Dean: I thought angels were supposed to be guardians. Fluffy wings, halos — You know, Michael Landon. Not dicks. Castiel: Read the Bible. Angels are warriors of God. I'm a soldier.
— Supernatural, "Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester"
Lots of works include angels, but not always the same kind of angels. Oftentimes, a creator will try and put a unique spin on his or her angels.
Angels in fiction tend, by default, to be of a vaguely Abrahamic nature, and may or may not have big fluffy feathery wings or Holy Halos. They generally are found doing God's will as part of some sort of grand plan, helping mortals (sometimes incognito), or otherwise staying aligned with Good.
Angelic names, by the way, traditionally tend to end in "-el" (meaning "of God"), such as in the Archangel Michael.
The prospective angel has many options available for customization:
In a similar tangent; do they have Free Will? Other than turning Fallen Angel; often Angels have such absolute behavior fixations that simply considering options is physically painful. Often humans will get angels upset with them with inappropriate questions or observations because the angel can't think that way. In this way, they can be as alien as The Fair Folk.
Are they Winged Humanoids? Although now standard, this depiction is actually a relatively recent idea. In their earliest appearances in Jewish and Christian art and literature, angels either appear fully human, or else they look like some sort of Eldritch Abomination — six wings, four faces, a wheel of fire with eyes lining the rim — you name it. Benevolent or not, these angels were the stuff of nightmares. They didn't traditionally introduce themselves with "Fear not!" for nothing. Those that were winged tended to stay in heaven, or looked... different.
Can they fall from grace? And if so, do they become Demons, Fallen Angels, or can they become human? If a central character is an angel, expect an answer to this one; otherwise, tends to be left vague. May be able to fall in love with a mortal and give up their angelic nature.
For that matter, can humans become angels? Most religions that believe in angels regard them as an entirely different species from humanity. (A notable exception is Mormonismnote which believes that all angels either were human once, or have not yet become human but will in the future.) But it's a very common folk belief that humans become angels when they die, though they might have to earn their wings.
How powerful are they?Winged Humanoids and angels are sometimes weak or at least easily damaged when their supernatural aspect is missing or not played up. More often however, they are portrayed as divinely powerful badasses. They do go toe to toe with demons, after all, and are canonically more powerful than human beings.
Angels in The Bible can belong to several classes. The Bible doesn't mention an exact ranking for these classes; only the "archangel" class is mentioned as being higher than the others, with the other classes presumably being of the same rank but having different job descriptions.
Note also that in the Old Testament, many Mysterious Stranger characters actually do not identify themselves as angels. They can be labeled angels only by oral tradition (a good clue is a plot-pivotal character whose origins are not stated, and who deflects any questions about his name).
Archangel — The highest class. Michael is the only angel specified to hold this rank in the Protestant and Jewish Bible canons. It's worth noting that "arch-" as a prefix has a dictionary definition along the lines of "preeminent among all others of its kind," so linguistically there should only ever be one archangel (or arch-Enemy, or arch-Anything).
Elders — There are 24 of this class as mentioned in Revelation.
Ezekiel mentions a set of four angels of this class having four faces: that of a lion, ox, man, and eagle. They also have two pairs of wings. (In other words, they are the angels most likely to fit the page image.) Each is stationed alongside one of the four Ophanim, meaning "wheels", which look like eye-covered interlocking chariot wheels at the four corners of God's "chariot".
In Revelation, John mentions another set of four angels classified among the Cherubim, similar yet different to those mentioned in Ezekiel. These each have a single face: one with the face of a lion, another an ox, another a man, and the last an eagle. These have three pairs of wings that are covered in eyes. They are stationed around God's throne.
Cherubim — (singular Cherub) The Bible is not clear on if Cherubim are a separate class from the aforementioned living creatures or not, but according to Jewish tradition, normal angels of this choir were human looking. Both the Ark of the Covenant and Solomon's Temple included images of angels of this class in their design that seem a little closer to Ezekiel's description though.
Seraphim — (singular Seraph) Mentioned by Isaiah to have six wings, four of which are used to cover themselves. Their name means "burning ones".
Angels — These are the ordinary inhabitants of Heaven; if something needs doing on earth, these are the guys who generally do it. Also often used as a generic term for all members of the heavenly hosts, of whatever rank or species.
Angels in Christian Tradition
There is also a traditional celestial hierarchy of angels, which comes from an early Christian writing by one "Dionysius" (thus, the ranking and some of the angelic classes themselves are not found in The Bible). It divides angels into the following nine "Choirs" ordered from greatest to least, of which only the first and last two are commonly seen in art and literature:
Seraphim — (singular Seraph) Traditionally six-winged, red, and fiery; represent God's love. The reason they have six wings is to cover their true form, which is so bright and glorious that all who gaze upon it (sometimes including lesser angels) are incinerated instantly. They are also associated with snakes (their name is a corruption of "sarap," "fiery," more often than not connected with the word "nahash," "serpent"). Some traditions say their leader is Seraphiel, others say it's Michael. (Michael is an "archangel", but this doesn't necessarily mean he belongs to the second-lowest choir.) Satan used to be one of these (hence his six wings in Dante's The Divine Comedy). If they're not covered and won't set you on fire, they're described as handsome... but tall, terrifying, fiery, and speaking in Earth-shaking (quite literally) voices.
Cherubim — (singular Cherub) Tend to be depicted in blue, or as blue (or red, or lots of different colors); represent God's knowledge and act as soldiers and guardian angels. St. Gabriel is Head Cherub. In The Middle Ages, often misunderstood to be a single angel named "Cherubin." In The Renaissance, the Putti, chubby little children or even a chubby face between two or more wings, were later confused with Cherubim (or even Seraphim, as in this painting◊ by Ghirlandaio).
Thrones or Ophanim — Hold up God's throne, or are the living wheels of His chariot. They serve as the headquarters of the Virtues and the Upper Choirs and control the natural laws as well as being the bringers of God's justice who represent His authority (and badassery). They have the most alien physical descriptions of all the angels: wheels nested within wheels, constantly spinning, with rims covered in eyes. They may be "beryl-colored" (probably a greeny-yellow) and/or on fire.
Virtues — Not mentioned in Protestant and Jewish Bible canons. Traditionally wear armor and swords and are considered to control the heavenly bodies. They live in the Thrones. The previous three choirs form the bulk of the heavenly army.
Powers — Not mentioned in Protestant and Jewish Bible canons. Carry flaming swords and chains to bind The Devil; serve as guardians. In Christian tradition the Angel with the Flaming Sword in Eden was one of these, the Archangel Jophiel. Are considered Angels Of Justice and are considered perfect, incorruptible ultimate angels created by God himself. (Sound familiar?) Naturally some beliefs list Satan as a former Power.
Principalities — Not mentioned as a group in Protestant and Jewish Bible canons, but the Book of Daniel refers to a spirit that Gabriel calls "the Prince of Persia."note Note that the "Prince of Persia" is mentioned as being in opposition to Michael and Gabriel, so the competing Alternative Character Interpretation is that the "Prince of Persia" and later mentioned "Prince of Greece" are actually both demons. Gabriel also identifies Michael as the Prince of Israel. Principalities traditionally bear armor and swords, and watch over rulers and nations. As well as acting as the head of a specific group of angels.
Archangels — According to apocryphal works there are seven, including Michael, Gabriel (mentioned in The Bible canon but only as a normal angel), and Raphael (appears in the deuterocanonical book of Tobit). (Names for the others, such as Zadkiel, Uriel, and Ithuriel, don't seem to have caught on.) Each archangel is the head of one of the remaining upper choirs.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, there are seven major archangels; however, other than the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael the names of the others vary radically. Also the arrangement of the choirs and the status of archangels vary. In Christianity, archangels often embody a particular function or idea: for instance, Raphael is the archangel of Healing, Raguel the archangel of justice and Jegudiel of politics.
Raphael means something along the lines of "God heals" in Hebrew. No idea if there's any connection between the names of the others and their supposed spheres.
Angels — Used as a name of an angelic choir, these are usually the lowest rung of the hierarchy. They function as messengers to and from Earth. Though of course, "angel" is also a general term for all members of the nine choirs, just as "archangel" is a general term for an angel in authority over other angels.
Angel Soft toilet paper angels look like putti in hard hats.
Anime & manga
The Godhand from Berserk are referred to as Five Angels despite looking demonic. Powerful elemental beings are also seen as angels by the Crystal Dragon Jesus church.
However, in all honesty, aside from being called Angels and sharing some names, they don't seem to resemble Supernatural Cosmic Entities or Messengers/Servants of a Higher Power at all, but rather just Alien Invaders for all practical purposes.
In Japanese, they are called the shito, the term used for the disciples of Jesus by Japanese Christians, hence a more appropriate translation would be 'Apostles'. Though this still isn't a very apt description of what they are.
The Swedish translation of the manga sticks to calling them Apostles.
Angel Sanctuary — Where they do drugs, have reincarnated incestuous lesbian relationships, and brainwash people through video games. Also, some have disabilities, some are born with only one wing, Metatron is a perpetual infant, and Rosiel doesn't just go batshit insane; in the end, he starts aging backwards and decaying in the first place. Also, Rosiel's beauty is because he removed Alexiel's skin and grafted it onto his own body. Let's face it, Rosiel is about as far into WTF territory as you can get.
M. Alice Legrow's Bizenghast has the souls set free from torment turn into angels with long white robes and haloes of flame.
Funnily enough, the Angel-type mon seem to be one of the most powerful types overall — Angemon manages to single-handedly destroy a Big Bad that the rest combined couldn't touch, and he only digivolves into MagnaAngemon, at the end of the show. Although only an Ultimate-Level digimon, seems to be able to fight on even grounds or even with an upper hand, against Mega-Level digimon.
There is a list of the more well known one's on Digimon's work page.
The Angels of Mnemosyne appear to be a total aversion of the traditional angel archetype. They're former male humans who have had a time spore put into them, have flesh-like wings and monstrous features (including gold eyes with red sclerae), work for the Big Bad who considers himself to be a God, but are monstrous creatures that continually hunt the immortal women of the story in order to consume their time spores. However, right at the end of the series, Rin ingests Tajimamori's angel time spore and sprouts feathery wings when she takes over as the protector of Yggdrasil.
In Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, angels are called Ancients. They were the original inhabitants of the world, and can take various shapes, from the typical Winged Humanoid (Michel) to the Small Annoying Creature with a human head and halo who otherwise looks like a bird (Fuku). It's implied that the Winged Ones, who are all winged Petting Zoo People and sometimes act as other mythological creatures (vampire, fairy, etc.), are also Ancients from a certain point of view, but the species as a whole is given the stereotypical characteristics of angels.
Earthian's angels oversee Earth in pairs from their place on Eden. Each pair is made up of an angel who gives humans (also called "Earthians") positive points for good deeds and another angel who gives them negative points for bad actions. If the total point tally ever reaches 10,000 negatives, the angels will destroy Earth. The angels are classic light-haired and white-winged humanoids, with the exception of one of the main characters who has dark hair and wings like those of Lucifers, or fallen angels. They're also forbidden from having same-sex relations, which creates a quandary for the two very male main characters.
The angels of Ah! My Goddess are Winged HumanoidCute Mutes, except when singing — or at least the audience can't hear their speaking voices. They serve as the personifications of goddesses' souls. They also hatch from minuscule eggs. It should be noted that since the goddesses (and demons) are actually ten dimensional horrors who disguise themselves as human so that they don't scare everyone they meet shitless (they're scary enough to strip away a man's sanity), the angels are probably just as or even more terrifying.
Most angels appear to mostly be decent/lawful neutral guys, but if separated from Heaven, they will go absolutely berserk in their attempts to get back. While they will try to get back in the least destructive way possible, if all other options are lost, they literally have no choice but to cause widespread destruction (like nuclear war levels of destruction) in order to fuel their re-ascent.
Chronologically, the first angel we see is an artificial science angel, born from the Level-Upper Network. It is a strange, fetus-like creature that lashes out at anything nearby, and is driven by the collective rage and despair of the ten thousand linked espers that created it.
