I’m not really sure how I came upon this series. I’m sure that the creators sent it to me, but I’ve fallen so far behind on reviews that I can’t remember when I got it. I just know that I was going through everything I had to review and was drawn to this series. I think that even if it wasn’t sent to me I would have discovered it on my own one day. The concept of the series is that angels and devils live in the same world and attend school together and so on and so forth. It’s a simple idea, but the execution of it is cute. I know I just said cute, but it is. It’s one of the cutest damn stories I’ve ever read and I’m not just referring to the art either. It’s cute in a way that makes you smile while reading it. You can’t help but enjoy its sometimes corny dialog or enjoy the nicest devil ever… Diva. The story begins on Diva’s first day of middle school. She doesn’t want to go and so her mom guilt’s her by saying that she’s going to fall in with the wrong crowd and start doing random acts of kindness and become a peace-loving earth-saving volunteering goodnick. Did I mention that Diva and her family are devils? You see they actually encourage Diva to get in trouble and do bad things because that’s what’s expected of her. Her dad talks her into going and so she puts her purse dog Cerby in her bag and heads to school.
At school she runs into some angel’s that she knows. The leader of the click, Angela, gives her a hard time and tells her that for a devil she’s not very good at being mean. After embarrassing herself she heads to class and runs into another Angel getting picked on by some devils. She helps the girl with her things that are spilled out on the floor and is asked if she wouldn’t be better suited picking on her than helping her. Diva holds her head down, but the girl changes the subject by asking about her dog. They introduce themselves to each other and it’s possible that Diva just made her first friend… an angel named Michelle. As they head to class, Diva notices an old man staring at them. She asks who he is and Michelle informs her that he’s the guidance counselor Mr. Virgil.
At lunch Diva talks to Michelle again, during which Michelle discovers that she forgot her lunch and Diva innocently offers to buy her lunch. Michelle refuses because she doesn’t want Diva to get in trouble for being nice. This draws the attention of Mr. Virgil again. When Diva arrives at home she finds her parents waiting for her with a note from the school. It’s actually quite funny because they have a standardized letter in which they circle when an angel is being bad or a devil is being good. In Diva’s case she was caught being good. Once her parents begin fighting over whose side of the family Diva’s gotten her goodness from, she sneaks out to get some fresh air.
As she’s walking she comes across a cat in a tree. She begins to have a moral conflict about whether or not she should save the cat or leave it, but her kind nature gets the best of her and she gets the cat out of the tree. Actually she falls out of the tree with the cat and discovers Mr. Virgil standing below her; caught with a third act of kindness in one day. Little does she know that these events will change her life as Mr. Virgil asks her to stop by his office the next day at school.
That’s about a third of the first anthology. The story continues as Diva is given a scepter that when used puts Diva in a disguise and then she’s to figure out what the scepter wants her to do with the disguise. From there the story continues with the mystery of what the scepter really is and what others will do to get their hands on it. Diva thinks that she can do good deeds in disguise, but also discovers that her task is not always kindness but balance.
I really enjoyed the story and while the student’s really didn’t act like middle schoolers, I was sucked into the story so much that I didn’t care. I enjoyed Diva’s character and her journey. Of course without a convincing setting and world, her journey would be for nothing. The dynamic of angels and devils living together, going to school together and even socializing to an extent, was fantastic. It’s not like stories haven’t tried to mix the two before, but to then take both parties and put them in an urban, middle class America setting was very entertaining. The supporting cast is also a strong aspect of the story; Angela the nasty angel being the perfect counter personality to her Diva’s kind devil demeanor. Mr. Virgil makes an interesting mentor for Diva since he was the previous owner of the scepter and is really hands off with his guidance unless it’s absolutely needed. In particular I enjoyed the parents and how happy they were when Diva did something bad or proud when they themselves were bad.
Both anthologies have a mixture of artists working on the series. For the most part there’s hardly a difference in style with a few exceptions. I actually liked the fact that it was an art team and that they were trying to deliver the most consistent look possible. It was hard not to fall in love with the first style since it’s the one you become the most accustomed to, but after the first switch it stops being noticeable and is never really distracting. As I said in the beginning the series is cute as hell. The character designs are great, but Diva is obviously the cutest looking. Even when she changes her outfit when using the scepter the team manages to give her something very cute and very “Diva” to wear.
If this became an animated series I would watch it in a heartbeat. I usually don’t go for cute books, ones that are so cute and sweet that they hurt your teeth, but this series is very charming. Each anthology is over 100 pages and I read both back to back and wanted more. It is a webcomic as well which you can read on their site via the “archives” section, but I really liked reading it in one big chunk. The series is actually looking for help on Kickstarter and they need it, so considering funding it or passing it on to someone else that might be interested. For me this was an entertaining story that I think all comic readers, young or old, experienced or new, could enjoy.
Writers: Joe Cashman and Peter Menotti (creator)
Artists: Stephen Hood and Team
Publisher: Angry Viking Press
Price: $12.99 Each