“Angel Catbird” is a campy and wildly entertaining superhero romp, from the classic chemical accident origin story to the wide range of eclectic characters such as Neferkitti, Count Catula and Babushkat to the super villain with questionable motives and even more questionable plans.
Our hero, Strig Feleedus—and what a name that is—starts the story as a normal human before he’s hit by a car and spills the sensitive gene splicing concoction he’s carrying on himself, his pet cat (who had escaped and he was chasing out into the street), and an owl (who had been going after the same mouse as the cat).
Which brings me to my first warning for interested parties. Animal death. There is more to “Angel Catbird” than a simple entertaining cat based superhero romp. The book also draws attentions to the dangers of allowing cats to free roam outside, and, as such, discusses and shows cat death, the endangerment of loss of a number of animals as a result of pet and feral cats, and the costs of poaching as well.
This gives the story a tendency to feel a little heavy handed in those moments, but it’s hardly out of place in the overall tone. There are many fairly bonkers and heavy handed twists. Like, Count Catula has a whole ass castle within walking distance of a city and was sired by the Actual Dracula; the hacktivist group Anonymouse comes to the rescue to help the cats save the day; the villain is a rat-man and his plans are dramatic, over the top, and plotted with what I can only call mildly-competent buffoonery. There’s a lot to get across in a short amount of time, so I think we can forgive any fast paced heavy handedness.
While I found the relationships a tad heterosexual to my tastes I did appreciate that polyamory wound up being portrayed as the Best Solution for a number of relationships. Count Catula thought that Dracula having three wives was too stingy and says that he has more than enough love to share amongst his many many wives (and he has like so many). The love triangle surrounding out protagonist Angel Catbird was also less irritating than many comics love triangles I’ve encountered. AtheenOwl (half-owl) and Cate Leone (half-cat) are both vying for Angel Catbird’s attention and it’s a hard choice, because his owl instincts veer toward AtheenOwl while his cat instincts veer toward Cate. It’s a non-traditional love triangle conundrum.
The answer reached at the end seems to be that AtheenOwl and Cate manage to get over their species differences and are going to share Angel Catbird, which sounds great to me.
Some of my other favorite bits include the entire existence of Babushkat who adopts my other favorite character Fog, who is a little abandoned kitten who looks spot on like a Victorian orphan boy.
The long and short is that if you’re looking for a fun, campy comic with an emotional animal motivated through line that still retains a classic comic book feel, I would definitely recommend “Angel Catbird.”