Kazakiri Hyouka is another artificial angel, born of the AIM Diffusion field. Although under normal circumstances she's just a human-shaped shell with a really good Healing Factor, with the right stimulus she can become a creature capable of putting an Anti-Magic field over the entire city.
Certain espers can also "Awaken," which allows them to awaken their angelic forms, presumably having something to do with AIM fields. A level 6 esper is basically an angel.
In chapter 61 of A Certain Scientific Railgun, using information gathered from the Level Upper incident, Misaki Shokuhou's Amplifier Artifact is stolen and used to force Mikoto Misaka to join with the MISAKA Network, causing her to undergo the level 6 Shift and Awakening her angel form. It's explained that at 53%, she'll lose her human mind (presumably when she passes the point of no return and becomes a true angel), and at 100% she'll destroy herself and the city (when she tries to ascend to Heaven, but fails because there is no more room for any more angels).
And finally, there is the greatest secret of Academy City, known by the code-word DRAGON: the otherworldly being known as Aiwass. It is an existence somewhat similar to an angel, but obviously different at the same time. Nobody really knows anything about Aiwass (You Cannot Grasp the True Form being in full effect), though what is known is that it is the single most powerful entity yet introduced.
In Shattered Angels, they come in the form of "Absolute Angels," a 4-girl strong race of genetically created superhumans capable of turning into a mecha style combat power armour or just transmorificating parts of their body into different parts of the mechas. Also, they feed by absorbing life force from normies through a kiss and are each a warrior-slave to a member of the douchebaggy Ayanokojo family, except Tarlotte who's more of a daughter to her Ayanokoji.
In the anime version of Chrono Crusade, Father Remington claims that he's "not unlike an angel," leading many fans to speculate that he's a fallen angel. (He's shown to live over a century, so there's something up with him.)
In the Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne Manga, angels are the souls of strong people in Purgatory (sort of, since Heaven's actually a nice place). They can't consciously remember their human lives and are only allowed to be reborn in human form if they manage to gather enough sacred energy for God. Those who waste their sacred energy, though...
The Proxies of Ergo Proxy are sort of like angels, although the word is never used. They exist to fulfill the will of a Creator i.e., humans who fled from Earth in the far past, and have nearly god-like powers. Two of those shown, Kazki's Proxy and Monad Proxy have wings, and the former calls to mind Fallen Angel imagery (he's an evil bishonen whose true form is a black, horned creature). There's also the fact that Ergo Proxy the protagonist Vincent, thus an Angel Unaware calls to mind the Angel of Death with his Catch Phrase, "I am Ergo Proxy, the agent of death."
In Koi Cupid, cupids exist to bring couples together so their baby can be born.
In Trinity Blood, both Cain and Abel can transform into 4-winged angel-like beings when their Crusnik powers are activated, with Cain having white wings and Abel having black wings, respectively. Aside from the obvious Cain and Abel parallel, they also serve as analogies to other angels, for example Cain is a fairly obvious stand-in for Lucifer, particularly with his "fell to Earth" backstory.
Well, they were Banned From Heaven and have to literally buy their way back in. And Stocking turns out to actually be a Demon
Nadeshiko Kinomoto from Cardcaptor Sakura. An already rather angelic-looking woman (by conventional Western definition of "angelic"), she died and got a pair of wings in Heaven.
Genesis of Aquarion: our angels are, put bluntly, weird. In order: their morality is myopicat best; while some of them (most notably Apollonius, Touma and Futaba) are Winged Humanoids (and some of them even have feathers for hair), they vary enough to include sphinx-like figures and their Looming Menacing Bat-Winged Leader With The Helmet (™); yes, they are supernatural…kind of…we think; yes, most of them are indeed jerks; they are fairly humanesque, although they would vigorously deny this; and they cannot fall from any kind of divine grace per se, although Apollonius certainly gave it his best effort. Other differences: they are capable of breeding with humans, with a couple of major characters being descended from Apollonius and the human warrior Celiane; they reproduce by means of the Tree of Life, which has to be illuminated by Solarwing's power before it will be restored; their feathers can store information, and can be implanted into a human to grant superhuman piloting ability at the cost of hideous pain; and they treat humanity as livestock, harvesting us to feed our life energy to the Tree.
One Piece has a few examples, the natives of Sky Island being the most obvious. Their wings are never seen or mentioned to be functional. In fact, the only person who seems to comment at all on their appearance is Sanji, and only with respect to the women. The fact that the Shandorians seem to have had wings even before they were, ahem, relocated just makes it more peculiar. Also, in the 10th movie, the villagers of the levitating islands suddenly sprout wings and fly to freedom when their island prison is destroyed. Prior to this, the slight feathering on their arms are only tentatively described as existing because they "Wish to become birds."
In Bloody Cross, the only pure blood angel shown is Tsuduki, who tends to act childish, immature and manipulative. He also doesn't appear to have wings or any other angelic features. The Manga also features a number of half-angels, who are all cursed to die when they turn 18 because of their heritage.
Heaven's Lost Property has Ikaros, a "Angeloid" that fell out of the sky. She, like every Angeloid, grants every command the "master" gives, even going so far as attempting to kill herself after mistaking a bad joke as a command.
In Dr. Slumpthey look like little winged people without reproductive organs. They also have antennae that shoots lightning. Earth's god put an angel egg on the planet to ensure humanity would remain primitive since other species did terrible things with advanced technology. Angels can replicate by eating enough metal which ensures there would be none of that if human beings discovered how to refine ore.
In the vampire comic book Crimson, angels are invisible but tangible winged humanoids with odd tattoos. People with special goggles can kill them so they can eat them, as angel blood gives a narcotic effect. If an angel disobeys orders, they're demoted into a mortal, but if they live out a good human life they can ascend to being an angel again after death. The archangel Michael thinks he's in charge of them all, but he and the other archangels aside from Satan are total assholes, and God is really pulling all their strings for benevolent reasons. Satan is the only one who realizes this and seems content at the situation.
Preacher: Fitting right in with the comic's views on religion, angels are not shown in a very flattering light. Two in particular are singled out as being ineffectual middle management types and chinless wonders. When one of them tries to dazzle Jesse Custer with the glory of the Heavenly Host, he is immediately told to "cut the shit."
So far, we've seen two classes of angel as they appear within the universe of the Hellboy comic, neither of which really fit the well-known winged humanoid archetype. The Grigori, or Watchers, which look more or less like human skeletons on fire & the Seraphim, which apparently resemble giant grubs with black mask-like faces & wings made from flayed human skin.
Nobel Kale becomes an angel when he's in hell! (On Earth, he's just a spirit who possesses people.)
The Johnny Blaze version of the Ghost Rider later rewrote the evil demon trapped inside Johnny into a misunderstood angel that had basically snuck in when he sold his soul. Also there are evil angels, particularly, you know, Zadkiel.
When first introduced into the universe, Angels tended too look like energy beings. Dem Bones was the closest they got to looking like people. They've mostly appeared as winged humanoids since the 2000s.
Earth-born angels. Earth-born angels are formed when someone sacrifices themselves to save someone without hope, causing the two to merge together. There are three Earth-born angels; the Angel of Fire, the Angel of Love and the Angel of Light. During the run of the Peter DavidSupergirl title the Angel of Fire was Supergirl (who manifested flaming wings and enhanced heat vision), the Angel of Love was Comet (who had icy wings and emotion manipulation) and the Angel of Light was Blythe (who had glowing wings and could project light … and was working for a demon called the Carnivore).
The Spectre. The personification of God's Wrath is often referred to as an angel, but it's not clear where he fits in. One interpretation (based on Neil Gaiman's original The Books of Magic mini) is that he's one of the original archangels who made a really stupid, not necessarily evil, mistake when the world was young and God wants him to work it off. Current continuity has him as an aspect of God given independent existence, outside of the standard angelic hierarchy, with his fellow aspects of God (like the Radiant) as peers.
And then there's Azrael. While he's not a real angel, his appearance, for whatever unfathomable reason, immediately just shouts "angel" in the minds of any DCU citizens he comes across.
The Mind ScrewyWarren EllisHellstorm series introduced the Asura, AKA the Assassins of Heaven, typical Winged Humanoid angels who prove Light Is Not Good by fanatically trying to stamp out free will, figuring that to be the source of evil. They later get retconned as a race of bird-people (of which several exist in the Marvel Universe) altered by magic, rather than actual angels, and the "God" they follow as the arch-demon Chthon trying to eliminate the competition, or something. Asuras were introduced again as the guardians of heaven's gates. Mainly so Zadkiel would have more targets.
Bill, the Angel of the Lord in Proposition Player, looks less like an angel and more like a freakishly muscled mafia legbreaker, who tries to scare the protagonist into giving up his attempts to get into the soul business and who generally abuses his position as a henchman in the most powerful religion for petty reasons like sex. (He apparently sent a guy to hell just so he could take his girl, and tries to force a minor goddess into having sex with her.) His boss Michael furthers the mafia stereotype; he arranges for the casino to explode and kill many of the people who sold their souls, and tortures the protagonist's girlfriend. He even delivers a short lecture on certain aspects of torture at one point. And he wears barbed wire under his clothes.
Johnny the Homicidal Maniac has a few weird ones, ranging from vaguely humanoid things with no ears & goggles built into their heads to angel bunny things that are less beings in their own right & more part of the scenery of Heaven. Also features a Throne that trades the flaming wheel look for that of a spindly technorganic monster... with a recliner on his back.
The angels in The Sandman (and Lucifer) are mainly warriors. The exception is cherubim which are balls of light that communicate in emotions. To elaborate, Remiel and Duma (angel of silence) are shown as two blonde, half naked winged Bishonen whose feet "never touch the impure ground." They ended up ruling in hell, with...mixed results to say the least. They are also pretty gay.
Angel, of X-Men, is explicitly stated from the beginning to be a mutant who just happens to have various flying mutations invluding big white fluffy wings. Except, of course, later developments made him a descendant of Nephilim, along with Nightcrawler, and added healing blood to his powers.
Divangelic from Empowered is a pair of Conjoined Twins - her left half, Charity, is an angel, but her right half, Vanity, is a devil. The mind boggles...
Spawn trots out a variety of angels over the years, almost all of them falling into the broad Light Is Not Good category and employing an "Ends justify the means" rationale in the war against Hell.
Evangelion fic Nobody Dies takes Eva's Angels Up to Eleven. In this story, the Angels appear to be more or less immortal (though not invincible), can spawn life in their own image (though they need to combine with Adam to do this across the whole Earth), and their physical bodies appear to be only part of the creature, with their minds a separate and eternal form on another plane of reality. In addition, several "orders" of Angels have been identified: the canon Angels appear to be the Archangels, other than them, we also have the Cherubim, Dominions (only one has appeared), Thrones (only one has appeared), Grigori, and it's hinted the Seraphim will soon be appearing. Each order is equally as alien as the main set, but differ in their goals and power levels to some extent. Angel/human hybrids are termed Nephilem.
A Seraphim had already appeared, it just wasn't known. Leliel, the Dirac Sea, is one of them. There's also the bizarre hybrid of Lilim, Grigori, and Archangel known as 02EfA9iel, created by one of Kei's mindbabies taking a prototype Grigori-based Eva way beyond it's operational limits in Six AI's, One Continent. Finally, Rei appears to be something like the Lilith-based version of an Angel.
The Discworld fanfic The Discworld Tarot portrays the angel Sandalfoot, Guardian Of The High And Most Mystic Arcanum of the Caroc Cards, as a harassed junior bureaucrat tasked with keeping the costs down - especially the wages bill - by issuing redundancy notices to six out of the eight Virtues. Who, being strong-minded attitudinal ladies, give him a really hard time.
In the setting of Sonic X: Dark Chaos, Angels are Human Aliens who were originally slaves to the Demon Empire before they launched a massive rebellion and gained their independence. Humans themselves are descended from them. Their close ethnic counterparts, the Jews and the Muslims, are also Human Aliens.
One of the protagonists' original complaints about the title character in Michael is that they "thought they were cleaner." Michael, being an archangel (and one of God's Storm Troopers), cheerfully indicates that he's "not that kind of angel." He also smoked heavily and used his angelic powers to seduce women, but did have big fluffy wings (although the feathers fell out as he neared the end of his time on Earth). As the Tagline said, "He's an Angel, not a Saint."
