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Literature / Angel of Death

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"Cody closed his eyes and cried for the souls he would be devouring for the rest of his life. Criminals or not, he had no right to inflict that fate on them. Their misery would last for epochs, and it would be entirely his fault."

Angel of Death is an ongoing web serial by an individual under the username XHAWK77X. It can be found on Blogspot, Figment, and Tumblr. It chronicles the adventures of a boy named Cody who, after finding a mystical tome, turns himself into a lich in order to heal his girlfriend of cancer. However, he soon discovers that this has the side effect of forcing him to consume the souls of the living for sustenance. He must now cope with eternal undeath as a soul eating monster whilst also dealing with criminals, other liches, and a top of the line detective determined to end the murders he is committing.

At its start, the series was primarily episodic, though still with a running Myth Arc. As time went on, however, it experienced Continuity Creep and its Myth Arc became more central to the story, with it now being the principal focus.

Its focus has also shifted away from the detective after his death and the community of liches moving toward trying to gain public support rather than survive through secrecy and currently centers primarily around Bavandersloth's plot to take over the world and Kandrinarkora's attempts to escape imprisonment.

Angel of Death contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Area: Goldfalls' entire Northwest District which included several neighborhoods, an amusement park, at least one factory, a marina and a lot of warehouses is now completely abandoned. It's not been made clear why.
  • Abandoned Hospital: This is where two of the battles in "Felisha" take place.
  • Affably Evil: Bavandersloth is a rather friendly person most of the time, despite being an evil Chessmaster who doesn't feel even a little bit bad about his kills and eventually plots to take over the world.
  • Animate Dead: One of the functions of devoured souls.
  • Atlantis: A 10,000 year old civilization run by Valthakar. He was a good guy then, and fended off various attacks on Atlantis by the underworld. He succeeded, but it sank anyway. He later leaned Kandrinarkora to be responsible.
  • Bad Boss: It is implied that Pretty Pink Ponytails eats disloyal subordinates.
  • Bad Liar: In earlier editions, Cody is utterly incapable of lying, and people around him are instantly suspicious when he tries. He got over it over the course of the series, and no longer has this problem in current entries.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Cody's powers are derived from the consumption of human souls, and one of his most important abilities is moving diseases from one person to another. Despite this, he is a very nice guy most of the time, and fights very hard to save the world.
    • Justin, for pretty much all of the same reasons.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Cody is a very mild mannered character. Despite this, he is liable to eat your soul if you commit a crime in the wrong place at the wrong time (or pose a threat to his loved ones, or he's in a time crunch and needs the extra power boost to perform some difficult spell).
    • Justin used to be even worse, because he didn't initially have any serious reservations about eating people (so long as they fit into his relatively naive definition of "bad"). Still, he's always been a very optimistic and friendly person. As he's matured, he's become more scrupulous about his kills, though he still slauthered a crowd of innocent people when it was the only way to get the power for a world-saving spell.
  • Black Magic: Lich magic cannot be used except by one who regularly eats souls. Some magic rituals also call for living sacrifices.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: Averted earlier on. Despite his need to feast on the souls of the living, Cody remains benevolent and, under normal circumstances, compassionate. Meanwhile, the evil liches and gangsters that oppose him tend to be quite evil. Over the course of the series, his actions have caused him to drift from white to grey, but he is still far more ethical than the type of character one would associate with the "grey" in "Black and Grey Morality."
  • Black Cloak: Cody’s clothing when he’s in his lich form.
  • Breath Weapon: The Cold Dragon from "Cold Snap" has ice breath. Antimatter (yes, antimatter) dragons have also been mentioned.
  • Cliffhanger: "Farewell, Sweet Angel" ends with Valthakar gravely injuring Cherie just before Cody is arrested for being the Angel of Death. "Boom" ends with Gborin'gargoth blowing up Bavandersloth's mansion and the very next entry, "Fallout" ends with Valthakar escaping to summon the wrath of the community of liches on Cody.
  • Character Death: Multiple examples.
    • Latoya and her infant son are violently tortured to death on camera by Valthakar.
