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Webcomic / FreakAngels

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23 years ago, twelve strange children were born in England at exactly the same moment. 6 years ago, the world ended. This is the story of what happened next.

FreakAngels is a Webcomic written by Warren Ellis, 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. As well as on the ''Freakangels'' page (the page appears to be down as of April 2023), the collected editions are available via the Avatar Press website on paper and digitally.

Crunchyroll aired an Animated Adaptation in 2022.

This comic provides examples of:

  • After the End:
  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: All the FreakAngels' names contain the letter K or a hard C.
  • Appropriated Appellation: The FreakAngels used to be called, among other things, "mutant freaks" and "angels of destruction."
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Kait shows the FreakAngels her potential new jail:
    KK: —fucking torture chamber, Kait!
    Karl: You can read fucking minds, Kait, so why are you operating the Whitechapel wing of Abu Fucking Ghraib over there—
    Arkady: It smells of poo!
  • Ascended Fangirl: Kait, who grew up on cop shows and has appointed herself the chief of police for Whitechapel.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The ending heavily implies that the Freakangels moved themselves outside of time, and this was where their "future" selves were communicating from whenever one of the "present" selves died. Or something.
  • 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 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.
  • Berserk Button: KK's real name sets her off like nothing else.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The normally sweet and rather offkey Arkady is a force to be reckoned with if her buttons get pushed.
    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.
  • 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.
    • The FreakAngels are often treated to Too Much Information from their friends, invoking this trope. See the Perverse Sexual Lust entry below.
    • This is also poor Connor's reaction to reaching his Too Much Information limit for one day. This scene came very soon after a very similar reveal concerning his mother. "No no no that is not an interesting fact and I don't want it in my head."
    • 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.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Arkady has Cloudcuckoolander tendencies and is hard to take seriously, but she's by far the strongest and most skilled user of the FreakAngels powers.
  • 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. After he comes Back from the Dead, KK breaks a chair over his head, then Miki telekinetically castrates him and draws a dick on his forehead while he's unconscious.
  • 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.
  • City of Canals: Whitechapel has become a City of Flooded Streets in the wake of its destruction.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Arkady, attributed to brain damage from a drug overdose and generally spending her spare time pushing the limits of her brain.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Miki, when she's finally had enough of Kait and Arkady arguing.
  • 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. Invoked 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.
  • Crazy Survivalist: Kait has aspects with this, which clashes oddly with her role as Whitechapel's self-appointed constable.
  • Death Glare: Arkady manages an impressive (and terrifying) one.
  • Embarrassing First, Middle and Last Name: KK, or should I say Kolfinnia Kokokoho? It gets worse - Who The Fook Names Their Kid Kolfinnia Kokokoho Titching?
  • Expy: The FreakAngels' Psychic Powers being that much stronger when in concert and their eventual ascension beyond physical form to save the world takes more than a little from Ellis' earlier run on X-Man, in which a group of villains did the former and the hero did the latter.
  • Fantastic Racism: Against people from Lambeth.
  • 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 Jerkass tendencies in the flashbacks).
  • Gatling Good: And it fires metal bolts.
  • 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 Jerkass tendencies. Though after being shot in the head and given a thorough neurological scrubbing, he's dropped the attitude. Still a jerk, though.
  • Gorn: Forget the below-mentioned Your Head A-Splode — we've got Your Torso A-splode! Not to mention the loving rendition of shattering bones and tearing flesh...
  • The Heart: Connor is the most compassionate and empathetic of the group. The others tend to think of him as rather useless (unlike the others, he doesn't have a unique specialty power, and he seems to be the weakest), but they do admit that he's generally the one who's managed to keep them working together (and the idea that they've started killing each other is enough to make Connor want to leave forever). Consequentially his package upgrade gives him the ability to join all of the Freakangels together into a unified mindspace where their powers are dramatically increased.
  • Heel–Face Brainwashing: Luke, consensually and by request because he's ashamed to realize how low he's fallen.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: 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 that 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.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: In one panel, the FreakAngels snap from a bunch of bickering kids to the psychic hive mind that punched a hole in reality.
  • Mad Oracle: A referenced Noodle Incident in which Arkady randomly predicted three people dying and KK shagging a kid from Lambeth, then developed short-term amnesia and forgot the entire event. 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 traveling 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 who Mark manipulated to kill the FreakAngels don't show this, but the girl who Luke rapes does have them.
  • Mind over Manners: A recurring and frequent source of drama, as the FreakAngels have a taboo against 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.
  • Mood Whiplash: Luke's rant. Given a callback of sorts.
  • More than Mind Control: Sirkka's method of helping abuse victims. It includes physical clean-up and healing as well as a few Fake Memories to account for lost time. Some other FreakAngels don't agree with wiping the victim's memories, but Sirkka's reasons for doing so are undeniably benevolent.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • KK, possibly with a dose of Author Appeal. She also appears on the cover of both print volumes, and all the promotional material for the comic.
    • Arkady also tends to wear see-through clothing. Lampshaded when a character asks Arkady to at least wear panties. She's been wearing underwear for a good long while now, though they are still visible through her skirt.
    • Sirkka, due to her... amorous ways, and particularly when her package upgrade occurs with her naked and writhing on her bed.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • 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.
  • Near-Death Experience: Apparently any one of these unpacks a FreakAngel's package further.
  • 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" Remark: 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?" That being said, some of the character designs have changed noticeably since the beginning. Compare KK here with KK here, for instance.
  • One-Word Title: Also a Portmantitle, since it's a compound word.
  • 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.
  • Perverse Sexual Lust:
    • Regarding Quincy, M.E., a detective drama from the 1970s and 80s...
      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!
    • Karl later asks Arkady to wipe that conversation from his mind. He's probably joking.
    • Thanks to Kait's package upgrade, it looks like she'll be able to act upon this.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Another of the FreakAngels' powers. Presumably the judicious application of telekinesis or a force field. Seen in a flashback.