Hellboy II: The Angel of Death.note Or possibly AN Angel of Death, as she specifically states that she's "Hellboy's Death." To say that this angel is very weird is a massive understatement. Guillermo Del Toro apparently based "her" on Mexican angel paintings which depict them as having eyes on the wings (maybe the biblical weird looking angels weren't forgotten after all…). Also doubles as a Dark Is Not Evil example as being at worst neutral and by having the wings coloured black.
In Dogma, If they have their wings cut off, it transforms them into humans (which apparently doesn't work for demons or fallen angels), and they can't drink alcohol (although that was mainly a restriction put on them after one angel had a few too many and insulted The Big Man). Metatron is said to have 36 wings with eyes and mouths all over his body, each mouth said to speak a different language, but in the movie he only had 2 wings, even though he did first manifest as a torrent of flame. The other two angels of the film, although disgraced, seem to have powers retaining to their old posts, with Bartleby, a grigori, knowing everyone's personal history by looking at them, and Loki, the angel of death, mentioned to be able to "rain sulfur" (although he doesn't seem to enjoy doing so). When in battle, both are (nearly) invulnerable to our mortal protagonists.
Also, angels are as anatomically impaired as a Ken doll, which appears to be a mistake at first, as according to Genesis angels are very capable of doing the deed and making Half Human Hybrids, but It makes sense in the context of the movie. After all, much of the plot is based around how God can Retcon new rules for angels whenever S/He likes, as with the ban for alcohol after Loki's little tantrum. It would make perfect sense that God would castrate the angels to stop more Nephilim from being born.
Really messed around with in substantial ways in the trilogy of films commencing with The Prophecy. Written/directed by Russell Mulcahy (the original Highlander)Gregory Widen and starring Christopher Walken as a very disenchanted Archangel Gabriel, it suggests that whilst Lucifer (Viggo Mortensen no less!) rebelled because he didn't like God, another portion of angels rebelled because they didn't like the idea of man being more important than angels, and that the war between the loyal angels of God and the rebels has kept heaven's gates closed against even the souls of men getting there. The angels' attitude towards humans are made clear by multiple angels dismissing them as "talking monkeys" and by Gabriel's diatribe to Thomas.
Gabriel: I'm an angel. I kill firstborns while their mamas watch. I turn cities into salt. I even, when I feel like it, rip the souls from little girls, and from now till kingdom come, the only thing you can count on in your existence is never understanding why.
Angels have Super Strength, agility, and Super Speed that borders on teleportation. They have wings, but can hide them under clothes. The only way to kill an angel is to rip out or stake their hearts. Gabriel specifically is shown to be able to make people fall asleep just by telling them to, set things on fire by muttering a few phrases, and bring back people who have committed suicide and make them immortal and invulnerable.
Constantine uses the Winged Humanoid variety with the Archangel Gabriel, who turns out to be quite the jerk. However, Gabriel is not an angel in the purest sense; since Angels and Demons of the purest degree are not permitted on Earth, the angels seen in the film are deceased mortals imbued with Divinity as a reward for good works during life. So, the Gabriel in this movie isn't the famous archangel. Just a dead Christian woman, who happened to be named Gabriel.
In City of Angels, the angel protagonist falls in love with a human woman and decides to become human to be with her after hearing the story of a former angel who's now a happily married mortal. Then she dies, and he either commits suicide or becomes an angel again, depending on your interpretation of the ending. Both in this and the original Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire) angels are trenchcoat wearing, normal-looking humans with the twist that the protagonists usually can't see them. They are implied to have worn armour in the past though (the main character pawns his to buy warmer clothes when he becomes human).
The angels of Angels in the Outfield and related films fit the standard good-guys-with-wings image, as befits a feel-good kids' movie. They are repelled by foul language, being pure and ethical in all respects … except, it seems, for cheating at sports, which is perfectly okay if they're the ones doing it.
The Ten Commandments depicted the angel of death as a sinister green mist that descends from the sky and then spreads over Egypt.
Legion has Paul Bettany as a gun toting, asskicking rebel angel trying to keep the rest of the angelic host from exterminating humanity. Most of the angels aside from Gabriel and Michael are different—they possess humans and basically use them as shock troops in an attempt to kill a baby who's hinted to be Jesus 2.0. Also, Gabriel slices things up with his wings, which is a pretty neat effect, though getting eviscerated by razor-edged angel-wings would not be the most fun way in the world to go.
In the Wishmaster movies, they're locked in an eternal war with the demonic Djinn, with the Djinn noting that he's trampled their wings beneath his feet in his conquests. They can manifest themselves by possessing a human, have healing hands, and swords that can kill the otherwise immortal Djinn. Their morality varies, as some like Michael are undeniably good, while others are very much in Knight Templar territory in their quest to defeat the Djinn.
In Knowing, it's not clear whether the "whisperer people" are angels, aliens or both. They have spaceships like aliens, and in one scene the wispy light around their bodies looks like wings, like angels. (Also the movie hints the final event is the second coming of Christ.) Whatever they are, they act creepy, mysterious, and threatening. They speak in whispers as their child given name implies, shoot light out of their mouths and tell of future events.
Dora Wilk's angels looks like beautiful humans and only most the most powerful (or lucky, if God's in good mood) has wings and ability to turn on their evil-punishing Battle Aura. They are not Nigh Invulnerable, although only a archangelic blade can kill them for real and their super-strong muscles make them formidable enemies. They're granted free will, although God can punish them with the Fall if they screw up massively.
Thomas Sniegoski's The Fallen series deals with a Half-Human HybridChosen One being hunted down by the Powers, helped by a Deadpan Snarker angel and a talking dog, trying to redeem the fallen angels. The angels and the Nephilim have certain powers, such as speaking every language (including animal "languages"), throwing fireballs, and conjuring flaming swords out of thin air. They also have wings that allow them to fly, although fallen angels had those cut off before they were exiled.
In Thomas E. Sniegoski's Remy Chandler series, the title character is the Archangel Remiel, who has opted to give up being an angel and live as human. The angels of the series have a collection of special spiritual abilities that Remy can call on, at the cost of losing his sense of humanity.
In David Almond's Skellig, a boy who moves to a new house discovers an angel in the crumbling garage. Said angel is trapped behind furniture, covered in dust and dead bluebottles, his wings confined under a tattered suit coat; it's unclear how long he's been there, or how sane he is. In the end he proves himself a benevolent guardian, curing the heart condition that threatens the protagonist's baby sister, before disappearing from the derelict house he shares with a few dozen owls.
In Penryn and the End of Days the angels are winged humanoids who brought doom among the humans. They have very light bodies, heightened senses of smell, hearing, and sight, are superhumanely strong, heal very fast, and are extremely beautiful. However, they think of humans as mere monkeys.
Similarly, it is implied that the titular character of What Happened To Lani Garver might be a "floating angel," which is sort of an ambiguously gendered asexual teen guardian angel. This issue is never really resolved in the book
In Terence Blacker's The Angel Factory, Thomas Wisdom discovers that a number of humans on Earth, including his parents, are actually angels created by an alien race. They don't have wings or supernatural powers, but they're more predisposed than "imperfect" humans to be good and kind, and their creators from above believe they are the key to stopping mankind from destroying itself. In the end, Thomas rejects their offer to run things on Earth, and all the angels living on Earth gradually become human.
Meljean Brook's The Guardians series features human beings who were saved and given some angelic powers, wings, etc. and hang around in a heaven-like area. They can elect to move on to the beyond or Fall back to being a human again. Actual angels exist but do not interact with humans, as their holiness leads humans to mistake them for gods. The Guardians are human-angel hybrids working on their behalf.
Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere has the angel Islington who pretty much fits the angel stereotype: divinely beautiful, unfailingly kind and caring, and frequently associated with light. On first impression, that is. Let's just say that there's a reason why Islington's in a secluded room in London Below and not in Heaven with the other angels: he's Ax-Crazy.
In Drinking Midnight Wine, angels are impossibly different and indescribable unless they are fallen, in which case they are distinguishable from humans only by their Nigh-Invulnerability. Memorably described as God's Storm Troopers.
In the Nightside series (which uses the same cosmology, like all his books) the second book Agents of Light and Darkness has the angels of heaven and hell duking it out in the streets. Casualties among the innocent bystanders are high, and there's no obvious way to tell which side a given angel is on. Also, some who see the angels too close up turn to salt, like Lot's wife in Genesis.
Though not an "angel" per se (actually "a singular cherubim," and no, that's not an error), Proginoskes from A Wind in the Door matches Ezekiel's idea of an angel: a composite of wind and flame at his heart, extending into dozens of immense wings and myriad, blinking eyes. (He finds it easier to not be corporeal at all, and scorns the human idea of "little pigs with wings.") Proginoskes' great skill is to Name people, and the key to naming is love. After all, Cherubim are supposed to be the embodiments of God's love.
By contrast, the seraphim and nephilim in the later book Many Waters are more like what a contemporary audience would think of as angels, being winged humanoids, but correspond to "the sons of God" as described in Genesis 6:4 rather than current stereotypes. The seraphim are basically servants of God on earth and usually have eyes and wings coloured in some variant of gold, silver or blue. The nephilim, which are implied to be fallen angels, have eyes and wings of more vivid colours like red and violet. They are all immortal, and not outright antagonistic with each other, but the nephilim are trapped on earth where the seraphim can return to heaven. Nephilim are male and enjoy sleeping with human women and fathering children on them; seraphim are androgynous and celibate (although they sometimes fall in love). Also, each one, seraphim and nephilim, has an animal form into which he can change — though the nephilim take the shapes of worms, snakes, dragons, and other ugly things.
Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which in A Wrinkle in Time, the first in the series, might be angels as well. It's the closest to identifying them the characters get. They don't like to materialize very much and one of them used to be a star!
C. S. Lewis provides one of the more original examples in The Space Trilogy. Angels, or eldila (singular eldil) are beings whose bodies are purportedly made out of light, and occupy a different state of matter, moving with respect to the universe (rather than with respect to a planet's surface). Human eyes can barely detect them as shimmers of light, only allowing themselves to be seen for what they are when the purpose serves them.
The Oyeresu (singular Oyarsa) are more powerful beings that control the nature of each planet in the solar system. Although most are benevolent and love their subjects, the Oyarsa of Thulcandra (earth) is clearly Satan and, unlike the others, is actually trapped within the moon's orbit to prevent further harm. The Oyeresu, like the eldila, have no genders but some have masculine and feminine identities. Furthermore, they have the ability to manifest themselves as they choose; at the close of the second book, the Oyeresu of Mars and Venus manifest as white, fiery giants.
They're taking physical forms for the benefit of what amount to Adam and Eve of Venus. They use a human as a guinea pig while they try out various forms, and eventually settle on the ones that upset him the least. Some of the earlier attempts were more like what's described in Ezekiel.
Further complicating the picture, the Oyeresu, as described in That Hideous Strength, have a sort of shadow presence on each planet, which seems to act more or less independently. These are the "gods" that some Tellurians have reportedly met.
The short story "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" by Gabriel García Márquez features Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The "angel," as he is referred to by the villagers who find him, is an old, flea-infested, wrinkled man with no teeth and crippled, barren wings. He could be injured, ate food (albeit mashed up as he couldn't chew), did not recognize men of the cloth, and spoke in a strange tongue. Note that the whole point of the story is the question of whether the man was really an angel or not.
Aziraphale is also specifically stated to be a Principality, but doesn't like to tell people because they make jokes. Given how the Guardians of the Gates of Eden were Cherubim, it's likely he got demoted after the whole "Flaming Sword incident."
Good Omens also states that angels are sexless unless they really want to make an effort.
Also worth noting, when angels fall in the Good Omens universe they become demons. Demons look exactly the same as Angels, but their wings tend to be more well-groomed, on account of the whole vanity thing.
Adam glanced up. In one sense there was just clear air overhead. In another, stretching off to infinity, were the hosts of Heaven and Hell, wingtip to wingtip. If you looked really closely, and had been specially trained, you could tell the difference.
