Reviewed by: Azure
Released by: Aurora Publishing
Publishing Country: UK
Author: Shoko Hamada
Age Rating: 13+
Page Count: 208
Shea lives a quiet life with his brother and sister, Pearl and Matt. Shea’s sister is one of a huge number of teenagers who follow the boy-band Angelaid, whose signature look includes wearing angel wings; a massive number of their fans have copied their look and do the same. One day after suffering a slight fever and back pain, a pair of wings bursts from Shea’s back fearful of what might happen Shea refuses to go outside. Matt sends a tape of Shea to the press, and Shea becomes and instant celebrity. It seems Shea isn’t the only person to undergo a transformation, a strange disease called " Angelosis" has been transforming people for some time.
It’s hard to know if Flock of Angels wants to be taken seriously, when the public discover the existence of Angelosis most of them act positively and Shea attains instant celebrity putting him on par with the hearth throbs from Angelaid. The most remarkable part of Shea’s transformation as far as the manga is concerned isn’t really the physical one it’s from student to instant international celebrity.
Whilst negative reactions are talked about in the book most of it seems focuses on the past with reports of the extermination of imprisonment of the angels, but there’s nothing like the contemporary anti-mutant reaction from comics like X-men. Shea does face some dangers from individuals, but there’s not mass campaign against them. In fact it’s revealed the government has been protecting Angelosis suffers, since it’s research has found no harmful side effects of the virus. Shea meets Kanai, a government operative charged with helping and protecting the ‘angels’.
Much of the book deals with Shea’s new found fame and reactions to his Angelosis. He’s stalked by the paparazzi, and snatched by an Angel collector. The hardest part of his fame is the responsibly it burdens with him, because of Matt’s exposure and the governments acknowledgement of the truth suddenly Shea is the symbol of Angelosis. Kanai offers him the chance to go into hiding, but warns whatever he does will set an example for others; if he stays with his family and keeps generating a positive image for Angelosis then Shea could very well be helping all the other ‘angels’ out there. The trouble is fame brings its own problems, just how many of the people he meets want him just for his wings?
The art is extremely strong, making full use of the large amount of winged bishonen. The line art is fine and flowing in typical shojo fashion, tones are uses throughout, though the backgrounds tend to be sparse.
Aurora have printed Flock of Angels on extremely thick good quality paper, this means that the print quality is also high with the blacks solid and unbroken. This lends a real weight to the book, though it does make it hard to read in places since the pages are a little stiff and inflexible.
Flock of Angels is an interesting manga, on one hand it’s utterly silly ( a disease called Angelosis?!), on the other it can really hit home as Shea struggles to understand what has happened to him. As a whole, the story is flawed but very touching. A manga for those who like their bishonen with wings on their back and hearts on their sleeves.