    • Kaburlduth and Ntullnarlth in the process of losing their contests with Cody.
    • Both Det. Williams and Det. Donna Hendrix die when the police station is set on fire by Bavandersloth, who also traps them inside by moving a piece of furniture in front of Williams' office.
    • Kgobauru and Nglavingithu when Cody tricks them with a fake contest.
    • Lester, who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time during the Central Square Massacre.
  • The Chessmaster: Bavandersloth, as proven in "The Law Shall Make No Exception For Him." He sets fire to a police station, allowing Cody to escape prison and killing Det. Williams. At the same time, he finds and turns Justin into a lich so he can heal Cherie, making it look like Cody cannot possibly be the Angel. He also ensures that Justin will have the power to retrieve Valthakar's phylactery.
    • Just two entries later in "Felisha" he was able to lure a DIAPP exterminator into a room with hundreds of liches by getting a woman to sign a paper consenting to a fake "kidnapping" and using her to lure the exterminator in. He was then able to claim that the exterminator had been a criminal, and because he'd gotten the woman's consent, the whole thing netted him minimal negative consequences.
    • Really, he's done something like this in just about every entry since "The Law Shall Make No Exception For Him," save for the ones he's not appeared in.
    • Bavandersloth's actions in "The Law Shall Make No Exception for Him" are in response to Valthakar's gambit in "Farewell, Sweet Angel" in which he reveals Cody's identity to Cherie, gravely injures her, and tips off Det. Williams to the fact that Cody is the Angel of Death, though the last of those things might not have been intentional.
    • Cody is heading down this role too, though he's not yet as talented at it as Bavandersloth.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Pretty Pink Ponytails is implied to do this regularly, and seems to find great joy in it.
  • Creature-Hunter Organization: D.I.A.P.P. is a division of the US government which seems to be tacked with fighting liches, along with other paranormal phenomena.
  • Creepy Good: Cody's powers are themed after death and decay. He is a giant corpse who can inflict any dissease or injury he wants on you, eat your soul, or induce years worth of decay onto an object in seconds. He's the good guy.
    • Justin can do all of the same things, and is also a good guy.
  • Dark Action Girl: Pretty Pink Ponytails is a sadistic girl who works as an enforcer for a large criminal organization, and she is a force to be reckoned with. She even held her own in a fight with Cody despite still being a mortal, though she might not still be able to do this now that Cody has more training and experience.
  • Dark Fantasy: Angel of Death is set in a world where millions of people are, at any given moment, enslaved to undead monsters, and about 2,000 more people are forced to enter that condition every day, most of whom are innocent.
  • Evil Gloating: Valthakar adores this. In particular, a speech near the end of "Farewell, Sweet Angel:"
Valthakar: They can’t save her. She’s already too close to death. Besides, even if they do save her, I’ll lose nothing, and just kill her again. It’s ironic though, isn’t it? You gave up your soul to save her, and now, because of the enemies you made by becoming the monster you became, she’ll die only a few months later than she would have had you done nothing. And you will have to spend eternity without her after she dies, slowly and painfully. There’s beauty to it, isn’t there?
  • "I Told You So" is named after the speech he gives at the end. Though one could argue he didn't really cause the character's suffering, he still mocks the hell out of them about it.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Cody was once an extremely poor inner-city boy with no meaningful hope for a future... Until he became a super-powered serial killer feared by criminals everywhere.
    • Justin was a random eleven year old kid before he became a predator who, unlike, Cody, killed without remorse for a while.
    • Bavandersloth was a slave during the middle ages. He's now the de facto leader of the community of liches.
  • Functional Magic: Liches use the power of the souls they devour to cast their spells.
  • Giggling Villain: Pretty Pink Ponytails is always described as giggling, and has never once been said to chuckle or laugh. It makes sense, as her gimmick is to act like a Creepy Child.
  • Hand Blast: Liches can fire globs of magical energy out of their palms. Once they reach a certain level, they can also fire sustained beams of such energy.
  • Hellhound: One of the creatures that serves the Underworld.
    • And since "Roma Invicta," Cody has one.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Averted. Cody, post-transformation, is able to sit through an entire Catholic Mass, and take communion, with no ill-effects.
