day arrives. Warren, sitting by himself in his graduation robe, pulls a crumpled piece of notebook paper out of his pocket. It’s a drawing sent to him by Mary Margaret, who now lives with a foster family. It depicts Warren, with his wings unfurled, wearing a red and white outfit and flying over some friends. With him are a bald man in a chair, a boy with a line across his eyes, a furry, animal-like man, and a boy who resembles a crude snowman. Warren cherishes the drawing despite having no idea what it means.

Andrew catches him looking at the drawing and asks what he is reading. Nothing, Warren says as he folds it up. He asks how Andrew is coping with his crutches. Better, Andrew responds. He sits down next to Warren and asks him a question: whose voice was it that spoke to him the night of the fire? God’s? “I…I don’t know if it was God, or someone else, trying to help,” Warren says. Yeah, but Andrew asks who he thinks that “someone” might be. Warren has no answer. He just hopes he will meet the man someday.

As he waits his turn to walk across the graduation stage, Warren recalls the first letter of disclosure he wrote to his parents. He tore that letter apart instead of giving it to them. He plans on rewriting it and giving it to them, along with the letter he is currently writing in his head. However, he will not do this until they are ready. Judging by their inattentive behavior at Warren’s graduation ceremony, he decides the time of revelation is far off.

Warren’s name is called by the orator, and he crosses the stage with pride. Brandon and Amanda give him a standing ovation and holler his name, while Andrew gleefully applauds. Father Gavin shakes his hand and gives him his diploma. Warren offers his sincerest thanks and smiles for the ceremony’s photographer. Now that high school Is over, he wonders what he will do next. College? Take a year off? Work for his father? Who knows? Or maybe Mary Margaret’s drawing had the right idea.

Later, dressed in his red and white body suit and a halo symbol adorning his chest, Angel soars above the clouds and into the limitless potential that awaits him.

Characters Involved: 

Warren Worthington III

Amanda Cobb (his girlfriend)

Andrew Palmer (his roommate)

Brandon Hardy (his rival)

Mary Margaret

The Man in Black

Father Gavin (St. Joseph’s headmaster)

Margaret Worthington (Warren’s mother)

Warren Worthington II (Warren’s father)

Unnamed photographer

Story Notes: 

The majority of this issue is narrated by Warren as he mentally composes a letter to his parents.

“Apostate” is a pejorative used against one who seemingly forsakes his religion.

The Man in Black’s insinuation that Warren bears “the mark of Cain,” and therefore must be killed, is somewhat ironic. In the Biblical book of Genesis, after Cain murdered his brother Abel, God put a mark upon Cain not to end his life, but to prolong it; the mark indicated to those Cain met that he was not to be killed under any circumstances. Either the madman in this issue forgot his early Bible study lessons or he was willing to suffer the wrath of God seven times over.
While certainly lovely, Warren did not don the Angel outfit pictured at the end of this issue until much later, in Champions #8.

The picture Mary Margaret gives Warren is obviously a drawing of the original X-Men, but the voice Warren heard in Angel: Revelations #4 remains intentionally unclear. Because Warren is recruited by the X-Men soon after these events, however, it would be safe to assume the speaker was Professor X.

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