His Dark Materials — Angels aren't really divine higher powers (though they like to tell you they are)! They're actually self-aware incarnations of the Applied Phlebotinum that feed off sentience and powers the universe. They can either just spring into existence or, a ghost, with the help of another angel, can rise to angelic status. They die, have immeasurably long lifespans, and envy humans for our bodies — angels have no real bodies, so they cannot experience real sensations. They appear in the books as translucent, winged humans but this is simply for the convenience of humans, and because human minds are too tiny to comprehend their true appearance; their real forms are described as being somewhat like architecture. And sometimes they're very, very gay. Debatably gay, since they don't really have genders and there's nothing inherently sexual about Balthamos and Baruch's relationship.
The Maiar from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth (The Lord of the Rings, etc.) are functionally angels (a step below the godlike Valar and two steps below creator god Eru) are incorporeal spirits, but are able to take on any physical form they choose to. None of them follows the usual feathered-wings-and-halo motif; Gandalf, the Balrog, and Sauron (and possibly the dragons and giant eagles) are all Maiar. Of course, the Balrog is a pretty traditional demon. They marry, usually each other; Melian is a Maia who married an elf-king named Thingol and became the mother of Lúthien, the ancestor of the lineage of Elrond, Arwen and Aragorn.
In Weaveworld, the nigh-omnipotent entity Uriel claims to be an angel. It's probably wrong.
Cynthia Leitich Smith's Eternal. Guardian angels go on to a new charge when their old one dies, and might just fall in love with them. And they can be temporarily made human, kickstarting the romance. Which can even happen if their beloved is no longer in their charge and has become a vampire — and yes, vampires are satanic. Forbidden lovers anyone? (the girl involved manages to redeem herself and die before her vampire nature destroys her soul completely. It's a bittersweet Tear Jerker.)
The littlest girl, Angel, in Maximum Ride is a blonde with blue eyes. She can fly (with pure white wings), read minds, control minds, talk to fish, breathe underwater, transform, and fight as well as Max, the strongest member and leader of the Flock. But she's not actually an angel. Angel is just her name.
In Mysterious Ways A Divine Comedy, angels are a type of bird that evolved a human-like form and a serious case of Holier Than Thou. They are legally-required to either train to serve the Judeo-Christian God, or have their wings cuts off and their magic stripped away. Naturally, most of them decide to go through training.
In Laura Anne Gilman's ''Retriever" series angels are just one of many nonhuman races known as the Fatae although they're among the oldest and most powerful. They are also (by reputation, the only one actually met is dead at the time) a race of jerkasses.
Angels in Sharon Shinn's Samaria series are genetically engineered from human stock, have wings and can fly and are the only ones who can call upon their god to grant such things as weather control, healing medicine, or holy lightning which are actually particle beam weapons since "god" is actually a spaceship orbiting the planet.
While Harry Dresden tends to have to deal with the more demonic side of the supernatural spectrum, he's also encountered Archangel Uriel four times now in the books and short stories (and been given the ability to use heavenly Soulfire). We also know that Archangel Michael personally gave out at least one of the three swords to the Knights of the Cross.
Plus all the fallen angels he winds up dealing with. Each time an Angel appears, they usually take a form best for the human mind to comprehend them. In modern times, Guardian Angels in America are white-suited with silver plated guns at their sides. When Harry tried using his Wizard Sight to see the True Form, he got as far as the gun becoming a silver sword when the angel stops him with a word.
Uriel is specified as "Heaven's spook" and apparently is liked and respected by Queen Mab of the Winter Court. He pretty much serves as Heaven's wetworks guy and assassin, doing the ugly, dirty jobs necessary to safeguard free will, but even so, he's actually a pretty nice guy to be around, when he's not dropping Biblical plagues and taking the firstborns of Egypt.
He's a nice guy (has a good sense of humour)note He admits to enjoying Star Wars because it makes him feel young., but you also have to remember he could wipe out all life on earth with very little effort and your really, really shouldn't shorten his name.
Less "all life on Earth" and more "every single star in the universe" kind of power. Cosmic in scope, and very few supernatural beings in the entirety of the Dresdenverse are able to go head to head with an archangel. The name issue makes sense, since the "-el" means "of God" with "Uriel" meaning "Light of God" - so taking out the latter half, especially when names have power, is a really bad idea. This is an even worse idea when speaking to Uriel or any other angel, since the suffix "-el" links them to God and is the most meaningful part of their identity. The reason Uriel was about to flip over Dresden giving him a nickname was that it completely ignored the most important part of who he is. He will accept "Mr. Sunshine" though.
And again, names have power in this universe, and Uriel is the guy who God sends in when it's "make Sodom and Gomorrah not be there anymore" time. He is the last angel you'd want forgetting who he works for for even a second.
In regards to being the guardian of freewill, when a Fallen, which is a matter of debate, lied to Harry with seven words and these words led Harry to kill himself, Uriel was able to tell a revived Harry seven words of Absolute Truth to counter this infraction.
Also in the series, Harry has encountered an Angel of Death who Knew Harry's True Name and when he thought her to be the cause of a person's death, she politely but firmly corrects his assumption. She is there simply to guard the soul if it is time for the person to die. She states that not even the Prince of Darkness would be able to claim the soul from her protection.
There are also Guardian Angels stationed around certain places, such as the Carpenter House.
The first volume of the encyclopedia series "Man, Myth, and Magic" describes angels and how peoples' perceptions of them changed over time. One part of the entry described a female angel who's 96 miles tall (that's 506,880 feet for those who are curious).
Novelist/Irish Catholic priest Andrew M. Greeley wrote a trilogy of novels, Angel Fire, Angel Light, and Contract With an Angel, in which he depicts angels as benevolent Sufficiently Advanced Alien, immense Energy Beings who can assume (or project a simulation of) human form, are capable of love and reproduction among themselves, and enjoy playing matchmaker among humans. Although they are aliens, they claim to be in direct communication with, and employment by, God. Notably, Angel Light is a modern retelling of the book of Tobin, one of the books of the Apocrypha, the non-canonical stories of the Bible.
I, Lucifer features angels who are not winged humanoids but rather celestial beings of metaphysical energy. Angels suffer from pain if they commit evil acts (Angelic Pain), as well as corrupt their essence. This means demons are technically still Angels but are consumed with unimaginable pain constantly and their visage is a horrific reflection of their nature. They are also immortal and their numbers are unchanged since God brought them into existence.
The Powers That Be of the Young Wizards series can be considered angels, given that: 1) they're immortal spiritual entities, 2) they work for God, 3) they were created by God before time began, 4) the Big Bad is a fallen Power, and 5) it's heavily implied that they're the inspiration for Abrahamic angels (though it's also heavily implied that they're the inspiration for the gods in all of the non-Abrahamic religions). A fully manifested Power will look different to each person looking at it, unless the Power consciously chooses an appearance for that particular manifestation, or if the currently surrounding events are all related to a particular mythology, in which case its appearance will be drawn from that mythology. The most powerful of the Powers suffer from Time Dissonance since they mainly exist outside of time, with whatever the mortals are interacting with being mere fragments of the whole.
The angels of Sarah Douglass' The Crucible trilogy manipulate humanity for their amusement and impregnate women while despising sex. "God" doesn't actually exist but is just the pooled will of the angels.
In contrast in Matthew Stover's Jericho Moon it's the angels who are just basically mindless facets of Yahweh.
In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Lost and Prospero in Hell, Miranda is accustomed to her father's summoning angels. Once, an angel even appeared to her without being summoned. (The traditional nine-fold hierarchy is in effect.)
In Angelology angels fall into three political categories: the loyal, who it is suggested are all female; the rebellious, who were apparently destroyed; and the Watchers, who also fell by mating with human women and producing the Nephilim. The Watchers were imprisoned on Earth in a deep cave system which is where the story of Hell comes from. Meanwhile, the Nephilim spread and enslaved humanity until they were wiped out in the Flood—except for one who killed Noah's son Japheth and took his place. All Caucasians are descended either from Japheth's human children or from the Nephilim who killed him. The descendants have manipulated and ruled humanity from behind the scenes ever since.
In Paradise Lost Lucifer (who is quite distinctly an angel, all be it one who waged a very ill conceived war on God) is described as being "in bulk as huge" as an island, winged, and armed with a spear as tall as a mighty ship's mast. Beyond this, he looks like a physically inspiring leader. Other angels are imposing, but less so.
Mogworld's plot largely revolves around mysterious, angelic creatures that herd the undead back to their bodies and can delete things from existence. These actually turn out to be anthropomorphized programs that drive the game's AI and act as game master tools for the developers.
In Elizabeth Bear's novels Dust and Chill angels are AIs who run various aspects of the worldship the books take place on and manifest bodies made of electromagnetic force.
In Sheri S. Tepper's Grass the main character has a dream/vision of heaven in which an angel has a conversation with God. Instead of the traditional bird wings it sports dragonfly wings which she notes make more anatomical sense.
In Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy books, the people of Terre d'Ange are all descendants of angel and accordingly beautiful. The angels themselves are mostly absent, aside from paintings and statues, but near the end of Kushiel's Avatar, the angel Rahab makes an appearance, and is described as some sort of incomprehensible beauty, going with the Winged Humanoid image, albeit towering.
In Kate Griffin's Matthew Swift series, the blue electric angels are actually the remnants of electricity, life force, stories and voices left behind in the telephone wires. With multiple personalities. When they start sharing a body with the titular Matthew Swift, things get complicated - not least, pronouns.
The Book of All Hours - the Unkin. humans that experienced an unique event in their life that allowed them to touch the Vellum underneath reality. In the multiverse inscribed on the surface of the Vellum, these meta-humans have long since taken up different roles, presenting themselves to mortal humans in different ways in pursuit of power.
In L.A Weatherly's Angel Fire trilogy Angels appear to be beautiful humanoids with wings and halos, but are in reality parasitic lifeforms that feed from the essence of human beings. Being touched by one results in getting Angel Burn, which manifests as either slowly increasing mental damage or various fatal and debilitating diseases. Angels are aware they do this and do not care, actively feeding on humanity and seeking to control them. They can take human form and cannot be killed in this form, but in turn cannot use their powers to kill. When in angel form they can be killed by the destruction of their halo. They are also not connected with God, they are actually beings from another dimension.
Half-Angels though are exceedingly rare, only two exist and it is unknown just how as angels do not reproduce sexually, but they are different. They do not cause Angel Burn and do not have halos, thus they cannot be killed unless their human side is killed. They manifest as people with two sides to themselves, both sentient and aware but in essence the same person. They are also able to read a person's future by touching them, but cannot see futures where they are more than passingly involved.
In Cynthia Hand's Hallowed series there are three types of angels. Angels serve God and are typical angels. Blackwings are Fallen Angels, the Nephilim to be precise, who chose to mate with human women and caused the third kind of angel to exist, Angel-Bloods. Angel-bloods come in two types; Dimidius, a child of an angel and a human and Quartarius, a child of a Dimidius and a human. Angel-Bloods are born with a Purpose, the reason they were born, and will at some point receive dreams about it. They must fulfill their Purpose or they will become a Blackwing, an angel who has forsaken God. Blackwings are in constant misery due to their separation from heaven, are incapable of flight due to said misery but can shapeshift into different forms, and are at war with the Angels.
It is revealed that a third kind of Angel-Blood exists. Triplare, the child of a Dimidius and an Angel. They are exceedingly powerful, as close to an Angel as possible but they have free will. Only seven exist at a time. Three have been revealed in the series, the protagonist Clara, her brother Jeffrey and her romantic interest Christian.
Jury Macntier is another great example of this. The Angels in Cloudia all have certain powers, and some are not what you'd expect an angel to have. For example, Goldalocks is a Wealth Angel, and is incredibly greedy, cruel, and cold-hearted. When revealed that Jury doesn't have magical powers or abilities, she laughs at her and throws money at her. Another example is Maybella's friend, Saffron. Saffron is a Lust Angel, and since those are not permitted in Cloudia, Queen Lilac took away her magic, so Saffron is stuck on Cloudia without any lust or sex, what she wants the most. She normally hates on Jury and wears almost nothing but ribbons. Granted, the Angels aren't as bad as the Demons from Fireda. The Demons eat flesh, drink blood, steal, murder, ect. Compared to them, these Angels seem holy.
