FreakAngels is a webcomic written by Warren Ellis, author of Nextwave/Transmetropolitan, transhumanist and noted Crazy Awesome British person, with art by Paul Duffield.Set six years after apocalyptic flooding destroys modern civilization (at least in Great Britain), the story follows the self-styled "FreakAngels" - a dozen 23-year-olds born at the exact same moment, all with purple eyes, pale skin and an array of mental powers that include telekinesis, telepathy, mind control, and unique individual gifts.The comic is set in the London district of Whitechapel, now flooded with a good 20 feet of water, and populated by refugees. The FreakAngels are essentially in charge. They're responsible for the steam-powered machines that purify water, the scavenging of artifacts from the pre-flood days, defense against raiders from other neighborhoods, and general enforcement of order. But the raids are getting bolder, the population of Whitechapel is growing too large for their jury-rigged equipment to feed, and the exiled twelfth FreakAngel is looking for revenge on his old family.Ellis and Duffield turned out six full-color pages a week; it ended at 144 episodes (six volumes of the paper edition) on August 5, 2011. It can be seen here.
Subverted: Episode 130 reveals that apparently only Britain is destroyed and shielded from the world.
A God Am I: Luke's general attitude towards the package, believing that he is part of the "master race" and that having power means he should be able to use it on "lesser souls". Connor hints that this attitude is the primary reason behind his Jerk Ass tendencies. Though after being shot in the head and given a thorough neurological scrubbing, he's dropped the attitude. Still a jerk, though.
Back-Alley Doctor: Miki. Each of the FreakAngels is a self-taught but very competent back-alley specialist in a different area. Their power "package" let them master their professions by reading the minds of experts.
Back from the Dead: Mark was thought dead early on, and came back. Two characters (Luke and Connor) come back after being shot point-blank in the head. Another may have done it more than once. In fact, it's posited that none of the FreakAngels can actually die, and as of the ending, it looks like that might be true.
Badass: Jack and Kait can kick ass without their powers, being a salvager/explorer and policeman respectively.
Badass Normal: Alice gets dubbed an "Honorary FreakAngel" on her first day in town, mostly for keeping her cool when Whitechapel comes under attack.
A week later, she proves her badassery when she takes out Luke with her trusty shotgun, after he's already seriously injured Kirk and nearly killed KK.
The Beautiful Elite: The FreakAngels are all fairly attractive with their perfect white skin and exotic eye and hair colours. The otherworldly look makes them even more distinct from everyone else, additional to their powers and own moral code. That most other humans are often starved or otherwise ill helps too.
Arkady: Do you know what that was, Luke? That was exactly one second of my overdose experience when we were fifteen. If you ever do something like this again, I am going to give you five minutes of that.
Bishounen/Bifauxnen: Most of the FreakAngels are fairly attractive, and it can be somewhat hard to tell their exact gender for some of them. Arkady and Karl are even hard to tell apart in a couple of panels, despite being respectively female and male, due to their shaven heads (and Arkady's androgyny in general).
Brain Bleach: This is one among the many FreakAngel powers. It is applied (usually by Sirrka) to the traumatized people they encounter in Whitechapel. In the case that happens "on-screen" she doesn't even ask if the girl actually wants her brain bleached. In this case and others, it seems the FreakAngels apply brain bleach not just out of mercy, but also to keep their powers secret.
Luke and Mark both get their brains, if not bleached, then at least thoroughly laundered. It makes them less crazy, but not much more pleasant.
Brick Joke: The comic begins with KK waking up to discover she screwed a kid from Lambeth. In Episode 8, it's mentioned that Arkady had been in the market the previous week predicting the future. One prediction was that KK would shag someone from Lambeth. See Mad Oracle, below.
Alice was introduced in the second episode of the comic. In the second-to-last episode, she is paired with a new supporting character named Bob.
Bullying a Dragon: Hunting down a group of teenagers who can blow up stuff with their minds and deflect artillery strikes was bound to end up badly. Especially if said children would love to be left alone. Cue a disaster that left Great Britain in ruins.
Butt Monkey: Luke. In one day, he gets punched and crotch-stomped by Kirk, pistol-whipped by Jack, and Arkady Mind Rapes him (see Beware the Nice Ones above), leaving him crying in the foetal position on the floor in a puddle of his own urine. A week later, he gets whacked in the face by Alice, curb-stomped by Sirkka and Caz, chained up in Kait's dungeon, shot in both legs by Kirk, blasted by Alice's shotgun, and finally shot through the head, which he recovers from.Not that he didn't deserve it.
Came Back Strong: All of the Freakangels have this ability. Every time they "die", the powers they wield are stronger and more finely-controlled when they get back up.
Came Back Wrong: Mild but still there. Mark's first "death" saw him tumble face down into a river with a hole in the back of his head. He healed while immersed in filthy water - so he was brain-damaged in addition to being paranoid, megalomaniacal and a laundry list of other issues.
Chekhov's Gun: Connor tells Alice in Episode 33 that she'll probably never meet an American. By the end, the Americans have arrived in Whitechapel and Alice is shown interacting with them.
Combo Platter Powers: Every FreakAngel can use telepathy to talk to the others, read minds, see through someone else's eyes, and project their own thoughts and memories. They can use telekinesis in a variety of ways, from deflecting bullets to causing explosions. They regenerate from serious injury and can go for weeks without food, water, or sleep. Together, they can manipulate time, reshape wood on the cellular level, reverse the chemical reaction of expended gunpowder on the molecular level and build time moats. They even eventually learn that they're effectively immortal.