  • Horrifying Hero: Cody's appearance, feeding habits, powers and willingness to do absolutely terrifying things all belie his extreme capacity for empathy and caring personality. At one point, Cherie says that he feels bad about squishing bugs.
  • Horror Hunger: The need of all Liches to devour human souls. Even if they can stand the pain of a long period of starvation, they will snap and go on a rampage, killing hundreds of people, rather than die of starvation.
  • Invisibility: Liches can do this after they've eaten their first few thousand souls.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: Pretty Pink Ponytails sings one of these regularly.
  • Magical Database: On Soulless Ones has information on every lich and magical power in existence. On the Underworld has the same for the creatures of the Underworld.
  • The Masquerade: The First Convention: “Liches shall not, intentionally or out of negligence, engage in behavior which is likely to bring about awareness by the general public of the existence of liches, magic, or any other specific supernatural phenomenon. Nor shall they act in a way which gives mortals persuasive evidence of the supernatural in general. Liches shall be accountable to the broader community of liches for such actions.”
    • As of "Everything I Ever Did Was For You," the first convention has been revised to allow liches to reveal themselves, so long as the public doesn't learn several things about them, including their need to devour souls.
  • Muggle Best Friend: Lester is this for Cody, and Steven and Reidel to a lesser extent.
  • Obviously Evil: Subverted. Cody’s true form is an eight foot tall corpse in a black robe with a sinister scythe, and yet he is constantly obsessing about how to be as moral as he possibly can.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: "Cold Snap" features a dragon who travels to the Earth intent on exterminating all life by making the entire Earth cool. It apparently does this by its mere presence.
  • Our Liches Are Different: Liches in Angel of Death are fleshy corpses rather than skeletons, can shape-shift between human and lich forms, and must devour souls to gain sustenance.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Liches can command the souls they’ve devoured to animate dead bodies.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Pretty Pink Ponytails has the mannerisms of a little girl whilst being a maniacally sadistic Dark Action Girl who loves to torture people.
  • Sadist: Pretty Pink Ponytails seems to enjoy torturing and murdering others.
  • Secret-Keeper: Cody specifically selected Lester to be the one human to know that he is a lich.
  • Sex Slave: Zachary forced Pretty Pink Ponytails into prostitution to make ends meet without having to potentially take responsibility for his criminal actions.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Seemingly the attitude of a lot of liches, especially the ones that live long enough to become relatively well known members of the community.
    • Valthakar is especially notable for this, to the point of being obsessed with the idea. Convincing Cody that this is the case is one of his overarching goals throughout the series.
  • Sinister Scythe: Liches' scythes.
  • Soul-Cutting Blade: Liches' scythes can remove the soul from a human’s body for consumption.
  • Soul Jar: Phylacteries.
  • Spell Book: On Soulless Ones, which contains both the instructions on how to become a lich and how to perform spells which require rituals.
  • Split Personality: Pretty Pink Ponytails/Anita.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Det. Williams is unsympathetic to Cody at first, but only because he doesn't realize the nature of his condition. Once he figures it out, he's extremely sympathetic to Cody, even suggesting that there might be a way to help him manage his condition.
  • The Syndicate: The Selechii syndicate. It's not clear how far it extends, but it's large enough, at the very least, to absorb what's left of the Black Death after Cody takes it down.
  • Tears of Remorse: Cody, frequently. The second entry is even titled "All He Could Do Was Cry For Them."
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Kaburlduth hails from Nazi Germany and refuses to devour the souls of anyone who is white, and leads a group of Neo-Nazis who kill Non-white people.
  • Title Drop: Several entries, ("All He Could Do Was Cry for Them," "I Just Want to do the Right Thing," "I'm a Monster. You Realize That, Right?" "A Smile That Never Fails," "Farewell, Sweet Angel" "Everything I Ever Did Was For You," "The People Need Fear No Longer," "You Should Think Nothing of Them," and "I Told You so,") feature their titles somewhere in their text.
  • The Undead: Liches and zombies. Though according to Valthakar, only liches are undead in the most technical sense.
  • The Underworld: Where the magic that creates Liches originates.
  • Urban Fantasy: Angel of Death takes place in a (fictional) city in modern California.
  • Villain Respect: Bavandersloth expresses this for Cody in "The Coward's Cage."
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: How Liches Eat.