Oh, wasn't there a really infamous scene where Jury gets turned into a Demon as a punishment for dressing up like one and sneaking into a Demons-only club? Then proceeds to almost murder the shizz out of her friend, Allison? Or what about that trip planned by the Demons in Chapter 5 that almost killed Allison and made Jury a prisoner?
In Dirge for Prester John Qaspiel calls itself an anthropteron. John's complete fascination with it confuses everyone.
In Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series, there's something for everyone- angels exist and they're impossible to get away from. The world is divided up into territories, one for each Archangel, which they rule over as they see fit. In this universe, angels produce a toxin that must be discharged regularly or they are driven insane so vampires are created from willing human populations. Guild Hunters exist to bring rogue vampires back to the angel that Made them, or destroy them if necessary.
In Ted Chiang's novella Hell is the Absence of God angels look like writhing knots of white fire and operate on a Blue and Orange Morality, their presence causing miracles both good and bad without any discernable rhyme or reason. Fallen angels on the other hand are mysterious and close mouthed about their reasons for rejecting God but do neither harm nor good.
Angels apparently exist in Children of the Lamp, and are said to be made of Light (just as Mundanes are made of Earth and Water and Djinn are mad of Fire). They do serve God, but almost nothing else is known about them, except that they have powers that even Djinn find incredible, and sometimes disguise themselves as homeless people so they can find kind and generous humans to bless. We only meet one of: Afriel, the Angel of Youth, who is responsible for causing Miracles, Marvels, Omens, Eye-Openers, etc. (Except on Sundays, I never work on Sundays.)
In the Brazilian fantasy novel A Batalha Do Apocalipse (and in the whole Spohrverse), angels are divided in castes and have no free will, being forced to follow the instincts of their respective caste. They also cannot be killed unless their mystical heart is destroyed. And some of them are quite genocidal with Michael being the responsible for the Great Flood and the destruction of Atlantis. They're also prone to using guns and do Saint Seiyaesque duels in bridges.
At the end of Stranger in a Strange Land Michael Smith is revealed to have been the Archangel Michael descended to the mortal realm
In one of Karina Fabian's Dragon Eye P.I. stories ("Greater Treasures") they are of the original Biblical variety; the magically produced shadow of which sends a group of Neo-Nazis into mental breakdowns.
In the short story The World without Sleep, from Somewhere Beneath Those Waves, demi-angels are essentially winged, beautiful and, for reasons unknown, blind priests in another plane of existence. They perceive themselves as protecting the underclass of "shadows" from exploitative vampire factory owners, and harbor prejudices against both vampires and goblins.
In Sandman Slim angels are prtty much your traditional type. They are also arrogant schmucks.
In Falcon Quinn, angels are considered one of the types of monsters, although it is noted as being a particularly rare type of monstrosity. Falcon himself is an angel, and it seems to be the result of his hybrid lineage—his monster parent, Crow, is a fearsome crowlike Winged Humanoid (with Humanoid Abomination tendencies), while his mother is a Light Is Not Good-flavored monster-hunting Guardian.
In Highway To Heaven, angels look just like humans. They do have supernatural knowledge and are implied to be able to teleport and use telekinesis (in the first episode, an Angel uses this to cause a car to break down to give him a lift; how very angelic). They wander the Earth or at least middle America, doing good deeds.
This is carried over to Touched by an Angel, though the titular angels do get an inner light when they're being particularly inspirational, which isn't always a good thing. One episode of Touched by an Angel, set in October 30, 1938, had then-rookie angel Monica turning on her angel glow to calm down a crowd that was panicked by reports of a Martian Invasion (they were listening to Orson Welles' radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds). It didn't quite work.
The Vorlons in Babylon 5 pretend to be angels of the big fluffy wings variety, but they are really just Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.They have the neat trick of appearing to "less advanced" species as their archetypal holy messenger, thanks to a few tens of thousands of years grooming (read, genetically manipulating) new species. So to humans at least, they look like fluffy-winged angels. Londo Mollari, however, saw nothing. Though never outright stated, it's implied that he didn't see anything because he's been touched by the Shadows (other theories like the Centauri weren't groomed by the Vorlons have also been put forward).
The angels of this setting give every indication of being fundamentally beings of light (Castiel calls it a "multidimensional wavelength of celestial intent"), though Zachariah says "in Heaven I have six wings and four faces, one of which is a lion," and in the next season Castiel refers to his own true form as being "roughly the size of your Chrysler Building," after which Dean tells him "All right, all right,quit bragging."
As they are unable to safely or effectively interact with matter in these forms, they must, with explicit permission, occupy human hosts to do anything in the world. (Demons in the setting do the same thing, but without asking permission.) The collateral damage from their forms is also apparently the preferred form for combat, since an otherwise-improbable percentage of the dead angel count are killed by stabbing while in vessels.
Without using traditional wings, they've raised Offscreen Teleportation to an artform, using it in place of traditional flight powers, though they can manifest echoes of wings (Castiel with shadows, Raphael with lightning, and so on) and they sometimes get a feather-ruffle sound effect when teleporting. Their death throes result in a burned imprint of wings on whatever surface(s) they were on, as seen from above, as well as a little falling ash for visual effect.
In keeping with the Crapsack World they were introduced to, these angels are mostly quite unhappy. God has been AWOL for ages, but since no one ever really had contact with him, most of them don't know. Heaven is attempting to start the Apocalypse while pretending to stop it because a) the prophecy is the closest thing they've got to divine will b) something needs to change. Zachariah likes the power grab, Michael really wants to settle things with his brother, Raphael is disillusioned by God's absence, Gabriel is off impersonating Loki, and Lucifer wants to punish Daddy for abandoning them by breaking His favorite toy, the human race. There are mind games and betrayals and quite a lot of blood, since apparently most angel magic is blood-based and it must be smeared on things.
Heaven is an extremely strict military organization, with Michael as the first general of the whole lot, and handing orders down through the ranks to the soldiers on the ground. Obedience is absolute, and torture to keep the angels in line is quite common. From lowest to highest, the Angel ranks are roughly Nephilim (considered abominations) -> Cherubim (Cupids) -> Angels (regular angels) -> Seraphim (higher-tier angels) -> Archangels (first tier angels).
There's a wide variety of angel personalities, even as it broke up in interesting ways. Uriel is a coldblooded bastard, Zachariah is a heartless creep, Anna and Balthazar are two very different flavors of hedonist, while Gabriel's a bit like Balthazar only all sense of humor and phenomenal cosmic archangel powers... Michael is a "Well Done, Son" Guy to the illogical extreme, and Lucifer is mild-mannered, casually cruel, and quite terrifying.
Angels can be turned into humans by having their celestial essence, called "Grace" removed. Most angels cut off from Heaven will slowly lose their powers, although the higher tiers are more immune to these effects.
In the HBO miniseries Angels In America, an angel visits Prior to herald him as the Prophet, complete with fluffy white wings and Holy Backlight. Then she strips him naked and copulates with him before telling him that humans must "stop moving" so that God will lose interest in Earth and return to Heaven. Prior, dazzled at first, comes to realize that this is not a feasible solution and wrestles with the angel until she allows him to climb up to Heaven to make his case for humanity in front of a Council of Angels.
The angels are also hermaphrodites, and are apparently oversexed because they're made of the very fires of creation. Prior ends up getting a "barometer" for whenever the Angel is going to make an appearance.
In Charmed there are Whitelighters, essentially guardian angels - good people who were rewarded for their good deeds in death - who help and advise witches. Their wings are strictly metaphorical: although they never manifest any actual wings, having their powers revoked by the Council of Elders is referred to as having their "wings clipped." Normal Whitelighters are always shown to be dedicated servants of good, but their bosses, the Elders, are generally distant at best, and at least one becomes a Well-Intentioned Extremist and the Big Bad of the sixth season. They are also near invincible as they can be blown to pieces, only to quickly reform. However they can die when shot by an arrow from their Evil Counterpart, Darklighters.
Paige, the youngest sister is actually technically an angel as well. Her mother had an affair with her Whitelighter and got pregnant with her as a result. She has Whitelighter powers in addition to her Charmed ones but she can also be killed by mortal causes and it's likely she won't live forever.
Battlestar Galactica:Old Series — alien beings of light that travel in a ship of lights and oppose Count Iblis. New Series — Baltar's vision of Six and Six's vision of Baltar are angels. And also demons. According to Ron Moore, they're the same thing. Kara's vision of Leoben that guides her to take her life and enter the maelstrom is implied to be one as well. Kara herself after her resurrection may be an angel of another sort altogether, in human form to lead them all to their end. They also show up in the prequel series Caprica. When she's fighting Tamara's minions in the New Cap City Arena, Zoe-A is mentored by another angelic being, which uses the same form as her.
The X-Files episode "All Souls" uses the seraph version. Handicapped girls are turning up burnt to death in a small town; it turns out the girls are actually nephilim, and a seraph's revealing his true form to them so that they can get whisked off to Heaven before the Devil comes calling.
The Japanese tokusatsu show Tensou Sentai Goseiger features the Gosei Angels, a race of humans born with mysterious powers (card-based magic and giant robots) who fled to another world 10,000 years ago so that they wouldn't disturb normal humans. Also, for some reason they have feathery wing motifs during their transformations despite not having actual wings. At least, not until the series finale.
There's also an episode of Dengeki Sentai Changeman involving an angelic woman who turned out to be an alien from a world where people are winged, can do things like making flowers grow, and a smile or a song by one of its inhabitants can instantly drain the will to do violence or evil. She comes Back for the Finale to help the Changemen find their way to the Big Bad's lair. Any connection between her and the Goseigers lies in the realm of Fan Wank, though.
The Ohranger Robo from the earlier Chouriki Sentai Ohranger (the Zeo Megazord in Power Rangers), meanwhile, is inspired by Ezekiel's descriptions of both the Cherubim (the red, green and blue zords are a bird, bull and lion respectively) and Thrones (the other two are chariots pulled by the bull and lion).
The Weeping Angels in Doctor Who. These are explicitly aliens, "creatures of the abstract," and "as old as the Universe itself or very nearly." An Always Chaotic Evil race of sadistic, murderous psychopathic ideas (really, memes are the best way to describe them), they normally kill someone by sending them back in time and space to a point from where they will live a good, fulfilling alternate life, but that is just part of the complex way they feed- if they can afford it, they will kill you, brutally and painfully, For the Evulz, probably after playing cruel mind games about your impending death for the hell of it. They look like statues of Winged Humanoids, but only when they're being observed. When there's no sentient observer, they can move freely about, and do so at incredible speed. In addition, they have powerful telekinetic abilities and can kill you with a single touch. They reproduce according to the saying "whatever holds the image of an Angel becomes itself an angel," which means that new ones can emerge from photographs, videos or recordings of them, and even from the mental image you have in your head once you've seen one. So, essentially, if you're not looking at them, they'll kill you horribly, and if you arelooking at them, you'll end up turning into one. It's implied in the episode "The End of Time" that the first Weeping Angels were actually Time Lords.
In the Masters Of Horror episode "Cigarette Burns," angels are corporeal creatures and can be tortured, and the one seen in the episode is quite uglier than one would expect at first. It's heavily implied that the evil of La Fin Absolue du Monde is the result of documenting the desecration of said angel.
A story arc in Wizards of Waverly Place features angels that look human, except for the wings. Some of the angels, are evil and can be identified by black wings (which can be hidden). The Big Bad and The Dragon are dark angels.
The girl in Ed Sheeran's music video for "Give Me Love". She appears to be a human who inexplicably grows a pair of wings, gains a magical bow and arrow and becomes a Cupid. Initially played for tragedy since she makes so many others fall in love it seems she is doomed to remain alone forever. Until she stabs herself with one of her own arrows and shares a moment with a paramedic trying to revive her.
Mythology and/or non-judeo-christian religions
In Norse Mythology valkyries perform many of the same functions as Judeo-Christian angels, acting as messengers of Odin and gatherers of dead souls. They aren't winged but their horses are.