Lampshaded by Arkady, who apparently spends much of her time developing new tricks, such as teleportation.
It's hinted (and possible, within the realm of pseudo-science) that all their powers are simply manipulations of an incredibly potent personal electromagnetic field.
Face-Heel Turn: Mark is a rather tragic example. In flashbacks he's an idealistic fourteen year old boy who wanted to use the package to help mankind. In the present he's a psychopath who got exiled for mind controlling dozens of helpless civilians. Luke also seems to have had one sometime in the past that he's aware of and been trying to pretend is perfectly justifiable (though admittedly he had some Jerk Ass tendencies in the flashbacks).
Heterosexual Life-Partners/Ho Yay: Kirk and Karl seem to only be able to stand each other, tried to murder Mark and kept the secret to themselves, and despite their many interactions have the rare accomplishment of never fighting with one another. Though they don't get much focus, it's implied they share a strong bond.
As of episode 139, they're either an item or are at least considering becoming one.
Karl: If you think I'm kissing you in front of this shower of bastards you're fucking insane.
Humans Are White: A side effect of the "package" is pale skin and purple eyes, which even Carolyn (black), Miki (Asian), and KK (possibly part Islander) have. They all retain other racial characteristics, but people often have to look twice before figuring that out.
Ineffectual Loner: Jack is constantly called out on this. His tendency to go off on his own is seen as him shirking his emotional responsibilities.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Cruelly subverted. Jack is in love with Sirkka and doesn't approve of her polyamorous ways, but rather than object, he just stays away from her. This makes Sirkka, who loves him back, absolutely miserable.
Jack the Ripper: A murder in Book 3 is done seemingly as a tribute to Jack the Ripper, using the same modus operandi (slashed throat, mutilated stomach) in the same location (Whitechapel).
Jerkass: Luke in particular, but all of the FreakAngels to an extent. Lampshaded by Connor, who points out that they really are all a bunch of evil arseholes who can do nothing but yell at each other and fuck up.
An alternative explanation is that this foreshadows a future plot line. In the scene were Arkady says she doesn't remember visiting the market, she also talks about how she's considering the possibility of time travel. The implication seems to be that the Arkady who made the predictions in the marketplace might have been Arkady travelling back from some point in the future.
Magic Skirt: KK. Her skirt is about twice as wide as a belt and made from some ruffly material, but the Panty Shot proves elusive.
Mind-Control Eyes: Not always used - people that Mark manipulated to kill the FreakAngels don't show this, but the girl that Luke rapes does have them.
Moral Event Horizon: In the Freakangels' minds, brainwashing people; this is discussed in-universe several times. Oddly, they don't have any rules to deal with violence, and Kait is never punished for torturing people for dubious reasons, nor has anyone been punished for their murder attempts.
In Episode 0122, Luke appears to be having one of these moments, saying the only thing to do is "get rid of him" and then for the others to sort out why they're here...while crying.
Evidently, this is the reason for Mark's activities. He was responsible for breaking the country as badly as it did, and he went crazy with guilt. Even worse when you remember all his good intentions as a thirteen year old kid.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The FreakAngels had initially wanted to simply cause a huge, showy, but not really lethal shake-up, for the sake of getting the army off their back. Their severe underestimation of just how powerful they were, plus the amount of pain and frustration they poured into their efforts, along with Mark steering them while his mental state was so unbalanced, caused them to instead bring about an immensely destructive disaster which pretty much ended civilization, at least in Britain.
Not So Different: Connor frequently lampshades that every FreakAngel is as much of a Jerkass as Luke and Mark.
Only Six Faces: The FreakAngels all look a lot alike. This is a deliberate facet of the story; Ellis has stated that the core idea of the comic is "what if the Midwich Cuckoos survived, grew up, and then fucked up?" The Midwich Cuckoos are famous for, among other things, all looking exactly the same. That being said, some of the character designs have changed noticeably since the beginning. Compare KK then with KK now, for instance.
Person of Mass Destruction: Any single FreakAngel can completely dominate a person's mind or tearing them apart telekinetically, and can shield him- or herself against small arms fire. Two or three working in concert can demolish buildings, blast apart small armies, and cause large explosions, as well as protecting themselves from heavy machine guns and artillery. All twelve of them were able to strike the planet so hard that it caused catastrophic earthquakes, flooded Britain, disrupted the Earth's geomagnetic field and seems to have broken time and space.
Kait: I fucking loved Quincy. In fact, I would have done Quincy, so less of your lip. Miki:You would have... Kait: He was a crimefighting genius and he always had hot young chicks on his boat. Quincy's cock was a foot long.
It gets worse:
Kait: You're confessing to murder. Two people just confessed murder to me in the same minute. Why aren't I happy? I swear I had masturbation fantasies about this. Karl: Oh, Christ, Kait! Too much information! Is this my punishment? I have to think about you in an interrogation cell in front of a weeping criminal and rubbing one out? Kait:(lip bite)...And then Quincy walks in. Karl: Aaaaaah!
True Companions: FreakAngels before the catastrophe. After this event most of them got their own issues and the group broke apart. At the end, they are together again, though perhaps not completely healed. But they have all the time in the world to work on that.