They rode wolves before horses. The war god they served was not viewed as a well intentioned figure in their earlier tales and even after Odin became popular they were still usually the cause of death for the souls they took away. Similar to angels, they were pretty frightening but became associated with beautiful people and such later.
While having a completely different function, the Sirens and the Anemoi (wind gods) of Greek Mythology were depicted as angels are today, being in fact the origin of their modern winged humanoid appearance. Somewhat closer in role and also depicted as winged humanoids were Eros, Thanatos, and Hypnos.
Putti, who were profane in Hellenistic culture, were adopted as Christian symbols of God's omnipresence later in Italy.
Super natural creature that were not outright gods or monsters were called a daemones. Good ones were Eudaemones and when Christianity became the official religion in the Roman empire the righteous dead (saints) and angels became eudaemones...partly why people erroneously think of them as the same thing.
The word tenshi (lit. servants of heaven) is currently the Japanese word for angel. Originally, it referred to a kind of kami whose actual role and form were lost to time.
Certain types of Dragons in Chinese Mythology serve the same purpose to Judeo-Christian angels, bearing messages from heaven and back and so forth.
Yazatas served a similar role as Angels in Indo-Persian Zoroastrian mythology, with Amesha Spentas being similar to Arch Angels. Scripture calls them beings worthy of worship or worthy of veneration. At the time Persians and Hebrews got along very well, which lead to several Yazatas and the Amesha Spentas coming to be viewed as Angels. One example is the Yazata Sraosha became equated with the Angel Surush.
Samael is different enough in Jewish folklore already, his most notably being both evil and good at the same time and being so big it would take five hundred years of traveling before someone covered a distance equal to his height (and of course being covered in eyes). In some gnostic sects Samael was equated with Yaltabaoth, a lion headed serpent that ruled over at least 365 pseudo angelic archons.
The Archons from gnostic works are heavenly regents created by Yaldabaoth (supposed to be the judeo-christian Yahweh but also borrows from the platonic demiurge), and the top ones, the Hebdomad, are basically planteary archangels. However, they are at best oppressive and at worst outright hostile, devouring the souls of the dead. To drive the point home, many are equated with actual Hebrew angels. Though the "real" Hebrew angels are occasionally seen in gnostic traditions and are independent, benevolent beings. It's complicated.
Justin Gabriel was known in WWE's developmental program as Justin Angel. The same attributes mentioned for Daniels above also apply to him.
Molly Holly posed as a traditional white-winged version in the 2002 WWE Divas magazine.
Two angels appear in the first episode of Season 7 of Old Harry's Game as moronic middle-management types who have been assigned to oversee the Earth because God's grown bored with it. They're terribly pleased with their positions (and name badges!) but much to Satan's frustration, don't actually have the authority to decide anything, and won't pass messages on, because God asked not to be disturbed. Satan relocates their name badges somewhere they'd be difficult to read.
Later episodes feature Gabriel, slightly higher up the chain-of-command, but just as powerless, and a bit of a crawler. God leaves him in Hell in the final episode.
Previously in Season 3, we met three angels including a different Gabriel (his name was actually Graham, but it got mistranscribed). They were very excited about God's new punishment which was even worse than Hell, and looked forward to finding a reason to put Satan there. Graham was also responsible for the Fall, having asked Satan to have a word with God. They abandoned this plan, when Scumspawn said that he would be sure to say at the trial how assiduously they had investigated Hell, spending hours watching the demonic orgies. Angels don't have sex, but apparently they can wish they did.
Dungeons & Dragons has multiple species of "celestials," which can be broken down into categories such as angels, guardinals, eladrin, and archons. They're generally considered the servants of good-aligned gods.
More specifically, angels (aasimon in old 2nd ed non-religiously-offensive terms) are direct servants of the gods and asuras are angels who left the service of the gods for various reasons (they're still, generally, good people, but they don't take crap from anyone). Archons, guardinals and eladrin are incarnations of lawful, neutral and chaotic good respectively; they don't serve gods but rather their own leaders, although they often do help them out when asked. Fiends follow a similar (but inverted) setup, although there is curiously enough no infernal counterpart to the angels themselves (fiends close the gap by being a lot more varied in their forms and abilities, and, it's implied, a LOT more numerous).
Fourth Edition shakes things up by declaring angels to be "expressions of the Astral Sea," basically Energy Beings who mostly act as servants and mercenaries for the gods on their own initiative according to their individual inherent natures. They're depicted as glowy, winged, legless humanoids and can now be of any alignment (yes, evil gods can have angelic servants, too). Some of the other older 'celestial' terms have had their meaning changed fairly radically, too — 4E eladrin are now The Fair Folkelf subtype and available as a player character race, and 4E archons are elemental servants of the Primordials and thus technically enemies of the gods and those who work for them.
In Nomine has no less than seven major types of Angels (called "choirs"), and two minor types. Some of these are practically humans with superpowers, while others are so alien that they consider the "human condition" something akin to a disease.
The "angels" (if they can still be called that; they sure think they can) of Demon The Fallen are split up into seven celestial Houses, based on which day of creation they had a role in (for instance, the Rabisu, responsible for the sixth day and all the creatures of the Earth, have control over animal life, plant life, and flesh). As the Quotes page indicates, the pre-Fall angels were quantum beings that existed in multiple states — the actual debate that led to the Fall is described by one angel as simultaneously being a verbal debate and clashing elements of a symphony and a struggle between elemental forces. Actual angels have disappeared from Creation by the time the game begins, as has God.
Perhaps Angels aren't as gone as you might think, depending on your Storyteller. One sidebar (and thus optional) in the final book gives stats for genuine blessed-by-God angels: a slight alteration from the standard Demon stats for thematic reasons, with the ass-kicking stats pegged at eleven.
There is also a suggestion in one novel that the avatars of mages are the remains of the angels.
The core NWoD has an update called The God-Machine Chronicle, with new rules and an entire chronicle that focuses on the titular God-Machine. One aspect of this details the Angels that serve the God-Machine: Divine subroutines and programs running on its cosmic supercomputer. This will also be heavily relevant in the next NWoD game Demon: The Descent, where Angels seem to feature as the antagonists according to posts from the developers. What's been revealed thus far indicates that angels have no free will outside their orders (going against them, even in letter, causes them to fall and become demons), act as forces pushing things towards some arrayed purpose they can't possibly know, take any number of forms corporeal and non-corporeal, and are sometimes set at cross purposes (one Actual Play has one angel assigned to protect a barista, another assigned to kill said barista, and both falling because of it). A playtest also features one who parleys with a demon to track down a badly damaged, Ax-Crazy angel who turns out to be trying to follow the Machine's orders.
Promethean: The Created features the qashmallim. Despite the fact that the books make it very clear that they are not angels, they can take any number of forms (including Biblical-style renditions such as a man with four faces or a flaming chariot), they have powers that are Biblical in scope (such as calling down a rain of fire or turning a human into a pillar of salt), and they're made of the "Divine Fire" that powers the universe and act in service of a guiding force known as "the Principle." Just to be confusing, the books also make it very clear in some points that they are angels. Sometimes in the same sentence.
Mage: The Awakening has Angels as being the inhabitants of the Supernal Realm of the Aether (where the Arcana of Forces and Prime originate) and are divided into the choirs of Seraphim (for Forces) and Cherubim (for Prime). The Seraphim are described as being powerful and furious, often manifesting in forms of wild, powerful energy, while the Cherubim are more patient and wise, often manifesting in gentler, softer forms. All angels are said to be forces of righteousness with high moral standards, although their particular view of morality can be sometimes a bit alien. The sample Cherubim are the Ophan (a nude, feminine figure, completely white and hairless and covered in hundreds of closed eyes which blaze with a blinding, blue light when open) and the Beast Keeper (a multi-armed, solidly-built masculine figure who has constantly shifting animal features). The sample Seraphim are the Metatron (described as a towering humanoid being of pure fire with countless wings constantly folding and unfolding behind it and constant electricity sparkling around it) and the Elemental (a being which can manifest as a pillar of fire, a ball of heat and light, a beast constructed from magma, or a swirling torrent of water). The other suggested angels have forms ranging from the typical (humanoid beings made from energy, burning bushes) to the unusual (a rubber ball constantly ricocheting off of surfaces, a structure made from marble and glass suspended in orbit) to the particularly alien (which greatly resemble the Angels from Evangelion).
Ironically, the picture above is not an angel-rather, he's Gamugur, a spirit of primal chaos from Werewolf: The Forsaken, who took that form to interact with a religious cult.
Although the descriptions suggest that they are in fact Aten's attempt to copy angels as described by humans. So the stories of angels, true or false, came before the Hands.
The Living Saints of Warhammer 40,000 are chosen vessels of the God-Emperor's might, and meet all of the criteria for being angels. However, these angels are known for wielding flaming chainsaw-swords and declaring they will purge the land... monumental ass-kicking tends to ensue whenever one shows up.
While most are under the domain of White, there are other more atypical ones such as the Maelstrom Archangel and the Platinum Angel. And of course, Black has its share of Fallen Angels, but in recent years a design philosophy has come down that all new angels must be partly white, and only those corrupted in some way can be even partly black.
In addition, the uniqueness of plane's environs leads to each plane's angels being different as a result. Mirrodin has cyborg angels and even one robot angel (the above Platinum angel). Alara's are more the "classical" Magic type of winged female humanoids, but some were cyberneticized during the Conflux. All but the mostpowerful of Zendikar's angels were shackled by the Eldrazi, their haloes actually being blindfolds. The standardSerrafamily come from an artificial plane created by the planeswalker Serra that was invaded and scrapped by the Phyrexians. Ravnica's angels are aligned with either the BorosLegion or the OrzhovSyndicate. A Mirror Universe version of Akroma, Angel of Wrath is mono-red instead of white. The rebirth of Mirrodin into New Phyrexia features the angels being surgically rebuilt into near-mindless killing machines... that are still pure white—appropriate enough, given that Phyrexia is basically a freakin' horror refinery.
The angels of Innistrad are also more or less classical Magic angels, but Avacyn, their leader, is basically a goddess in her own right (albeit a created one, by the vampire Sorin Markov), lording not only over her church, but also over the plane's White Magic, down to the fact that the other angels are much weaker without her. She's also a lunar deity (think Selene, only more protective), and because she was created by a vampire, a bit gothy in appearance. And while the rest of the angels in Innistrad are the traditional Winged Humanoid sort, Innistradi angels are further divided into three groups: Flight Alabaster (Barrier Maiden and occasional psychopomps), Flight Goldnight (Church Militant), and Flight of Herons (healing and scouting).
While technically not angels, MTG's Archons do take their role as the large White aligned beings wherever angels do not resonate well with the flavour, like the Classical Mythology inspired Theros Block. They definitely more closely resemble biblical angels, being mysterious, wrathful, violent beings that represent White's more militant, aggressive side, and are definitely very otherworldly and weird.
Some names and/or terms in Everblight's army contains occasional biblical words (messiah, anyone?), among which are Seraphim and Angelius, which, in-game, are eyeless winged horrors.
The Harbinger of Menoth is a more classical take on the angel, albeit wingless since she is human; basically, Menoth's chosen one. As he deemed her too holy to touch the earth, however, she does levitate◊!
Hallow, one of the Legend System's official settings, features enormous semi-sentient constructs of glass and metal called Angels. Their purpose is to oversee parts of the world, but the only part of that understood by humans is that they handle what happens to people and things that fall off of plates.
In Witchcraft and its sequel game Armageddon, angels mostly conform to common beliefs as being Winged Humanoids, both in their native plane (where they are actually Energy Beings) and our world (where they have to incarnate themselves into physical bodies, but can easily hide their true natures). Both heavenly and fallen angels (the latter and demons being one and the same) are split in two orders: the more powerful ones, created/born as angels (Seraphim) and the souls of mortals that went to Heaven or Hell which were transfigured into angelic forms (Cherubim and Qlippothim, respectively) to be field agents and footsoldiers.
So dear to Heaven is saintly chastity That, when a soul is found sincerely so, A thousand liveried angels lackey her, Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt, And in clear dream and solemn vision Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear;
In Growlanser: Wayfarer of time the protagonist, Crevaniel, sees a six-winged angel in the sky. Apparently only a select people can even see the angels.
A solar (the highest rank of angel in D&D, and thusly someone even your character, the child of the god of death, does not want to mess with) serves as Mister Exposition in Baldur's Gate II; epic level spellcasters can also summon celestials.
A deva (a lower-ranking angel) also plays a major role in Planescape: Torment. His sobriquet of Trias the Betrayer says all you need to know, really.
In Final Fantasy VIII Rinoa Heartilly gains a Limit Break called "Angel Wing" which causes the white wings drawn on her dress to turn into actual wings. She then becomes a Game Breaker. This seems to correspond with the wing motifs used on the Sorceresses in this game as Rinoa's angelic wings contrast against Big Bad Ultimecia's black wings. According to the game's history, all Sorceress received their powers from their creator the Great Hyne which would technically make them angels.
From Final Fantasy XII we have Ultima, the Holy-elemental Esper. Her appearance is that of an angel with blue skin, six golden wings and a cannon under her skirt. She apparently led the other Espers in rebellion against the Occuria and was sealed away in Giruvegan. Before her rebellion she was said to have a divine light which faded forever after she was cast out.
Despite their conventional (and always female) depiction, Angels are almost always evil/corrupted by evil in the Luminous Arc games. And if the character of Priel in the first game is any indication, they're also very, very stupid.
Specifically, in the first game Priel was a construct created by the evil godBig Bad to keep his human pawns in check, presumably given the form she was so they'd feel more comfortable following her and mark her off as stupid. Which she's not - under the thick Valley Girl accent she's a sadistic psychopath and the God's number one fangirl. The end of the story shows that the idea she was crucial to his plans was another false impression, she's completely disposable, and in fact mass-produced. In the second game the sprite is reused as generic ranged Mooks called succubus (and variations thereof).
Sion the Venus Magi played this straight by having kindness like a literal angel. Aulmorde's more like an alluring sprite and Miria seems to be corrupted but eventually reveal to be like Sion as well.
Angels in Lusternia are extraplanar entities that dwell on the beautiful plane of Celestia. They are essentially baby versions of the Elder Gods that - with the departure of the resident creator deity - will never grow to adulthood, and so spend their time helping out the city of New Celest, via advice and angelic companions.
The World Ends with You has Angels that are, well, mysterious, to say the least... their nature and hand in events are only really gone into in the postgame content. Even then, all but the "lowest tier" is described to be completely incomprehensible and non-physical to humanity. Angels are even higher-up than the Composer, impossible for him to even see unless they downtune themselves to his frequency. Remember that the Composer is treated as God by everyone in the UG.
The only Angel seen in the game itself, rather than just hinted at by the Secret Reports, is the writer of the Secret Reports himself, and the only Angel to have any hand in the Game itself, known officially as the Producer. His job is to assist the Composer, though he is forbidden by angelic law from actively interfering in the events of the Game itself. He is also the only Angel known to the Composer, and one of only two people who are supposed to know the Composer's identity. His true identity, given to us by these postgame reports, is Sanae Hanekoma, AKA: CAT. And he is not in good standing with the Angels, having been branded a Fallen Angel for teaching Minamimoto how to make Taboo Noise and assisting his resurrection.
In the Devil Children subseries of Shin Megami Tensei, angels are robotic, slightly humanoid creatures and are total Knight Templars who massacred a bunch of creatures for playing in a casino.
In general, the angelic hierarchies of Shin Megami Tensei tend to look like the Winged Humanoid archetype, often wielding weapons and shields. Of note: Virtues are creatures composed of blue light with a shimmering crimson heart; Thrones are rather evil-looking, gray-skinned and black-robed humanoids with no wings, but bound to an eternally-spinning flaming wheel; the Cherubs have at least once been seen as a robotic four-headed (a human head, a bull one, an eagle one, and a lion one) monstrosity; the Trumpeter from the Apocalypse is a winged skeleton. Most named angels and archangels like Raphael, Uriel, and Mchael, have skin and hair of inhuman color, and Gabriel is explicitly female. The highest-order angels, Metatron, Sandalphon, and Melchizedek, are robotic.
In the first Persona, Judgement Azrael, the Angel of Death, looks more like a winged pieceof modern art than anything even remotely resembling "living thing," let alone "human."
Lucifer (yes, that one) has several forms: an impossibly beautiful, six-winged human with horns, or a towering abomination with midnight-blue skin, fangs, talons, bat wings and barely humanoid look, or a small boy, or a wheelchair-bound older gentleman, or a woman... And Kazuma Kaneko says we still haven't seen his true form, a fusion of all his other forms.
Satan's true form is even worse: an indescribable mess of leathery wings, tails, and assorted body parts, Alien-like head, too many breasts to count, and insectoid legs. Also, Satan is on the side of Law, while Lucifer's Chaos. While neither one is explicitly named as Evil or Good by the protagonists, YHVH and Satan are explicitly mentioned as interested in stamping out all free will, while Lucifer is working to destroy all laws and reduce Humanity to its barbaric essence. Therefore, neither side can honestly claim to be morally superior to the other.
Of note, too - all of the angelic hierarchies are represented correctly in the games, from the lowly standard-issue Winged Humanoid Angel, to the multi-faced and multi-winged Seraphs. They tend to become significantly more and more inhuman the higher the hierarchy, except for exceptions such as the Four Archangels and Remiel. Differing artworks also tend to liberally interpret angelic description, producing very different beings from a single description.
In the Devil May Cry universe, demons with white-and-gold coloration (and usually feathers) are sometimes referred to as angels, usually by people convinced "angels" are the good guys. In DMC3:SE Vergil's katana is especially effective against such enemies due to Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors.
The Elder Scrolls has a race of beings called "Jills," which are described as "the minute-maidens of Akatosh," and function as Angels in relation to him. In Skyrim they will make their first in-game appearance as massive black Dragons that will try to eat your face off with some regularity.
Many lesser Daedra could count as Angels as well, depending on how you view their respective Prince.
Tales of Symphonia has two different stages of angel cosmology — pre-spoilers, and post-spoilers. Pre-spoilers, the Chosen of World Regeneration becomes a Winged Humanoid angel after awakening all of the summon spirits and regenerating the world. Post-spoilers, becoming an angel involves using a parasitic stone to absorb one's soul from one's body. The angels try to reincarnate the "goddess" (actually the Big Bad's deceased older sister) by Body Snatching the various Chosens emptied this way and eventually intend to turn all people into soulless angels to stop Fantastic Racism.
Arguably, the Naaru of World of Warcraft. They look a bit like a winged, haloed man made out of geometric shapes. Their abilities seem to be limited to giving mortal races the powers of Paladins, and they seem quite unconcerned about who gets it.
As for the unconcern, it turns out in the resolution of the Burning Crusade storyline that they are using the Blood Elves as part of a massive Batman Gambit to lure and destroy Kil'jaeden. As opposed to the uncaring, unchanging Titans, the Naaru are portrayed as unambiguously Good, albeit somewhat aloof.
And under certain conditions, they turn into void creatures: beings of shadow and darkness that may or may not remain sane and/or good. They automatically absorb dead spirits that stray too close to them. Sometimes they manage to change back, sometimes not. Word of God is that the void transformation is extremely rare and a cause of great sadness among other Naaru.
There are also the spirit healers who have the traditional winged female human appearance (though they are translucent, invisible to living characters, and roughly double the size of the largest playable races). When a player character dies, they will materialize in spirit form at the nearest spirit healer and be given the option to either be ressurected by her (with a significant hit to their equipment's durability and an unremovable debuff that reduces all their stats by 75% for 10 minutes) or travel back to the location of their body.
Players of the priest class who are specced in the Holy tree have an ability that allows them to automatically assume the form of a spirit healer for 15 seconds upon their own death to keep healing their allies. Since spirit healers have a generically female appearance, a male priest who is using a gender-specific title will see his title change to the female equivalent during the 15 seconds that he is in spirit healer form.
The angels of the Diablo franchise. Their most notable variation is that instead of feathered wings, they have tendrils of light extending from their backs. They wear armor and cloaks and their faces (which are actually just harmonic resonances) are always in shadow. One novel adaptation of the series claims that they are not physical, but more made up of light and sound. Personality wise, the series generally portrays them with shades of Knight Templar. They are more into order than good, and they care little for humans except as a tool to fight demons, with a couple of exceptions being introduced so far.
Imperius◊ (Valor) and Malthael (Wisdom) almost had mankind destroyed for being a "taint on creation" via a vote among the 5-Archangel council: Imperius voted for destruction, while Malthael abstained, which meant the same thing. Tyrael (Justice), the good angel of Diablo 2, only turned to humanity's side after watching a particular human blow himself up to save the world. The other two angels sided with him, opting to wait and observe how humans would develop.
Diablo III reveals the other two Archangels who sided with humanity: Auriel (Hope), and Itherael (Fate). Both are pretty nice to the Nephalem, but by that point the Heavens are burning, the angels's doom is written in prophecy, and you're pretty much their only hope. Tyrael was the first to see the value of humans, and even became one when he became fed up with the Council's inaction.
Mankind itself (originally called Nephalem) was created by the union of rebel demons and angels; the rebel leaders, Lilith and Inarius, saw the humans as soldiers and slaves/worshippers respectively, even though the humans had the potential power to defy fate and surpass both the angels and demons (which is why the Angiris Council considered wiping them out).
Inarius also used the Worldstone to block the godlike Nephalem powers every human inherited from their supernatural parents, which would theoretically make humans more powerful than angels and demons combined. Yes, the Worldstone you've been protecting during Diablo 2. The one that was said (by heavenly voices) to cause Armageddon if it were ever destroyed so the barbarian tribes dedicated their entire society to guarding it for eternity. The few humans who did learn of their heritage had their mind wiped by the Angiris Council. And that's why you still had to hack away at lightning enchanted gloams with a cracked sword instead of wishing them out of existence.
Legacy of Kain vampires started out as angelic beings before they were cursed with blood thirst & immortality. And Kain's lieutenants are named after angels.
Riviera: The Promised Land has Grim Angels, which look somewhat like anime versions of the stereotypical "humanoids with wings" angels. They function both as messengers of the Gods, and those that pass down the gods' judgments, leaving their morality in somewhat of a gray area in the game... particularly when the head angel they're taking orders from turns out to be the Big Bad.
Angels have been the traditional ultimate unit of the Human factions of the Heroes of Might and Magic series since the third game. Their upgrade, the Archangel, boasts impressive speed, toughness, attack power, and the ability to resurrect troops once per battle. In the fifth game, angels and archangels are female and wielding humongous swords; the Darker and Edgier alternate upgrade, the Seraph, wears red clothing, has blood-stained wings, and ditches resurrection in favor of calling down the wrath of GodElrath (Dragon of Light) on enemies.
Angels first appear in the 2nd scenario of the first campaign of the third game. A little town called Fair Feather, otherwise completely undeveloped, had so far resisted Kreegan invasion attempts thanks to the one thing it does have: a Portal of Glory (the Angel summoning building). After getting control of Fair Feather (which can happen in the first two turns), the scenario becomes a Curb Stomp War in your favor.
It can assumed that the Angels of the pre-HOMMV games (including just plain Might and Magic) were... not all that supernatural that they might appear: Word of God stated that if you thought the Devils were bad, you'd find the truth of the Angels even worse — and those Devils are Alien Invaders (though this doesn't mean the angels were evil — the context points more to 'worse if you dislike the sci-fi elements of the franchise' rather than a judgement on the Angels' morality).
In Aion, you start your character's life by ascending to become essentially an angel of your race's gods.
Bayonetta's angels and demons are less about "Good" and "Evil" factions and more about "Light" and "Dark" and the unspoken agreement to try and not kill each other and mortals enough to cause an imbalance. Beyond that, it can be inferred that the angels are as much liars and tricksters as demons, under all that polite, self-righteous veneer. At first glance they have all the marble skin, gilded armor, and glowing halos of light (and choral accompaniment). Beat them up, and all that falls off, leaving horrible monsters with dripping juices, exposed muscle tissue and eyes where they probably shouldn't be. An interesting side note here - angels are described in great detail in the Bible, and Bayonetta's development team has Shown Their Work. Each category of angels looks the way it's described in the Bible, and the different types are helpfully and correctly identified the first time they show up.
In the final level of Kingdom Hearts, there's a breed of angel-like Heartless. That's right, Heartless with big, white wings and halos, using the light-based spell "Holy." They are still evil and trying to devour your hearts though. True to the trope, they don't look remotely humanoid..
In Illusion of Gaia you get to the Angel Village at one point. Their angels are basically really tall humans, no wings and no emotions.
In Deus Ex, the security clearance levels of Majestic-12 correspond to the various choirs, with titles such as Angel/0A and Throne/6G.
Ōkami: The extinct Celestials were very angelic, They had halos, yellow wings on their head, and lived a perfect life in a utopia. Four of them are seen in the game as ghosts.
In the Fall from Heaven mod for Civilization IV, the higher angels like to call themselves gods and interfere in mortal affairs. Several other angels are mentioned, and some are actually faction leaders. Cassiel falls from grace for hating that the others are messing with mortals. He comes down to Erebus and forms his own Lawful Neutral faction, the Grigori, who reject the "gods." Cassiel's appearance is that of a sickly-pale man. On the other hand, the Bannor Empire is partly ruled by an angel named Sabathiel, who still serves the "gods." His appearance is that of an attractive winged man in gleaming gold armor. Then there's a whole faction of angels called Mercurians, which was cast down after its leader Basium rejected the Compact (an agreement that limited interfering in mortal affairs) in favor of a direct war with the demons. Basium is merciless to anyone worshiping demons or practicing demonic magic. The Mercurians themselves are so vicious that many mortals simply assume they are another sort of demon. Basium looks like a grey-skinned bodybuilder overdozed on steroids.
In After The War, Mark's diary mentions an Angel who came from beyond the Portal and revealed himself to him. When you reach the end of the Portal, you're attacked by a Black Angel, an alien, sword-toting legless monster who can shoot electricity and tries to shank you.
Messiah: Bob is basically a sassy, chubby kindergartener who can fly and possess people, but is by no means immune to damage. He is "different" in-universe, too—the manual notes that Bob is unlike other angels, because he has a human soul.
NetHack features both Angels and Archons; if your character is not of lawful alignment, the latter are among the most powerful enemies you'll face in the game, equipped with a stunning gaze and the ability to summon swarms of monsters. The variant Slash'EM, as always, ups the danger level by adding Solars, who are even more powerful.
Disgaea takes a winged humanoid approach. Morally, they're mostly good though with minor Knight Templar tendencies (well intentioned but flawed).
In Slightly Damned, angels are white-haired humanoids who serve a benevolent god and are said to be inherently good. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen, and though the two main angelic characters are both definitely heroes there are suggestions that angelic society is imperfect. They have classical Elemental Powers, wear colour-coded uniforms, and have been at war against demons for centuries.
Misfile has so far given us two Pointy-Haired Boss angels, plus one atoning for the (unauthorised) destruction of a city, one whose behaviour is more representative of a succubus, and a total drunk who got kicked out of heaven for being stoned. Former associates of the atoner are either worse or much, much worse. It's no wonder God has abandoned them. They are all of the Winged Humanoid variety, but can hide their wings to blend in with humans. They also have pointy ears like those of an elf, but people usually can't see them. They're also all white haired. We also find out how angels come to exist.
Angels from Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures are simply another race of Creatures in Furrae. They have feathered wings and a proficiency with light magic as opposed to the Demons' bat wings and talent for dark magic. Angels aren't a strictly "good" race either; they value power and influence as much as the greediest demon (though there are undoubtedly individual exceptions). Oh, and they're also slowly dying out for some reason.
The one angel in Reliquary resembles a skeletal corpse with flamelike wings and huge, black claws.
Their asshole qualities are justifiable. In the story, God has a plan for everything in the universe, except for K (the main character). K screws up The Plan. Just the suggestion of anything in the plan is enough to send angels into BSOD mode.)
Narbonic introduces Cherubim who are winges masses of eyeballs due to a microwave oven accident.
In Homestuck the Trolls' session had angels in Eridan's world and in the post-scratch human session after Aranea "heals" Jake's soul causing a massive explosion of light, which are more creature-y than humanoid. In the former setting, Eridan immediately starts shooting them upon arrival, and they are hostile to everyone for the rest of the game. He's justified in trying to kill them, though: Troll mythology describes angels as demons with feathery wings and bringers of the apocalypse.
Then again, due to being manipulated by Doc Scratch, Troll civilization is completely based around values Humans would consider (kind of) evil, and has an inverted worldview (especially when it comes to light/dark symbolism), it would make sense that what Humans see as the archetype of good, Trolls would see as evil.
Under this definition Jack Noir can be considered an angel too. This is part of Eridan's rationale when he loses hope and decides to join Jack: after all, if just killing regular angels is so hard what chance does he have against a lord of angels?
The story later introduces Cherubs, which are a type of alien species that grow large wings in adulthood. They are extreme loners, often never meeting another of their kind except to mate, and their idea of romantic attraction is Foe Yay. The Big Bad is one of them, which would explain the role of angels in troll mythology - the Big Bad influenced the troll's concept of the Grim Reaper. We've met only two Cherubim (hinted to be the last of their kind). One is extremely kindand gentlethe other...Not somuch.
It's hinted that Angels actually serve Paradox Space (Fate).
The Paedagogusi in Errant Story more or less fit the angel role, by any other name… and they're different, all right.
In Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, angels are the souls of the virtuous gone to heaven (and act like real people, believe me). Heaven accepts souls from every planet in the universe, so angels are mostly aliens united only in ownership of wings and a halo. They can be temporarily banished for committing crimes against Heaven (fallen angels), or leave entirely and become known as devils.
There are also cherubim, which are native to heaven, have no souls, and were created by Mikael as Cannon Fodder.
The Order of the Stick shows us two angel characters during Roy's stint in the afterlife, both based on D&D celestials. The bureaucratic deva is a green-skinned traditional angel, but solely interested in filling out the paperwork necessary to process souls to their final rest. The aptly-named Roy's Archon is a tiny ball of glowing light provided to Roy as a guide during his stay.
In Sinfest, two angels appear, primarily as winged humanoids who don't look any older than twelve. They occasionally dress up as a pair of possibly-Jehova's-Witnesses. Very prone to play the Screwy Squirrel on the Devil.
There's a trio of angels in Darwin Carmichael Is Going to Hell that are, basically, stereotypical stoners, who spend 99% of their time either getting high or trying to figure out how to get high. The other 1% they turn into dead serious, no-nonsense, crazy prophetic guys.
In Erstwhile, following the fairy tale, Snow White and Rose Red are protected in the Ghibli Hills by an angel that keeps them from falling over a cliff.
Angel: Well well, if it isn't the mortal play things. How does it feel to be mere shadows of the real host?
In Sorcery 101 Mages get angels to guide them when demon hunting. There are all sorts of rules governing the angels' behavior. For example, they can't ask for help from "creatures of darkness" (or anyone connected to such beings).
Angels are sexless, featureless, glowing humanoids with wings and a thin layer of paint/glamour that makes their skin, clothes and feathers. Damage will strip this layer and it takes a couple seconds for it to regenerate.
Kill Six Billion Demons involves the adventures of an Earth woman with an angel from another realm called the Throne, a hole-ridden, statuesque being whose name translates as 82 white chain born in emptiness returns to subdue evil.
In The Antithesis, angels are a species classified as 'Archaeans' (winged, humanoids residing on a planet called The Atrium) and are ruled by Commander Yahweh Telei, who is surprisingly an adolescent prodigy and genetic engineer, suffering from cognitive disorders closely resembling O.C.D. and Asperger's. Angelic society revolves around high science and technology.
The angels in The Account, a podcast audio drama, haven't shown much of themselves, but they're universally acknowledged as bad news in the Midlands, where the story takes place. Earth, which is separate from the Midlands, seems to be the only place they have very good PR.
The Angyls from the Warhammer 40,000 fanfic The Shape of the Nightmare to Come. While the Gods of Chaos are served by Daemons, the Star Father, a God of Order, is served by the Angyls who are androgynous, faceless, glowing humanoids with dozens of razor-feathered wings who seek to create a universe of perfect, self-defeating order.
Considering that the premise of The Salvation War is essentially a Rage Against the Heavens (and Hell in the first book), angels are the official enemies of humans in that universe. They fit the classic Winged Humanoid model and serve Yahweh, who's shown to be a colossal and self-conceited Jerkass. It's implied that they use the humans in Heaven as power leechers or something similar, and that their power is dependent on organized singing in some way. Of particular note is Michael, the military commander who has his own ulterior motives regarding the war against humanity, and Uriel, a powerful angel who has the ability to induce living creatures to simply drop dead (though his effectiveness on humans has diminished noticeably over time). Oh, and angels aren't invulnerable; they can be gunned down or blown up for a veritable shower of white and silver blood.
Six winged Seraphims appear, although they turn out not to be actual Angels. They were one of the many species Yahweh has conquered, kept around essentially as song birds.
The angels of Kumiko The Demon Girl are fairly standard except that they're explicitly stated to originate from ghosts who performed significant good deeds. Demons have the same origin.
In Hitherby Dragons, angels are gods (supernatural beings) that answer emptiness with hope and wear jackets with holes cut out for their wings. They have various powers and are often the result of a person making a promise an ordinary human can't fulfill. Evasive A can grant wishes if the person catches her (but she's uncatchable), Magic A has a non-zero chance of accomplishing anything, Realistic A can provide a pragmatic assessment of the situation and it's best not to think about Forbidden A.
The Nostalgia Critic Christmas Special: Orlando the guardian angel is pretty much like the one in It's a Wonderful Life, except that he can feel pain, get hurt and, apparently, get killed by a gun. Also he tries to kill his charge on realizing how much better things would be for everyone including himself, if the Critic wasn't around.
Several possible angels of varying stripes are catalogued by the SCP Foundation.
Dr. Clef's proposal for SPC-001 is a titanic glowing figure with a variable number of wings (ranging from 2 to 108) apparently guarding a gate and will destroy anything that approaches; it is clearly meant to be a bona fide Judeao-Christian Angel as they were ORIGINALLY conceptualized. It's somewhat implied that it's specifically the angel which guards the gate back into Eden.
According what might have been a message from the future, it will eventually destroy the world.
SCP-469 is a large humanoid figure with countless white-feathered wings sprouting from its back which spends its time curled up in a fetal position on the floor, resembling a huge pile of feathers. Any form of sound causes it to grow more wings and feathers and it agonizingly kills any living creature that touches it to feed off their screaming. Oh and in a macabre Shout-Out to It's a Wonderful Life, ringing a bell within earshot of it will cause it to wake up and do something unspecified but presumably horrific.
Finally SCP-861 is a large, elastic ball of "pseudorganic matter" capable of manifesting numerous different organs and appendages, ranging from feathered wings to shark fins. Oh, and anyone who comes near it has a chant foretelling the end of the world projected into their head in Biblical Hebrew, driving anyone who understands it insane.
Played rather bizarrely in the second Futurama movie "Beast With A Billions Backs," where what appear to be Angels turn out to be mindless birds. That look exactly like Winged Humanoids wearing robes. And live on the back of a sentient planet that inspired Fluffy Cloud Heaven, and pick parasites off its skin.
Bill Plympton's feature Idiots and Angels is about a Jerkass who grows a pair of wings that forces him to be nice against his will.
On Adventure Time,Finn is once rescued from danger by a guardian angel...who then tried to eat him. Whether this means she was lying about being an angel is unknown.
In the South Park episode "Best Friends Forever" several angels appear, with some of them having a high resemblance to the characters from The Lord of the Rings movies.
In Spawn, Angels generally appear as badass Amazon-style bounty hunters who come to earth to kick demon ass. While God and Heaven are necessarily remote elements in the story, it seems that Light Is Not Good is the rule in this show since, as one character puts it, Heaven is more interested in winning the war than in playing nice while doing it.